Filed under Faculty News

Summer 2010 – Prof. Susan Merriam

Dutch Stone Houses, Hurley

I spent most of the summer in (very hot!) upstate New York working on two book projects. One, now in draft manuscript form, looks at representations of animals in early modern Europe. I’m particularly interested in exploring how the idea of the human was formed in relationship to the idea of the animal during this period. The second book, now in the research stages, is a hybrid of essays and cultural history. It examines the stretch of road leading from Kingston—New York’s first capital—to Woodbourne Correctional Facility, a medium security men’s prison located about 40 miles away. I made this drive once a week over the two semesters I taught in Bard’s Prison Initiative program, and was often struck by the number of settlements or places I came to imagine as utopias (early Dutch villages, summer camps, bungalow colonies) and dystopias (prisons, an abandoned reservation) along the route. The book examines both the road’s development (how this very rural area became the site of so many differing ideas about sociality) and theories about teaching as they relate to each place and moment in time. I also began an article on images of the Eucharist during the Catholic Reformation (forthcoming in an edited volume on Rubens’s Eucharist tapestries), and completed a book review to be published in Renaissance Quarterly (2011). I ended the summer with a research/pleasure trip to Stockholm and Berlin.