The New World of Projects, 1550-1750

Please rsvp to by Friday, June 15, 2012

Vera Keller and Ted McCormick, Organizers

Saturday and Sunday, June 23-24, 2012
Huntington Library
Friends' Hall and Garden Terrace

Historians of Europe and early America come together in this conference to explore how the New World functioned as both a conceptual and real space for projecting alternate realities. New World ventures seemed to promise early modern Europeans a malleable state of nature upon which to project future realities. The hypothetical nature of such projections – the imagination of future natures, peoples, and technologies – gave them the agency to move knowledge away from accepted realities and norms. In this sense, the project was not merely the vehicle for the Europeanization of the world, but a medium through which far distant imaginings and realities transformed Europe. Particular attention will be paid to the role of the project as a genre in the development of new forms of political, economic, and scientific reasoning.

Conference Participants

Saturday, June 23

Coffee and Registration

Welcome: Amy Braden for EMSI

"Why Projects"

Ted McCormick and Vera Keller

Problems of Translation

Chair: Kristen Block, Florida Atlantic University
Sarah Rivett, Princeton
"Savage Sounds and Missionary Linguistics in Seventeenth-Century North America" (abstract)
Abigail Swingen Texas Tech University
"The 300 Malefactors: Convict Transportation and Unfree Labor in the English Caribbean Colonies"

Surveying, Modelling, and Manipulating

Chair: Abigail Swingen, Texas Tech University
Thomas Leng, Sheffield
"Mastering the market in colonial staples: Benjamin Worsley’s ‘project' of the growth of sugar" (abstract)
Anya Zilberstein, Concordia and Rachel Carson Center
“ 'Mostly Temperate': Projecting the Climate in Northeastern America" (abstract)

Lunch ~ provided for those who rsvp by Friday, May 15, 2012


Chair: Neil Safier, UBC
Fredrik Jonsson, Chicago
"Cornucopian Projects" (abstract)
Ted McCormick, Concordia
"Population, Wealth, and Government: Three Seventeenth-Century Projects at the Disciplinary Margins" (abstract)

Learned Projectors

Chair: Kristine Haugen, Caltech
Mordechai Feingold, Caltech
"Projectors and learned Projects in Early Modern England" (abstract)
Vera Keller, Oregon
"Projecting New Worlds in Europe" (abstract)

Sunday, June 24

Coffee and Registration

Back to the Future

Chair: Nathan Perl-Rosenthal, USC
Joyce Chaplin, Harvard
"Projecting into the Future" (abstract)
Koji Yamamoto, Edinburgh
"Moses Stringer: A Chymical Projector taking an Imperial Turn" (abstract)

Perfecting Nature

Chair: Joyce Appleby, UCLA
Eric Ash, Wayne State
"Transforming the Future of the Fens: Drainage, Improvement, and Projectors in Seventeenth-Century England" (abstract)
Carl Wennerlind, Barnard
From Hartlib to Linnaeus: Science, Spirituality, and Political Economy" (abstract)

Lunch ~ provided for those who rsvp by Friday, May 15, 2012

Comment and general discussion

1:15- 2:15pm
Chair: Peter Mancall, USC
Mary Terrall, UCLA

Current Conference

Annual Conference, 2016:
Global Maritime History

Past Conferences

Annual Conference, 2015:
World and Ground: New Early American Histories

Annual Conference, 2013
: Ephemerality and Durability

Annual Conference, 2013: Objects in Motion in the Early Modern World

Annual Conference, 2011: Ingenious Acts: The Nature of Invention in Early Modern Europe