How Early Modern Studies allowed Evangeline Freedman to explore a variety of interests and to see them as interconnected pieces

Like many other University of King’s College students, Evangeline Freedman started by enrolling in the Foundation Year Program (FYP). This is an interdisciplinary first-year program in which students read significant works from the Western canon in chronological order.

“I loved FYP and couldn’t imagine leaving King’s. I debated between the Early Modern Studies Program (EMSP) and two other humanities undergraduate programs at King’s,” she says, explaining the decision she had to make between EMSP, History of Science and Technology or Contemporary Studies. As Evangeline was drawn to the study of
Renaissance art, poetry and literature, she decided Early Modern Studies would be her best path. 

The undergraduate program required her to complete at least two half-credit EMSP electives, along with three core courses: Structures of the Modern Self, the Study of Nature in Early Modern Europe or Conceptions of State, Society, and Revolution in the Early Modern Period. 

Evangeline found the thesis portion of the program to be a huge undertaking, as EMSP has one of the longest thesis requirements of any undergraduate university—a full 50 to 70 pages of original scholarship. 

“I completed my thesis during my ‘victory lap’, or fifth year, which was the same year I was diagnosed with ADHD,” she says. “The time management and
organizational skills needed to write such a massive work was a real struggle for me.” 

At the same time, the thesis process was one of the most rewarding for Evangeline. 

“How many undergraduate students come out of their program with a piece of scholarly writing comparable to a master’s thesis?” she says. Evangeline took great pride in finishing her thesis, which is an interdisciplinary work that focuses on female Renaissance artists in northern Italy, combining criminal history, art history, medical history, Bolognese history and feminist philosophy. 

“The opportunity to do that kind of work is a big part of why I fell in love with academia, and am planning on continuing in academia,” Evangeline adds. 

The other half of the combined honours degree was in Gender and Women’s Studies. Evangeline was eager to learn what she could about the work and lives of Renaissance women. Three professors in particular stood out for her: Dr. Laura Penny, Dr. Jannette Vusich and Dr. Katherine Morris. All three women taught Evangline much about women and gender during the Renaissance period, all while supporting their female students and challenging ideas that the early modern period exclusively held male figures. 

“EMSP really draws together different fields, and offers such a variety of subjects even within the program—which is quite small. There are many programs that
view their fields as disparate parts instead of as  interconnected pieces, and even though I was interested in so many topics, I was encouraged to pursue everything and to connect them all together,” Evangeline says. 

After such a rigorous and challenging undergraduate program, Evangeline isn’t ready to let go of the world of academia quite yet. She now hopes to go on to pursue her master’s in the History of Medicine. She has been pleased to find that even in the master’s application process she’s already using the intense writing and thinking skills she has gained from EMSP. 

Academia has now become Evangeline’s life path and future career, and the University of King’s College is where she fell in love with it all.