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Professor Moncrief Co-Edits New Volume On Lessons from Early-Modern English Dramas

September 19, 2011
Dr. Kathryn M. Moncrief, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English at Washington College, is co-editor of a new scholarly exploration of how performances during Shakespeare’s time taught lessons in gender, conduct, social status and religion. 

Performing Pedagogy in Early Modern England: Gender, Instruction, and Performance, published earlier this month by England’s Ashgate Publishing Company, is Moncrief’s second collaboration with Dr. Kathryn R. McPherson of Utah Valley University and something of a companion volume to their 2007 book, Performing Maternity in Early Modern England.

The 15 essays in the new book explore how models of childhood education, particularly for girls, were applied in domestic, religious and school settings and rehearsed in dramas by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The collection breaks new ground as the first book to explore the rich and provocative intersection of gender, pedagogy, and performance.

“In early modern England, attention to education on both the stage and the page flourished,” says Moncrief. “Much of that instruction, occurring in the wake of both humanist and Protestant religious reforms, was guided by printed texts that explored pedagogical methods and the purpose of education for both boys and girls. The essays in this collection question the extent to which education itself — an activity rooted in study and pursued in the home, classroom, and the church — led to, mirrored, and was perhaps even transformed by moments of instruction on stage.”

In addition to co-editing the book, Moncrief wrote one of its chapters and co-wrote another with McPherson. She focuses much of her research and teaching at Washington College on early modern English drama (Shakespeare and his contemporaries) and 16th- and 17th-century English literature and culture, with a special focus on gender and performance. She holds a B.A. from Doane College, an M.A. from the University of Nebraska, and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

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