Professor of English, Director of Literary and Cultural Studies Program
My interests are in feminist cultural studies, sexuality studies, performance studies, and eighteenth-century British cultural studies. My first book, Divided Fictions, was among a handful of feminist reconsiderations of the novelist Frances Burney that helped to change the assessment of that writer during the 1980s. Sexual Suspects, a book about actors and ideologies of sexuality in eighteenth-century Britain, helped to direct theater and feminist studies of the early modern period toward a now-burgeoning interest in performance and its cultural contexts, particularly how sexuality is imagined in popular culture. Domestics Affairs, a new book from Johns Hopkins University Press, explores how labor, gender, and sexuality are integrally related in the practices and ideologies of London domestic service, in particular, and how we might think about the relation between these usually distinct categories in other historical instances. My most recent research takes me to modern productions of early modern plays and to the study of how the history of a play's performance informs its meanings for modern audiences. I am very grounded in classroom teaching; interactions with my students keep me intellectually alert, honest, and attuned to the importance of making "academic" issues matter to how we think about and live our lives. I have created a cultural studies edition of Burney's first novel, Evelina, for classroom use, as well as contributing to the Broadview Anthology of Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century Drama, both of which grew out of my commitment to developing good texts for cultural studies classes. I teach courses in Gender Studies, Feminist Cultural Studies, Performance Studies, and early modern British literature and culture.