Department Chair and Professor of English
Ann C Christensen is currently the associate chair and a professor of English, a faculty affiliate in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, and founding member of the Empire Studies Research Collective. Specializing in the literature and culture of early modern England, Professor Christensen teaches and writes on the theatre of William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Thomas Heywood, and others, using feminist historicist methods and attending to economic structures—from kitchen labor to global traffic. Christensen’s new book Separation Scenes: Domestic Drama in Early Modern England 1590-1630 (University of Nebraska Press, 2017) argues that the popular genre of domestic tragedy deliberated the ways in which the increase in men’s commercial travel impacted the home. Her current scholarly projects include a modern critical edition of A Warning for Fair Women, a 1599 play that deserves to be read, taught, and performed—and it is! The play is under contract at Nebraska for the Early Modern Cultural Studies Series, and will be performed at the Attending to Women in Early Modern Europe conference at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in June 2018. Christensen thanks Ms. Aubrey Cowley for helping her transcribe the black letter text. Teaching Shakespeare in Houston is a new program based at UH and created by Christensen with Laura Turchi; TSH offers programming and networking for area teachers and others who are interested in ways that Shakespeare can empower youth. She is the faculty sponsor of the UH SHX Club and the UH Improv Club, and has other smaller projects on women and war and women and shopping in early modern England.
Christensen’s previous scholarship on such topics as the ambivalent roles of tradesmen’s wives in city comedy, adaptations of the Aeneas and Dido story from Virgil to Marlowe, representations of women’s work, the discursive and labor practices of the East India Company, and the history of economic criticism in the field has appeared in Early Modern Studies Journal, SEL, Marlowe Studies Annual, and Early Modern Women as well as the collections, Gendered Routes and Spaces in the Early Modern World (Ashgate, 2015) and Global Traffic: Discourses and Practices of Trade in English Literature and Culture from 1550-1700 (Palgrave, 2008).
Recent course offerings at the undergraduate level include “Governing Gaps” and “Worlds Elsewhere in Shakespeare,” “Others on the English Stage,” and “Misgoverned Kings and Unruly Subjects.” Graduate seminars include “Gender/Nation/Empire,” “Shakespeare's Comedies and Histories: Gender and/as Performance, and “Occupy Shakespeare: Treatments of ‘the People’.” She is a recent recipient of the Provost’s Teaching Excellence Award.
Praise for Separation Scenes
With one brilliant insight, Separation Scenes demonstrates the entanglement of the global and the domestic in the Elizabethan and Jacobean years. Ann Christensen’s readings of key domestic plays are both entirely fresh and historically true.”—Lena Cowen Orlin, professor of English at Georgetown University, executive director of the Shakespeare Association of America, and author of Locating Privacy in Tudor London
- Ph.D., University of Illinois
- M.A., University of Illinois
- B.A., Quincy College
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Christenen, Ann C. Separation Scenes: Domestic Drama in Early Modern England. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2017.
Column Editor with Laura Turchi, “Teaching Shakespeare” forthcoming, English Journal (publication of NCTE). 6 issues September 2018-July 2019 http://www2.ncte.org/resources/journals/english-journal/columns-and-editors/
2014 “Guides to Marriage and ‘Needful Travel’ in Early Modern England” in Gendered Routes and Spaces in the Early Modern World. Ashgate Press. Merry E. Wiesner- Hanks, editor. In press. (25 MS pages)
2014 “Words about Women’s Work; The Case of Housewifery in Early Modern England” in Early Modern Studies Journal (EMSJ) formerly Early English Studies (EES). (2014) Volume 6. “Women’s Writing/Women’s Work in Early Modernity” http://www.earlymodernstudiesjournal.org/review_articles/words-womens-work-case-housewifery-early-modern-england/
2012 “Men (Don’t) Leave: Aeneas as Departing Husband in Dido Queen of Carthage.” Marlowe Studies Annual. 2 (2012): 5-24.
2008 “Merchant wives, agency, and ambivalence in early modern studies,” Forum I, “The Rise of the Mercantile Economy and Early Modern Women” Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal. 3 (2008): 21-223.
2008 “Being Mistress Eyre in Dekker’s The Shoemaker’s Holiday and Deloney’s The Gentle Craft” Comparative Drama. 42. 3 (Fall 2008): 451-480.
2008 “’Absent, weak, or unserviceable’: The East India Company and the Domestic Economy in The Launching of the Mary, or The Seaman’s Honest Wife” in Global Traffic: Discourses and Practices of Trade in English Literature and Culture from 1550 to 1700, Barbara Sebek and Stephen Deng, eds. (New York: Palgrave, 2008.): 161-192.
Work in progress
- A Warning for Fair Women. Critical edition of anonymous play (pub. 1599)
- “’Parting is such…’: Those who stay and those who go in early modern drama.” Under consideration. Special issue of Early Modern Literary Studies Co-authored with Jessica Slights, Acadia University, Canada.
- “Settled and Unsettling: Home and Mobility in Heywood’s King Edward IV (1599)” 45 pages. Under consideration at Renaissance Drama.
- “’Shoes. Sexy since 1599'; or Consuming Women in Renaissance Drama”
- “’Thou Has No Calling’: Labor Crises in Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair”
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Recent Honors, Awards, and Grants Received
- 2017 Division of Research Small Grant “Teaching Shakespeare in Houston” (with Laura Turchi, College of Education ($4900).
- 2015-2017 Department of English Houstoun Professorship
- 2013 University of Houston Provost’s Teaching Excellence Award
- 2015 Lecture “’You left us both at window’: Troubling Thresholds in Thomas Middleton’s Women Beware Women.” University of Texas, Austin, May.
- 2012 Plenary Address. “’Rollin’ in the Deep’: Undergraduates and Feminist Theory” Attending to Women in Early Modern Europe Symposium. University of Wisconsin, June, Milwaukee.
- 2009 Panelist. “Bringing up Baby: the Bastard Heir of Usury,” round-table “The Current State of Empire Studies” Symposium. University of Houston.
- 2007 Respondent. ‘Domestic Shakespeares’ (Jessica Slights, organizer). S.A.A. Dallas, April. 2003 Panelist. “The Domestic Worlds of Romeo and Juliet” Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
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- Shakespeare’s Tragedies: Gender/Nation/Empire; Shakespeare's Comedies and Histories; Gender and/as Performance; Shakespeare on Film
- Feminist Theory and Methodology (Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies)
- Graduate Pre-seminar in Renaissance Literature
- Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama: City, State, and Household on the Elizabethan and Jacobean Stage; New Historicism, Labor and Leisure; Economies; Fair Maids and Dark Ladies: representations of early modern English women; “Traffic on the English stage”
- Graduate Special Problems courses: Women Writers and Feminist Criticism, Early Modern Women Writers, Gender and Power in Shakespeare's Problem Plays, Shakespeare and Globalization, The History of Sonnet Sequences
- Freshman Composition; Freshman Honors, The Human Situation (Antiquity and Modernity)
- Sophomore level: Introduction to Poetry; Writing in the Discipline
- Upper level: English Renaissance Literature
- Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama: Drama and Social History; Carnival and Marketplace in Early Modern Drama; Others on the English Stage
- Senior Seminar: Shakespeare and the Place of the Stage Undergraduate Independent Study: The Shakespearean History Play; Marlowe and Jonson
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