New British Studies Center Opens at Rutgers

Posted in resources, the 18th century in the news by Editor on September 27, 2010

As reported earlier this year by Fredda Sacharow in Rutgers Today. From the website of the new British Studies Center at Rutgers:

“What’s in a name?” Juliet famously asks in Shakespeare’s iconic tale of young love. For the Rutgers British Studies Center – nee the Rutgers British Studies Project – a name not only confers new, formal status, but also suggests that the state university is positioning itself to become a pre-eminent venue for interdisciplinary scholarship on topics from Beowulf to Tony Blair. Bolstered by a $407,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Rutgers British Studies Center symbolically opened its doors earlier this semester with programs designed to attract academics across multiple fields, including history, English, anthropology, art history, and political science.

“We want to be a destination for the region – scholars based in New York and Pennsylvania, for example, will say, ‘Okay, here’s a place where you can come and interact with others in your field and outside of it,’ ” says Alastair Bellany, director of the fledgling center and a professor of history in Rutgers’ School of Arts and Sciences. “We hope to start a high-quality conversation: There will be arguments, there will be debates, but the interaction will all be productive. Colleagues from other fields will help you fill in the gaps in your own knowledge.”

They began modestly in the fall of 2006, a small band of English and history professors divided by disciplines but united in their passion for all things British. Hoping to turn intermittent conversations over coffee into something more formal, they began scheduling faculty workshops, importing visiting scholars, and co-sponsoring daylong conferences under the auspices of what became known as the British Studies Project.

Then, a milestone: The inaugural public lecture, by John Brewer, drew a substantial audience in October 2007, including a healthy contingent of graduate students. The professor of history at Cal Tech and an influential modern historian of 18th-century British politics, society, and culture spoke on “Taste and Modernity: Sensibility and Spectacle in Late Georgian Britain” . . . .

The full article is available here»

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