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Marjorie Rubright

Associate Professor & Director, Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies

black and white picture of Marjorie Rubright

(413) 545-9927

W439 South College

Marjorie Rubright joined the University of Massachusetts Amherst English faculty in 2017. Prior to her arrival, she was Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto. Her areas of research and teaching specialization include: early modern English literature and culture, early modern race and ethnicity studies, feminist criticism, renaissance lexical culture, and critical approaches to the study of the global renaissance.

Her current book project, A World of Words: Language, Earth and Embodiment in the Renaissance, traces the earthly substrates of renaissance lexical culture. In its broadest strokes, the book examines period-specific ways of thinking about human sameness and difference that emerge when one attends to how language and linguistic identity are imaginatively linked not only to ethnicized and racialized human bodies, but also to a diversity of earthly matter. In it, she investigates how lexicographers, language instructors, antiquarians, chorographers, horticulturists, as well as dramatists and poets, variously conceived of the relationships between language, earth, and embodiment, ultimately developing a mode of thinking that she characterizes as early modern "geo-linguistics."

Arthur F. Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies website


PhD in English, University of Michigan

MA in English Literature and Traditional Oral Poetics, University of Missouri-Columbia

BA in ancient Greek, Vassar College


Research Areas


Marjorie is author of Doppelgänger Dilemmas: Anglo-Dutch Relations in Early Modern English Literature and Culture (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), which argues that a necessary corollary to current scholarship on early modern constructions of ethnic and racial difference is the study of how identities were rendered approximately alike. She is co-author of "So Long Lives This": A Celebration of Shakespeare's Life and Works, 1616-2016 (Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, 2016), winner of the 2017 Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab Award.

She is currently co-editing a keywords collection Logomotives: Words that Changed the Premodern World and writing an essay for the forthcoming JEMCS special issue, Early Modern Trans Studies.

Research-Creation and Public Exchange:

Marjorie is the organizer of "Shakespeare, Race, and America . . . not necessarily in that order," a collaborative series of arts programming with Mt. Holyoke College featuring Keith Hamilton Cobb's American Moor (Nov 7 – 14, 2018). She is a collaborator on the Early Modern Conversions project, an international team of scholars and artists studying the first great Age of Conversion, 1400-1700. She co-organized the international and interdisciplinary conference, Early Modern Migrations: Exiles, Expulsion, and Religious Refugees 1400-1700. In conjunction with it, she worked as dramaturge with Toronto's Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and Poculi Ludique Societas to produce a full-scale production of Richard Daborne's A Christian Turn'd Turk (1612). With Kristina Bross (Purdue), she has co-organized a faculty symposium at the Newberry Library, Chicago: Symposium on the English and Dutch in the Early Modern World.

Her research has been supported by: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; the Connaught Foundation; University of Toronto's Jackman Humanities Institute; the University of Michigan's Institute for the Humanities; as well as The Huntington, Newberry, and Folger Shakespeare Libraries.

Courses Recently Taught

Recent courses include: Island Fictions: From Paradise to Ice; Shakespeare's Global Afterlives; Early British Literature and Culture to 1700: The World, the Word, and the Wanderer; & the department's Shakespeare lecture.

Recent graduate seminars include The Renaissance of the Earth; & Renaissance Keywords and the New Queer Philology.