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Early Modern Classroom

  • Meghan Callahan
    Syracuse University London

    In February 2020, when COVID-19 began to spread through Italy, Syracuse University Florence was one of the first study-abroad programs in the city to send students home. On 13 March, the Syracuse London program, where I work as the Assistant Director for Teaching and Learning, ended face-to-face classes, as did Syracuse home campus.1 In two weeks we started teaching entirely online. Ending face-to-face instruction is difficult for everyone involved. For study abroad programs, the problems are compounded by the fact these use...

  • Amanda Madden
    Georgia Institute of Technology

    In his treatise on health, Renaissance physician Castore Durante recommends pleasant discussion, entertaining lessons, and regular discourse as not only healthful but also prophylactic. An especially pithy passage tells us that

    Since virtue and strength increase with food, wine and pleasant odors, with peace and happiness, and by leaving behind things that depress, and by conversing with friends, it is therefore worthwhile to listen to agreeable stories, fables and pleasant discussions, with music and songs, and with entertaining lessons....

  • Thomas Franke
    University of California Santa Barbara

    Journalists, doctors, and public intellectuals in the United States have turned to history in search of precedents for the novel coronavirus since the implementation of social distancing and stay-at-home measures began. For writers interested in medieval and early modern Europe, this search for historical precedent has often focused on the bubonic plague. Typically, articles trying to put these two pandemics in dialogue with one another have focused on broad ways in which the history of the plague might inform our understanding of the novel coronavirus pandemic....

  • Robin Hermann
    University of Louisiana at Lafayette

    Professors in the humanities agree on very little, but our collective weariness of the regular calls by Washington Post 1 and Inside Higher Ed 2 op-ed writers, to say nothing of state governments,3 to “justify” our existence and funding by making our disciplines and fields of study “relevant” must be virtually universal. Sometimes after reading the latest version of “make the humanities...

  • Alex Mizumoto-Gitter
    Hawaii Tokai International College

    In spring 2020, we watched as our students grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic as well as with increased xenophobia, both of which thrust issues of race, gender, and socioeconomic disparity into the forefront.1 At the same time, the unique liminal space of the virtual classroom underscored ways in which different loci of power impact individuals in drastically different ways. Since we cannot teach the history of the early modern world (or any history at all) without decentering our students’ preexisting assumptions, we might...

  • David Alonso García
    Complutense University of Madrid

    The state of quarantine caused by the novel coronavirus has necessitated the adaptation of education to an eminently technological world.1 The pandemic is expected to accelerate the ongoing social, technological, economic, and governance transformation that is heralded for the university of the future.2 However, these changes are not a direct consequence of the pandemic. Even before the lockdown, online teaching was on the rise, as demonstrated by the increasing number of...

  • Lindsay Adams
    Saint Louis University

    The plethora of Shakespeare performances currently being made available online are an incredible resource to anyone who teaches early modern drama as they offer a unique opportunity to have discussions with students about the different levels of audience participation in Shakespeare’s time and our own. Due to the global pandemic and the closing of theatres, the Globe Theatre has made some of their productions available on YouTube, creating a schedule where a...

  • Dr. Gül Kurtuluş
    Bilkent University

    When I started teaching in the spring of 2020 I, like so many other instructors, had no idea that by the end of the sixth week of the semester we would be in lockdown and unable to meet our students face-to-face. I teach a Shakespeare course in the English Language and Literature Department at Bilkent University in Turkey that focuses on the playwright’s tragedies, comedies, and histories. Soon after receiving an email informing me we were moving to online instruction for the duration of the semester, I installed the Zoom video...

  • David V. Urban
    Calvin University

    As was the case for countless colleagues throughout the world, my pedagogical life was turned upside down by March 2020 directives to cancel in-person classes and conduct classes online for the remainder of the semester. As a self-confessed technological dinosaur, I was particularly horrified, but I found the ensuing experience to contain a number of unexpected bright spots, particularly with regard to teaching Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Milton’s Paradise Lost, both of which I taught in their entirety after my university’s transition to online classes.

  • Thomas Ward
    United States Naval Academy

    One of the earliest surviving images of a print shop, from Mathias Huss’s 1499 Danse macabre, depicts a compositor, two pressmen, and a bookseller attempting to carry on their trade while Death, embodied as a surprisingly lithe cadaver, dances around, pulling the stationers from their worldly endeavors.1 Ghoulish as it may seem, this image ended up serving as a fitting emblem for how my United States Naval Academy honors English seminar, “Early Modern Media in the Digital Age,” adapted to life (and death) in the era...