Allison Hobgood

Associate Professor of English


  • PhD in English; certificate in Women's Studies, Emory University, 2007
  • Masters of Arts in Teaching, Emory University, 2001
  • Bachelor of Arts with Honors in English, Davidson College, 1999

Teaching Interests and Philosophies

I teach Shakespeare and early modern literature, women's and gender studies, medieval literature, and disability studies.

My classroom practices are guided by the following notions:

  • Learning is not about grades; teaching is about cultivating a love of knowledge for its own sake.
  • Learning is not about confirmation and comfort; teaching is about encouraging diversity of thought and understanding.
  • Learning is not about a solitary encounter with texts and information; teaching is about cooperation, connection, and conversation with the people and materials that bring knowledge to life.
  • Learning is not about the passive absorption of facts and figures; teaching is about modeling an active process of rigorous, critical inquiry.
  • Learning is not about uniformity; teaching is about realizing and embracing different ways of knowing.
  • Learning is not all about the short-term; teaching is about constant reflection, development, and redefinition.
  • Learning is not about facts that have no place in the world; teaching is about relating critical thinking to everyday life and work.
How and Why I Teach

Research Interests

I have just completed two major research projects: a scholarly monograph entitled Passionate Playgoing in Early Modern England, and a collected edition of essays called Recovering Disability in Early Modern England.

Passionate PlaygoingThe first project, Passionate Playgoing in Early Modern England (March 2014, Cambridge UP), investigates the affective force of spectatorship in early modern theater. Taking as one of its guiding principles the early modern belief in "affective contagion," a salient but seldom noted strain in Renaissance discourses of feeling, the book rethinks early modern theatergoing -- what it felt like to be part of performances in English theater -- as an intensely corporeal, highly emotive activity characterized by risky, even outright dangerous, bodily transformation. More radically, Passionate Playgoing contends that transformation happened not just to spectators but to the plays themselves; early modern drama relied for its emotive force on the playgoers in which it conjured affectivity, and in that reliance was enmeshed in theatrical transactions in which spectators had the power to augment, deny, and alter its affective force. Drama not only depended for its effect on the emotionality of audience members, that is, but was reciprocally reshaped and mutually constituted by those affected -- and affecting -- playgoers. Through an examination of this affective reciprocity between world and stage, Passionate Playgoing posits a new model of Renaissance subjectivity in which plays not only influenced individuals' emotions but those same emotions influenced dramatic performance.

Recovering Disability in Modern EarlyModern EnglandThe second project, Recovering Disability in Early Modern England, is a collected edition of essays co-edited with Professor David H. Wood (Northern Michigan University) and published by Ohio State University Press in May 2013. The book explores--for the very first time--disability through a focus on early modern representations of non-standard bodies and minds. Our volume calls attention to how examinations of difference in the Renaissance have often overlooked or misidentified disability and presents early modern disability studies as a productive theoretical lens that can reanimate existing scholarly dialogue about early modern subjectivities even as it motivates more politically invested classroom pedagogies. The collection asks: how do early modern investments in the "able" body construct the "disabled" body as its oppositional term? How were disabled persons represented in their respective cultures, both real and fictional? What traditions relating to disability did early modern writers inherit from the various theological, political, medical, and legal injunctions of the classical and medieval periods? Finally, what early modern views on disability inform our contemporary moment?

I currently am working on 3 new projects: an edited journal volume on care work, disability, and pedagogy; an anthology of plays that represent early modern disability; and a new monograph called Beholding Disability in the English Renaissance. Stay tuned!

Selected Publications

Passionate Playgoing in Early Modern England (Cambridge UP, March 2014)

Recovering Disability in Early Modern England (Ohio State UP, 2013)

"Feeling Fear in Macbeth," Shakespearean Sensations, ed. K. Craik and T. Pollard (Cambridge UP, 2013).

"Caesar Hath the Falling Sickness: The Legibility of Early Modern Disability in Shakespearean Drama." Disability Studies Quarterly 29:4 (fall 2009): n. pag. Web.

"The Bold Trespassing of a 'Proper Romantic Lady': Mary Tighe and a Female, Romantic Aesthetic." European Romantic Review 18:4 (fall 2007): 503-519. Print.

"Twelfth Night's 'Notorious Abuse' of Malvolio: Shame, Humorality, and Early Modern Spectatorship." Shakespeare Bulletin 24:3 (fall 2006): 1-22. Print.

Selected Courses

Paradise Lost, Humanities 497, senior thesis seminar on John Milton

Early Modern English Poetry, English 348, advanced course for majors and non-majors

Shakespeare, English 342, advanced course for majors and non-majors

Early Modern Drama, English 319, advanced course for majors and non-majors

Close Reading, English 201, first major course in English

Literary Theory, second major course in English

Figuring Faith in British Literature, English 117, writing-centered course primarily for non-majors

Literature and Disability Studies¸ English 116, writing-centered course primarily for non-majors

Daughters and Fathers in Life and Literature, College Colloquium, introductory course for incoming freshmen

Disability in Literature and Culture, College Colloquium, introductory course for incoming freshmen

Feminist Theory, Women's and Gender Studies 353, advanced course for majors