Office: 319 Eddy Hall
Office Hours: Fall 2015: 12:30-1:30 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays
Professor. B.A., English, with honors, University of Chicago; M.A., English, Ph.D., English, with distinction, University of Illinois.
Professor Sebek specializes in early modern British literature. The most recent Shakespeare Studies (Volume 42) includes her work situating Shakespeare's plays in the context of the Anglo-Spanish wine trade and sixteenth- and seventeenth-century debates about imported alcoholic beverages. Her essays on teaching Shakespeare from a global perspective appear in Teaching Medieval and Early Modern Cross Cultural Encounters, edited by Karina Attar and Lynn Shutters (Palgrave 2014) and a forthcoming MLA volume on teaching Shakespeare’s histories, edited by Laurie Ellinghausen. Interests in the economic contexts of renaissance plays and England’s expanding global networks inform her essays in Brinda Charry and Gitanjali Shahani’s Emissaries in Early Modern Literature (2009), Jyotsna Singh’s Companion to the Global Renaissance (2009), Global Traffic: Discourses and Practices of Trade in Early Modern Literature and Culture from 1550 to 1700 (2008)—a collection coedited with Stephen Deng of Michigan State University—and a contribution to Jean Howard’s forum on “English Cosmopolitanism” in Shakespeare Studies (2007). Earlier essays and reviews appear in The Tempest: Critical Essays, Playing the Globe: Genre and Geography in Renaissance Drama, Journal X, Shakespeare Quarterly, Theatre Research International, Sixteenth Century Studies, and Early Modern Culture: An Electronic Seminar.
Recent courses include Shakespeare, Graduate Literary Research Methods, Historicisms, Early Modern Women Writers, Different Shakespeares, Thomas Middleton, and Colonial and Postcolonial Literature.
Ph.D. English with distinction University of Illinois
E 456 Topics in Critical Theory: Historicisms
This course explores a few central questions: How have different literary critics and cultural historians understood the relationship between past and present and between literary texts and historical contexts? What kinds of sources and materials do historicist critics draw on in analyzing literary texts and other cultural phenomena? Why is historicist criticism not necessarily “about” the past? Readings and assignments will invite you to refine your research skills and expand your critical “toolbox” for offering more nuanced contextualization of literary and cultural texts. In the first third of the course, we will read a few critical overviews of historicist criticism. We will then read one play by Shakespeare and one novel by Virginia Woolf as “case studies” in the practice of historicist criticism.
E 428 Colonial and Postcolonial Literature
Beginning in the sixteenth century, England ruled over and defined itself in relation to a set of colonies in diverse geographical regions. This course introduces students to a variety of texts that dramatize the global reach of English literature and culture and explore the links between colonialist texts and those texts that write against colonial/imperial culture. We will take a long historical view in this course, beginning in the period of discovery and expansion when colonial formations were emergent, with readings by Edmund Spenser and William Shakespeare. We will extend our long view to twentieth-century works that engage creatively and critically with the legacy of colonialism: novels by Tayeb Salih and Virginia Woolf, and a play by Frank McGuinness. Drawing on Ania Loomba’s guide to colonial and postcolonial studies, we explore how literature participates in the ideological work of telling stories that legitimate, resist, or otherwise reconfigure efforts to assert political, economic and cultural dominion over subjugated peoples and cultures.