Spring 2017
January 26 (TH, 4-5:30pm, Dulles Hall 168): “Post-Truth” Moments in History: a panel by John Brooke (History), Melissa Curley (Comparative Studies), Albert Harrill (History), and Lynn Itagaki (English & Women’s Studies)
February: “After the Death of God: Modernist Fragmentation and Unification in Nietzsche, Joyce, Freud, Lawrence, Gide, Heidegger, and Woolf,” a presentation by Prof. Stephen Kern, cosponsored by the Women, Gender, and Sexuality History Workshop.
March 31 (F, 1:00-2:30pm, McPherson 2017): Talk by Professor Patricia Turning (Albright College) on women, prison, and medieval France
April: The Premodernist Graduate Annual Conference

Fall 2016 

Oct 20 (TH) 1-2.30 pm, 235 Dulles Hall

“Europe and the Space of the Colonies: Kant’s Anti-Colonialism and his Philosophy of History”

By Inés Valdez (Political Science)

This paper offers a new interpretation of Kant’s cosmopolitanism, centering on the anti-colonial arguments in Toward Perpetual Peace. Kant’s changing position on colonialism has been the subject of extensive debates that have not, however, considered the central place of colonialism in the political, economic, and military context of Europe. I suggest that Kant’s main concern in 1795 is the negative effect of European expansionism and intra-European rivalry over colonial possessions on the possibility of peace in Europe. Kant’s turn against colonialism thus does not require a shift away from his hierarchical view of race and may instead be based on the lack of affinity between the character of colonial conflict in his time and his philosophy of history. I conclude by discussing the need to correct/complement Kant in our contemporary thinking on Cosmopolitanism.

A draft of this paper will be pre-circulated. Please contact Ying Zhang ( for it.


Nov. 10 (TH) 4-5:30pm, 0020 Dulles Hall

“Historical Imagination and Imaginary History

By David Staley (History)

There are two connotations of the word imagination:  1) the capacity to conjure images of absent things in the mind’s eye, 2) the mental creation of new images, without reference to an actual object, or to unreal or inactual objects.  It is in this later sense of the term that we call something “imaginary,” meaning make-believe.  This presentation asks  How much imagination are historians permitted?  Is there a point at which the historian is “too imaginative?” How do historians form mental images of the past? What is the composition of those mental images?   How are these images translated into historical representations?  Importantly, I will explore the relationship between the “ontologically real” parts of those mental images and the “ontologically irreal” parts.   The presentation will be hands on, asking the audience to think about their mental images of the past.


Dec. 9 (F) afternoon, 168 Dulles Hall

Pedagogical session: Teaching the Premodern 

Led by Sara Butler (History) and Meow Hui Goh (DEALL)