Two develop interdisciplinary course as Behrman fellows

Princeton NJ -- Two Princeton faculty members have been named Behrman Senior Fellows in the Humanities. For the first time, the fellowship will be shared by two scholars who will teach together during the next four years.

Nigel Smith (left) and Peter Lake


Peter Lake, professor of history, and Nigel Smith, professor of English, will develop an interdisciplinary sequence of four courses that combines literature, history, philosophy, political theory and religion from the Renaissance to the French Revolution and from Europe to its overseas colonies.

The fellowship begins this fall. The first course in the sequence, "Ethics, Action and Literature in an Age of Revolution," will be taught by Smith in the spring 2003 term. In 2003-04, Lake will lead a class on "Politics, Religion and Literature from Elizabethan and Early Stuart England."

The pair will teach the final two courses together: "Europe's Schism: Reformation, the Bible and Authority" in 2004-05; and "Empires Elsewhere" in 2005-06.

Created by the bequest of Howard Behrman, the fellowship enables faculty members to spend additional time on research and course development, including courses that might not be possible within departmental boundaries.

The idea for the four-course sequence originated with an interdisciplinary course Lake and Smith developed on the Elizabethan and early Stuart periods (1558-1640) in the British Isles. Each week, they take one literary text -- often a play -- and juxtapose it with a historical, political or religious text.

"We have found that in a very short period of time, our course has gained considerable popularity among undergraduates, and our aim of encouraging them to tackle difficult questions by considering the same theme from the different frameworks provided by different texts has been entirely fulfilled," the two wrote in their fellowship proposal. "We wished to help undergraduates understand the value of interdisciplinary work in the humanities, at a time when its findings are as fruitful as they are in the sciences."

They will use the Behrman Fellowship to extend their approach both forward and backward in time, as well as to expand the number of themes explored and broaden the geographical focus.

Lake joined the Princeton faculty in 1992 after teaching at the University of London. He has written and edited seven books. His new book, "Antichrist's Lewd Hat: Puritans, Papists and Players in Post Reformation England," looks at the connections between the drama, politics and social history of early modern England.

Smith, who came to Princeton from Oxford University in 1999, is the author of "Literature and Revolution in England, 1640-1660" and "Perfection Proclaimed: Language and Literature in English Radical Religion, 1640-1660." His edition of the poems of Andrew Marvell will appear next year, and he currently is conducting a comparative study of the relationship between literary production and nation-states in post-Reformation Europe.

April 8, 2002
Vol. 91, No. 22
previous   archive   next


Page one
Faculty research projects take on new meaning after Sept. 11
Nuclear threat remains long after the Cold War

Time is optimal for publication of comprehensive encyclopedia
Research projects address terrorism from many angles
Two develop interdisciplinary course as Behrman fellows
Two juniors win 2002 Truman Scholarship 

Sportlight, retiring

By the numbers
Nassau Notes
Calendar of events

The Bulletin is published weekly during the academic year, except during University breaks and exam weeks, by the Office of Communications. Second class postage paid at Princeton. Permission is given to adapt, reprint or excerpt material from the Bulletin for use in other media.

Subscriptions. The Bulletin is distributed free to faculty, staff and students. Others may subscribe to the Bulletin for $28 for the academic year (half price for current Princeton parents and people over 65). Send a check to Office of Communications, Stanhope Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544.

Deadline. In general, the copy deadline for each issue is the Friday 10 days in advance of the Monday cover date. The deadline for the Bulletin that covers April 22&endash;28 is Friday, April 12. A complete publication schedule is available at deadlines or by calling (609) 258-3601.

Editor: Ruth Stevens
Calendar editor: Carolyn Geller
Staff writers: Jennifer Greenstein Altmann, Steven Schultz
Contributing writers: Marilyn Marks, Evelyn Tu
Photographer: Denise Applewhite
Design: Mahlon Lovett, Laurel Masten Cantor, Megan Peterson
Web edition: Mahlon Lovett