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Empires and Interactions across the Early Modern World, 1400–1800

Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 4, 2013

A four-week institute for twenty-five college and university faculty on new theoretical approaches to teaching world history.

Historians Charles Parker (Saint Louis University) and Ahmet Karamustafa (University of Maryland, College Park) direct an institute that offers new theoretical approaches to world history by setting up encounters between societies as a framework for understanding historical developments. The institute is held at Saint Louis University. Three key themes provide the organizational structure for the program: 1) "Empires and Economies of Scale," which focuses on the intersection of state-building and commerce; 2) "Religious and Biological Interactions," which analyzes both missionary encounters and biological exchanges; and 3) "Ideas and Connections," which explores episodes of intellectual engagement. During the first week, the institute examines economies of scale and East Asian empires and cultural interaction as a strategy for apprehending the global past. Week two focuses on two major theaters of empire building in the early modern world: the Asian landmass and the Atlantic basin. Lectures and discussion cover the Ottoman Empire, the Mughal Empire, and the Safavid Empires, followed by European empires in the Atlantic. Week three explores two corollaries of imperial expansion throughout the early modern world: missionary enterprise and biological exchanges. Lectures and discussion cover Islamicization and Christianization in the early modern world; the diffusion of plants, animals, and disease pathogens that affected food supply; reordered populations; and altered ecosystems. In the last week, lectures and discussion shift to the transmission of knowledge across cultural boundaries and the range of intellectual exchanges between Europeans and Asians in cartography, astronomy, and art. Participants complete work on their projects during this week. Institute faculty include Timothy Parsons (Washington University), Laura Hostetler (University of Illinois, Chicago), Molly Green (Princeton University), Rudi Matthee (University of Delaware), Carla Phillips (University of Minnesota), Richard Bulliet (Columbia University), Simon Ditchfield (University of York, UK), George Lovell (Queen's University, Canada), and Ulrike Strasser (University of California, Irvine). Readings include Uriel Heyd (ed.), Ottoman Documents on Palestine; Scott Levi and Ron Sela (eds.), Islamic Central Asia: An Anthology of Historical Sources; Steven Harris, Mapping Jesuit Science; and Matteo Ricci, True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven.

Faculty: Laura Hostetler, Molly Greene, Rudi Matthee, Carla Rahn Phillips, Simon Ditchfield, W. George Lovell, Richard Bulliet, Ulrike Strasser, Timothy Parsons



Dates: June 3—28 (4 weeks)
Director(s): Ahmet Karamustafa, University of Maryland, College Park, and Charles H. Parker, Saint Louis University
Grantee Institutions: Saint Louis University
Location: St. Louis, MO

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.