Early Modern Empires

The Early Modern Empires Workshop is dedicated to examining empire and empires from a variety of perspectives. We consider scholarly work about historical empires from around the globe. Major themes include but are not limited to political philosophy, state formation, sociocultural and economic exchange, resistance, materiality, mobility, law, and cultures of knowledge. By uniting methodological, conceptual and geographical diversity this workshop hopes to create an interdisciplinary space to discuss empire and early modernity, while still thinking critically about the limitations of “empire” and “early modernity” as units of analysis. Speakers hail from from academic institutions around the world, and are drawn from departments including history, literature, language/cultural studies, philosophy, economics, and political science.. Anyone who shares the workshop’s interests is invited and encouraged to attend.

Workshop Format

The Yale Early Modern Empires workshop is a regular meeting of students, professors, and other members of the Yale community from a variety of departments. For each workshop, we invite a speaker whose work speaks to our general areas of inquiry. Each speaker will submit a pre-circulated paper, which the entire workshop then discusses following a series of initial questions by a graduate respondent. Light lunch is also served.

Engage and Join

We welcome anyone with an interest in historical empires in the early modern period to attend the workshop and its related events. If you are interested in receiving emails regarding upcoming speakers and events, please sign up for our mailing list.

We are always looking for new ideas for upcoming talks and events. If you have an idea for a speaker, let us know.

At each workshop, a graduate student serves as a respondent to the speaker’s paper. Please contact us if you are interested in being a respondent at an upcoming workshop.


CONTACT: If you have any other questions or concerns, please e-mail us at european.studies@yale.edu

2018 | 2019 Speakers

Speaker Date & Presentation Title  
Mark Peterson, Yale University September 14, 2018 ~ An Intoxicant Town in the Empire of Goods: Notes toward a History of Early Modern Desire *Co-sponsored with CHESS
 Indrani Chatterjee, University of Texas at Austin September 24, 2018 ~ Disentangling Caste and Slavery in Early Modern South Asian History
John Shovlin, New York University October 8, 2018 ~ Free Trade and the Burdens of Empire: Political Economies of Franco-British Imperial Competition, 1761–1774
Christopher Willoughby, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library October 22, 2018 ~ Ordering Anatomical Races in Antebellum U.S. Medical Schools  
Karen Graubart, University of Notre Dame November 5, 2018 ~ ‘Pesa más la libertad:’ Innovative Legal Claims and Afro-Latin American Intellectual History
Jacob Soll, University of Southern California January 28, 2019 ~ Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Commercial Culture and the Origins of Modern Capitalism

Alison Frank Johnson, Harvard University

February 15, 2019 ~ The Emporor and the Executioner: Capital Punishment in the Habsburg Monarchy *Co-sponsored with CHESS & The Harvard Lectureship, the Office of the Secretary and President for Student Life
Ananya Chakravarti, Georgetown University Feburary 25, 2019 ~ Three Anthonies: Saints, Locality and Empire in Early Modern Portuguese India
Holly Brewer, University of Maryland April 1, 2019 ~ ‘Suffer’d Under His Tiranie:’ Colonial Governance, Feudal Law, and the Iberian Influence on Slavery in Early American and the British Empire
Janet Polasky, University of New Hampshire April 15, 2019 ~ Asylum Between Nations: Trading Diplomacy in the 1790s


Previous Speakers

speaker date & presentation title  

Paul Kennedy, Yale; Stuart Schwartz, Yale; Peter Perdue, Yale; Debbie Coen,  Yale; Ayesha Ramachandran, Yale; Marcela Echeverri, Yale; and Charlie Maier, Harvard

Roundtable on Empire

Gabriel Paquette, John Hopkins University

Allies and Adversaries: Anglo-Portuguese Relations in the mid-Nineteenth Century

Edna Bonhomme, Princeton University; Max Planck Institute

Contagion, Occupation, and Plague: Sanitary Imperialism during the French Military Campaign in Egypt and Greater Syria, 1798-1801


Fanny Malègue, EHESS

The Empire in a Chart: Drafting and Crafting the Censuses of the First French Colonial Empire (Antilles, 1763-1804)

Sarah Kinkel, Ohio University, History

The Authoritarian Navy and the British Crisis of Empire, 1763-76

Iris Montero, Brown University

The Hummingbird and a Doctor Turned Historian

Malick Ghachem, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Jesuits, the Souls of Slaves, and the Struggle for Haiti

Philip Stern, Duke University

Portus et Insula: Legal Geography in the Anglo-Portuguese ‘Transfer’ of Bombay, c.1660-1720

Gabriel Glickman, University of Cambridge

American Colonists, Protestantism and the Shaping of English Whig Politics 1667-1700

Munis Faruqui, University of California, Berkeley

Mughal Politics: Princes and Imperial State Formation

Maria Bollettino, Framingham State University

‘A Vassall to His Majestys’: The ‘King’s Negroes’ and Enslaved Black Subjecthood in the Mid-Eighteenth- Century British West Indies