Shankar Raman’s research focuses on late medieval and early modern literature and culture. He received his PhD in English Literature (with a minor in German) from Stanford University in 1995, switching fields and careers after receiving both a master’s (University of California, Berkeley) and a bachelor’s (MIT) degree in electrical engineering (as well as a second bachelor’s at MIT through the architecture department). From 2005 to 2010, he participated in Making Publics: Media, Markets and Associations in Early Modern Europe, 1500 – 1700 [MaPs], a major five-year interdisciplinary research initiative funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada. In 2010-2011, he was a Beatrice Shepherd Blaine Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study (Cambridge, MA) and was recently named a MacVicar Teaching Fellow at MIT, the institute's highest teaching honour.

His first book, Framing ‘India’: The Colonial Imaginary in Early Modern Culture (Stanford 2002), examines the relationship between colonialism and literature in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. It compares Portuguese, English and Dutch colonial activity to examine the role of India as a figure through which these diverse European powers imagined and defined themselves. A second book, Renaissance Literature and Postcolonial Studies, was published by Edinburgh University Press (2011). Professor Raman is also co-editor of Knowing Shakespeare: Senses, Embodiment, Cognition (Palgrave Macmillan 2010). He is currently working on a monograph on the relationship between literature and mathematics in early modern Europe, tentatively entitled Before the Two Cultures.

Project - Before the two cultures: literature and mathematics in early modern Europe

Before the two cultures reveals surprising connections between mathematics and literature in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. Long before science was a profession, early modern mathematical concepts evolved in contexts not narrowly scientific. To truly understand them, we must relate them to other areas of cultural expression. Literature in particular addressed issues equally vital to the burgeoning sciences of quantification: calculability, contingency, and the rationality of belief in an increasingly uncertain world.

Among others, Montaigne, Sidney, Shakespeare, Donne, Cavendish, Pascal and Milton all elaborated -- but also challenged -- forms of abstract reason rapidly developing in domains such as arithmetic, geometry, algebra, probability, and calculus. Yet, among literary scholars, mathematics remains largely unconsidered. Professor Raman aims to explore this new field of study in a way that does justice to both literary form and mathematical content, each having played a formative role in the creation of modernity.



Lianne Habinek is the author of The Subtle Knot: Early Modern British Literature and the Birth of Neuroscience (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2018). Her work has appeared in the journals Textual Practice, Shakespeare, and Configurations, as well as in essay collections.
She has received fellowships from Wellesley College, Yale University's Medical Library, and the Huntington and Folger Shakespeare Libraries.

Her undergraduate work, in literature and in neuroscience, was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; her graduate work was at King's College, Cambridge and Columbia University.
Her research interests are in 17th and 18th century British literature and natural philosophy, book history, and the history of (neuro)science.
Most recently she was an Assistant Professor at Bard College. She is currently a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study of the University of Strasbourg (2019-2021).


Jumana Bayeh, Lecturer at Macquarie University and an Honorary Associate of the Department of Arabic Language and Culture at the University of Sydney was SEARCH’s fellow for 2018.

She has held research fellowships in the University of Toronto (2014), and the University of Edinburgh (2013).
She is the author of The Literature of the Lebanese Diaspora: Representations of Place and Transnational Identity (I.B. Tauris, 2015) as well as a number of book chapters and articles on Arab diaspora fiction.
Her current project examines the representation of the nation-state in Arab diaspora litterature, from writers based in Australia, North America and the United Kingdom, to illustrate how the nation is reimagined by this transnational community.


Artur Skweres, Assistant professor at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, was SEARCH’s fellow from September 24 to November 24, 2015, thanks to a grant from his University.
On  October 9, he gave a paper entitled « Humour as a Weapon in American Popular culture. » His CV.

In partnership with the Erasmus Mundus Al Fihri Programme, Dr Wassim Jday from the Institute of Applied Languages of Moknine, Tunisia, was SEARCH’s fellow for 2015.


Prof. Stefano Ghislotti from the University of Bergamo was SEARCH’s fellow for 2014. His CV.



Prof. Anna Maria Cimitile (Università degli Studi di Napoli ‘L’Orientale’) was SEARCH’s fellow for 2013. Her CV.

Feedback : The SEARCH Fellowship at the Université de Strasbourg was a most rewarding experience, allowing a period of reseach – for which the University offered good resources and facilities – during which I had the privilege to be part of the lively academic community of the Department of English and North-American Studies.
During my stay I presented some of my work and was involved in the different research activities of the Group at both local, national and international level; discussions on those occasions and at other times always proved fruitful.
I met doctoral students of the early modern culture as well as of other fields of research, and it was a pleasure to discuss topics and issues with them all.
Good memories of the friendliness of the group, of Strasbourg and Alsace, the Humanist Library in Sélestat and other locations of research, too.


Prof. Bodh Prakash  (University of Dehli) was SEARCH’s fellow for 2012. His  CV.

Feedback : « As a SEARCH fellow at the University of Strasbourg I was privileged to be a part of the Department of English Studies. My colleagues were extremely supportive and made my tenure academically rewarding. The Bibliotheque Nationale and the University library have comprehensive holdings and their services are on par with international standards. The opportunity to present my work to scholars from partner universities and discuss issues regarding literatures of Anglophone countries was really useful. I was also very pleased to be able to interact with students who had an interest in Indian literatures. I enjoyed my stay in Strasbourg which is historically very important and culturally vibrant. »