Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Early Modern Circle


Charlotte-Rose Millar -
Catherine Kovesi –
Julie Robarts -

The Early Modern Circle is an informal, interdisciplinary seminar group open to interested students, academics and researchers. Drinks are provided and a gold coin donation helps to make this possible.

The group meets at 6:15 on the third Monday of the month, unless noted otherwise below.

To be added to the mailing list, please email Andrew Stephenson - andrewws@

Archive of past papers.

Programme for 2015

March 16

Seminar Room 506, Level 5, Babel Building

Dr. Gordon Raeburn (University of Melbourne)

The Plague, Fear and Death in Early Modern Scotland

This paper investigates the links between the plague, in terms of both the fear of the plague and the physical manifestation of the plague, the death and burial of those afflicted by the plague, and communal and personal identity in the towns and cities of early modern Scotland. The paper looks at the communication and spread of information and rumour concerning plague, attempts to prevent the spread of the plague itself through various means, including barring entry to the towns and cities to strangers, and the threat of death to those strangers and those who harboured them.

This paper also investigates those who had died of the plague, as they were almost always buried outside of the locations reserved for Christian burial in the early modern period, and this certainly would have affected the identity of these individuals in death, in the eyes of their loved ones, and the community at large. If these individuals were of some significance to the community as a whole, or if the numbers of those killed by the plague were particularly high, this may have affected the community’s own sense of identity, and this paper will investigate the extent to which this was actually the case.

Dr Gordon Raeburn is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for the History of Emotions at the University of Melbourne


April 20

Seminar Room 506, Level 5, Babel Building

Dr. Andrea Rizzi (University of Melbourne)

The Renaissance of Anonymity 

Recently published studies of literary anonymity have variously challenged scholars of Renaissance literature, history and music to rethink how they use and interpret the early modern Anon. This new rethinking can assist literary scholars, musicologists and historians in comprehending premodern anonymity. In this paper I aim to broaden the debate around anonymity beyond the confines of English literature and to establish a common ground within Renaissance studies. The central question addressed in this paper is whether the attention of scholars facing early modern anonymity should be placed on the concealed name and whether their energies are best served by trying to unmask its concealment. I suggest that the challenge is not to ask what early modern Europeans kept secret, but rather to investigate the communicability of these anonymous acts. 


May 18

Dr. Catherine Kovesi (University of Melbourne) 


June 15

Dr. Katherine Bentz (Saint Anselm College) (TBC)


July 27

Dr. Francesco Borghesi (The University of Sydney)


August 17

Professor Anthony Bale (Birkbeck, University of London) (TBC)


September 21

Dr. Daniel Derrin (Macquarie University)


October 19

Dr. Lisa Beaven (University of Melbourne)


November 16

Dr. Heather Dalton (University of Melbourne)


Previous Papers for the Early Modern Circle










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