Image credit: John Quigley and Greenpeace (see here)
PROFILE: Phillip John Usher's research brings together the fields of Early Modern Studies and classical reception with the concepts and histories of geography, visual studies, and ecology.
CURRENT WORK: Professor Usher is currently writing a series of books about The Humanist Anthropocene, in which he explores the notion of the Anthropocene via texts and images from the pre-geological and proto-scientific era of early-modern humanism, as a challenge both to contemporary theory and received histories of early modern Europe. His related blog-workshop is here.
BRIEF HISTORY: Philliip John Usher was born in England. He studied French literature at Royal Holloway College, University of London, UK, before pursuing graduate work in Romance Languages at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA. He is currently Associate Professor at New York University. A specialist of French Renaissance literature, he is the author of Errance et cohérence: Essai sur la littérature transfrontalière (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2010), a book that one reviewer called “insightful and probing” for the way it “reflects on the key philosophical question of the period: the relation between self and other, part and whole, the particular and the universal” (Sixteenth Century Journal); and of Epic Arts in Renaissance France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), which Alice Brown called "an exceptional book" (in the January 2015 "The Year's Work in Modern Language Studies") and about which Bruno Méniel recently wrote in French Studies that: "On ne peut qu'admirer un tel travail d'érudition."
Usher is also the author of an annotated translation of Ronsard’s Franciad (New York: AMS Press, 2010; paperback 2016), called a “work of scholarship and a labor of love” (Renaissance Quarterly), and co-editor of Virgilian Identities in the French Renaissance (London: Boydell and Brewer, 2012), which Lee Fratantuono in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review called "an important contribution to the study of the intertext between Virgil and the art and literature of one of France's most justly celebrated centuries." He is also co-editor (with Bernd Renner) of Illustrations inconscientes: écritures de la Renaissance. Mélanges offers à Tom Conley (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2014) and (with Patrick Bray) of Building the Louvre: Architectures of Politics and Art (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins: 2014). Usher's research and reviews have appeared in journals such as L’Esprit créateur, the Revue des Amis de Ronsard, Romance Studies, Modern Language Notes (MLN), and elsewhere. He is also the founding editor of a new book series, “French Renaissance Texts in Translation” at AMS Press. Professor Usher also sporadically writes about film.
Talks (Spring 2017)
January 8, 2017, 10.15am: MLA in Philadelphia. Panel on the "Vibrant Renaissance."
March 2, 2017, 5pm: Université de Paris IV-Sorbonne, France: "La robe topographique de la Terre Mère aux XVe et XVIe siècles."
March 10, 2017: Cambridge University, England: "Exterranean Insurgency in the Humanist Anthropocene."
April 12, 2017: Université de Paris Ouest-Nanterre-La Défense, France, Congrès mondial de traductologie: "Translation, Hidden"
April 21-22, 2017: Cornell University, USA. Transforming Bodies conference, organized by the Early Modern Conversions Project and Cornell U. Paper: "Terraformation."
And at some point during Spring 2017, I'll be participating at the EHESS, Paris, France, in "La Connaissance sensible," to talk about mining and extraction alongside Philippe Quesne (of La nuit des taupes).
Talks (Fall 2016
August 18, 2016, 8.30am: SCSC conference, Bruges, Belgium: Chair of Panel on "Responses to Violence in Renaissance an Baroque France I."
August 18, 2016, 1.30pm: SCSC conference, Bruges, Belgium: Commentator on Panel "1616-2016- 400 Years of Les Tragiques."
August 19, 2016, 8.30am: SCSC conference, Bruges, Belgium: Paper "Agriculture vs. Mining: Renaissance Responses to Ovid" on Panel "Early Modern Environments: Plants 1," chaired by Rebecca Tortaro.
October, 20-22, 2016: "Premodern Ecologies: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Interaction with the Natural World in Medieval and Early Modern Europe," University of Colorado at Boulder, USA. Paper title: "On the Exterranean: Towards A Phenomenology of Extraction"
November 17, 2016, 6.30pm at NYU: "Recomposing the Humanities with Bruno Latour." A roundtable organized by Tim Duffy around the recent NLH issue.
December 2, 2016, 4pm: "Ronsardian Ecologies," talk at Renaissance Seminar at the Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University.
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RECOMMENDED EVERYDAY RESEARCH TOOLS: French/English Dictionary -- French Thesaurus -- Cotgrave (1611) -- Perseus Digital Library -- Online Loebs -- Gallica -- ARTFL Dictionnaires d'autrefois -- Gaffiot (Latin/Français)
WEBSITES/JOURNALS: EspaceTemps -- Fabula
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