Our research

Academics based at the University of Sheffield lead a diverse range of projects engaging with aspects of the early modern world.

The following projects are currently in progress:

Funding  Project Period Field(s) SCEMS contacts
Conversation and Community: Explores English dialogue as a form of writing from the late medieval period to the seventeenth century, tracing its development and impact on a culture of political participation and emergent sense of citizenship
1475-1675 Literature; History Cathy Shrank
Digital Panopticon: Joining up geneaological, biometric and criminal justice data to explore the global impact of Old Bailey sentencing 1780-1925 History; Digital Humanities Robert Shoemaker; Sharon Howard; Richard Ward
From Servants to Staff: the Whole Community in the Chatsworth Household: using extensive archival materials from the Devonshire Collection and employing an innovative historical-linguistic approach to gain an understanding of the wider community who have lived and worked at Chatsworth [blog] 1700-2000 History; English; Linguistics Jane Hodson, Hannah Wallace, Lauren Butler, Fiona Clapperton
HERA Intoxicating Spaces: Focusing on four European cities between c.1600 and c.1850 – Amsterdam, Hamburg, London, and Stockholm – this two-year project (2019–21) explores the impact of new intoxicants on urban public spaces, the role of urban public spaces in assimilating them into European behaviours, and the often exploitative international systems through which they were produced, trafficked, and consumed c.1600-c.1850 History Phil Withington; James Brown (project manager)
Linguistic DNA: modelling conceptual change with digital methods and data from EEBO and ECCO 1500-1800 English; Linguistics; Digital Humanities Susan Fitzmaurice; Iona Hine; Seth Mehl
Music in the Art of Renaissance Italy: making sense of the social and cultural history of music in Italy expressed in art, with a database of painted, manuscript and woodcut images 1420-1540 Music; Art History Tim Shephard, Sanna Raninen, Serenella Sessini, Laura Stefanescu; Patrick McMahon
Engaged Curriculum (TUOS) [2016] Shakespeare in Schools: Literature students support the teaching of Shakespeare at a local school.
1590-1616 Shakespeare; Education Tom Rutter
Early modernists at Sheffield also led or participated in the following recently completed projects:
Funding body Project Period Field(s) SCEMS contacts
Intoxicants and Early Modernity: creating a public database of sources on the role of alcohol, tobacco, and other intoxicants in England’s economic, social, political, material, and cultural life 1560-1740 History; Digital Humanities Phil Withington; Angela McShane; James Brown; Tim Wales
British Academy [-2011] The Acts and Monuments Online: An unabridged digitised version of John Foxe’s martyrology, facilitating comparison of the different editions published in Foxe’s lifetime, with prefatory essays. 1563-1583 Book history; martyrology; Digital Humanities Mark Greengrass (em.)
Leverhulme [-2013] The Comparative History of Political Engagement in Western and African Societies: Fostering an international network to problematise western models of democracy and explore its origins and history with insight from different disciplines. diachronic Politics; History Mike Braddick
JISC [-2011] Connected Histories: British History Sources 1500-1900: connecting digital resources related to early modern and 19th century Britain with a single federated search that allows sophisticated searching of names, places and dates. 1500-1900 British social, economic and political history; Digital humanities Robert Shoemaker, Sharon Howard
Early Modern manuscript poetry: Recovering our Scribal Heritage. Produced scholarly editions of: Elizabethan verse libels; a household book compiled in Yorkshire; V&A MS Dyce 44 (incl. Constable’s Diana sonnets & an encrypted copy of Nashe’s Choise of Valentines); and BL MS Harl. 7392, probably compiled by Humphrey Coningsby, an associate of Philip Sidney.
1500-1700 Literature; History; Paleography Cathy Shrank; Alan Bryson
JISC [-2011] Locating London’s Past: Search a wide body of digital resources relating to early modern and eighteenth-century London, and map the results on to a GIS compliant version of John Rocque’s 1746 map. Social history; historical geography; GIS Robert Shoemaker, Sharon Howard
ESRC [-2010] London Lives: Crime, Poverty and Social Policy in the Metropolis: in fully digitised and searchable form, a wide range of primary sources about eighteenth-century London, with a particular focus on plebeian Londoners 1690-1800 Social history; Digital Humanities Robert Shoemaker, Sharon Howard
AHRC [-2008] Old Bailey Proceedings Online: a fully searchable, digitised collection of all surviving editions of the Old Bailey Proceedings from 1674 to 1913, and of the Ordinary of Newgate’s Accounts between 1676 and 1772 1674-1913 Social history; legal history; Digital Humanities  Robert Shoemaker, Sharon Howard
AHRC [-2008] The origins of Early Modern literature: furthered understanding of an overlooked period, producing a searchable catalogue of Tudor writing, and the Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature. 1519-1579 Literature; Digital Humanities  Cathy Shrank
AHRC [-2014] Participating in Search Design: A Study of George Thomason’s English Newsbooks: digitising mid-17th century news books became an opportunity for research into digital search design, inviting end-users to participate in search tool development. 1649-1660 History; Literature; Digital Humanities Mike Braddick; Marcus Nevitt
AHRC [-2011] Sheffield King James Bible Project: produced Telling Tales of King James’ Bible (Exhibition and educational resource package, with digital companion, The UnAuthorized Bible) used in cathedrals and churches around the UK for 400th anniversary. Also conference “Biblical Literacy and the Curriculum”. 1520-2011 Biblical Studies; Book history; religious education Iona Hine

SCEMS members are also involved with the following projects hosted at other institutions:

Funding Project (Lead institution) Period Field(s) SCEMS contacts
AHRC [-2016] The Oxford Edition of the Sermons of John Donne (Oxford): Dr Rhatigan is editing the first of two volumes of sermons Donne preached at Lincoln’s Inn between 1616 and 1623; the complete OUP series will contain 16 volumes. 1615-1630 Literature Emma Rhatigan
The Thomas Nashe Project (Newcastle): producing scholarly edition of the works of Thomas Nashe (6 vols.), animating the study of Nashe through additional resources, and events such as performances of his entertainment 1567-1601 Literature Cathy Shrank
AHRC [-2013] Who were the nuns? (QMUL): A Prosopographical study of the English Convents in exile. 1600-1800 Nicky Hallett