We can see the origins of modernity through a study of its development in European thought and culture from the sixteenth to early nineteenth centuries. In the Early Modern Studies Program, we consider conceptions of the modern self, nature, and the state, as well as the development of early modern art and literature, in relation to issues surrounding gender, religion, class, race, and empire. Our faculty, current students, and alumni are scholars and artists who reflect on a time of spectacular upheaval, and shed light on the revolutionary bases for intellectual, cultural, social, and political currents fundamental to understanding modern life.

EMSP Publications

Selected Faculty Publications

China in Early Enlightenment Political Thought by Dr. Simon KowChina in Early Enlightenment Political Thought

by Simon Kow

China in Early Enlightenment Political Thought examines the ideas of China in the works of three major thinkers in the early European Enlightenment of the late seventeenth to early eighteenth centuries: Pierre Bayle, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and the Baron de Montesquieu. Unlike surveys which provide only cursory overviews of Enlightenment views of China, or individual studies of each thinker which tend to address their conceptions of China in individual chapters, this is the first book to provide in-depth comparative analyses of these seminal Enlightenment thinkers that specifically link their views on China to their political concerns.

Hegel and Canada: Unity of Opposites?

Edited by Susan M. Dodd and Neil G. Robertson

Hegel has had a remarkable, yet largely unremarked, role in Canada’s intellectual development. In the last half of the twentieth-century, as Canada was coming to define itself in the wake of World War Two, some of Canada’s most thoughtful scholars turned to the work of G.W.F. Hegel for insight. Hegel and Canada is a collection of essays that analyses the real, but under-recognized, role Hegel has played in the intellectual and political development of Canada. The volume focuses on the generation of Canadian scholars who emerged after World War Two: James Doull, Emil Fackenheim, George Grant, Henry S. Harris, and Charles Taylor. These thinkers offer a uniquely Canadian view of Hegel’s writings, and, correspondingly, of possible relations between situated community and rational law. Hegel provided a unique intellectual resource for thinking through the complex and opposing aspects that characterize Canada. The volume brings together key scholars from each of these five schools of Canadian Hegel studies and provides a richly nuanced account of the intellectually significant connection of Hegel and Canada.

Rousseau and Desire

Co-edited by Simon Kow

The nature and meaning of desire in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s work have thus far received little attention in Rousseau scholarship. Rousseau and Desire is the first examination of the eighteenth-century philosopher’s conceptualization of desire in relation to his understanding of modernity. The essays in this interdisciplinary collection combine close textual analyses with historical and intellectual inquiry to present a complex, yet concise portrayal of desire in Rousseau’s political thought. Broad in scope, Rousseau and Desire opens new fields of inquiry by exploring Rousseau’s formulation of desire as it relates to a range of subjects, including feminist phenomenology, political theory, natural reproduction, and early modern economic thought. As a whole, this important volume of essays ultimately affirms that the place of desire in Rousseau’s work is integral to our understanding of this seminal thinker and, by extension, the notion of the self in modernity.

University of King's College

EMSP on Social Media

King’s Early Modern Studies Society

EMSS is a student society that fosters interest and understanding of the Early Modern Period through events and our annual undergraduate academic journal,Babel.

EMSP Alumni Profiles

"At King’s I learned how to learn…"

Safia Haq
Safia Haq

Co-owner, Tart & Soul Cafe, 2010

"I would love to be able to inspire people, in ways I have been inspired myself."

Ian Kenny
Ian Kenny

Research Master's in Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam, 2014

"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 and Performer, 2010