Team and Guest Faculty

Summer Institute Team:

Claire Gilbert is a historian who specializes in the social history of translation and the political consequences of language contact in the Western Mediterranean in the early modern period. She is the author of In Good Faith: Arabic Translation and Translators in Early Modern Spain, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2020.

Fabien Montcher is a social historian of knowledge and politics from the 15th-18th centuries with emphasis on the Iberian world. His book entitled Mercenaries of Knowledge: Vicente Nogueira, the Republic of Letters, and Late Renaissance Politics is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in 2023.

Charles Parker is a historian of early modern European and world history. His latest book is Global Calvinism: Conversion and Commerce in the Dutch Empire, 1600-1800, published by Yale University Press in 2022.

Brent Gordon, SJ is a doctoral student in the field of early modern European history. He focuses on the Society of Jesus and on the interplay of empires, Catholic missionary activities, and intellectual exchanges in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Nicholas Lewis is a historian specializing in early modern world history and the history of the Jesuits. His work has been published in Itinerario: The Journal of Imperial and Global Interactions.

Dru Swadener is an economic historian whose research centers on commercial networks, actors, and agency in the early modern Mediterranean, with an emphasis on ways in which social, political and diplomatic ties facilitated global investment.

Guest Faculty:

Julia Adams (Yale University) is a historical sociologist whose scholarship explores the complex combinations of spaces and power dynamics that fostered the exchange of knowledge during the early modern period. She has situated her research in the contexts of early modern empires, state building, and the social theory of knowledge. Her 2005 book, The Familial State: Ruling Families and Merchant Capitalism in Early Modern Europe (Cornell), won the Gaddis Smith Book Prize given by Yale.  

Heather Ferguson (Claremont McKenna College) is a historian of the Ottoman empire whose work uses comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives to analyze the importance of language and texts in creating and maintaining imperial legitimacy. Her first book is The Proper Order of Things: Language, Power and Law in Ottoman Administrative Discourses (Stanford, 2018). She is currently at work on a book project that examines linkages between archives and state governance.

Miles Ogborn (Queen Mary, University of London) is a historical geographer who has focused on the intersections of power, knowledge and space primarily in eighteenth century settings. He has published extensively on spatial analyses of oral and written communication, from presentations of evidence in court, to expositions on plant life, to discussions of the spirit world in England and the British Empire. His most recent book is The Freedom of Speech: Talk and Slavery in the Anglo-Caribbean World (Chicago, 2019). 

Ricardo Padrón (University of Virginia) is a professor of Spanish who studies the literature and culture of the early modern Hispanic world within the frameworks of empire, space, and cartography. Among his numerous publications, his most recent book, The Indies of the Setting Sun: How Early Modern Spain Mapped the Far East as the Transpacific West (Chicago, 2020), examines the place of Pacific and Asia in the Spanish concept of “the Indies.”

Eileen Reeves (Princeton University) is a scholar of comparative literature who works at the nexus of literary history, art history, and the history of science. She has concentrated on the figure of Galileo and his relationship to astronomy, religion, optics, art, and a range of literary forms, including the scientific treatise and dialogue, poetry, dialect literature, journalism, and drama. Her extensive publications include Evening News: Optics, Astronomy and Journalism in Early Modern Europe (Penn, 2014).

Benjamin Schmidt (University of Washington) is a historian whose research sits at the disciplinary crossroads of cultural history, visual and material studies, and the history of science, concerning itself chiefly with Europe’s engagement with the world in the early modern period. He has published consistently and widely on early modern topics, including Innocence Abroad: The Dutch Imagination and the New World (Cambridge, 2001), which won the Renaissance Society of America’s Gordan Prize and the Holland Society’s Hendricks Prize.

James Sweet (University of Wisconsin-Madison) is a historian whose research centers on the African diaspora in the early modern period, taking comparative approaches to slavery, race, and nation in the Atlantic world. His research incorporates communities and interactions from South Africa, to Brazil, and to the United States. His most recent book is Domingo Álvares, African Healing, and the Intellectual History of the Atlantic World (North Carolina, 2011).

Karin Vélez (Macalester College) is a historian with wide ranging cultural and religious interests in spiritual encounters, comparative empire, the spread of Catholic devotion, the experience of indigenous women on the American frontiers, and the communal formulation of myths. Her book, The Miraculous Flying House of Loreto: Spreading Catholicism in the Early Modern World (Princeton, 2019), won best book awards from the American Catholic Historical Association and the American Academy of Religion.

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