As Professor for Early Modern Literatures in English, my research and teaching revolve mainly around early modern drama and theatre history, memory culture in Shakespeare’s England, eighteenth-century literature and culture, gender studies and the history of feminism before 1800. I am particularly interested in the ways literary texts are part of the world, then and now: situated in specific historical, political and socio-cultural contexts, result of material conditions as well as cognitive, affective and aesthetic perception habits, in the form of theatrical performances, adaptations, re-writings, as acts of communication that create communities, shape identities, negotiate conflicts and help us understand better our society, past and present. I am therefore particularly delighted to be involved in a research project with the Robinson-Library, a unique archive of about 4’000 historical editions, translations and adaptations of Defoe’s famous novel Robinson Crusoe (1719), a formative text for modernity that continues to influence our ideas about the colonial past as well as today’s globalisation.
I did my graduate studies at LMU Munich, where I was awarded a doctoral degree for a study of masculinity in the eighteenth-century and Romantic novel in 2007. I received the venia legend in 2011 for my postdoctoral research, which explored practices of remembering and forgetting in early modern drama. After substituting as a temporary professor in English Literature at LMU Munich, I was appointed in 2013 as Chair for English Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Würzburg, Germany, where I also served as Head of Department (2014-2016) and as Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Arts (2017-2019). Since 2016 I have held research fellowships and visiting professorships at Jawaharlal-Nehru-University and Jamia Millia Islamia, both New Delhi. In August 2019 I took up the professorship in Early Modern Literatures at UZH.
I am lucky to work together with a team of scholars whose research complements, challenges and supports mine: with Beatrice Montedoro I share a keen interest in the material production and reception conditions of early modern plays; Sophie Battell’s focus on migration and hospitality in early modern drama usefully complements mine on the literary history of globalization in the eighteenth-century; Antoinina Bevan Zlatar’s work on the Reformation and seventeenth-century literature intersects with mine on confessional conflict and memory culture; and Anne-Claire Michoux collaborates with me on the research project “The Feminist Enlightenment Across Europe”.