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Making Publics "Making Publics"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.1085  Saturday, 9 December 2006

From:         Paul Yachnin <
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Date:         Thursday, 07 Dec 2006 21:17:04 -0500
Subject:     "Making Publics"

"Making Publics" SUMMER SEMINAR
http://makingpublics.mcgill.ca/
 
2007- July 18- August 13
 
MAKING PUBLICS IN INTERREGNUM ENGLAND
 A Research Seminar for Dissertation-Stage PhD Students and Junior Faculty
 
Leaders: Lesley Cormack (Alberta) and Michael Bristol (McGill)
 
July 18-August 13, 2007 at McGill University
 
This summer school will focus on selected writing from the tumultuous 
decades of the interregnum, roughly 1640 - 1660, with particular 
attention to the fields of literature, public lfe, science and 
religion.  The chief aim of the seminar will be to understand conditions 
for the possibility of engagement in public life during a time of 
intense polarization and social effervescence in England during The 
Commonwealth. We will be concerned with a number of specific questions: 
How were publics made and who made them in seventeenth-century England? 
How did authors imagine the target audiences reading their work? How 
were common interests, beliefs, or inquiries circulated and in what 
sense did this circulation create publics? How did the gradual shift 
away from manuscript to the printed book as the privileged medium for 
the dissemination of ideas affect the experience of public life.  Were 
publics created in the marketplace?   The seminar will examine the 
theory of publics through consideration of several case studies which 
may include:
 
1. The growing interest in mathematical and geographical instruments and 
information, especially focussed around the marketplace and growing 
imperial aspirations.
 
2. The circulation of idiosyncratic and perhaps heterodox religious 
ideas in the confessional texts of Sir Thomas Brown, the poetry of 
Andrew Marvel, and the studies of comparative religion of Edward, Lord 
Herbert of Cherbury.
 
3. The public significance of melancholia and the melancholy temperament 
in prose writings of John Donne and Robert Burton
 
4. Robert Boyle's network of colleagues and publics, examining the 
question of how 'facts' are created and agreed upon, through public 
witnessing and acquiescence.
 
Participants will have an opportunity to workshop their own research 
projects, which may focus on any aspect of early modern publics in the 
late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. We welcome both pre- and 
post-PhD scholars, working in English and continental history, 
literature, and cultural studies.

Sponsored by the MaPs Project (Making Publics: Media, markets, and 
Association in Early Modern Europe), headquartered at McGill University 
and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of 
Canada..  The "Making Publics" project will develop an innovative and 
potentially transformative approach to the history of early modernity. 
The project will illuminate the artistic, intellectual, religious, 
social, and political culture of Britain and Western Europe between 1500 
and 1700, and it will also have a bearing on issues that confront modern 
society, especially questions about media, the culture market, and the 
possibilities of social agency on the part of cultural producers and 
consumers. At the heart of our work is the phenomenon that we are 
calling "making publics" -  the creation of small-scale forms of 
association that represented a new way of connecting with others, a kind 
of connection not founded in family, rank or vocation, but rather a form 
of voluntary community built on the shared interests, tastes, and 
desires of individuals.
 
We have adopted the word "publics" to refer to the open-membership 
groups that coalesced around certain practices, areas of interest, and 
forms of publication and/or performance. Publics differed from 
traditional groupings such as guilds, universities, or parliaments, 
which were characteristically exclusive, institutionalized, highly 
credentialized, and hierarchical in their internal workings. Publics 
were loosely organized, more or less egalitarian in their internal 
workings, and open to anyone that had the interest, competence, money, 
and time to participate. They fostered and were fostered by new 
technologies of representation and dissemination-the printing press, new 
pictorial forms, new sites for and styles of theatrical and musical 
performance. They were encouraged by the development of a market in 
works of art and/or printed works such as plays, paintings, musical 
compositions, sermons, news pamphlets, maps, histories, and scientific 
reports.
 
Canadian and non-Canadian dissertation-stage students and junior faculty 
are invited to apply to take part in a research seminar focusing on the 
political, intellectual, and cultural ferment of mid-seventeenth-century 
England. We hope to recruit outstanding young scholars working on any 
topic related to the seminar's central concerns across the span of the 
century.  The group's work on the interregnum will provide a background 
for discussion of key issues. As many as 12 successful applicants will 
participate in this seminar through mutual reading and discussion and by 
developing and presenting their own research. Participants will have 
access to McGill Library and important research collections such as the 
Redpath tracts, the Osler Library, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, 
microflim and electronic references such as EEBO, the Goldsmiths 
Library, and the Landsdowne manuscripts.
 
The travel and living expenses of the participants in the seminar will 
be covered by the MaPs project. The end of the seminar will coincide 
with the annual meeting of the MaPs research team. Members of the 
seminar will have the opportunity to participate in the annual team 
meeting of the MaPs project.
 
Please visit http://makingpublics.mcgill.ca/ for application materials 
and details. The deadline for applications is January 15, 2007.

_______________________________________________________________
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