Early Modern Studies

University of King's College

Understand how we got here

Many of the fundamental ideas about our world today were shaped centuries ago. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, thinkers and artists built some of the intellectual and cultural foundations of the modern world. In the Early Modern Studies Program you:

  • Explore the historical impact of European culture
  • Encounter ground-breaking art and artists like Shakespeare, Mozart and Michelangelo
  • Examine issues surrounding gender and race in early modern history, philosophy, literature, political thought, science, and the visual arts
  • Think critically about colonialism, and the impact of interactions between Europe and the wider world
  • Assess the significance of witchcraft, vampires, and maritime piracy in the early modern period
  • Learn about how shifting ideas about religion and science changed the way we understand our place in the universe.

Find out what’s new in the program

EMSP+ News & Events

Study abroad in Florence

An optional month-long, Early Modern studies course taught in Florence, Italy, lets you consider the art, literature, philosophical and politics of Early Modern Italy (1280-1580) through daily visits to the city’s churches, places and museums.

Find out more

Publish your work

Babel is an interdisciplinary academic journal written, edited, and published annually by the Early Modern Studies Students’ Society. The first group of Babel editors would surely never have guessed that their successors in 2021 would be putting this journal together from three different provinces, at the end of an entire year of remote learning. However, this year’s Babel is a testament to that passion and perseverance. It’s also a demonstration of the breadth of the Early Modern Studies program and society; there are papers from every year at King’s, from two FYP papers to papers from students in their final year, and the papers cover topics ranging from philosophy to Shakespeare to dye production.

Read the latest volume

Combined Honours

An EMSP student is required to take the program’s three core course doublets:

  • EMSP 2001.03 & EMSP 2002.03 (or EMSP 2000.06)
  • EMSP 3001.03 & EMSP 3002.03 (or EMSP 3000.06)
  • EMSP 4001.03 & EMSP 4002.03 (or EMSP 4000.06)

plus at least six credit hours EMSP electives.

The requirements for the second honours subject are dependent on that department, and vary from program to program. Early Modern Studies Program students may fulfil the honours requirement in either of the two honours subjects. Usually this subject will be the one in which the student has taken more classes. In the Early Modern Studies Program, completion of the Honours Seminar (EMSP 4501.03 & EMSP 4502.03) fulfils the requirement of the honours qualifying examination; alternatively, with the approval of the director, an honours thesis (in conjunction with EMSP 4551.03 & EMSP 4552.03) also fulfil the requirement of the honours qualifying examination. Both the Honours Thesis and Honours Seminar are full-year classes. They are normally taken as part of a regular course load.

Explore courses
Core Courses
Electives

Structures of the Modern Self I

EMSP2001.03
Fall
Scotiabank Room
MW 1605-1725

Structures of the Modern Self II

EMSP2002.03
Winter
Scotiabank Room
MW 1605-1725

German Romanticism: from Goethe to Wagner

EMSP2290.03
Fall
Scotiabank Room
T 1435-1725

The Vampire: Modernity and the Undead

EMSP2313.03 / CTMP2313.03
Winter
KTS Lecture Hall
T 1835-2125

Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe

EMSP2320.03 / GWST2420.03 / RELS2320.03
Fall
Online / Asynchronous

The Origins of Science Fiction in Early Modern Europe

EMSP2340.03 / HSTC2340.03
Fall
Scotiabank Room
TR 1305-1425

Magic, Science and the Occult: from Antiquity to Postmodernity

HSTC2120.03 / EMSP2360.03 / HIST2990.03 / RELS2120.03
Fall
Archibald Room
TR 1305-1425

The Art of Global Encounters in the Early Modern Period

EMSP2415.03
Winter
TR 1435-1555

The Pirate and Piracy

EMSP2480.03 / HIST2750.03
Fall
KTS Lecture Hall
W 1835-2125

Humanity, Nature, and Environment in the Early Modern Period I: Renaissance to the Age of Reason

EMSP3001.03
Fall
Archibald Room
M 1235-1425
W 1235-1325

Humanity, Nature, and Environment in the Early Modern Period II: Enlightenment to Romanticism

EMSP3002.03
Winter
Archibald Room
M 1235-1425
W 1235-1325

Critiques of Modernity

CTMP3103.03 / EMSP3203.03
Fall
Seminar 7
MW 1605-1725

The Ideal World of Enlightenment: Desire and Freedom

CTMP3110.03 / EMSP3210.03
Fall
Seminar Room
W 1730-2030

The Real World of Enlightenment: Time and History

CTMP3115.03 / EMSP3220.03
Winter
Seminar Room
W 1730-2030

In Search of the Philosopher's Stone: The History of European Alchemy

HSTC3121.03 / EMSP3321.03 / HIST3990.03 / RELS3121.03
Winter
Archibald Room
TR 1605-1725

Opera and the Idea of Enlightenment

EMSP3240.03
Winter
Archibald Room
R 1735-2025

Art, Optics, and Technologies of Illusion

EMSP 3350.03 / HSTC 3350.03
Winter
Seminar Room
TR 1005-1125

Theories of Punishment

EMSP3430.03 / CTMP 3170.03
Fall
ONLINE / ASYNCHRONOUS

Studies in Early Modern Subjectivities: The Republic of Women

EMSP 3610.03
Fall
Scotiabank Room
MW 1435-1555

Conceptions of State, Society and Revolution in the Early Modern Period I

EMSP4001.03
Fall
Frazee Room
TR 1435-1555

Conceptions of State, Society and Revolution in the Early Modern Period II

EMSP4002.03
Winter
Frazee Room
TR 1435-1555
Honours Thesis & Colloquium

Minor

You can take a minor in EMSP to complement your degree. Engage in an interdisciplinary exploration of the birth of the modern world.

