Past Events

Spring Lecture

Coventry Premoderns are pleased to invite you to our Spring Lecture presented by

Professor Mihoko Suzuki

‘That’s Surprising! The Culture and Status of Early Modern Japanese Women, according to Luis Frois’

Monday 15 May 2023, 15:00 -16.00 BST

In person and on MS Teams. Room G21, Institute for Creative Cultures (ICC), Parkside, Coventry CV1 2NE

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Professor Suzuki’s lecture focuses on the accounts of early modern Japanese women by Luis Frois (1532–1597), a Portuguese Jesuit who lived for over thirty years in Japan, became fluent in Japanese, and recorded his observations in a treatise that contrasts European and Japanese culture and an extensive history of Japan, both of which remained in manuscript until the mid-twentieth century. In the treatise, Frois makes a number of striking observations which are not corroborated by Japanese sources. However, recent Japanese historians have come to accept Frois’s claims.

Frois’ writings are especially valuable since his movements were unrestricted before the closing of Japanese borders to Europeans in the early seventeenth century, and he had access to different classes of Japanese society, from the elite ruling class to the most humble populace. Although Frois compared the relative independence of Japanese women unfavourably to the patriarchal subordination of European women, his extensive and detailed accounts provide a unique perspective on early modern women in Japan unavailable from other sources. 

Mihoko Suzuki is Professor of English and Cooper Fellow in the Humanities, Emerita, University of Miami. She is the author, most recently, of Antigone’s Example: Women’s Political Writing in Times of Civil War from Christine de Pizan to Helen Maria Williams (2022). Her articles include “Early Modern European Encounters with Japan: Luis Frois and Engelbert Kaempfer” in A Companion to the New Global Renaissance: Literature and Culture in the Age of Expansion, 1500–1700, ed. Jyotsna Singh (2021); and “Women Warriors in Civil War Japan” in Women and War in the Early Modern World, ed. Lucia Gemmani and Paola Ugolini (forthcoming). She has served as coeditor of Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal (2011–18) and currently serves as coeditor of Renaissance Quarterly and of the book series, New Transcuturalisms, 1400–1800, for Palgrave Macmillan.   

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Ben Dew delivered talk at public panel

Ben Dew, alongside Niall O’Flaherty (KCL) and Anna Plassart (Open University), was one of the speakers at ‘Ideas of Poverty in the Enlightenment’, a public panel discussion held at King’s College London. The event marked the launch of a new book, Ideas of Poverty in the Age of Enlightenment, to which Ben contributed a chapter.

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Postgraduate Conference Presentation, Durham University

Adeola Eze delivered a paper during the Cicero AwayDay event hosted at Durham University, 16 May 2024. 

Adeola discussed the impact of Cicero’s writings on literary authors and the significance of palimpsests in safeguarding ancient texts and shaping contemporary understanding. Through examining Gilbert Augustine Thierry’s novel, The Palimpsest (1893), and David Annwn’s poem, ‘Palimpsest’ (2020), her analysis explores how these writers offered modern and contemporary reinterpretations of Cicero’s De re publica.

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Premodern Presence at the Classical Association Conference 2023

Coventry Premodern Staff and Students contributed their groundbreaking research to the Classical Association Conference held at the University of Cambridge, April 2023.

Our fantastic PhD students, Kirsty Harrod and Georgina Homer were presenting in the panel, Violence, Victims and Adjuncts in Greek Tragedy, chaired by Professor Nancy Rabinowitz (Hamilton College). Kirsty was speaking on ‘Rape or marriage? The language of sexual violence in Greek tragedy’. Georgina was speaking on ‘Plot-changers: the minor roles in Greek tragedy’. Dr Daniel Anderson was speaking on ‘Diversity and identity in comic choruses’ in the panel, ‘Greek Comedy: Joking Aside’.

Dr Victoria Leonard organised two round-tables. ‘#WCCWiki Roundtable: Teaching Classics with Wikipedia’ featuring Ewan McAndrew, Juliana Bastos Marques, Victoria Austen, Chelsea Gardner, Nadege Forde, and Lucy Moore. Victoria also organised the round-table, ‘Gendered Violence in Early Christianity’, with Prof. Blossom Stefaniw, Prof. Jennifer Barry, Prof. Ellen Muehlberger, and Prof. Kathy L. Gaca.

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Autumn Lecture: Dr Max Skjönsberg, University of Cambridge

Coventry Premoderns held their Autumn Lecture on Monday 20 February 2023, in person at the ICC Building and on MS Teams

Dr Max Skjönsberg presented his research with the presentation, ‘A Theory of the Enlightenment in Late Eighteenth-Century Sweden: Nils von Rosenstein and Scotland’s Science of Man and Politics’

Dr Skjönsberg’s presentation explores the impact of Enlightenment ideas in late eighteenth-century Sweden through the case study of the man of letters Nils von Rosenstein (1752-1824).

Dr Skjönsberg is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge and a College Research Associate at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. His research is principally concerned with the history of political ideas and book history in the eighteenth century. He is the author of The Persistence of Party: Ideas of Harmonious Discord in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and the editor of Catharine Macaulay’s Political Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2023). 

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Autumn Lecture: Professor Judith Mossman

Coventry Premoderns held their Autumn Lecture on Thursday 13 October 2022, 03:00 – 04:00 pm (GMT+1), at the ICC Building and MS Teams.

Professor Judith Mossman presented her latest research, ‘The Colours on the Wings of the Sphinx: Imagery and Metaphor in Plutarch’

Prof. Mossman’s paper looked at aspects of Plutarch’s use of Imagery and Metaphor and attempted to set it in the context of his work. Prof. Mossman argued that, far from being merely ornamental, his use of imagery introduces suggestive historical context to his lives.

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Medieval Coventry Heritage Walk

On Thursday 13th October 2022, the Premoderns Research Cluster organised a special event, a Medieval Coventry Heritage Walk.

This free 45-min heritage walk introduced 50+ participants to sites of architectural significance by a team of experts from Coventry University.

Coventry was the fourth wealthiest city in medieval England, a centre for the wool trade, with incredibly vibrant culture, art and architecture.

We walked to the Undercroft, up Bayley Lane and the Historic quarter, to St Mary’s Guildhall, Swanswell Gatehouse and city walls, finishing at the old Grammar School.

We met outside the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum. The event was led by Joanna Meredith (doctoral candidate), Dr Alice Leonard, Professor Juliet Simpson, and Dr Victoria Leonard

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Spring Lecture

We launched Coventry Premoderns on 13 June 2022 with the Spring Lecture by Professor Adam Smyth. The lecture took place at the Institute for Creative Cultures in-person, and online. Prof. Smyth presented his paper ‘Material texts in early modern England: the case of waste paper’.

The event was a notable success, bringing together colleagues from around the university and attracting participants from other institutions working across the disciplines. For a twitter thread archived at #CovPremoderns, see here.

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