The Cultural Geography of the Hearth
This event is free to attend and open to all and will be followed by a drinks reception in the Courtyard Café, Palace Green Library.
Abstract: This seminar will use the site and space of the household fireplace as a particular means by which to think through neighbourhood operations in the early modern period. Recent archaeological work undertaken by Staffordshire University’s Centre of Archaeology on Shakespeare’s New Place in Stratford-Upon-Avon has revealed the presence of a main kitchen including a hearth and a cold-storage pit. My talk will start from this site and what it might tell us about household practices as well as early modern food and fuel cultures and move out towards Shakespearean plays such as 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' and other plays by Middleton to trace the presence, operations, and meanings of Newcastle coal and Kentish firewood in early modern drama. The theoretical and critical intersection of early modern food studies, material history and the spatial and geographic turn in recent early modern scholarship will be explored en route.
Professor Julie Sanders is a Professor of English Literature and Drama in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics at Newcastle University in the UK and currently also Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Humanities and Social Sciences. Her research is on cultural geography and early modern literature as well as on Shakespearean (and broader) adaptations and she co-edits an Oxford University Press series on ‘Early Modern Literary Geographies’ with Dr Philip Garrett. Professor Sanders is currently beginning work towards an eventual study of neighbourhoods as places of making in the early modern period. She is interested in artisanal and craft neighbourhoods, forms of knowledge making and experiment, and the role of locally and provincially made objects and found resource in the cultural and social economy of early modern London.
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