Past Events

This page provides a record of early modern events that have taken place in Sheffield in the recent past. For previous sessions of the Early Modern Discussion Group, see the EMDG seminars page.

Seminar and Masterclass series

18, 19 April 2013: Sir John Elliott
Roundtable: Inter-disciplinary studies including Stuart Carroll (York), Janet Clare (Hull), Susan Fitzmaurice (Sheffield), John Moreland (Sheffield).
Masterclass: A Historian and his World: History in the Making.

9, 10 May 2013: Susan James (Birkbeck)
Lecture: Are Moral Rights Natural or Artificial? Hobbes and Spinoza.
Masterclass: Philosophising about the History of Philosophy.

6, 7 June 2013: Tiffany Stern (Oxford)
Lecture: ‘Such Place, such Men, such Language & such Ware’: The Theatre of London’s Fairs.
Masterclass: Archives and Evidence.

3, 4 October 2013Lyndal Roper (Oxford)
Lecture: Love, Anger and Envy: Emotions and the Early Reformation.
Masterclass (with Jenny Spinks, Manchester): Visual Propaganda for the Reformation: Carlstadt’s Wagon.

24, 25 October 2013: Keith Wrightson (Yale)
Lecture: ‘Also present and hearing’: the common people in the age of Elizabeth I.
Masterclass: Neighbourhoods in Early Modern London: the Evidence of Church Court Depositions.

21, 22 November 2013: Colin Jones (Queen Mary)
Lecture: The Rise and Fall of the French Smile: Sensibility and Dentistry in 18th Century Paris.
Masterclass: ‘The Saint-Aubin Livre de caricatures’: drawing satire in eighteenth-century Paris (2012) and 9 Thermidor.

13, 14 February 2014: John Morrill (Cambridge)
Lecture:  ‘Oliver Cromwell: facts, fictions and warts’
Masterclass: ‘My Life in History’

22, 23 May 2014: Andrew Hadfield (Sussex)
Lecture: ‘A Red Herring’
Masterclass: ‘Why Does Biography Matter?’

16, 17 October 2014: Mark Greengrass (Sheffield)
Lecture: Travelling Scientifically in Early Modern Europe’
Masterclass: Christendom Destroyed: Europe 1517-1648.

30, 31 October 2014: Helen Hackett (UCL)
Lecture: ‘Elizabeth I and the Three Goddesses’
Masterclass: ‘Hunting a mystery scribe: the case of Constance Aston Fowler’s verse miscellany’

6 November 2014: Quentin Skinner (QMUL)
Lecture: ‘Why Shylock loses his case: judicial rhetoric in The Merchant of Venice’

 Workshops and one-off events

1-17 March 2013
Othello’s Island: Medieval and Renaissance Cyprus.
A one-week, noncredit course offered at The Cornaro Institute on Cyprus; sponsored by The Cornaro Institute and Distance Learning in the School of English at the University of Sheffield. Download the Programme (PDF, 283KB).

24 April 2013: David Lemmings, University of Adelaide
Emotional Representations of the Family in Eighteenth-century Criminal Trials.

17 May 2013
Workshop: Eighteenth-century Landscape
The first in a series of events in the run up to the 2016 Tricentenary Year of the Birth of Capability Brown, England’s most famous landscape gardener. Speakers were David McCallam, Mark Bennett, Hae-Joon Jung, Angela Wright, Nicola Walker, Jan Woudstra and Sally O’Halloran. (Full abstracts available to download as PDF.)

