Uncommon Bodies: Research in Early Modern Literature and Culture (Twitter: @uncommonbodies) is a research workshop and reading group. It was founded in 2019 by Penelope Geng and Jennifer E. Row. The workshop focuses on questions and readings related to the human body–how it’s imagined, experienced, and represented–in early modern cultures. Between 2019-2021, our programming was supported by grants from the University of Minnesota’s Andrew W. Mellon Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World and from the departments of English and WGSS at Macalester College. We are currently in our fourth year of programming (2022-2023). We gratefully acknowledge the support of UMN’s new Center for Premodern Studies (CPS) for funding us since the workshop’s inception in 2019.

Collaborative learning is at the heart of what we do. We invite you–yes, YOU–to join us in exploring art and literature, theories and scholarship connected to embodiment, disability, sexuality, corporeality, the allure of the flesh, and physical and imagined embodiment. Our goal is to make research accessible to everyone. Whenever possible, we hold events and meetings in wheelchair accessible spaces. We strive to provide CART captioning and/or ASL interpretation for the bigger lectures (in-person or Zoom). For reading workshops, the discussion leader will select a topic and circulate relevant readings to participants ahead of time.

Contact either of the workshop organizers, Penelope Geng or Jennifer Row, if you’re interested in joining the conversation as a participant, a discussion leader, or both. Come when you can and participate in whatever capacity makes sense for your schedule.

  • Update 9/2022: UMN’s CPS (Center for Premodern Studies) has awarded us funding for the 2022-23 academic year. Thank you CPS! Some exciting events are being planned right now so check back soon.
  • Update 10/2021: UMN’s CPS (previously CEHM and CSPW) has funded out workshop for the 2021-2022 year! Schedule of events will be posted soon.
  • Update 6/2020: UMN’s CSPW has funded our workshop for the 2020-2021 year! Schedule of events will be announced in late summer.

Penelope Geng, Dept. of English, Macalester College | Faculty Profile and Contact Info

Jennifer Row, Dept. of French and Italian, University of Minnesota | Faculty Profile and Contact Info