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EMIGF I: Tiffany Hoffman & Elisa Tersigni

October 21, 2021 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. Now in its eleventh 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. Our first meeting for 2021-22 will be held on Thursday, Oct. 21st from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. via Zoom videoconferencing. Please contact Jordana Lobo-Pires at to request an invitation link.

Tiffany Hoffman
Research Fellow, CRRS, University of Toronto; PhD in English, McGill University
“Hamlet and the Historical Medicalization of Shyness”

By tracing the development of shyness as a performative anxiety category in men that became medicalized throughout the seventeenth-century, this paper demonstrates— through an analysis of Hamlet’s characterization—how shyness first became understood in relation to notions of mental health and illness through its emergent links to melancholy in Shakespeare’s time. With a particular focus on the development of Hamlet’s “antic disposition,” the paper offers a broader discussion of the way ideas about the stage and acting informed the emotional shaping and medicalization of shyness in early modernity. This correlation has been elucidated in contemporary sociological, psychological and psychoanalytic thought, but its prehistory has not been comprehensively mapped through a humanities based perspective.


Elisa Tersigni
Digital Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow, Jackman Humanities Institute; PhD in English, University of Toronto
“An Acquired Taste: Early Modern Recipes as Conversion Narratives”

Taste was a sense that defined the early modern period: hunger resulting from decades of dearth as well as appetites for new and foreign foods were drivers of exploration and colonization. But in a world where “you are what you eat” is a truism, how did the desire to consume foreign foodstuffs affect religious, racial, and national identities? This talk will explore how foods were understood as religiously and racially inflected, and how narratives about foreign foods changed over the period. By reading early modern women’s recipe books as conversion narratives, I detail how foreign foods now common in our modern diet were appropriated over a period of conversion, during which time they shed their Jewish and Islamic inflections and were made Christian.


October 21, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies
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