Gender, Race, and Early Modern Studies (colloquium)

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With a few notable exceptions, early modern scholars have not consistently wed gender and race studies as effectively as those working on later periods. Yet race in the early modern period is a concept at the crossroads of a set of overlapping concerns of lineage, religion, sexuality, custom, and nation. These categories often serve as support or solvent to the terms and relations by which the early modern category of “woman” is understood. This year-long colloquium will thoroughly explore the works that women read and wrote, in which they are represented, and in which they represent themselves, to put gender in consistent and contested conversation with race. Scholars working on a wide variety of genres, including religious and medical tracts, domestic and conduct manuals, travel narratives, poetry, and drama, are invited to apply to participate in a gathering that will utilize the wealth of relevant Folger materials. They will have the opportunity to workshop their own writing as well as to discuss approaches and directions in the broader field with invited presenters.

Directors: Kimberly Anne Coles is Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland. Author of Religion, Reform, and Women’s Writing in Early Modern England (2008), she recently co-edited The Cultural Politics of Blood, 1500-1900 (2015). Her current book project, “‘A Fault of Humour’: The Constitution of Belief in Early Modern England” deals with the medical and philosophical context that makes moral constitution a physiological, heritable feature of the blood. Ayanna Thompson is Professor of English at George Washington University. She is the author of Teaching Shakespeare with Purpose: A Student-Centred Approach (2016), Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America (2011), and Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage (2008). She is the editor of Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance (2010) and Colorblind Shakespeare: New Perspectives on Race and Performance (2006).

Invited Presenters: Patricia Akhimie is Assistant Professor of English at Rutgers University-Newark, where she teaches Shakespeare and Renaissance drama. She is author of Shakespeare and the Cultivation of Difference: Race and Conduct in the Early Modern World (Routledge, forthcoming, and co-editor, with Bernadette Andrea, of Traveling/Travailing Women: Early Modern England and the Wider World (U of Nebraska, forthcoming 2017).

Dennis Austin Britton, Associate Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire, is author of Becoming Christian: Race, Reformation, and Early Modern English Romance. With Melissa Walter, he is co-editing a collection of essay entitled Rethinking Shakespeare Source Study: Author, Audiences, and Digital Technologies. He is currently working on a book entitled Shakespeare and Pity: Feeling, Human Difference, and Early Modern English Drama.

Ruben Espinosa is Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas, El Paso. He is the author of Masculinity and Marian Efficacy in Shakespeare’s England (2011) and co-editor of Shakespeare and Immigration (2014). He has recently published in Shakespeare Quarterly, and is at work on his next monograph, Shakespeare on the Border: Legitimacy, Legacy, and La Frontera.

Melissa E. Sanchez is the author of Erotic Subjects: The Sexuality of Politics in Early Modern English Literature (2011) and the co-editor of Spenser and “the Human,” a special volume of Spenser Studies (2015); Rethinking Feminism in Early Modern Studies: Gender, Race, Sexuality (2016); and Desiring History and Historicizing Desire, a special issue of JEMCS (2016).

Reginald A. Wilburn is an Associate Professor of African American literature and culture in English at the University of New Hampshire. He specializes in intertextuality studies with a particular focus on early African American writers’ literary engagements with John Milton. In addition to his monograph, Preaching the Gospel of Black Revolt: Appropriating Milton in Early African American Literature (2015), he is also a contributor to Catherine Gray and Erin Murphy’s 2014 collection, Milton Now: 25 Years Later.

Schedule: Friday afternoons, 1:00 – 4:30 p.m., 22 September, 20 October, 17 November, 8 December 2017; 26 January, 23 February, 9 March, 27 April 2018.

Apply: 12 June 2017 for admission and grants-in-aid.