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Workshop: Common Eras: Law, Literature, and the Rhetorics of Commonality in Medieval and Renaissance England

May 19, 2016 - May 20, 2016
CommonErasFinal (1)
CommonErasFinal (1)

Workshop Organizer: Stephanie Elsky (VW Fellow at the Dahlem Humanities Center)

This workshop explores the “commons” in its many possible forms via the intersections of law, politics, rhetoric and literature in medieval and early modern England. It addresses questions including: To what extent do literature and rhetoric imagine a similar commons to that articulated in law and politics? How might recognizing a range of different kinds of commons change our understanding of literary practice in premodern England?  How might it reshape our period divides and boundaries? By bringing together a group of international scholars from across the medieval/early modern divide, this workshop intervenes in an ongoing critical conversation about the scholarly practice of periodization from the perspective of law and literature.

Thursday, May 19

10.30-11.00: Welcome and Opening Remarks

11.00-12.30: Panel I: Constitutions and Revolutions
Rayna Kalas (Cornell University, New York), Ancient Constitutionalism
Stephanie Elsky (Freie Universität Berlin and University of Wisconsin, Madison), Futures Past: Custom and Revolution in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

12.30-14:30: Lunch Break

14.30-16.00: Panel II: Continuities, Temporal and Rhetorical
Lucy Munro (King’s College London), The Spider’s Web
Kathleen Davis (University of Rhode Island), Convolutions of Time: Why an “Early Modern” Period?

Friday, May 20

10.30-12.45: Panel III: Nature, Invention, and the Social
Björn Quiring (Freie Universität Berlin), Nature as the Common Ground of Hobbes and Milton
Sebastian Sobecki (University of Groningen, the Netherlands), John Gower and the Law: Some New Evidence 
Kevin Curran, (University of Lausanne, Switzerland), Prospero’s Plea: Judgment, Invention, and Political Form

12.45-14.45: Lunch Break

14.45-15.30: Panel IV: The Early Modern Commons
Crystal Bartolovich (Syracuse University, New York), Why Is There Shakespeare Rather than Nothing?

16.00-16.30: Closing Roundtable Discussion

In cooperation with

Zeit & Ort

May 19, 2016 - May 20, 2016

Freie Universität Berlin, JK33/121 (Conference Room), Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin

Further Information

Stephanie Elsky: