Mission Statement

Mission

In support of the goals of the University of Massachusetts and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies promotes the research, teaching, and dissemination of all aspects of literature and culture in the Early Modern Period (ca. 1400-ca. 1700.) To assist in this endeavor, the Center builds and maintains a unique collection of manuscripts, rare books, scholarly archives, and monographs.  The Center also edits and publishes the English Literary Renaissance and The Sidney Journal as well as the book series Massachusetts Studies in Early Modern Culture.

The Center is dedicated to helping scholars, students and community members gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of issues, influences, and contributions from the Renaissance period that resonate in contemporary life.   To that end, The Center sponsors and co-sponsors lectures, seminars, conferences, community classes, theater, and concerts, and hosts visiting professors, post-doctoral scholars, and visiting researchers.  

Graduate Studies @ the Center

Each academic year the Center welcomes on average four to eight new graduate students in English who plan to focus their studies on aspects of Renaissance life and/or literature. The Center offers a Graduate Student Commons (office space at the Center), and access to all Center resources for research, including advising and information about Renaissance scholars throughout the Five College area.

Graduate seminars are held in the Center’s Reading Room and Cheney Room; each year the Center hosts a Graduate Student Conference, organized by the students, for young scholars from around the world. The Five College Faculty Seminars in Renaissance Studies bring noted academics from other universities to the Center to speak and meet informally with graduate students.

Students interested in Renaissance drama are encouraged to become involved in the Renaissance Center Theater Company’s many activities, including performances of 16th and 17th – century dramatic materials, and educational outreach projects for regional schoolchildren.

About the Center

The Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies occupies the grounds of the former 28-acre estate of Winthrop Saltonstall Dakin, a local attorney, and his wife, Janet Wilder Dakin, the youngest sister of the playwright Thornton Wilder. The research institute and classrooms are housed in their brick home built in the style of a Renaissance cottage in Shakespeare's Warwickshire. It is also the site for conferences, seminars, lectures, dramatic performances, and concerts.

For contact information and directions to the Center click here.