Early Modern Research Group


Early Modern Research Group (EMRG) is an interdisciplinary research and teaching initiative focused on the cultural expressions of the Early Modern period, or the "long" Renaissance (1400–1700), and their transformative power and dynamics in society. The principle aim of EMRG is to the study the decisive role of textual and artistic means of communication for the creation of a critical public sphere, and thus the preconditions for democracy and toleration in Europe. This particularly formative period coincides with the development and growth of cities as the centres and hubs of emerging national states and economies; the urban arena and the novel and changing modes and media of communication in an incipient public sphere. How did the urban arenas of encounter and conflict, such as the theatre, the market and the law courts, contribute to the process?

The secondary aims of EMRG is to establish a stronger local and national and international basis for research, education and research training programmes in these international fields, which will be done in close cooperation with researchers and students from our partner universities by means of shared educational programmes and teacher and student exchange.

Building on earlier programmes of collaboration, EMRG issued from University of Agder, Kristiansand,  in 2004, and presently has partners and members from a wide range of disciplines, institutions and nations within and without Europe, colleagues that share an interest in how, where and when a significant public sphere emerged and tolerance and democracy developed in Europe.

EMRG embraces many disciplines and arranges intensive seminars, workshops, doctoral seminars and international conferences in Early Modern Linguistics, Literary and Theatre Studies, Early Modern Music, Early Modern Art and Architectural History; including urbanism, Early Modern Religion and Philosophy, and multi modal approaches to Early Modern cultural expressions.  At University of Agder, EMRG participates with the project Modalities of Change: The Dynamics and Power of Complex Texts, in a research initiative termed Multimodality and Cultural Change (MultiKul).

A unifying nexus is Tolerance and the City: Human Interaction in Social and Urban Space, an interdisciplinary annual symposium exploring Early Modern urban culture in context as a vehicle of the preconditions for toleration and the rise of a critical public sphere.

The negotiations between the forces of dynamic societal change and those resisting change, produced the democratic life-world that is the essential habitat of contemporary man. The programme thus analyses the interplay between epistemological, artistic and communicative processes that shape human life: More specifically, it studies new genres, modes and media of communication, and the processes that established a shared and differentiated European cultural and social field.

EMRG publishes the online peer-reviewed journal Early Modern Culture Online, with two annual issues, one open wide-ranging issue for all facets of early modern studies; and one theme-based volume with a specific topic. EMRG is also responsible for the book series Early Modern and Modern Studies.



Early Modern Research Group
Faculty of Humanities, Department of Modern Languages and Translation
Box 422; N – 4604 Kristiansand, Norway