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Deborah Harkness

Professor (Teaching) of History

Contact Information
E-mail: deharkne@email.usc.edu
Phone: (213) 821-2604
Office: SOS 161

LINKS
Institute for British and Irish Studies
 

Education

Ph.D. , University of California, Davis, 1/1994
M.A. , Northwestern University, 1/1990
B.A. magna, Mount Holyoke College, 1/1986
 

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Professor, University of Southern California, 2007-  
Associate Professor, University of Southern California, 01/01/2004-06/30/2007  
Associate Professor, University of California, Davis, 01/01/1999-01/01/2004  
Assistant Professor, University of California, Davis, 01/01/1997-01/01/1999  
Assistant Professor, Colgate University, 01/01/1994-01/01/1997  
 

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

Deborah Harkness is a historian of science and medicine from antiquity to the present. A specialist in the period from 1400-1700, she is fascinated by how the study of the natural world traveled from the universities of the Middle Ages, through the libraries and royal courts of the Renaissance, into the cities and homes of early modern Europe, and then finally arrived in the learned academies of the Enlightenment. Rather than focusing on the end-points of this journey (the medieval university and the enlightened scientific academy), she studies the many spaces that students of nature passed through along the way in search of an ideal place to do scientific work.

Her first book, John Dee’s Conversations with Angels , examined how a single Renaissance figure found answers to his questions about the natural world in his library and private study by turning to magic. Her second book, The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution , explores the thriving, complicated scientific culture that could be found on the streets of the city that was home to both Shakespeare and Francis Bacon. Professor Harkness's new project, Living the Experimental Life in Early Modern Britain , seeks to understand the often uncomfortable intersection of scientific and domestic cultures in the 17th century and argues that in houses all over England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the Americas science proved to be an unwelcome guest. At the same time, however, experimental science profited enormously from its hiatus in the home where kitchen equipment could be adapted to new chemical purposes, servants and other household members could be employed as laboratory assistants and subjects, and women could be relied on to manage the complicated business of science in addition to their already overwhelming domestic responsibilities.

Professor Harkness teaches courses on early modern cultural and intellectual history, including the survey in early modern European history and upper-division undergraduate courses on the history of Tudor and Stuart England, the history of women, and the history of magic and science. In the future she hopes to offer courses on Renaissance Magic and Modern Popular Culture, on the History of London, and on the Experimental Life in Early Modern Europe. At the graduate level, she trains students as broadly as possible in early modern European history, and pays special attention to their acquisition of language skills, technical skills such as paleography, and teaching experience.

 

Research Keywords

History of Science, History of Medicine, London, Scientific Revolution, John Dee, magic, alchemy
 

Research Specialties

History of Science, History of Medicine, History of Technology, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern Britain, the Renaissance, Women's History, Tudor England
 

Conferences and Other Presentations

Conference Presentations

"How Big Is Our Tent? Reading, Writing, and the Borders of Historical Practice", American Historical Association Annual Meeting, Roundtable/Panel, New Orleans, LA, American Historical Association, Invited, Spring 2013   
"The Experience of Early Modern London", Early Modern Cities, Keynote Lecture, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, Invited, Fall 2012   
"Resources for World-Makers: Finding Authenticity in the Library", USC Writers' Conference, Roundtable/Panel, University of Southern California, Invited, Spring 2012   
 

Other Presentations

"Fiction and the Archives", W. David Baird Lecture, Pepperdine University, Fall 2012   
"The Dutch Community in Elizabethan London", Lecture, University of Ghent, Belgium, Spring 2012   
 

Publications

Book

Harkness, D. E. (2008). The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution (paperback). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Harkness, D. E. (2007). The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Harkness, D. E. (2006). John Dee's Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy and the End of Nature (paperback edition). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Harkness, D. E. (1999). John Dee's Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
 

