Genealogies of Modernity Seminars

The Genealogies of Modernity Summer Seminars will continue this summer, 2019. Our third session will explore Global Genealogies of Early Modernity.

The seminar has three overarching goals:

1) First, it will examine how individual disciplines narrate the “passage to modernity.” Rather than divide the discussion into discrete units of disciplinary investigation (a unit, say, on “modernity” in English literature), we will create cross-disciplinary groupings that allow us to see how disciplinary definitions constellate around certain key tropes, events, monuments, and metanarratives.

2) Second, we will examine the notion of genealogy in a comparative manner. While humanists such as Nietzsche and Foucault have used a particular notion of genealogy to destabilize origin stories and reveal the radical contingency of historical phenomena, the dominant paradigm of genealogy remains a genetic one based on the heritability of culture. One major contribution of this seminar will be to encourage scholars studying outside of the Anglo-European system to bring forward alternative, local formulations of genealogy and heritability.

3) Third, we will foreground historical inquiry’s place in public discourse. By incorporating indigenous models of genealogy from across the globe, we hope to provide a more supple account of the notion of cultural heritability, which will have a salutary effect not only on historically-minded scholarship, but also on public discourse.


Carla NappiUniversity of Pittsburgh


World History / Historical Writing and Theory / History of China / History of Eurasia (esp. Manchu Studies) / Translation History 


Ryan McDermottUniversity of Pittsburgh

Medieval European Literature

Chris Nygren, University of Pittsburgh


Early Modern European Art History / Medieval and Renaissance Studies


Stan Chu Ilo, DePaul University 


African Intellectual and Political History / Cross-Cultural Studies / African Christianity / African Catholicism and the World Church / Religion and Social Transformation / Religion and Violence


Anna Bonta-Moreland, Villanova University


Faith & Reason / Medieval Theology (esp. Aquinas) 

/ Religious Pluralism / Comparative Theology (esp. Christianity and Islam) 


  • A completed online application form (below)
  • An updated CV
  • A statement of research interest no longer than 750 words, which includes an explanation of how this seminar might bear on your current research agenda and/or academic aspirations.


PRIORITY DEADLINE: Friday, March 15th 

FINAL DEADLINE: Friday, March 29th

All documents should be submitted after the online application form.  Please e-mail documents to  Each document should be titled with the student’s last name and first initial.

*Acceptance to this seminar includes coverage of all expenses for the duration of the workshop.  This includes room, board, and texts.  Participants are responsible for their travel to and from the workshop.*



2017 | Genealogies of Modernity I

2018 | Genealogies of Modernity II – Possible Modernities Between Medieval and Elightenment