Ann Blair, “Roots of Everything” lecture, October 22 2014


The Hidden Helpers of Early Modern Authors and Scholars

Description: Today we are well aware of the collaborative nature of intellectual work. The majority of scientific papers are co-authored; in the humanities, interdisciplinary initiatives and digital methods of research encourage collaboration. We have a general sense that such collaborative work is relatively new, that scholarship was a solitary activity in the past. In paintings and descriptions of the early modern period, scholars typically were depicted working alone. But the papers and letters that survive tell a different story, capturing how early modern scholars worked collaboratively through correspondence and in person with peers, patrons, and helpers (amanuenses, students, family members). Based on examples from paintings, manuscripts, and printed books, Professor Ann Blair will argue that collaboration was just as (and perhaps even more) widespread and essential to scholarship during the early modern period than it is in current times. Clark University Provost Davis Baird (Philosophy) will offer commentary.

The Roots of Everything is a lecture series sponsored by Early Modernists Unite (EMU) — a faculty collaborative bringing together scholars of medieval and early modern England and America — in conjunction with the Higgins School of Humanities. Supported by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the series highlights various aspects of modern existence originating in the early modern world and teases out the connections between the two.

Ann Blair is the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at Harvard University. She specializes in the cultural and intellectual history of early modern Europe (16th-17th centuries), with an emphasis on France. Her interests include the history of the book and of education, the history of the disciplines and of scholarship, early modern natural philosophy and its interactions with religion. She has published Too Much To Know: Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age (Yale University Press, 2010).

Wednesday, October 22 @ 4:30pm | Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons | Clark University

Free and open to the public.

Dana Commons is located on the corner of Florence and Maywood on the Clark campus in Worcester, MA. Directions to Clark, along with links to parking information and a campus map, can be found here. More information about the Higgins School of Humanities can be found here. Stay up to date with Higgins School of the Humanities events via Facebook.

Join us for an exploration of collaborative work in the early modern and contemporary world.

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