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Amanda Bailey

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Professor, English

(301) 405-3708

2119 Tawes Hall
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Research Expertise

Medieval and Renaissance

Amanda Bailey, Professor and Chair, is the author of Of Bondage: Debt, Property, and Personhood in Early Modern England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013) and Flaunting: Style and the Subversive Male Body in Renaissance England (University of Toronto Press, 2007). She has edited Masculinity and the Metropolis of Vice, 1550-1650, with Roze Hentschell (Palgrave, 2010) and, more recently, Affect Theory and Early Modern Texts: Politics, Ecologies, and Form (Palgrave, 2017), with Mario DiGangi. She has published numerous essays and book chapters and is currently completing Shakespeare on Consent, under contract with Routledge. This book broadens and deepens the notion of consent underwriting the #MeToo movement by tracing its legacy to earlier understandings of erotic agency in relation to gender, embodiment, and collective politics. She is also working on a book-length study of racial economies of knowledge and the formation of the Humanities as an academic discipline. 

 

Publications

Affect Theory and Early Modern Texts: Politics, Ecologies, and Form

This volume demonstrates how questions of affect illuminate issues of cognition, political agency, historiography, and scientific thought in early modern literature and culture.

Center for Literary and Comparative Studies | English

Lead: Amanda Bailey
Dates:

From the publisher:

The first book to put contemporary affect theory into conversation with early modern studies,this volume demonstrates how questions of affect illuminate issues of cognition, political agency, historiography, and scientific thought in early modern literature and culture. Engaging various historical and theoretical perspectives, the essays in this volume bring affect to bear on early modern representations of bodies, passions, and social relations by exploring: the role of embodiment in political subjectivity and action; the interactions of human and non-human bodies within ecological systems; and the social and physiological dynamics of theatrical experience. Examining the complexly embodied experiences of leisure, sympathy, staged violence, courtiership, envy, suicide, and many other topics, the contributors open up new ways of understanding how Renaissance writers thought about the capacities, pleasures, and vulnerabilities of the human body.
 

Affect Theory and Early Modern Texts: Politics, Ecologies, and Form

This volume demonstrates how questions of affect illuminate issues of cognition, political agency, historiography, and scientific thought in early modern literature and culture.

English

Lead: Amanda Bailey
Dates:
Engaging various historical and theoretical perspectives, the essays in this volume bring affect to bear on early modern representations of bodies, passions, and social relations by exploring: the role of embodiment in political subjectivity and action; the interactions of human and non-human bodies within ecological systems; and the social and physiological dynamics of theatrical experience. Examining the complexly embodied experiences of leisure, sympathy, staged violence, courtiership, envy, suicide, and many other topics, the contributors open up new ways of understanding how Renaissance writers thought about the capacities, pleasures, and vulnerabilities of the human body.

“Comedies’ Sympathetic Economies"

Far from being a well-regulated, predictable totality, the early modern English economy defied reliable oversight.

English

Lead: Amanda Bailey
Dates:
Measure for Measure charts the unpredictable flow of goods, services, bodies, and information. This essay considers how our understanding of early modern comic form as driven by the compensatory logic of payment in kind is connected to perceptions of the early modern economy as itself limited to a series of exchanges that establishes the equivalence of two values. While comic closure ensures restitution, the genre simultaneously refuses to adhere to its own reparative logic. Measure for Measure elaborates an alternative means of achieving satisfaction via participation in a sympathetic system. In the place of economic rationality, we are confronted with the unknowability of diffuse and productive forces that prime, incite, and orient (and disorient) people.

“Speak What We Feel: Sympathy and Statecraft"

This chapter demonstrates the ways the early modern belief in dispersed sympathetic forces informs the representation of political obedience in King Lear.

English

Lead: Amanda Bailey
Dates:
Reading the migration of the word “nothing” throughout the play as an index of what Sianne Ngai calls a “minor affect” allows us to bypass moments of highly charged emotion in order to focus on political affiliations constituted by natural, mimetic, sympathetic bonds driven by impersonal and unconscious processes. This exploration of competing models of political affect in the period thus prompts a reconsideration of the role played by non-empathetic and non-epiphanic experiences that lie below the threshold of consciousness in analyses of early modern structures of social and political power.

Of Bondage: Debt, Property, and Personhood in Early Modern England

Focusing on a historical juncture at which debt litigation engulfed society, Of Bondage examines a culture that understood money and the body of the borrower as comparable forms of property that impinged on one another at the moment of default.

English | Center for Literary and Comparative Studies

Lead: Amanda Bailey
Dates:

The late sixteenth-century penal debt bond, which allowed an unsatisfied creditor to seize the body of his debtor, set in motion a series of precedents that would haunt the legal, philosophical, and moral problem of property-in-person in England and America for centuries. Focusing on a historical juncture at which debt litigation was not merely an aspect of society but seemed to engulf it completely, Of Bondage examines a culture that understood money and the body of the borrower as comparable forms of property that impinged on one another at the moment of default.

Masculinity and the Metropolis of Vice, 1550-1650

Leading authors in the field of early modern studies explore a range of bad behaviours.

English

Lead: Amanda Bailey
Dates:

Leading authors in the field of early modern studies explore a range of bad behaviours - like binge drinking, dicing, and procuring prostitutes at barbershops - in order to challenge the notion that early modern London was a corrupt city that ruined innocent young men.

Flaunting

In the early modern period, the theatrical stage offered one of the most popular forms of entertainment and aesthetic pleasure.

English

Lead: Amanda Bailey
Dates:

In the early modern period, the theatrical stage offered one of the most popular forms of entertainment and aesthetic pleasure. It also fulfilled an important cultural function by displaying modes of behaviour and dramatizing social interaction within a community. Flaunting argues that the theatre in late sixteenth-century England created the conditions for a subculture of style whose members came to distinguish themselves by their sartorial extravagance and social impudence.

Drawing on evidence from legal documents, economic treatises, domestic manuals, accounts of playhouse practices, and stage plays, Amanda Bailey critiques standard accounts maintaining that those who flaunted their apparel were simply aspirants, or gaudy versions of the superiors they sought to emulate. Instead, she suggests that what mattered most was not what these young men wore but how they wore their clothes. These young men shared a distinctive sartorial sensibility and used that sensibility to undermine authority at all levels of society. Flaunting therefore, examines male style as a visual form of subversion against the norms of Renaissance England with the stage as the primary source of inspiration for collective identification.