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EMIGF IV: Jude Welburn & Éric Pecile

January 28, 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. EMIGF meetings are well attended by graduate students, faculty, and fellows from the early modern community at the University of Toronto and beyond.

Our fourth meeting for 2020-21 will be held on Thursday, January 28th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. via Zoom videoconferencing. Please contact Jordana Lobo-Pires at to request an invitation link.


Jude Welburn PhD, Department of English, University of Toronto; CRRS Fellow
“‘To Bind Their Kings in Chains’: Babel and Babylon in Revolutionary England”

During the English Revolution, the story of Babel was a key scriptural reference point, marking the moment when sovereignty emerged out of paternal rule before being shattered and divided among distinct nations. This talk explores representations of the genesis of tyranny in mid-seventeenth-century England, when conventional modes of political legitimation and scriptural interpretation were broadly contested and subject to an immanent critique of their moral and spiritual foundations. John Milton’s readings of the story of Babel build on a radical exegetical tradition that conflates Babel and Babylon and transforms the confusion of tongues and the dispersal of the people into an allegory of divinely-sanctioned liberation. This transformation of the political import of the story reflects a larger ideological shift from passive, other-worldly chiliasm to active, this-worldly revolution.

Éric Pecile PhD Candidate, Department of History, University of Toronto
“Beggars and Laborers: Visible and Invisible Poverty in Renaissance Italy”

Closely following the tenets of Christianity when it came to the dispensation of charity, early modern Italian states operated with a moral model of poverty which distinguished between worthy and unworthy poor. The more incapable of providing for oneself due to ability, prejudice, or circumstance, the worthier one was to receive welfare assistance from the state. This presentation explores the ways in which the growing welfare state infrastructure of Florence and Bologna used this distinction between worthy and unworthy poverty to care for their citizens. Ultimately, the moral model for understanding poverty failed to address the reality of economic inequality in these cities resulting in strain on welfare institutions as the unacknowledged poor — the laboring classes — used them to make ends meet.


January 28, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:




Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies
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