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Tudor Books and Readers: 1485-1603

Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“Tudor Books and Readers, 1485-1603” is a five-week college and university faculty seminar for sixteen participants to study book construction and print culture in the Tudor era, to be held in Antwerp, London, and Oxford. The seminar, co-directed by Mark Rankin (English, James Madison University) and John King (English and religious studies, Ohio State University), investigates the physical construction of books and the interpretative habits of readers during the era of the Tudor monarchs (1485-1603). Building on recent scholarship in the history of reading, the seminar seeks to shed light on ways in which readers related to books through handwritten marginal annotations, note-taking, copying, and other practices. The program begins in Antwerp, where participants can familiarize themselves with the physical plant of the sole surviving Renaissance printing and publishing house at the Plantin-Moretus Museum; it then moves to London, where visits to the British Library, which houses one of the best preserved collections of Tudor printed books, have been scheduled.  The subsequent four weeks of residence at the University of Oxford enable participants to engage in further study at selected college libraries and the Bodleian Library, whose collection of Tudor books rivals that of the British Library. Discussions consider the role of typography, format, and layout in the marketing and reading of books; how marginalia reveal the mentalities of readers; and the impact of gender and social rank in the selection of reading matter. Co-directors are joined by guest lecturers Gergely Juhász (theology, Lessius College, Antwerp), Guido Latré (English, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium), and David Vaisey (history, Bodleian Library). John King is a veteran director of NEH summer programs and he has collaborated with Mark Rankin on a previous summer seminar on a similar topic.

Dates: June 18-July 20 (5 weeks)
Grantee Institutions: James Madison University
Location: London and Oxford, UK; Antwerp, Belgium

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in Summer Seminars and Institutes. Each NEH Summer Seminar includes sixteen participants working in collaboration with one or two leading scholars. Participants have access to a major research collection, with time reserved to pursue individual projects.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes are designed primarily for teachers of American undergraduate students. Qualified independent scholars and those employed by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations may be eligible to compete provided they can effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the project.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one.

Please note:

Adjunct faculty, community college faculty and first-time participants are encouraged to apply.

Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are reserved for current full-time graduate students in the humanities.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.