College of Arts and Sciences

Renaissance Studies


Renaissance Refugees (poster PDF)
Friday, September 22, 2017, 9:30an - 6:00pm
University Club (President’s Room), IMU

In conjunction with the Themester on “Diversity - Difference - Otherness” this one-day workshop will explore the dynamics of the refugee/migrant experience in the early modern period and ask questions that will resonate with our world: What types of political regimes (empires, churches/confessions, nascent nation-states) determined the flows of individuals and communities, and in what ways? What were the reasons underlying the search for a new home? How were the refugees seen and represented in the host societies? What role did the refugee/migrant experience play in the emergence of new ideas and figurations of political personhood?

There will be ample time for Q&A throughout the day and each talk will be followed by a response by an IU faculty member. The final roundtable will include IU undergraduate and graduate students, in addition to the three guest speakers.


9:45am, Opening remarks by Paul Gutjahr, Associate Dean for the Arts and Humanities, and by Hall Bjørnstad, Director of Renaissance Studies

10:00–11:30am, Lecture by Tamar Herzog (History, Harvard): “Imagining Communities and Explaining Immigration in Early Modern Europe”
Respondent: Stephen Conrad (IU Maurer School of Law)

1:30–2:45pm, Lecture by Christina H. Lee (Spanish and Portuguese, Princeton): “Hair and Personhood in the Spanish Philippines of Early Modernity”
Respondent: Olimpia Rosenthal (Spanish and Portuguese, IU)

3:00–4:15pm, Lecture by Mihoko Suzuki (English, U of Miami): “Women in Exile and Political Writing: The Cases of Margaret Cavendish and Jane Barker”
Respondent: Mirjam Zadoff (History and Jewish Studies, IU)

4:30–5:30pm, Final roundtable with Dana Khabbaz (BA in International Studies and Political Science, 2017, IU), Arijit Sen (PhD Student, English, IU) and Sean Sidky (PhD Student, Comparative Literature and Religious Studies, IU), in addition to the three guest speakers

5:30pm, Reception

This event is organized by the Renaissance Studies Program at Indiana University with support from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College Arts and Humanities Institute, Themester 2017, the Departments of Comparative Literature, English, French and Italian, History, and Spanish and Portuguese, the Southeast Asian and ASEAN Studies Program, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Maurer School of Law, and from the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA) and the Latinx Law Student Association (LLSA).

Tamar Herzog, “Imagining Communities and Explaining Immigration in Early Modern Europe (and Its Overseas Domains)”
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to survey how early modern Europeans reacted to the constant immigration of individuals and groups into their territories, as well as explained their own ambition to establish colonial settlements overseas. It will demonstrate that, in order to justify both their views and their activities, they adopted three main arguments. They insisted on the need to defend their communal territory; they distinguished between “good” and “bad” immigrants; and, after they themselves immigrated elsewhere, they asserted that they had the right to reject all others who would want to do the same because they were now “natives.” How they managed to perform this fit and what the results were are some of the questions I would like us to consider and debate.

Bio: Tamar Herzog is the Monroe Gutman Professor of Latin American Affairs and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor of History at Harvard University. She is a legal scholar and a historian, and her research focuses on the relationships among Spain, Portugal, and Portuguese and Spanish America in the early modern period. Herzog’s work weaves together the working of colonial institutions with the everyday practices of individuals and communities. Her earlier books place a particular emphasis on law as a space of encounter and negotiation, and as a dynamic institution that changed according to circumstances. In her more recent works, as in Frontiers of Possession: Spain and Portugal in Europe and the Americas (Harvard UP, 2015) Herzog concentrates on issues of membership in cultural and political communities at the local level and above, and on the micro-history of the Hispano-Portuguese frontier, which emerged as a result of myriad individual decisions about the right to land and the use of territory. A Short History of European Law. The Last Two and a Half Millennia (Harvard UP) is forthcoming in January 2018.

Christina H. Lee, “Hair and Personhood in the Spanish Philippines of Early Modernity”
Abstract: In contrast to early modern travelers who describe the Chinese in China as an obedient and acquiescent to authority, Spanish officials and missionaries in the Philippine province of New Spain describe Chinese migrants as naturally deceitful and, fundamentally, incapable of submitting to Christian rule. The Spanish were particularly frustrated at the fact that, even after being converted to Christianity, Chinese migrants continued to keep ancestral traditions and ties to their birth-communities. In my presentation, I will analyze one point of contest for personhood: hair. For tens of thousands of Chinese migrants in the Philippines, the ability to keep their hair long was functioned as a form of social security that prevailed over the benefits of Christian conversion. Both Spaniards and Chinese relied on this superficial marker to determine who retained their personhood and who surrendered it.

Bio: Christina H. Lee is tenured research scholar in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Princeton University. Her research focuses on boundaries, geographic and ideological, as they are drawn and crossed all throughout the Spanish Hapsburg Empire. She has edited a collection of essays on European visions of the Far East — particularly of China and Japan — that collectively provides an alternative to the Enlightenment’s discourse of “Orientalism.” Her first book, Anxiety of Sameness in Early Modern Spain (Manchester UP, 2016) focuses on a paradox haunting discourse and policy in the Spanish peninsula towards religious and regional others: they were to be tolerated if sufficiently assimilated; however, assimilation itself was conceived as a threat to the distinctions that supported the hierarchical organization of power. She is now at work on a project tentatively titled “Global Jesuits” which will focus on the influence of this religious order in cultural and material exchanges.

Mihoko Suzuki, “Women in Exile and Political Writing: The Cases of Margaret Cavendish and Jane Barker”
Abstract: My paper will discuss the writings of Margaret Cavendish (1623–73) and Jane Barker (1652–1732), and the effect of their political exile in France—Cavendish’s arising from the English Civil Wars, and Barker’s from the regime of the Glorious Revolution of William and Mary that ousted James II. In each case I will examine the significant impact of French political culture arising from the tumultuous period of political uprising known as the Fronde (1648–53).

Bio: Mihoko Suzuki, Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Director of the Center for the Humanities at the University of Miami, is a leading scholar of gender and English and European Renaissance Literature. She edits a remarkable number of series and journals, among them the four-volume series Women’s Political Writings, 1610-1725 and the journal Early Modern Women. She is the author of two books that rethink the relationship between marginalized subjects and political authority, Metamorphoses of Helen and Subordinate Subjects: Gender, the Political Nation, and Literary Form, 1588-1688, the latter of which uncovers the centrality of non-aristocratic women and men to the political tumults of the English Revolution. Her current project, Antigone’s Example, continues this groundbreaking work, concentrating on the seventeenth-century civil wars in England and France to demonstrate the centrality of early modern women’s writing to the history of political thought.