Late Medieval / Early Modern Thought

The goal of the reading group in Late Medieval / Early Modern Thought is interdisciplinary analysis of normative subjects that arise in the context of the 14th through 17th centuries, focusing on primary texts. Given the influence of the late medieval and early modern settings on our contemporary understanding of issues that are of normative importance to us, more work on this period of history is always necessary. Interdisciplinary approaches are especially relevant in this respect, since writers in this time period did not consider themselves writing for one academic field. Moreover, our hope for such a broad setting for a reading group is that over time the agenda can in part be set for future topics of study in part by the interests of attendees from the previous years. The purpose of this year’s focus – dominion and domination in early colonialism – is to examine how the history of the concept of domination worked itself out in these early colonialist settings, and what sorts of arguments were effective in working out some moral progress on the relevant issues.

Contact: Toni Alimi

All meetings Tuesday, 4:30-6pm, Scheide Caldwell House Room 209


  • September 26 – Pedro de Cordoba Christian Doctrine for the Instruction and Information of the Indians, Antonio de Montesinos, “Sermon on the Fourth Sunday of Advent”
  • October 17 – Joseph Canning; Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, A Second Democritus
  • November 7– The Salamanca School; Francisco de Vitoria, "On the American Indians"
  • December 5 – Bartolomé de las Casas, In Defense of the Indians; A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies


  • February 13 – Catholic Theories of Disobedience (Aquinas and Marsilius of Padua), Room 203 Scheide Caldwell House
  • March 6 – Martin Luther, Temporal Authority, John Ponet Short Treatise, Room 203 Scheide Caldwell House
  • March 27 – Theodore Beza, Right of Magistrates and (anon) Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos ,  Room 209 Scheide Caldwell House
  • April 24 – James I, "1603 Address to Parliament" and Johannes Althusius, Politica,  Room 209 Scheide Caldwell House