Emily Kent

Thesis title: Mersenne’s Beautiful Questions: Music, Philosophy, and Cultures of Erudition in Seventeenth-Century France


I completed my BA at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., double majoring in music and history. Following this I lived in Austria for two years, first as as a scholar at the Universität Salzburg under a Fulbright Fellowship and then as a teaching assistant at the Pädagogische Hochschule in Vienna through the United States Teaching Assistantship Program. I completed an MSt in Early Modern History at Lincoln College, Oxford, before starting my PhD in History at the University of Edinburgh. I am generously funded by the Edinburgh Global Research Scholarship and the HCA School Doctoral Scholarship. 


MSt in History, University of Oxford (2019)

BA in Music and History, Georgetown University (2016) 

Responsibilities & affiliations

Committee member, Edinburgh Early Modern Network (University of Edinburgh) 

Undergraduate teaching

I am a tutor on Medieval Worlds: A Journey through the Middle Ages (HIST08035) and Early Modern History: A Connected World (HIST08034). 

Research summary

I am a researcher of early modern science and scholarship with a particular interest in the intersection between music theory and natural philosophy. I am also interested in reconstructing the various intellectual cultures (e.g. the social, institutional, or material factors shaping an individual's thinking) within which scholars and erudites worked. My dissertation focuses on the French polymath Marin Mersenne (1588-1648) and the unusual social role he forged for himself as both an author of philosophy and an arbiter of its advancement across Europe through his far-reaching correspondence network. I aim to identify the questions and challenges apparent in French intellectual culture and the way this manifested in his attempt to reinvent the discipline of the study of music. 

Affiliated research centres