Complete a minimum of 18 credit hours to a maximum of 27 credit hours including:

  • One of the core course doublets:
    • EMSP 2001.03 & EMSP 2002.03 (or EMSP 2000.06)
      *Both EMSP 2001.03 & EMSP 2002.03 must normally be taken in the same academic year to meet this requirement.
    • EMSP 3001.03 & EMSP 3002.03 (or EMSP 3000.06)
      *Both EMSP 3001.03 & EMSP 3002.03 must normally be taken in the same academic year to meet this requirement.
    • EMSP 4001.03 & EMSP 4002.03 (or EMSP 4000.06)
      *Both EMSP 4001.03 & EMSP 4002.03 must normally be taken in the same academic year to meet this requirement.
  • 6 credit hours at the 3000 or 4000 level.  EMSP 3001.03 & EMSP 3002.03 (or EMSP 3000.06) OR  EMSP 4001.03 & EMSP 4002.03 (or EMSP 4000.06) will also fulfill this requirement).
  • 6 credit hours at any level.
Explore courses
Core Courses
6 credit hours at the 3000 or 4000 level
6 credit hours at any level

Structures of the Modern Self I

EMSP2001.03
Fall
Scotiabank Room
MW 1605-1725

Structures of the Modern Self II

EMSP2002.03
Winter
Scotiabank Room
MW 1605-1725

German Romanticism: from Goethe to Wagner

EMSP2290.03
Fall
Scotiabank Room
T 1435-1725

The Vampire: Modernity and the Undead

EMSP2313.03 / CTMP2313.03
Winter
KTS Lecture Hall
T 1835-2125

Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe

EMSP2320.03 / GWST2420.03 / RELS2320.03
Fall
Online / Asynchronous

The Origins of Science Fiction in Early Modern Europe

EMSP2340.03 / HSTC2340.03
Fall
Scotiabank Room
TR 1305-1425

Magic, Science and the Occult: from Antiquity to Postmodernity

HSTC2120.03 / EMSP2360.03 / HIST2990.03 / RELS2120.03
Fall
Archibald Room
TR 1305-1425

The Art of Global Encounters in the Early Modern Period

EMSP2415.03
Winter
TR 1435-1555

The Pirate and Piracy

EMSP2480.03 / HIST2750.03
Fall
KTS Lecture Hall
W 1835-2125

Humanity, Nature, and Environment in the Early Modern Period I: Renaissance to the Age of Reason

EMSP3001.03
Fall
Archibald Room
M 1235-1425
W 1235-1325

Humanity, Nature, and Environment in the Early Modern Period II: Enlightenment to Romanticism

EMSP3002.03
Winter
Archibald Room
M 1235-1425
W 1235-1325

The Ideal World of Enlightenment: Desire and Freedom

CTMP3110.03 / EMSP3210.03
Fall
Seminar Room
W 1730-2030

The Real World of Enlightenment: Time and History

CTMP3115.03 / EMSP3220.03
Winter
Seminar Room
W 1730-2030

Critiques of Modernity

CTMP3103.03 / EMSP3203.03
Fall
Seminar 7
MW 1605-1725

Opera and the Idea of Enlightenment

EMSP3240.03
Winter
Archibald Room
R 1735-2025

In Search of the Philosopher's Stone: The History of European Alchemy

HSTC3121.03 / EMSP3321.03 / HIST3990.03 / RELS3121.03
Winter
Archibald Room
TR 1605-1725

Art, Optics, and Technologies of Illusion

EMSP 3350.03 / HSTC 3350.03
Winter
Seminar Room
TR 1005-1125

Theories of Punishment

EMSP3430.03 / CTMP 3170.03
Fall
ONLINE / ASYNCHRONOUS

Studies in Early Modern Subjectivities: The Republic of Women

EMSP 3610.03
Fall
Scotiabank Room
MW 1435-1555

Conceptions of State, Society and Revolution in the Early Modern Period I

EMSP4001.03
Fall
Frazee Room
TR 1435-1555

Conceptions of State, Society and Revolution in the Early Modern Period II

EMSP4002.03
Winter
Frazee Room
TR 1435-1555

Dalhousie Selectives

Students enrolled in the Combined Honours or Minor program in EMSP can opt to have a maximum of one 3-credit course at Dalhousie University count towards the EMSP side of their degree. The Registrar’s Office at King’s should be notified if students wish to pursue this option.

Eligible selectives in 2021-22 only:

You can strike up a conversation with someone in the quad in a way you can't anywhere else in the world without being considered a weirdo talking to a stranger.

Evany Rosen
Evany Rosen

Comedy Writer, 2010

More Opportunities

Minors

You can choose from more than 75 minors to complement your degree.

Certificates

Build skills in a specialized area of study by adding a certificate to your Early Modern Studies degree. You can take King’s courses as part of a certificate in Art History & Visual Culture. King’s courses also contribute to a certificate in Medical Humanities, and there are many more certificates offered through our partnership with Dalhousie.


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