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Grant number: FA-58055-14

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Kenneth Veld Gouwens
University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT 06269-9000)

Defining the Human in the Renaissance

This project investigates how Renaissance thinkers assessed differences between humans and apes (a premodern category including monkeys). In the 1500s, apes were invoked frequently in discussions of humans, but by the mid-17th century such comparisons were viewed as less meaningful. Individual chapters treat learned discourse on anatomy, literary imitation, human and non-human dignity, evidence from art, descriptions of recently encountered simians and peoples, and categorizations of apes in encyclopedic natural histories. An epilogue explores how Renaissance discussions of apes and human beings both anticipate present-day debates about the boundaries of the human and help to elucidate what is at stake in those debates.

Project fields:
Renaissance History; Renaissance Studies

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2014 – 6/30/2015