MARS (Medieval and Renaissance Studies) is an on-campus faculty research group that has existed in various iterations since 1992 and currently operates under the auspices of the BYU Humanities Center, adopting the model of two-to-three-year thematic series. From 2017-2020, the group will explore topics surrounding “Faith and Doubt in Pre-Modern Europe.”

Affiliated faculty come from various colleges and disciplines and our purview includes the history, art, literature and culture of Europe and the Mediterranean from the end of Antiquity (ca. 400 AD) through the development of the Early Modern world (ca. 1700). Our on-campus activities include faculty presentations and/or brown bag reading lunches to offer a dry run rehearsal for upcoming presentations or workshop and receive feedback on articles in the works; reading groups, in which the center purchases copies of a recent book that has made a splash on our given theme that we read and discuss – sometimes with the author; and, finally, hosting colleagues to give general faculty and student presentations. Over the years, MARS has brought the likes of Robert Darnton, Carole Levin, Molly Murray, Malina Stefanovska, Howard Bloch, Albrecht Classen, Katie Chenoweth, Kelly DeVries, Paul Oskar Kristeller and many others, to Provo.

Winter 2020 Schedule:


+ Shelley Williams’ Epiphany Celebration is 9 Jan @6pm (B037 JFSB)

+ Joe Parry (English) will be giving a MARS talk entitled Eros and Eternity in Edmund Spenser’s Amoretti (Tues, 28 Jan @ 3pm in 3132 JFSB)


+ On Thurs, 6 February @ 3pm, Bob Hudson (French & Italian), will be presenting the Humanities Center weekly colloquium, with the title “Clement Petitions: Translating Marot’s Verse Epistles as Critical Biography” (abstract in link).

+ The next day, Friday, 7 February, friend of MARS Bruce Hayes (KU) will be on campus as a guest of French & Italian to discuss his findings as the French Political Pamphlet fellow last summer, as well as his forthcoming book Hostile Humor in Renaissance France (time and location, TBA).

+Wednesday, 26 February @3pm in 3132 JFSB , Nancy Christiansen (English) will be distributing an article she is currently working on “Milton’s Paradise Regained: An Isocratean and Christian Humanist Literary Rhetoric” and we will meet to help her workshop that.


+ On Friday & Saturday, 13 & 14 March, MARS, GWS and other campus entities will be co-sponsoring a two-day, six-panel symposium “Women’s Voices of the Middle Ages and Renaissance” with Elissa Weaver (Chicago) as keynote and a one-woman play by Hollywood actress Suzanne Savoy “Je, Christine” that dramatically enacts selections of Christine de Pizan’s writings.

+ That following Monday & Tuesday, 16 & 17 March, we host our final MARS 2016–19: “Faith & Doubt in Pre-Modern Europe” keynote Jane Newman (UC-Irvine), who will be presenting “After Westphalia: Early Modern Lessons for the Post-Modern Age” (exact times, meals, etc. TBA).

+ Over those same dates 16–18 March, CAL will be hosting Scott Trudell (Maryland), author of MARS Book-of-the-Year Unwritten Poetry: Song, Performance and Media in Early Modern England (Oxford UP, 2019). As part of this visit, MARS will have the opportunity to host a meet & greet and discussion of the book with the author

For more information or to be added to the MARS newsletter, please contact Robert Hudson (French & Italian).

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