Early Modernities and the Circulation of Knowledge

This interdisciplinary research programme brings together scholars of political and social history, literature, painting, visual culture, material culture and medical history. Our research spans a long time period going from the Renaissance and early modern period to the romantic era in the English-speaking world.

Needlework world map

We examine the slow building of modernities — the plural is meaningful — over a long period, eschewing artificial segmentations or preconceived definitions of such modernities.

Our various angles and perspectives allow us to confront ideas on a somewhat pre-disciplinary culture, in which the division of knowledge was porous. Bringing together different areas of expertise, we try to map the complex, multi polar circulation of intellectual, artistic, scientific, technical and commercial knowledge in the expanding worlds of empire. By focusing on knowledge-making and interrogating categories and their boundaries, the programme also reflects on our own academic disciplines and the epistemological categories we use to understand the period.


Related Seminars:



Laetitia Coussement-Boillot is a specialist of early modern English literature (16th and 17th centuries), more particularly William Shakespeare and contemporary playwrights. She is currently working on early modern women writers like Lady Mary Wroth. She also contributes to the online encyclopedia : “Les objets de la litérrature baroque: littérature et culture matérielle dans les Iles britanniques et la France de la première modernité” and she has just released articles on The Dutchess of Malfi by John Webster.

Ariane Fennetaux is a specialist of material culture with a particular emphasis on clothes and textiles. She has just published a book co-authored with Barbara Burman and entitled The Pocket : A Hidden History of Women’s Lives 1660-1900 (Yale University Press, 2019). She is currently working on the history of clothes and textiles in a global context and is the main investigator of the Global Matters collaborative research project which focuses on the global history of material culture and technology.

Specialist of romantic literature, poetics and orientalism. He currently works on a book which explores several traditions leading to the specific form of the romantic ode.



John-Erik Hansson is currently editing his thesis, entitled “To Teach Every Principle of the Infidels and Republicans”? William Godwin Through His Children’s Books, for publication as a monograph. In this work, he shows how Godwin continued his political activities in the early 19th century by writing children’s books. His also works on a new history of the concept of imagination in Britain in the long 18th century, by placing Britain in a transnational context. His third project seeks to shed new light on the history of anarchist thought and anarchism as a political ideology. I’m investigating how English-language anarchists rewrote the history of anarchist thought and reappropriated anarchist figures (including William Godwin) in the 20th century.

Charles-Edouard Levillain is a specialist of Anglo-Dutch relations between 1650 and 1750 and the “Grand Siècle” in Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands (1850-1950). He is currently working on a monograph focusing on “The Life & Times of Marlborough” by Churchill.



Specialist of early modern literature, with a particular focus on drama (Shakespeare and his contemporaries), travel and geographical writing, and the receptions of the image of the East (Ottoman empire and Persia in particular) within the period. Her most recent works include a critical edition of Three Romances of Eastern Conquests (Manchester University Press, 2018) and a collective volume of essays coedited with Claire Gallien, entitled Eastern Resonances in Early Modern England (Palgrave Macmillan, to be published in 2019).


Specialist of British literature and art history. In 2006 he curated an exhibition on English painter William Hogarth for the Louvre, and has written numerous books, including Les paysages absolus (Hazan, 2010) on J.M.W.Turner. He is currently writing a monograph on portrait painter Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), editing an anthology of artists’ writings entitled Truth and British Art, 1700-1945.


Allan Potofsky is a specialist of Atlantic history, the history of the American and French revolutions, and urban history in the eighteenth century. He is currently working on a book project Paris is the World (17th-18th century) funded by a CNRS fellowship (section 33) and has previously published Constructing Paris in the Age of Revolution (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009; paperback edition, 2012).


Specialist of 18th century medicine and literature. Her current project focuses on infertility and mineral waters in Great Britain in the period.



Graduate Students

Mathilde Alazraki, an alumna of the École Normale Supérieure de Paris-Saclay, is a fourth year PhD student at Université Paris Cité and a member of the LARCA research unit (UMR8225, CNRS). Her PhD thesis, supervised by Ladan Niayesh, focuses on women and diplomacy between Britain and the East in the early modern period. She is also the secretary for the Paris Early Modern Seminar (PEMS)..


She is currently working on her dissertation entitled « Décentrement, discontinuités et ruptures dans la poésie épique de John Milton », under the supervision of Ladan Niayesh.


She is currently working on her dissertation entitled « ‘Stand still, you ever-moving spheres of heaven’: l’espace-temps dans le théâtre de Christopher Marlowe », under the supervision of Ladan Niayesh.



She is working on her dissertation entitled “Visualising abundance: promotional cartography at the hands of the East India Company and the Virginia Company (1600-1626)”, under the supervision of Ladan Niayesh.


She is currently working on her dissertation entitled « Satire, Factionalism and Pro Ministerial Propaganda under Robert Harley, 1710-1717 », under the supervision of Frédéric Ogée and Greg Lynall.



Louise Roszak is a PhD student at Larca, working under the supervision of Ladan Niayesh. Since September 2022, she is working on a thesis entitled: “From ‘gender-blind’ to ‘gender-conscious’ in productions at Shakespeare’s Globe: the rise (and decline?) of a concept”.


She is currently working on her dissertation focusing on monsters and emotions in Shakespearean drama, under the supervision of Ladan Niayesh. This work carries on from her MA research project which studied monsters and the monstrous in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello and The Tempest. This work received the “prix du mémoire de la Société Française Shakespeare” in January 2016.