A Transatlantic Happy Hour, by Helen Deutsch, UCLA
Plans have been in the works for a collaboration between our Center and the Centres for Eighteenth-Century Studies and Early Modern Studies at the University of York in the UK. Faculty members from each institution have long enjoyed cordial and productive intellectual relationships which we hope to develop by showcasing the spectacular graduate student research that energizes and sustains our respective communities. While we all had many opportunities in the past year to hear formal papers and attend conferences online, we particularly missed the informal sociability afforded by the live versions of these events. The pandemic pivot to remote inspired Helen Smith (Chair of English at York) and Helen Deutsch (English, UCLA) to bring graduate students and faculty together on Zoom for a coffee/martini happy hour on March 16, 2021. 29 students from a range of departments including history, art history, Spanish and Portuguese, and English presented their research–on topics including worms in print culture, intarsia in Italian art, early modern Chinese maps, eighteenth-century narratives of illness and healthcare, landscape artists’ studios in urban London, naievete in the Romantic novel, Scottish imperial aspirations in Darien, literary representations of Mary Magdalene, disability and political economy, and the history of the Black Venus—with dazzling concision. Whether drinking coffee or martinis, all agreed that the event was both inspiring and energizing, providing much-needed camaraderie during a lonely time, and forging transatlantic intellectual connections that we hope will culminate in a graduate student conference. This was the first of what we anticipate will be a wealth of exciting, collaborative events.
On further collaborations between UCLA and York, see: Celebrating Hester Thrale Piozzi (1741-1821), a conference co-organized by Sophie Columbeau (York) and Felicity Nussbaum (English, UCLA). Watch video The event was co-sponsored by York’s Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, featuring several York scholars and the debut reading of Witty Woman, a new play about Piozzi’s life, written by Felicity Nussbaum and directed by Michael Hackett (Theater, UCLA).