SEM 22/10/2021, Lauren Working and Emily Stevenson, “From Middle Temple to Manoa: Global Networks at the Early Modern Inns of Court”, ZOOM

Dear all, As a reminder, the first session of the Paris Early Modern Seminar (PEMS) for 2021-2 will be held online on October 22, 2021 from 5.30 to 7pm (Paris time), via Zoom.

Lauren Working (York) and Emily Stevenson (Oxford), ERC-TIDE project‘ From Middle Temple to Manoa: Global Networks at the Early Modern Inns of Court’

This session will be devoted to a presentation of the exhibition curated by the two speakers at the Middle Temple Library, 13 Sep – 31 Dec 2021: This exhibition links global networks of trade and exploration to Elizabethan and Jacobean social and literary networks at the Middle Temple. According to Walter Ralegh, who was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1575, ‘Manoa’ was the Indigenous name for what the Spanish called ‘El Dorado’, a fabled city of gold that Ralegh travelled in search of in 1617. The demand for commodities and knowledge about the world that emerged from European trade and exploration in the sixteenth century quickly became part of the social milieu of the Inns. Gentlemen commissioned globes that charted recent voyages. They celebrated Francis Drake’s return from his raids on the Spanish West Indies, and collected parts of the Golden Hind, the ship Drake captained when he circumnavigated the globe. Sugar, tobacco, spices, feathers, and pearls were increasingly used to celebrate imperial intervention abroad and to fuel sociability at home. While Elizabethans hoped colonization might usher ‘a golden world in this iron age’, whose golden age was it? The access to, and consumption of, global goods often relied on the mass exploitation of human lives and natural resources in other parts of the world. This exhibition encourages visitors to think about the influence of global interests on the social lives and self-fashioning of Inns gentlemen, but also to consider the geopolitics of production and exploitation that became ingrained in elite notions of civil refinement.


Lauren Working is a postdoctoral researcher on the TIDE project (Travel, Transculturality, and Identity in England, 1550 – 1700) at Oxford, and a lecturer at the University of York. Her research explores how English colonial projects in places ranging from Venezuela to Virginia influenced life in Tudor and Stuart London. Her first book, The Making of an Imperial Polity: Civility and America in the Jacobean Metropolis, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2020.

Emily Stevenson is a postdoctoral research assistant on the TIDE project at the University of Oxford. Her doctoral research examined the contextual communities and networks which surrounded Richard Hakluyt and his Principal Navigations, using a combination of social network mapping, literary and historical analysis. She is currently working on research examining the role of women as mercantile agents in sixteenth-century England.

Respondent: Ladan Niayesh (Université de Paris)