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2021 Dan S. Collins Lecture "Imagining Human Rights in Early Modernity"

Annual Dan S. Collins Lecture

Sharon Achinstein
Sir William Osler Professor of English
Johns Hopkins University

Professor Achinstein has explored the intersection of literature and political communication in the early modern period, focusing on questions of toleration, religious dissent, and women’s participation. Form and ideology are two abiding concerns. Her two monographs, Milton and the Revolutionary Reader (1994) and Literature and Dissent in Milton’s England (2003) and two edited collections, Milton and Toleration (2007) and Literature, Gender and the English Revolution (1994), placed works of literature in relation to the emerging public sphere and challenges to political and religious authority.  Building on her scholarship on Milton, she has queried the history of the discipline of Renaissance literary studies, exploring how the economic pressures and values of the post-war University in the USA shaped the study of Renaissance literature. 

Her most recent research faces the history of marriage towards literature, law, politics, and theology, directions pursued in her work on her edition of Milton's writings on divorce (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). Through this project, Achinstein's current work engages in debates over secularism, gender, sexuality and human rights in early modernity.

The English Department's annual Dan S. Collins Lecture is delivered by a leading scholar in the field of early modern literature. The lecture is named for Dan S. Collins, a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1957 until his retirement in 1987. Collins co-founded English Literary Renaissance in 1971, a journal devoted to current criticism and scholarship of Tudor and early Stuart English literature. 

This event will be held via Zoom. RSVP here.