English Department Faculty Work Discussion Series: Julianne Werlin's Demographic Approaches to Early Modern Literature
Friday, November 6, 2020 - 12:00pm
Professor Werlin will use this lunchtime event to describe and solicit advice about a project she has begun work on: an attempt to set the literary history of early-modern England in demographic context by creating a prosopography of writers. Prosopography, that is, collective biography, is a technique that seeks to discover and describe the characteristics of a particular group. Prosopographies can take a variety of forms, but Professor Werlin is interested in tracking major life events and social categories, including life expectancy, marriage and procreation, class, birthplace and place or places of residence, religion, sex, and a few others. This project is still in the data collection phase -- itself as much a qualitative as quantitative endeavor -- which Professor Werlin is working on with the invaluable help of Jane Harwell.
Professor Werlin hopes this can be the starting point for a conversation about demography and literary history, sociological approaches to the author, the problems of literary and historical categorization and category formation, and any other fundamental questions of literary scholarship we can address in 75 minutes.