Active Focal Group


Renaissances at Stanford is an RSA associate organization and a working group that serves Stanford University’s community of early modern scholars. Our members include fellows from the Stanford Humanities Center; faculty and graduate students from the English, Comparative Literature, History, Art History, Music, Religion, and Classics departments, among others; and early modernists from the broader scholarly community. Each year, we offer programming designed to build relationships among peers, mentors, and external institutions and scholars. Our mission is to bring disparate fields, methodologies, languages, and geographies together to explore not just the “Renaissance” but Renaissances. 

Graduate Research Series:

Established in 2015, Renaissances’ Graduate Research Series pairs graduate-student members with external experts in their research areas. The collaborations culminate in roundtable discussions open to the Renaissances community, where students introduce pre-circulated dissertation chapters or article drafts and engage with their expert interlocutors. Both speakers then field questions from the audience, moderated by Renaissances’ graduate coordinators. Our most recent event featured History Ph.D. Candidate and Stanford Humanities Center Fellow, J.G. Amato, in conversation with Ann E. Moyer (History, University of Pennsylvania). The Graduate Research Series offers professional development opportunities for both advanced graduate student presenters and their junior peers. To participate in the 2022–2023 series, apply here


In addition to the Graduate Research Series, Renaissances traditionally hosts a reading group. In the past, this group tackled lengthy or otherwise difficult material such as St. Augustine’s City of God and John Calvin’s Institutes. This year, we are excited to announce a new, short-form series we are calling “Skirmishes.” Each quarter, Skirmishes will tackle a particular issue of academic contention, reading a selection of article- or chapter-length pieces exemplifying opposing viewpoints. At the final meeting of each quarter, Skirmishes will host an external scholar to share expertise and opinions on the topic. We expect Skirmishes to get heated, and we want to hear your thoughts. 

Professionalization Series:

Renaissances will offer a suite of professionalization presentations during the 2022–2023 school year. These will supplement the Graduate Research Series and Skirmishes by targeting three key areas: teaching, research, and publication. Each quarter, we will invite an external expert to campus to treat one topic. Guest speakers will deliver a keynote address open to the public. Renaissances members will also have an opportunity to engage with visiting scholars in a more intimate setting at Skirmishes. Our mission in this, as always, is to provide members the opportunity to develop their professional skills and networks. Check our calendar for upcoming visits from Barbara Fuchs (UCLA), Wendy Hyman (Oberlin College), and Stefania Tutino (UCLA). 


With COVID-19 protocols loosening, Renaissances has expanded its traditional programming to better serve its members and to recover the sense of community lost during the pandemic. Past offerings have included a gothic textura calligraphy workshop with the San Francisco Center for the Book; a screening of Fanny Lye Deliver'd moderated by Professor Nigel Smith (English, Princeton); a performance of Marian hymns by Neuma, an early modern vocal ensemble directed by Music Ph.D. student, Daniel Koplitz; and a colloquia co-sponsored by the History Department and the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, featuring a keynote address by Anthony Grafton (History, Princeton). The 2022–2023 school year promises more conversation, music, and hands-on experience as Renaissances partners with resources on- and off-campus to bring the early modern to the present day.

RSA and Republics of Letters:

Renaissances’ diverse programming supports its two external branches: its Renaissance Society of America (RSA) affiliation and its new partnership with the Humanities Center journal, Republics of Letters. Both venues offer public visibility for our members and their work. Renaissances hosts up to three panels at RSA’s annual conference. With the help of Renaissances’ faculty advisor, graduate students develop, coordinate, and participate in these roundtables. In 2022, Renaissances successfully submitted three panels. Due to the pandemic, they have been postponed or reimagined for new settings. Look for “Dead or Alive: Living Deaths in Renaissance Fictions,” coordinated by English Ph.D. Candidate Mattea Scheiber Koon, at RSA's upcoming virtual conference. Another setting for student research, Republics of Letters provides a venue for graduate students to publish their work, fulfilling a crucial professional milestone. To learn more about Renaissances and its relationships with RSA and Republics of Letters, email Renaissances' coordinators (below). 

Mailing List:

To stay up to date with Renaissances upcoming events, join our mailing list by emailing one of the graduate student coordinators listed below.

Renaissances - Dissertation Duets Application 2022-2023



Faculty PIs

Past Events