Ortelius 1570


English Encounters with the Americas, 1550-1610

NEH Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers

July 5-29, 2011 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology



dear colleague letter

contents and approach


faculty and staff


stellar class site


related links




MIT Literature Section




Project Director

Project Director Mary Fuller
Mary Fuller is professor of literature at MIT.  Her primary research interest is in accounts of English travel in the early modern period; she is also interested  in the history of the book. and in early American history.  She has organized and led two research seminars on travel writing at the Shakespeare Association,  served as faculty for the NEH Summer Institute,  "British and Indigenous Cultural Encounters in Native North America: 1580-1785," held at the John Carter Brown Library in 2005, and has been an invited plenary speaker at several national and international conferences devoted to topics in travel writing or the encounter between Europe and the Americas. She has also published widely on the early printed  records of English maritime expansion, including articles and chapters on Raleigh, Frobisher, and Newfoundland, and two book length studies: Voyages in Print: English Travel to America 1576-1624 (Cambridge, 1995) and Remembering the Early Modern Voyage: English Narratives in the Age of European Expansion (Palgrave, 2008).  She is currently collaborating with a colleague in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at MIT on developing an undergraduate class focused on scientific expeditions, a project funded by an internal grant for pedagogic enrichment.

Visiting Lecturers

nicolas Wey_Gomez
Nicolas Wey-Gomez (guest speaker, week 1) is professor of history in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the California Institute of Technology. He taught humanities at MIT until 1993 and Hispanic Studies at Brown University until last spring. His first book, The Tropics of Empire: Why Columbus Sailed South to the Indies (MIT Press, 2008), rewrites the history of the Discovery as part of Europe’s imperial awakening to the natural and human resources of the tropics. His current book project, The Machine of the World: Nature’s Culture in the Early Colonial Spanish Americas, tracks the interrelated developments of the natural sciences and anthropology in the early Atlantic world.

Reginald Auger (guest speaker, week 2) is professor of history and archaeology and director of CELAT (Centre interuniversitaire d'études sur les lettres, les arts, et les traditions) at the Université Laval (Québec).  As a principal investigator at the Frobisher archaeological sites on Baffin Island, he has published numerous essays on the Frobisher voyages in both French and English, on topics ranging from the history of technology, the material evidence for intercultural contact, and the comparison of oral tradition and printed voyage narratives.

Joyce Lorimer (guest speaker, week 3) is professor and chair of history at Wilfrid Laurier University (Ontario), and an honorary series editor for the Hakluyt Society.   Her research interests focus on early European trade and settlement in Guiana, and the travel literature which evolved from it.  Her books include English and Irish Settlement on the River Amazon, 1550-1646 (1990) and a new edition of Ralegh's Discoverie of Guiana (2006) that, for the first time, prints the annotated manuscript along with the 1596 quarto text and other related documents. She is currently working on a general history of English settlement in the area in the late Elizabethan and early Stuart period.


Brad Seawell

Brad Seawell is coordinator and managing editor for the MIT Communications Forum, which sponsors talks on all aspects of communications, with special emphasis on emerging technologies." He has also helped organize several on-campus conferences for MIT Comparative Media Studies.