Carnegie Mellon University

Center for Early Modern Print, Networks, and Performance

A Destination for M.A. and Ph.D. Students in Early Modern Cultural Studies

The Carnegie Mellon Center for Early Modern Print, Networks, and Performance (CPNP) is a distinctive research hub for early modern cultural studies, 1500-1800, built around the unique strengths of faculty, and M.A. and Ph.D. students in the Department of English's Literary and Cultural Studies program. Launched in 2018, CPNP is dedicated to investigating the early modern world from a wide-range of angles, but especially those that foreground the embodied, material aspects of early modern literature, culture, and exchange.

The CPNP's expertise ranges from the sixteenth through the long eighteenth centuries, and includes specialties in performances of race, sexuality, and gender; in book history and the history of news; in international literary, political, and legal networks; and in digital humanities.  The faculty offer an energizing research environment for students who approach early modern periods of study from the 21st-century perspectives of books, networks and performance as key to understanding how the modern world came into being. 

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Jon Klancher focuses on book and reading history, and the sociology of literature,and has authored two formative books in late 18th and early 19th-century studies, The Making of English Reading Audiences 1790-1832 and Transfiguring the Arts and Sciences: Knowledge and Cultural Institutions in the Romantic Age, which received the Jean-Pierre Barricelli Prize for 2016.  

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Christopher Warren’s research interests are in digital humanities, international law and literature, political theory, and the history of political thought. He is the author of Literature and the Law of Nations, 1580-1680, which was awarded the Roland Bainton Prize for literature, and is co-founder of the digital humanities project, Six Degrees of Francis Bacon. With Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick and Max G’Sell, he is co-PI of Print and Probability, an NSF-funded project using machine learning and computer vision inferring thousands of book and pamphlet printers whose identities have eluded scholars for roughly 500 years. 

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Stephen Wittek's work lies at the intersection between early modern drama and cultural studies. He is the author of The Media Players: Shakespeare, Middleton, Jonson, and the Idea of News (University of Michigan Press, 2015). His work has also appeared in journals including Studies in English Literature, Digital Humanities Quarterly, and Journal of Cognitive History. He is co-editor of two multi-authored collections: Performing Conversion: Cities, Theatre and Early Modern Transformations (with José R. Jouve-Martín, Edinburgh University Press, 2021) and Shakespeare and Virtual Reality (with David McInnis, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming Fall 2021). Other endeavours of note include a new book project about Shakespeare and the cultural politics of conversion, an edition of The Merchant of Venice for Internet Shakespeare Editions (co-edited with Janelle Jenstad), and the DREaM interface for distant reading early modern texts (co-created with Matthew Milner and Stéfan Sinclair).

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Emeritus and Affiliates


Kristina Straub works on theatrical and cultural performances of gender and sexuality in Britain’s long 18th century.  Her books include Sexual Suspects: Eighteenth-Century Players and Sexual Ideology and Domestic Affairs: Intimacy, Eroticism, and Violence Between Masters and Servants in Eighteenth-Century Britain.


Sam Lemley, Curator of Special Collections, administers research, acquisitions, interpretation, and instruction in CMU Libraries' repository for rare books, manuscripts, and early scientific instruments and calculating machines. His research is in the history of science and technology and analytical bibliography. Lemley has held fellowships at the Houghton Library, Princeton University Library, the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, and Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. His work appears in journals including Eighteenth-Century Studies, The Library, Studies in Bibliography, and Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. Read more about CMU's Special Collections here.

Among CPNP's recent and ongoing research projects are (alphabetically):

  • Historiography at Scale: Distant Reading the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  • Licensing Knowledge: Theatricality, Commercial Culture, and the Body Academic

  • The Digital Merchant of Venice, a new, born-digital edition for Internet Shakespeare Editions

  • Performing Conversion: Urbanism, Theatre, and the Transformation of the Early Modern World

  • Print and Probability: A Statistical Approach to Clandestine Publication

  • Shakespeare VR, a pedagogical tool for studying the spatial dimension of early modern drama

  • Six Degrees of Francis Bacon, a digital reconstruction of the social networks of early modern Britain, 1500-1700 

  • Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity

  • Scales of Print: Codex, Edition, Copy, 1750-1820

Current Doctoral Students

  • Elizabeth Dieterich, Interests: dramatic literature, critical theory, and performance, and Shakespeare
  • Sarah Hancock, Interests: 18th Century Theater, Garden History , Performance Theory, and Botanical History  
  • Craig Stamm, Dissertation: History, Publishing, and Poetry in the Joseph Johnson Network 1780-1810 
  • Pierce Williams, Dissertation: Impolite Science: Print and Performance in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic

Recent Ph.D. Graduates

  • Julie Bowman, Full-time Lecturer, UMass-Dartmouth, Dissertation: Domestic Conflict: Reading Space in Early Modern Drama
  • Bill Blake, Assistant Professor of English, New York University, Dissertation: Soldier Playwrights, Public Honor, and the Making of Liberal Arts Culture, 1660-1737

  • Thora Brylowe, Assistant Professor of English, University of Colorado at Boulder, Dissertation: Romantic Arts & Letters: British Print, Paint, and Engraving 1760-1830

  • Kate Hamilton, Learning Experience Designer, Boston University Dissertation: 'The Voice of Fame’: Frances Burney and Eighteenth-Century British Celebrity

  • Nathan Pensky, Dissertation: Cartesian Theaters, Shakespearean Minds: Interpreting the Literature of Being and Seeming
  • Julianne Reineke, Associate Director of the Global Communication Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Dissertation: Three Sheets to the Wind: The Jolly Jack Tar and Eighteenth-Century British Masculinity

  • DJ Schuldt, Adjunct Professor at Emmanuel College, Dissertation: The Dissenting Academies and the Literary Politics of the 1790s

  • Jamie Smith, Dissertation: Rights and Rites: Revolution, Gender, Performance, and Religion in British Novels of the 1790s

  • Natalie Suzelis, Assistant Professor of Literature, Antioch College, Dissertation: Shakespeare and the Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism