Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sign of the times: University of Maryland closes CRBS after 31 successful years

by J J Cohen

From an email I just received:

To:        Funders, Supporters, Partners of the Center for Renaissance & Baroque Studies
              and Faculty, Staff, and Students of the College of Arts and Humanities  

From:   James F. Harris, Dean

Re:         Closure of the Center for Renaissance & Baroque Studies

As some of you know, I have decided to close the Center for Renaissance & Baroque Studies, and I am working with Adele Seeff to preserve core components of the Center’s portfolio before the effective closure date of July 23, 2010.  I will ensure that the University meets all outstanding financial and programmatic obligations the Center has incurred, including the smooth running of the National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar for college and university  faculty, the Crossing Borders/Breaking Boundaries summer institute for secondary school teachers, and the Shakespeare Camp.

My decision to close the Center was not an easy one.  I was confronted with a difficult choice between competing goods.  On the one hand were the important scholarly record and the vibrant interdisciplinary, interdepartmental intellectual communities that the Center has provided.  On the other hand were the four assistant professor positions that appropriating the Center’s budget makes available.  Ultimately, I decided to protect the base budget for teaching undergraduate and graduate programs.

For nearly thirty-one years, the Center has played a very significant role in the college’s research, scholarship, and teaching of Shakespeare, early modern women, medieval and renaissance studies, and in various outreach initiatives.  I value the work of the Center and will maintain central activities of its portfolio by housing them in other departments or colleges  that make sense intellectually...

A number of faculty and graduate students have expressed the desire to organize a working group with colleagues whose research and teaching specializations lie in the broad category of early modern studies.  I encourage such activity and will be happy to provide modest funding and some space to realize this goal.

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