Jean E. Howard
Professor, Department of English
and Comparative Literature
606A Philosophy Hall
B.A., Brown (1970)
M.Phil., University of London (Marshall Fellow 1972)
Ph.D., Yale (Danforth Fellow 1975)
Prof. Howard began teaching at Syracuse in 1975, where she received the first University-wide Wasserstrom Prize for excellence as teacher and mentor of graduate students. She has also received NEH, Mellon, and Folger Library fellowships. Her teaching interests are Renaissance literature, especially drama; modern drama; feminist and Marxist literary theory.
She is on the editorial board of Shakespeare Quarterly, Renaissance Drama, and Shakespeare Studies.
She has published essays on Shakespeare, Pope, non-Shakespearean drama, and contemporary criticism, including new historicism and postmodern political feminism. She is working on a new book, Theater of a City, on non-Shakespearean seventeenth-century drama.
She is currently Director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (1997-99).
Selected recent courses offered in Theater:
Feminist Texts (seminar). Major texts in the Western feminist tradition from the early 17th century to WWII. Focus will be on close critical reading of major texts and on exploring how the category of "woman" is historically constituted and politically deployed and on the kinds of difference that make the category both productively and disablingly unstable.
Renaissance Histories: London. This course will focus on writings which represent London in the period from roughly 1590 to 1625. How was London constituted in city chronicle, in city comedy, in city pageants, in travellers' accounts, in urban satire, in cartographic representations? What did it mean for London to be a capital city/ a commercial center/ a seat of government/ a densely populated port city opening to Europe and the world beyond? Writings by Stow, Middleton, Donne, Marston, Jonson, Dekker will be read in light of historical work by Beier, Archer, Boulton, and others on early modern cities and on London in particular.
Shakespeare. Introduction to the study of Shakespeare's tragedies, comedies, and tragicomedies. Special attention to historical context, genre theory, and contemporary critical approaches.
Gender and Performance. Comparative study of the performativity of sex and gender identities in different cultural and historical settings. The concept of "performativity" will be under scrutiny. Theoretical readings from Butler, Straub, Case, and others, as well as literary and anthropological texts.
Shakespeare. Introduction to the study of Shakespeare's comedies, histories, early tragedies. Special attention to stagecraft, language, genre, historical context.
English literature of the Renaissance. Poetry, prose, and drama from 1600 to 1660 with attention to city comedy, Jacobean tragedy, the essay, and modes of lyric poetry. Writers considered include Webster, Bacon, Donne, Jonson, Marvell, Wroth, and Cary.
Topics in literary theory: Feminist theory. An examination of issues and problems in current feminist theory and other forms of feminist writing. Special attention to questions of identity. Will include readings by Nancy Miller, Eve Sedgwick, bell hooks, Judith Butler, Audre Lorde, Trinh Minh-ha, Teresa de Lauretis, Adrienne Rich, and others.
Shakespeare. An examination of Shakespeare's comedies from Two Gentlemen of Verona to The Tempest. Special attention to issues of gender and sexuality to the effects of generic conventions and comic form on the representation of the modern early modern sex-gender system.
Tudor-Stuart drama: Nationalism and popular Theatre. A consideration of the role of public Theatre in forging a sense of English national identity in the Tudor-Stuart period. Questions to be considered: differences between dramatic genres in the way they construct "Englishness;" representations of "other" nationalities in stage plays as a foil to Englishness; the effect of colonialism and overseas commercial expansion on constructions of English national identity; the role of sexuality and gender in constructions of the nation. Readings will include historical and theoretical work by Anderson, Gellner, Helgerson, Stallybrass, Goldberg, and others; plays from a variety of Renaissance dramatic genres including the history play, city comedy, romance, and tragicomedy. We are sure to read Henry IV, Henry V, Edward IV, Fair Maid of the West, Volpone, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, The Shoemakers Holiday, Cymbeline, and The Honest Whore.
16th-century texts. This course will explore the representation of erotic desire and practice in a range of literary texts written in the 1580's and 1590's. Questions to be considered: How malleable was sexual desire mobilized and channelled? How useful are modern categories in describing modalities of erotic desire in early modern England? How do erotic languages intersect with other modes of social categorization and strat