Research Workshops

13th-century book Historia de España on display at the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid
Historia de España, Alfonso X (c. 13th century)

About our workshops

Each academic year, the Center for Premodern Studies funds approximately twenty research workshops. These faculty- and graduate student-led initiatives involve scholars at the University of Minnesota as well as partners at local, national, and international institutions.

Research workshops address intellectual questions in global premodern studies and vary greatly in their topics of inquiry and workshop activities—ranging from small reading groups focused on a diverse global literature to workshops linked to graduate seminars, conferences, and major research initiatives. CPS research workshops model collaboration across disciplines, chronologies, and geographies. The research workshops have become the core of the consortium in terms of scope and level of participation.

Contacts: Ben Hansen, Alex Magnolia, and Jeffery Cross

Contacts: Dr. Katharine Gerbner and Hannah Smith, PhD Candidate

Contact: Rachel Trocchio

Contacts: Dr. Lydia Garver, Moinak Choudhury, Katherine Pierpont, Karen Soto, Elijah Wallace


Complete list of 2022-2023 Research Workshops

Title, Leader(s) Focus

Early Modern Atlantic

Katharine Gerbner & Hannah Smith

A research workshop devoted to the Atlantic world in the early modern period and the transatlantic networks linking Europe and Africa with the Americas.
Making and Knowing: Histories of Premodern Books and Print
Emily Beck, Lois Hendrickson, and Hannah Wiepke
This workshop employs an integrated approach to studying the materiality of prints and texts. Participants will learn the fundamentals of codicology, analyzing the materiality of books in order to fully explore these complex and multifaceted resources. This workshop will also engage the mediational qualities of print including the ways in which printed images circulate, request viewer interaction, and translate visual information. Additional Information about Making and Knowing: Histories of Premodern Books and Print
Premodern Food Lab
Michelle Hamilton, Emily Beck, Sarah Gardner, Marguerite Ragnow, Anne Good
Premodern Food Cultures explores primary texts and secondary scholarship on premodern food and foodways and works with local food producers. Additional Information about Premodern Food Lab
Religion, Theology, & the Enlightenment
Rachel Trocchio
Characterizations of the eighteenth century as the “Age of Enlightenment” presume a move to Enlightenment that is defined as a move away from, or at least a marginalization of, matters religious and especially theological. This workshop brings together faculty and graduate students interested in the Enlightenment, Religion, Theology entanglement to share research, read scholarship of common interest, and generally dialogue about this modern problematic. Additional Information about Religion, Theology, & Enlightenment
Uncommon Bodies
Jennifer Row & Penelope Geng
This workshop will explore art and literature, theories, and scholarship connected to embodiment, disability, corporeality, the allure of the flesh, and issues of physical and virtual embodiment. We will engage readings and research-in-progress on abjection, empathy and virtual reality, genetic mutations/metamorphosis, legal and medical constructions of the body (including trans bodies), cultures of disability, body horror in film, seeing bodies in media, etc. These topics will be considered both as they operate in the early modern and contemporary context. You can follow us on Twitter at @uncommonbodies. Additional information is available at the Uncommon Bodies website.
Premodern Podcast
Moinak Choudhury, Lydia Garver, Katherine Pierpont, Karen Soto, Elijah Wallace
The Premodern Podcast is a cabinet of curiosities for the ears where scholars, librarians, and curators share thematic adventures in the historical humanities. The first season, entitled “I’ve Got a Thing,”  is a series of conversations about the objects, documents, and stories that premoderists just can’t stop thinking about. Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify
Premodern Workshop
Christopher Saladin & Stephan Knott
The Premodern Workshop brings together an interdisciplinary group of graduate students and faculty to share and receive feedback on their works-in-progress. These works can take any format, ranging from seminar papers to dissertation chapters or conference presentations, and be on a topic relating to the premodern world, broadly defined in terms of chronology or geography. Each week, the presenting author pre-circulates their work ahead of time and the group discusses the work using our ‘Talking Behind Your Back’ format, a unique staple of our workshop. This exercise is difficult for discussants and authors alike. It proceeds as do many discussions of work-in-progress, where discussants share their thoughts with the group, including points of interest, questions, and critiques. The difference is that the author is in the room, but may not speak until the end of the discussion. The goal is to allow the work to speak for itself and for participants to engage with each other, allowing the author to see how a diverse group of people receives their work.
First Millennium: Religion in Late Antiquity
Jeffery Cross, Alex Magnolia, Andrea Sterk, Elijah Wallace
A workshop devoted to the study of Late Antiquity, an age of transition from the classical world to the cultures of early medieval Europe, Byzantium, and the Near East. This was also the period when the three major monotheistic religions took shape, and religious developments across Afro-Eurasia will be a central theme of the workshop. Additional Information about The First Millennium: Religion in Late Antiquity
Medieval Books in the Schools
Alex Korte, Lydia Garver, Michelle Hamilton
An internal workshop dedicated to improving the Center's current K-12 outreach curricula. We send graduate students into local classrooms and present on manuscript culture and material (book) production. These presentations are geared toward the K-8 classroom and include fun period clothing and authentic medieval book materials like inks, quills, and parchment. To coordinate a classroom visit, fill out this Google Request Form: Link to Medieval Books Presentation Request Form.