Book Chapter

Harkness, D. (2010). Francis Bacon and Experimental Writing. Teaching Early Modern Prose pp. 246-257. Modern Language Association.
Harkness, D. E. (2009). "Elizabethan Naturalists and the Work of John White," European Visions, American Voices. (Vol. 172). pp. 44-50. British Museum Research Publication.
Harkness, D. E. (2008). "From Notes to Narrative: Finding the Story" in From Concept to Completion: A Dissertation-Writing Guide for History Graduate Students. American History Association.
Harkness, D. E. (2008). "Accounting for Science: How a Merchant Kept His Books in Elizabethan London". Palgrave.
Harkness, D. E. (2008). Francis Bacon and Experimental Writing. Modern Language Association.
Harkness, D. E. (2006). The Nexus of Angelology, Eschatology, and Natural Philosophy in John Dee's Angel Conversations and Library. (Vol. n/a). John Dee: Interdisciplinary Studies in English Renaissance Thought/Springer.
Harkness, D. E. (2006). “Nosce Teipsum: Curiosity, the Humoral Body, and the Culture of Therapeutics in Late Sixteenth-Century and Early Seventeenth Century England". (Vol. NA). Curiosity and Wonder from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment/Ashgate.
Harkness, D. E. (2001). "Tulips, Maps, and Spiders: the Cole-Ortelius-Lobel Family and the Practice of Natural History".
Harkness, D. E. (2001). "'Strange' Ideas and 'English' Knowledge: Natural Science Exchange in Elizabethan London".
 

Journal Article

Harkness, D. E. (2009). From Notes to Narrative: Finding the Story. Perspectives On History. Vol. January 2009
Harkness, D. E. (2008). A View from the Streets: Women and Medical Work in Elizabethan London. Bulletin of the History of Medicine. Vol. 82 (1), pp. 52-85.
Harkness, D. E., Howard, J. E. (2008). The Great World of Early Modern London. Huntington Library Quarterly. Vol. 71 (1), pp. 1-9.
Harkness, D. E. (1997). "Managing an Experimental Household: the Dees of Mortlake and the Practice of. Isis. Vol. 88, pp. 247-262.
Harkness, D. E. (1996). "Shows in the Showstone: A Theater of Alchemy and Apocalypse in the Angelic Conversations of John Dee (1527-1608)," Renaissance Quarterly 49 (1996): 707-. Renaissance Quarterly. Vol. 49, pp. 707-737.
 

Novel

Harkness, D. (2012). Shadow of Night: A Novel. Viking.
Harkness, D. (2011). A Discovery of Witches: A Novel. New York, NY. Viking.
 

Proceedings

Harkness, Deborah E. and Jean E. Howard (Ed.). (2008). The Places and Spaces of Early Modern London. 1. Huntington Library Quarterly.
 

Multimedia Scholarship and Creative Works

Contributor, "Virgin Territory: The Making of The Virgin Queen," The Bette Davis Collection (20th Century Fox, 2008), Fall 2008   
Contributor, "To Capture a King," The Tudors, Season 2 (DVD), Showtime., Fall 2008   
Contributor, "Love and Passion in Tudor Times," The Tudors, Season 2(DVD), Showtime, Fall 2008   
 
 

Honors and Awards

175 Women of Influence, 2012-2013   
SCIBA Award for Fiction, 2011  
USC or School/Dept Award for Teaching, General Education Teaching Award, Fall 2009   
Highly Commended, Longman's/History Today Annual Book Prize, Spring 2009   
Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, Pfizer Price for Best Book in the History of Science, History of Science Society, Fall 2008   
Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, John Ben Snow Prize for Best Book in British Studies, North American Conference on British Studies, Fall 2008   
Prize for Best Book, Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies, Spring 2008   
Huntington Library Research Fellowship Recipient, National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, 2006-2007  
Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient, John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 2004-2005  
Residency at the National Humanities Center, National Humanities Center, John E. Sawyer Fellow, 2004-2005  
NIH/NSF Career Development Award, National Science Floundation Senior Scholar's Award, 2001-2002  
Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, Derek Price Award for Best Article, History of Science Society, 1998  
American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship Recipient, ACLS Fellowship, 1997-1998  
Huntington Library Research Fellowship Recipient, NEH Fellowship, Huntington Library, 1997-1998  
Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, Nelson Prize for Best Article, Renaissance Society of America, 1997  
Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education, 1989-1993  
Fulbright Award, Fulbright Fellowship to the United Kingdom, 1991-1992  
 

Service to the University

Administrative Appointments

Director of Graduate Studies, Depatment of History, 2009-2010   
 

Media, Alumni, and Community Relations

Consultant/Presenter, The History Channel, 2006-2007   
 

Service to the Profession

Committees

Member, Nominating Committee, History of Science Society, 2009-2010   
 

Editorships and Editorial Boards

Editorial Board Member, Journal of British Studies, 07/01/2009-06/30/2014  
 

Professional Offices

Disciplinary Representative to the Council for the History of Science, Renaissance Society of America, 2008-2011  
 

Professional Memberships

North American Conference on British Studies, 2000-  
American Historical Association, 1994-  
History of Science Society, 1994-  
Renaissance Society of America, 1994-  
 
 
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