A greater fluidity in social relations and hierarchies was experienced across Europe in the early modern period, a consequence of the major political and religious upheavals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. At the same time, the universities of Europe became increasingly orientated towards serving the territorial state, guided by a humanistic approach to learning which stressed its social and political utility. It was in these contexts that the notion of the scholar as a distinct social category gained a foothold and the status of the scholarly group as a social elite was firmly established. University scholars demonstrated a great energy when characterizing themselves socially as learned men. This book investigates the significance and implications of academic self-fashioning throughout Europe in the early modern period. It describes a general and growing deliberation in the fashioning of individual, communal and categorical academic identity in this period. It explores the reasons for this growing self-consciousness among scholars, and the effects of its expression - social and political, desired and real.
Richard Kirwan is a Lecturer in History at the University of Limerick. His main research interests lie in the social and cultural history of early modern universities, early modern elites, and print culture. His first monograph, Empowerment and Representation at the University in Early Modern Germany: Helmstedt and WÃ¼rzburg, 1576-1634, was published by Harrassowitz in Kommission in 2009.
'All these chapters in this very fine book of essays focused on cogent examples of early modern European academic self-fashioning. All authors utilized good to excellent sources on academics and professors in German, French, and English universities. This volume is an essential read for all students of early modern European social history.' Sixteenth Century Journal 'This extremely interesting collection of essays draws on a wide range of theories about the idea of self-fashioning to explore how it functioned in both an individual and a collective sense in the early modern university. It is the careful use of theory, illuminating without being pretentious, and the wide range of sources sensitively used ... that make the volume methodologically convincing and useful for future research. ... This book is of enormous relevance to all who are interested in the history of universities, and also has far-reaching implications for such study in other periods.' Renaissance Quarterly ’...a worthwhile contribution to the history of universities and represents one more way in which Greenblatt’s concept of self-fashioning can be applied to early modern history.’ Journal of Early Modern History