6 June 2013
Workshop: Anxiety
Keynote speakers: Professor Lynda Mugglestone, University of Oxford and  Professor Jon Mee, University of Warwick
Anxiety is a state of mind and authorship that can be traced throughout the critical writings of literature, language and linguistics. In 1755, Samuel Johnson devoted a considerable amount of space in the first edition of his Dictionary to the contemplation of anxiety, the anticipation of a future event.  The eighteenth century offers an important anchor for productive anxieties for researchers. From Enlightenment philosophy, to imperialism, invasion, nationhood, revolutions in America and France, to the innovative new poetics of Wordsworth, the anxieties of the period offer a conceptual framework useful to researchers from across different time periods, disciplines, and theoretical positions.
In addition to the keynote talks, speakers included: Dr Jane Hodson, Dr Hamish Mathison, Dr Marcus Nevitt, Dr Ranjan Sen, and Dr Richard Steadman-Jones, and Dr Angela Wright.
For more information, visit the website:
Or email:

4-6 October 2013
Sources of Identity: Makers, Owners and Users of Music Sources Before 1600

Manuscript and print sources have traditionally had a central role in establishing and examining musical texts. However, they also have much to reveal about the meanings and purposes assigned to music by the people who commissioned, made, owned and used them. In this context, the ‘use’ of music sources extends beyond their role in live performance, to encompass also their use as gifts and as objects for collection and display. Aspects of noble, bourgeois, artistic and professional identities rested on the ways in which musical texts were selected, presented, distributed and used in this expanded sense. This conference turned the spotlight onto the people involved in music manuscripts and prints, asking what the sources with which they are connected can tell us about the various motives lying behind their investment in music.
Further information here:

29 January 2014: Society and the Social
This workshop brought together historians and sociologists from the White
Rose triangle and Tokyo Metropolitan University to discuss the language and
conceptualization of ‘society’ in early modern and modern contexts. Speakers were Teruhito Sako (Sociology, TMU); Phil Withington (History, Sheffield); Naoya Takahashi (Sociology, TMU); and Chris Renwick, (History, York).

27 February 2014: Exchange and Empire: The East India Company Comes Home
Focusing on the example of Osterley Park and House, a National Trust property near Hounslow, Prof. Margot Finn (Principal Investigator) and Dr Kate Smith (Research Fellow) demonstrated how The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857 project encouraged academics, curators, archivists, family and local historians and community volunteers to engage with (and help create) new interpretations of the ‘British’ country house.

25 July 2013
Early Modern Vernacularization: A multi-disciplinary discussionSteen, The Village School

This workshop brought archaeologists, architectural historians, linguists, literary critics, and political and social historians to think about how different disciplines understand ‘the vernacular’ and ‘vernacularization’ and why these concepts have particular purchase for the early modern era.  Hosted by SCEMS, the day included papers from: Susan Fitzmaurice (Historical Pragmatics, Sheffield), Adrian Green (Architectural History, Durham), Matthew Johnson (Archaeology, Northwestern), Anthony Milton (Political History, Sheffield), Cathy Shrank (Literature, Sheffield), Phil Withington (Social History, Sheffield).

Past Conferences:

Manuscript and Print in the Eighteenth Century
23-24 May 2012
Plenary Speaker Professor Thomas Keymer (University of Toronto)
This conference explored the connections between everyday manuscript practices and printed work in the eighteenth century. Though print was undoubtedly in the ascendant during the period, manuscript practices remained vital. Institutions, business and households generated a huge amount of manuscript material. Literary manuscripts, sometimes closely related to printed texts, continued to be circulated. It was through manuscript practices of writing and archiving – not print – that most people had contact with the written word. This conference investigated the relationship between an expanding print culture and the continuing power of the hand-written form.
View the conference webpage.

22-24 June 2012
Markets, Law, and Ethics, 1300-1850
This conference examined the culture of the market in the late medieval and early modern periods, conceived broadly as the norms, laws, customs and practices of exchange. It offered an opportunity for scholars from diverse historiographical backgrounds to compare and contrast findings across conventional chronologies and geographies, to reflect on the implications of supra-imperial and global approaches, and to consider future interpretations of late medieval/early modern market culture.  Speakers included: Robert DuPlessis, Pierre Gervais, Julie Hardwick, Martha Howell, James Masschaele, Allan Potofsky, David Harris Sacks, Alex Shepard, Christopher L. Tomlins, Daniel Vickers.
View the conference webpage.