The Past is Present Everywhere
The past is present everywhere: in our daily lives and activities, our natural, engineered, and social environments, our political commitments, our biasses and prejudices, our religious and spiritual convictions, our scientific and technological accomplishments and ambitions, and more. What happens when competing versions of the past come into conflict? How is knowledge about the past produced? How do structures of power and prestige operating in the present shape our current knowledge of the across the disciplines?
Presence of the Past Courses
In multiple disciplines across the curriculum, courses foster inquiry into the rich intellectual possibilities raised by the theme. Presence of the Past resonates in an oral history ethnographic lab, black intellectual activism, the timeless relevance of classical literature, the city in economic history, the politics of post-1945 Europe, the historical roots of contemporary issues, poetic engagement with the past, national myths in Russian cinema, persistent class inequality in American novels, etc.Find a course that engages you
Presence of the Past events
Megan Cook teaches medieval literature, with an emphasis on Chaucer and other late medieval poets, and she researches and writes about the fate of Middle English texts and books in the early modern period. Her current book project examines the scholarly reception of Chaucer’s works in sixteenth-century England, with special emphasis on the role of antiquarians in the production of early printed editions. Drawing on both intellectual history and studies in the material book, Megan seeks to understand how antiquarian readers used Middle English poetry to produce new knowledge about literary history and how this, in turn, informed emerging views of the English past.
Celebrating the pivotal role of the arts and humanities in the intellectural life of the College and the community.
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