Fields of Study: Europe; Cultural and Intellectual
Advisor: Anthony Grafton, Michael Cook
I study the cultural and intellectual history of early modern Europe, with a focus on the Enlightenment. My main concern is the intellectual consequences of European expansion, in particular European understandings of human diversity and European interactions with non-European cultures, especially Islamic ones. Related interests are the production of ethnographic knowledge, religion in the Enlightenment, early modern Eurasian cultural exchange and the history of cosmopolitan thought.
My doctoral dissertation explains how and why European understandings of Islam and Islamic culture transformed from 1683 to 1798. This period not only saw the first reliable translation of the Qur’an into a European language. For the first time, Europeans investigated and mapped the branches of Islamic arts and sciences, studied and translated classical Arabic poetry, and used Arabic sources to write the history of Muslim societies. I argue that this transformation in knowledge was facilitated by increasing Eurasian trade and travel. While Islamic intellectual orientations structured European knowledge, this reevaluation became possible only once Europeans understood Muslims by analogy to the good pagans of antiquity.
My project draws on archival research in seven countries (United States, Italy, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark) and in six languages (English, French, German, Italian, Latin and Arabic). An excerpt from this project, on the translation of the Qur’an, will appear in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes in 2013. My research has been supported by the American Historical Association, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the Society for French Historical Studies. In 2013-4, I hold a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. I was a Mayers Fellow at the Huntington in July 2013, and will be a Brill Fellow at the Warburg Institute in summer 2014.
In November 2013, I will be speaking at a conference in Leiden on "The Learning and Teaching of Arabic in Early Modern Europe." At the AHA 2014 annual conference in Washington, D.C., I have convened a panel on “Networks of Knowledge in the Early Modern Mediterranean,” which will feature Peter N. Miller, E. Natalie Rothman and Francesca Trivellato. At RSA 2014 in New York City I have co-organized a panel on “How Things Move: Global Histories of Transmission, 15th through 18th Centuries” featuring Marcy Norton, Kristina Kleutghen, Elizabeth Semmelhack and Pamela H. Smith (commentator).
I graduated from Harvard College in 2007 with a B.A. in History, then earned an M.Phil. from Cambridge University in Political Thought and Intellectual History and an M.A. in History from Princeton in 2010.
(w. H. Pfeifer) "Turquerie: Culture in Motion, 1650-1750" in Past and Present. Forthcoming in vol. 221 (November 2013), pp. 75-118.
"The Qur'an Translations of Marracci and Sale" in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes. Forthcoming in vol. 76 (2013).
"Conceiving the Republic of Mankind: The Political Thought of Anacharsis Cloots" in History of European Ideas, vol. 38, issue 4 (Dec. 2012), pp 550-569.
Urs App, The Birth of Orientalism. Philadelphia, 2010. Intellectual History Review, vol. 23, n. 2 (2013), 270-2.
Bernard Heyberger, ed., Orientalisme, Science et Controverse: Abraham Ecchellensis (1605–1664). Turnhout, 2010. Bulletin Critique des Annales Islamologiques , vol. 27 (2013), 93-95.
Humberto Garcia, Islam and the English Enlightenment, 1670–1840. Baltimore, 2011. Intellectual History Review, vol. 22, n. 4 (Dec. 2012), pp. 554-555.
"Beyond Orientalism." Collective review of five scholarly books. n+1 (June 2011).