Upcoming Events

Friday, April 24, 1:30-3:00, Memorial Union (room TBA)

Early Modern Studies Dissertation Workshop

Lauren Surovi, Department of French and Italian
Dissertation Title: The Comic Cure: Theater as Remedy in Machiavelli and Aretino

Elizabeth Neary, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Dissertation Title: Perfidious Liaisons and Mixed Marriage in Early Modern Spain”

Michael H. Feinberg, Department of Art History
Dissertation Title: Caribbean Landscapes, Colonial Landscaping, and De/coloniality in British Print Culture surrounding the Haitian Revolution

Friday, April 10, 12:00-1:00, 212 University Club

Early Modern Studies Workshop/Borghesi-Mellon (Re)Imagining Empire Workshop: “Subverting the Empire: Catholic Missionaries in the Lusophone Atlantic” (Justine Walden; UW Madison, Solmsen Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities)

Friday, March 6, 2:00-3:00, 212 University Club

Early Modern Studies Workshop: “Trojan Universalism in Early Modern England” (Joseph Bowling, English, UW-Madison)

Friday, February 14, 12:00-1:00, 212 University Club

Early Modern Studies Workshop (joint meeting with History of Science Brownbag): “Sovereignty and the Politics of Knowledge: Royal Society, Leibniz, Wolff, and Peter the Great’s Academy of Sciences” (Kirill Ospovat, German, Nordic, and Slavic, UW-Madison)

Friday, January 31, 1:30-2:30 pm, 212 University Club

Early Modern Studies Workshop: “Feeling French” (James Coons, UW-Whitewater, History)

Friday, Nov 15, 12:30-2:00PM, 7191 HC White

“Four Hundred Years after Point Comfort: Reflections on the Legacy of Slavery in North America”

A Graduate Early Modern Studies Society (GEMSS) round-table on the history of slavery in the Americas.

Featuring Professors: Denis Britton (English, University of New Hampshire), Christy Clark-Pujara (Afro-American Studies, UW-Madison), Simon Newman (History, University of Glasgow), and James Sweet (History, UW-Madison).

Friday, Nov 15, 4:00PM, 7191 HC White

“Desiring Othello: Race, Pity, and Petrarchism”

Talk by Dennis Britton,with generous sponsorship from the Anonymous Fund, the English Department Renaissance Colloquium, and the Center for Early Modern Studies.

Three human faces showing actors and actresses

painting that shows Othello and DesdemonaIn act 1, scene 2 of Othello, we learn that Desdemona’s feelings toward Othello are transformed from fear to love. Brabantio tells the senate that his daughter initially “fear’d to look on” Othello (1.3.98), but Othello’s tale of suffering allows Desdemona to pity him: “She loved me for the dangers I had pass’d,/And I loved her that she did pity them” (1.3.167-68). Pity is thus the conduit that alters how Desdemona and Othello feel about each other. This paper explores Desdemona’s pity and love for Othello, and how and why Othello becomes desirable.I argue that Desdemona’s pity does not foreclose the import of Othello’s blackness on her feelings; in fact, her pity should be read as an expression of an English Petrarchanism that variously racialized male suffering and female pity. Othello becomes desirable to Desdemona—and also perhaps to the audience that, watching a tragedy, is supposed to experience the feelings of pity and fear—only when his blackness is able to be read as a mark of suffering. Othello suggests that the suffering black subject is a pitiful one; the pitiful black subject is a lovable, desirable one.

For disability access or other inquiries contact Prof. Elizabeth Bearden; ebearden@wisc.edu