Working Groups

The UCLA Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies and the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library host several working groups in early modern studies. The goal is to stimulate the discussion of research issues and the exchange of work in progress among faculty, post-docs, and graduate students at UCLA and in the Los Angeles area. Reading or writing groups, workshops, lecture series with local scholars, and interdisciplinary exchanges are just some of the possibilities envisioned. Limited research funding is available for each group, to be used towards refreshments and hosting speakers. Each group determines the schedule and nature of the meetings, typically held on the UCLA campus or at the Clark Library (depending on space availability).

The Comedia in Translation and Performance

The idea is to provide a space in which to think about how to bring the comedia to a wider audience, in particular to audiences in Los Angeles. In a city of so many Spanish speakers, the fabulous corpus of Spanish Golden Age plays should be more frequently staged, but it is not always easily available to practitioners. This working group attends to issues of translation and adaptation, while also connecting academics with playwrights, translators, directors, and actors. The group maintains the website, Diversifying the Classics.

Organizer: Barbara Fuchs, Professor, Departments of English and Spanish & Portuguese, UCLA (

Early Modern Research Group

The Early Modern Research Group comprises faculty and graduate students at UCLA. The Works-in-Progress Workshop series provides a forum for advanced graduate students and junior faculty from across the humanities and social sciences at UCLA and neighboring institutions to workshop ongoing projects invested in the history, literature, and cultures of the early modern world.

Meetings: select Wednesdays from 4:00—6:00 p.m.; visit the Early Modern Research Group website.

Organizer: Jenny Marie Forsythe, UCLA graduate student in comparative literature (

Iberian American Performances, 1770s–1820s: Enlightened Reform and Its Aftermath, with Particular Reference to Music & Theater

This interdisciplinary group of faculty and students is dedicated to exploring a crucial but under-theorized period of Iberian and American history—roughly 1770–1830, the “Age of Revolution”—from the standpoint of performance studies. This period was marked by dislocations, emerging ideas of nationhood, and new disciplinary technologies that for many signalled the arrival of modernity. We examine the intersections of performance (theater, music, dance, embodied ritual) and epistemology, with a view to finding new narratives about the construction of history, the individual, the community, and its ceremonies.

Meetings: Weekly on Wednesday nights at 6:00 p.m. in the Musicology Seminar Room

Organizers: Elisabeth Le Guin, Professor, Department of Musicology, UCLA ( and Alejandro García Sudo, graduate student, Department of Musicology, UCLA (

Indigenous Material and Visual Culture in the Americas, circa 1450–1750

Our reading group examines indigenous history in the Americas during the early modern period, focusing on a variety of materials and texts, from alphabetic and pictorial writings to domestic buildings and urban settlements. Topics and emphases vary each year, depending on the interests of the group; the focus this year is Mesoamerica and the Andean regions, though papers and presentations on other regions in the Americas are welcome. During the 2016–17 academic year, we will meet twice a month, alternating between discussions focused on work-in-progress presentations and selected readings. Graduate students from all disciplines are welcome.

Faculty advisors: Kevin Terraciano, Professor, Department of History, UCLA ( and Stella Nair, Professor, Department of Art History, UCLA (
Organizers: Tania Bride, graduate student, Department of History, UCLA ( and Georgi Kyorlenski, graduate student, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA (

Irish and Scottish Enlightenment(s) Reading Group

The group reads and discusses works by Irish and Scottish writers of the long eighteenth century, including works from literature, moral philosophy, political theory, and other fields.  We have prepared a fairly comprehensive list of eligible works, and participants are welcome to add titles and be involved in selecting readings, so that our choices serve everyone’s interests over the course of time. The group is open to graduate students and faculty throughout the Los Angeles area, to visiting scholars at the Clark or other area research institutions, and to independent scholars and interested non-academics.

Meetings: We aim to meet six times during the academic year (roughly, monthly), as participants’ schedules permit. Meetings are scheduled for two hours. We try to keep readings to about 200 pages, but longer works may be discussed at more than one meeting or a longer work might be balanced by a shorter reading.

Organizers: Donald Marshall, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois at Chicago ( and Ann Ross, English, CSU Dominguez Hills

Southern California Book History Consortium (SCBHC)

SCBHC provides a space for critical dialogue regarding scholarship informed or inflected by a history-of-the-book methodology. We welcome scholars from the greater Los Angeles area for paper workshops, archival visits, and collaborative opportunities. In 2015–16 SCBHC will run a series of Book/Arts field trips and hands-on workshops for participants through the support of UCLA’s Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies and the UCLA Department of English. This effort incorporates our region’s vibrant Book/Arts culture into the group’s purview.

Organizers: Benjamin Beck and Samantha Sommers, graduate students, Department of English, UCLA (;

Transnational Subjects and Early Modern Empire

Studies in the humanities have increasingly drawn on a “transnational” approach, focusing on cultural crossing, hybridity, and international exchange. The reading group focuses on the figure of the “transnational subject” to explore and interrogate this recent turn in scholarship in the context of the early modern period. Particular topics might include Spanish imperial subjects in the new world and Mediterranean alike, the rise of slavery in Europe, piracy and Islamic conversion, the reception of Roman imperialism, and the vexed relationship between sectarian and national affiliations (the status of Catholics in Protestant England, e.g.).

Organizers: Andrew Devereux, Assistant Professor of History, Loyola Marymount University ( and Andrea Moudarres, Assistant Professor, Department of Italian, UCLA (

To propose a new working group, please submit a brief description and proposed meeting schedule to Kathy Sanchez, Program Manager, at There is no deadline for the submission of working group proposals.

Professor Michael Hackett and first-year students in the MFA Acting and Directing Programs, Department of Theater, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, in a staged reading of Lope de Vega’s A Wild Night in Toledo, translated by The Comedia in Translation and Performance working group directed by Barbara Fuchs.
Photographer: Reed Hutchinson