2012-2013 Mellon Graduate Seminar

HUM 250 – Topic: The Politics of Reproduction
(Mellon Seminar in Early Modern Studies)
Professor Robert Friedlander
Spring 2013

This special graduate seminar, funded by the Mellon Early Modern Research Initiative, will bring four leading scholars of early modern European history and culture from different disciplines to investigate various modes of reproduction in the early modern world – including but not limited to intellectual, artistic, scientific, material, sexual, ideological, and political – in light of recent critical and theoretical scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. This interdisciplinary seminar is not only an exciting chance to study closely with a range of nationally renowned scholar-teachers, it is also a unique opportunity to learn how these cutting edge scholars assemble and develop a scholarly project, since all scholars will be teaching material from their current book projects. Our guests will be: Jeffrey Masten (English, Northwestern), Katherine Paugh (History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), David Glimp (English, University of Colorado-Boulder), and Barbara Fuchs (UCLA, Spanish & Portuguese and English).

The seminar format is as follows: students will read and discuss recent and in-progress work by our distinguished guests, each of whom will then visit with the seminar to discuss their current research and its relationship to its own field and to interdisciplinary scholarship. The seminar sessions will explore connections across disciplines and modes of reproduction, asking questions like: What kinds of educational methods does the early modern Spanish empire use to produce and reproduce colonial subjects? How did early modern England develop bio-political and governmental discourses in order to rationalize and manage its exploding population? How might the practices and representations of midwifery in the early modern Atlantic relate to the production and reproduction of racial and gender hierarchies? How can contemporary queer critical debates about kinship and marriage be brought to bear on the historically distant sex/gender system of the Renaissance?

This course is designed to appeal to students doing coursework as well as those preparing to write or writing dissertations. Students doing coursework will have the opportunity to study the politics of reproduction across a broad cultural and geographical swath of early modern Europe and the Atlantic, while also receiving training in critical methodologies pertaining to the study of embodiment, gender, sexuality, empire, bio-politics, governmentality, literary history, and the history of medicine. Advanced graduate students will have a rare chance to learn from major scholars in the field how to envision and execute a compelling, complex, and complete scholarly project. Students also have the option of taking this course for two or three hours of credit under the rubric of Humanities 298. If you choose this option, please email Professor Friedlander so he can send you the CRN for the seminar. Students who wish to audit unofficially are also welcome to do so, and should contact Professor Friedlander directly (arifriedlander@ucdavis.edu) for details.