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Early Modern Interdisciplinary Graduate Forum VI

March 16, 2017 at 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm


Justine Walden (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, History, DECIMA Project): “Jews in Florence Before the Ghetto: Mapping and Other Evidentiary Perpsectives”

Alex Logue (History): “The ‘Metes and Bounds’ of Manhood: Trespass in Early Modern England”

The seventeenth-century diarist, Samuel Pepys, observed: “my house is mighty dangerous, having so many ways to come in.” Early modern Londoners shared his concern that their houses were spaces easily invaded by the “multitude that did so overgrow” the city. Disputes over domestic spaces were common in London, which saw unprecedented population growth and urban development between 1570 and 1640. Limited space meant domestic life was cramped and shared, and its boundaries permeable. This paper considers the intersections of property, masculinity, and urban space by examining property disputes between Londoners. It argues that masculinity was contingent upon a man’s ability to control the boundaries around his domestic spaces: houses, walls, gardens, courtyards, and fields were sites where masculine authority was both expressed and contested. Records from the Court of Star Chamber reveal that when these physical boundaries separating spaces were transgressed, attacked, or impossible to maintain, men turned to the courts to establish legal definitions of their space instead. These cases are part of a larger trend across England to physically and legally demarcate property using land surveys, map-making, enclosure, and imparkment. Men vied for control over domestic space to assert their masculine authority, but in the bustling, congested urban landscape of London, where living spaces overlapped, a man’s ability to control his house and household were constantly imperiled by the threat of invasion and trespass of other men.

Moderator: Samantha Chang (Art History)

Alex is a PhD candidate in the Department of History. Her doctoral research explores the construction of masculinity in urban and rural landscapes in seventeenth-century England, and her dissertation has been supported by a SSHRC CGS grant and Ontario Graduate Scholarship.

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 hosts seven annual meetings. Each meeting features two speakers who each deliver a paper, and commentary and discussion guided by a moderator to elaborate the points of contact or departure between the two approaches presented. The EMIGF is an interdisciplinary forum. Each meeting brings two speakers from different departments working on similar topics, or on topics that may seem at first dissimilar. The emphasis of discussion is on connections between different fields, topics and research methods and how one perspective may inform or be informed by another.

EMIGF held its inaugural season in 2011-2012, initiated by former CRRS graduate fellow Tim Harrison. Now in its fifth consecutive year, EMIGF meetings are well attended by graduate students, faculty, and fellows from the early modern community at the University of Toronto and beyond. Please consider joining us at the next meeting!

Our monthly meetings are held Thursday afternoons (4:00-5:30 pm), and are located in the Senior Common Room of Burwash Hall (89 Charles St. West). To demonstrate its dedication to early modern graduate research in Toronto, the CRRS supplies coffee and snacks for each meeting. Contact organizers Lindsay Sidders or Sebastiano Bazzichetto with any questions at:


March 16, 2017
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
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