Renaissance/Early Modern Studies
Women's Literature | Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Studies (under construction)
Teaching and scholarship are intricately woven, warp and woof, into the fabric of my work so that I cannot speak of them separately. My scholarly work is energized and guided by my teaching and, in turn, shapes the courses I design.
My earliest work in the English Renaissance focused on prose fiction and devotional prose, particularly the sermon form. A continuing interest in traditional historical scholarship of the Renaissance, the history of literary forms, Renaissance theology and the homiletic tradition has seen me through the writing of a book, to be completed by the end of next semester, on the sermons of Thomas Adams--gifted, quirky, satirical Anglican divine of early seventeenth-century England. Multum in parvo, distilled versions of my work on Adams appear in The Dictionary of Literary Biography and English Renaissance Prose.
Influenced by the greater cultural inclusiveness and interdisciplinarity that characterize the most recent scholarship on early modern literature, my work now focuses upon questions of social class, gender, race, colonialism and sexuality. The insights afforded by feminist, Marxist, deconstructive, and foucauldian theory have transformed the kind of work I do, just as they have helped to redraw the boundaries of literary study.
Image Credit: Queen Elizabeth I. Ditchley Portrait. Marcus Gheeraerts, the Younger (c. 1592).http://www.english.upenn.edu/~bushnell/english-330
Much of my teaching and scholarship now focuses on the questions: What is the relationship of gender to power and the state? How were the categories "femininity" and "masculinity" fashioned and deployed in early modern England? What ideologies of masculinity and femininity shaped human subjectivity and how were they disseminated? Thus I examine not only literary works representing "high culture," but also popular treatises on anatomy, gynecology, female conduct, marriage advise; or legal documents; or descriptions of popular pastimes and communal social customs; or pamphlet invectives attacking or defending "lewd, idle, froward and unconstant" women. An example of such work is "'The Uncanny Stranger on Display': The Female Body in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Love Poetry." My courses in the Renaissance consider how numerous discourses, not only those on gender and sexuality, shaped subjectivity and literary production. Hence, they examine early modern discourses on racial difference, colonialism, "the poor," and the so-called "New World." Eng. 533: Theatre and Social Conflict in Early Modern England and Eng. 472: Studies in Shakespeare illustrate this kind of work.
Image Credit: Thomas Germinus, Compendiosa totius anatomie delineatio (1545), interleaved between Bii verso and Biii recto. Library of Congress.
Women's Literature (under construction)
Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Studies (under construction)
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