Assistant Professor of English:
Phone: +1 401 863 3735
Professor Feerick's first book _Strangers in Blood: Relocating Race in Renaissance Literature_ (Toronto, 2010) reads colonial narratives of degeneration as evidence of shifting racial paradigms in the period. Related research has appeared in such journals as _English Literary Renaissance_ (2002), _Early American Studies_ (2003), and _Renaissance Drama_ (2006). New work on tragicomedy and ecology appears in _South Central Review_ (2009), _EMLS_ (2009), and _Shakespeare Studies_ (2011). Feerick's co-edited volume, _The Indistinct Human in Renaissance Literature_, is just out from Palgrave (2012).
Professor Feerick received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania after completing an M.Phil. in English Studies at the University of Oxford. Recently honored as the William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellow at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University, Feerick is currently Assistant Professor of English at Brown University. Her book, Strangers in Blood: Relocating Race in Renaissance Literature, has been published by the University of Toronto Press in 2010. Feerick has also recently co-edited with Vin Nardizzi a collection of essays published by Palgrave (2012) titled The Indistinct Human in Renaissance Literature," which explores the instability of the very category of "the human" in Renaissance thought. She is now at work on a book on tragicomedy and Baconian science and another exploring the ecological dimensions of Shakespeare's plays.
Professor Feerick's first book resituates the early modern category of race around the central axis of blood and lineage. If recent criticism has anticipated the modern category of race in readings of Renaissance literature by emphasizing skin color as a dominant marker of difference for the period, Feerick argues that bloodlines -- whether elite or base -- underpinned an earlier symbolics of race. She reads a series of transatlantic literary texts (epic, drama, prose) as expressive of this longstanding system of identity rooted in blood being pressured and even coming unravelled under the circumstances of English migration and transplantation. In the context of working through the displacement of English men, women, and children from English soil and culture, the period's literature, she argues, dramatizes the contest between competing ways of organizing the world's peoples and physiologies. A piece of this research has led her to ask what horticultural language of the period can tell us about its premodern racial classifications.
Feerick's interest in early modern scientific discourse has led her to explore in her volume _The Indistinct Human in Renaissance Literature_ the persistently indistinct nature of the very category of the human, which cannot ontologically or epistemologically be finally divided from other life forms (animal, plant, mineral). She contributes an essay on the earthiness of human flesh in the context of reading three Renaissance historical tragedies -- Kyd's Spanish Tragedy and Shakespeare's Tragedy of King Richard II and King Henry VI, Part II -- which share an obsession with gardens and soil.
These interests have directed her to two new projects: one explores the overlaps between the disciplines of literature and science in the period through a shared tendency among practitioners of both modes to use tropes of romance to map the human subject's mind and passions, and the other, "Elemental Shakespeare," reads the plays as invested in a view of the human as a pastiche of elemental materials.
Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, 2002, M.Phil. University of Oxford, 1992, B.A. Georgetown University, 1990
Professor Feerick's newly designed freshman seminar, the Green Renaissance, was funded by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA). Interviews with her about this course were featured in the Brown Alumni Magazine (May, 2011) and the Providence Phoenix (June, 2011).
Professor Feerick was recipient of the William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellowship at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University for AY 2005-2006.
Modern Language Assocation
Shakespeare Association of America
Renaissance Society of America
Professor Feerick teaches courses on Shakespeare, Renaissance Drama, early modern utopias, and the cultures and literatures of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. Within these areas, she focuses on travel and colonization, particularly in a transatlantic context; early modern theories of race and embodiment; scientific discourses of the period; and literature and the environment.
Professor Feerick was recently awarded the William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellowship at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University. This award enabled her to join a group of faculty at Vanderbilt to investigate the topic "Premodern Others: Race and Sexuality" in the context of a weekly seminar.