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The Renaissance of the Earth

The Renaissance of the Earth is a series of themed research collaborations, undergraduate and graduate courses, integrative learning workshops, conferences, keynotes, and public-facing arts programming that consider how early modern habits of thought and practice might aid in imagining alternative forms of habitation and cultivation of the earth.

Digging the Past
This project, funded through a University Sustainability, Innovation, and Engagement Fund Grant, reinvents the Renaissance Kitchen Garden and Apple Orchards, transforming them into a hub for researchers, students, and community members. The project provides especially rich pedagogical and research opportunities that encourage visitors to consider the connections between our gardens and the stengths of our rare book collection, including: agricultural treatises, gardening manuals, early modern literature, and early earth science writing.
Project Director: Liz Fox, PhD

Eco-Entanglements: Ruin, Grafting, Stratification 920-2020 
This year's annual graduate conference showcases both the historical and methodological ambitions of The Renaissance of the Earth program, drawing together scholars working from Old English studies to Early Modern Studies for a one-day conference organized around three modes of eco-entanglement (ruin, grafting, stratification). 

Rare book collection
By collecting in targeted fields (natural history, agricultural history, botanicals, early earth science, cosmographies, and literature of the earth), the collection drives research in ways that link the research, educational, and creative programming on offer at the Center. 

Course Offerings
The Renaissance of the Earth. Professor Marjorie Rubright. Spring 2020. (Graduate Seminar ENG891)
This seminar stages a 'collision laboratory' between literatures of the earth produced by Renaissance writers (1450 – 1750) and current popular, artistic, literary and scientific writings about the Anthropocene. It has two aims: first, to explore how seemingly current conversations regarding environmental disaster, sustainability, and resilience traffic in ideas, metaphors, and modes of thinking whose roots extend into the Renaissance; and, second, to consider how early modern habits of thought and practice might not only resemble the present but influence it, aiding in our challenge of imagining alternative forms of habitation and cultivation of the earth.

The Players Project 
Noah Tuleja, Director of the Mount Holyoke Rooke Theater, is in residence with a small cross-campus company of actors whose home is the Kinney Center and its outdoor stage. In conjunction with The Renaissance of the Earth, The Players Project has launched its first season of workshops with a reading of “The Herbal Bed” by Peter Whelan.

Renaissance Kitchen Garden and Apple Orchard
The Center’s grounds include a historically-authentic kitchen garden that provides rich opportunities for interdisciplinary research and experiential learning endeavors. 

Workshop Series: Grounded Knowledge 
In a hands-on practicum that joins the bounty of our Renaissance Garden with that of our rare book library, students from the University and the local community will read and discuss Renaissance botanicals, agricultural treatises, georgic poetry, and other ‘literatures of the earth,’ searching for both the familiar and estranging ways early moderns wrote about and engaged with the earth. The first workshop will take place Spring 2020. Details forthcoming.