Office: Benson 301
- Ph.D. Harvard 1994
- M.A. Harvard 1990
- A.B. Harvard 1988
- Gender and sexuality in early modern England
- Modern Language Association
- Renaissance Society of America
- Shakespeare Association of America
- Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies
- Short Term Fellowship, The Folger Shakespeare Library, Fall 2010.
- Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring, College of Arts and Science, Vanderbilt University, Fall 2010.
- Research Scholars Grant, Vanderbilt University, 2010-2011.
- Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award, English Graduate Students Association, Vanderbilt University, 2007-2008.
- American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 2004-2005
- Short Term Fellowship, The Folger Shakespeare Library, 2004
- Short Term Fellowship, The Huntington Library, 2005
- Research Scholars Grant, Vanderbilt University, 2004-2005
- Fellowship, Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, Vanderbilt University, 2002-2003
- Roland H. Bainton Book Prize for Literature, awarded for Tough Love, Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, 2001
- Short Term Fellowship, The Newberry Library, 2001
- Short Term Fellowship, The Folger Shakespeare Library, 2000
- Grant, University Research Council, Vanderbilt University, 1998-1999; 1999-2000
- Fellowship, Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, Vanderbilt University, 1998-99
- What You Will: Gender, Contract, and Shakespearean Social Space (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011)
- Tough Love: Amazon Encounters in the English Renaissance (Duke University Press, 2000)
- Selected Essays:
- "Monogamy and Death," in A Handbook of Shakespeare and Embodiment: Gender, Sexuality, Race, ed. Valerie Traub (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)
- "The Future is History: Tamburlaine's Uncanny Bodies," in Marlowe in Context, ed. Emily Bartels and Emma Smith (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)
- "Death and Theory: Or, the Problem of Counterfactual Sex," in Sex Before Sex: Eroticism and Representation in Early Modern England, ed. James Bromley and Will Stockton (University of Minnesota Press, 2013)
- "Hamlet without Us," Positions Response Essay, Shakespeare Quarterly (Summer 2011)
- "Queer Futility: The Life and Death of King John," in Shakesqueer, ed. Madhavi Menon (Duke University Press, 2010).
- "Will in Overplus: Recasting Misogyny is Shakespeare's Sonnets," ELH (Fall 2008)
- "Ventriloquized Sentimentality, or, The Theory and Practice of Women in War," in Presentism, Gender, and Sexuality in Shakespeare, ed. Evelyn Gajowski (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).
- "'My Intents Are Fix'd': Constant Will in All's Well That Ends Well," Shakespeare Quarterly (Summer 2007).
- "A Tragedy of Good Intentions: Maternal Agency in 3 Henry VI and King John," Renaissance Drama (Spring 2003)
- "Chastity, Militant and Married: Cavendish's Romance, Milton's Masque," PMLA (Spring 2003)
- "Vexed Relations: Family, State, and the Uses of Women in 3 Henry VI," in Blackwell Companions to Shakespeare: The Histories, ed. Richard Dutton and Jean Howard (Blackwell, 2002).
- "The Wrong Question: Thinking Through Virginity," differences (Summer 2002)
- "Breaking the Mirror Stage," in Historicism, Psychoanalysis, and Early Modern Culture, ed. Carla Mazzio and Doug Trevor (Routledge, 2000)
- "Mother Love," in Maternal Measures: Figuring Caregiving in the Early Modern Period, ed. Naomi Miller and Naomi Yavneh (Ashgate, 2000)
- "Fearful Simile: Stealing the Breech in Shakespeare's Chronicle Plays," Shakespeare Quarterly (Summer 1998)
- "Missing the Breast: Disease, Desire, and the Singular Effect of Amazons," in The Body in Parts, ed. David Hillman and Carla Mazzio (Routledge, 1997)
- "Amazon Reflections in the Jacobean Queen's Masque," Studies in English Literature (Spring 1995)
Kathryn Schwarz received her Ph.D. in English language and literature from Harvard University in 1994. Since coming to Vanderbilt in 1996, she has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on Renaissance drama, Shakespearean sexualities, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century prose fictions, feminist and queer theories, embodiment and social subjectivity, gender and ideology, revenge tragedy, travel narrative, and chivalric romance.
Schwarz served as Director of Graduate Studies in the English Department from 2007 to 2010, and is currently Associate Chair. She has also served on the Program Committee, Application Review Committee, and Central Executive Committee of the Folger Shakespeare Institute; the MLA Executive Committee on Gay Studies; the Program Committee of the Shakespeare Association of America; and the Editorial Board of Shakespeare Quarterly.
Schwarz's first book, Tough Love: Amazon Encounters in the English Renaissance, was published by Duke University Press in 2000, and was awarded the Roland H. Bainton Book Prize for Literature by the Sixteenth Century Studies Society and Conference in 2001. Focusing on the works of Ralegh, Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare, and Jonson, Tough Love examines representations of Amazons in the context of Elizabethan and Jacobean exploration narratives, political polemics, medical texts, conduct manuals and exemplary catalogues. The book argues that, rather than describing spaces of exotic fantasy, Amazonian narratives instead provide ways of talking about sexuality, domesticity and gender roles in the early modern period.
Her second book, What You Will: Gender, Contract, and Shakespearean Social Space, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2011. The book traces a curious pattern in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century representations of femininity: women pose a threat when they willingly conform to social conventions. Exemplary texts describe chaste women who kill their rapists, constant wives who make marriage a debilitating obligation, and devoted mothers who destroy the fitness of children. These cautionary tales draw attention to the more ordinary, necessary choices that take prescribed roles as a mandate for purposeful acts. For early modern narratives, intentional compliance poses a complex problem: it sustains crucial tenets of order and continuity, but unsettles the hierarchical premises from which those tenets derive. Feminine will appears as a volatile force within heterosociality, lending contingent security to a system that depends less on enforced obedience than it does on contract and consent.
Schwarz's current project, Disposable Bodies, Provisional Lives, begins with an article of faith so basic as to be nearly invisible: effective intention constitutes viable subjects. Disposable Bodies traces this assumption as it subtends social identities and contracts, and focuses on the possibilities it attempts to occlude. In brief, the project is concerned with the conflict between intentional jurisdiction and bodily capacity, which threatens to make the embodied subject a contradiction in terms. Strategies that define the body as an instrument assert that rational purpose imposes meaning on unruly flesh, and forge contracts that sustain social integrity through the use of transient bodies. If this system produces the exclusions and abjections that motivate ideological critique, it also interlocks disposable persons and privileged subjects within sociality itself. Collective priorities mediate but do not protect against the treacherous faculties of embodiment: to nurture disease, to succumb to desire, to be in peril or out of place, to die. These faculties exceed the reach of proprietary intent, and locate the body in a transactional, mutable, and dangerous intimacy with eventualities that defy control. Of course we know this, but what stories do we tell to manage that knowledge? As counterfactual histories and futurities erupt into providential rationales, how do the rigid demands of social self-perpetuation intersect the chaotic bodies that must answer those demands, but do not coincide with their sense?