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Early Modern Interdisciplinary Graduate Forum V

February 5, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

The Early Modern Interdisciplinary Graduate Forum (EMIGF) is a monthly event hosted by the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (CRRS) at the University of Toronto. EMIGF is a platform for PhD candidates, post-docs, fellows, and recent graduates to deliver papers in an informal setting. Our mandate is to provide junior and emerging scholars with the opportunity to present work in progress, and to facilitate dialogue on current topics in early modern research across the disciplines. EMIGF meetings are well attended by graduate students, faculty, and fellows from the early modern community at the University of Toronto and beyond.

Our fifth meeting for 2018–2019 will be held on Tuesday,  February 5th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Victoria University Common Room, Burwash Hall (89 Charles Street West, rear entrance). 

Strangers and Aliens in London and Toronto: Performing the City in John Marston’s Dutch Courtesan
Noam Lior Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies, University of Toronto

Marston’s The Dutch Courtesan, like many city comedies, presents a paradoxical view of London. On the one hand, the city is proudly cosmopolitan and international, multi-cultural and multi-linguistic. On the other hand, the city is deeply anxious about its identity, and which influences are to be seen as invasive or corrupting. Franceschina, the eponymous courtesan, is othered through her nationality and accent, while other characters are othered through affiliation with a minority religion. Identity and otherness form the framework of the comedy, in which laughter often signals a distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’. This paper sketches out the play’s concerns with identity and otherness as a link between 17th century London and 21st century Toronto, a link which forms the basis for the production which will be staged here in late March.

“Through Thick and Thin”: Air Quality and the Senses in Early Modern Italy
Julia Rombough Department of History, University of Toronto

In his 1592 health manual Alessandro Petronio explained how during summer months the countryside air near Rome often became “dense, thick, and like the water of swamps”. Sixteenth and Seventeenth century Italians lived with an acute awareness of the fragility of air quality. Airs could shift quickly and were mutated according to a complex web of factors. In their pursuit of ‘good thin airs’ Italians developed a robust set of practices to navigate the seasons, climates, specific locals, and the urban/rural boundary. This paper reveals how these practices were deeply rooted in the senses: sounds, smells, and foods. Sensory health regimes aimed to manipulate air quality, and the body’s relationship to its environmental and social surroundings. Early modern discussions of air quality provide important insight into experiences of time, sense, sociability, and space.


February 5, 2019
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies


Victoria University Common Room (Rear Entrance Burwash Hall)
89 Charles Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5S1K7 Canada
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