As a first year PhD student in the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, I was given the opportunity to present at the 2019 Newberry Library Multidisciplinary Student Graduate Conference in Chicago. I was able to attend a variety of panels on multidisciplinary early modern topics as well as present my own paper. As a part of the panel titled Ruling Religion, I presented my paper “You and I, We are Not of One Religion”: English Catholic Claims to the Holy Land and City of Jerusalem. My paper analysed the ways in which English Jesuit texts discussed the city of Jerusalem to further the connection between Catholicism and the city at the expense of the Protestant faith. My panel received stimulating questions afterwards, allowing me to consider the contemporary connections still held between religion, power, and place. Not only did this provide the chance to present my own research, but I was also able to connect my own research to the other papers on my panel, as well as the work of other PhD students who I had the opportunity to meet and discuss our mutual interests with during the reception and coffee breaks.
My own PhD research examines the impact of Jews, Jewish texts, and Jewish sources on the English Reformation. My paper was an extension of those interests and allowed me to meet with other early modern PhD students working on Jewish studies, the history of conversos, the Reformation, and Tudor and Stuart history.
Despite staying in Chicago during the coldest week in the city’s history, I managed to make the most of my visit. I took a scenic walk through Lincoln Park, and explored the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Garfield Park Conservatory. I also took advantage of the Newberry’s collections after the conference concluded, consulting a 1617 copy of Purchas His Pilgrimage. Finding some Hebrew text in the annotations was of particular interest, and an aspect of English texts that I hope to explore further throughout my dissertation.
I would not have been able to attend the conference without the generous support of the Centre, and would like to thank the Director of the Centre, David Lines, Graduate Director Marco Nievergelt, as well as Jayne Sweet for all of their support and encouragement. I would also like to thank the Newberry Library’s Renaissance Studies Program Manager Claire Ptaschinski for her support during my stay.