Welcome to SCEMS: The Centre for Early Modern Studies at The University of Sheffield

Sheffield is home to one of the largest, most vibrant, and respected centres for early modern studies in the world, with over 50 staff and fellows currently members of the Sheffield Centre for Early Modern Studies (SCEMS).

Rhinoceros woodcarving by Edward Topsell.
Rhinoceros by Edward Topsell from, “The History of the Four-footed Beasts and Serpents.”, 1604

Our expertise ranges from the late medieval to the late eighteenth century, from musicology to social history, and from Yorkshire parishes to American colonies; from literary editing and manuscripts, to news-books and novels, to material culture and social practice; from history and literature to linguistics and philosophy.

In addition to our thematic and geographical coverage SCEMS also brings together scholars of the three ‘long’ centuries which make up the early modern: the long sixteenth century, the long seventeenth century, and the long eighteenth century.

This makes for a remarkable concentration of expertise and inter-disciplinary work. It also begs fundamental questions with which all early modernists must wrestle, about change, continuity, and periodization.

Sheffield also has a special reputation for digital humanities. The Hartlib and John Foxe projects were in the vanguard of humanities digitization and early modernists continue to work closely with Sheffield’s Humanities Research Institute (HRI), one of the leading centres for digitization in the world. For a full list of recent and current funded projects see our Networks and Projects page.