Melissa E. Sanchez received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. She studies and teaches sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature, with a particular focus on gender, sexuality, and poliltical and religious history, and she is Core Faculty and a member of the Executive Board of Penn's Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program. Professor Sanchez has been an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Huntington Library, and in 2009 she received Penn's Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Award for Distinguished Teaching by an Assistant Professor. She is a member of the Executive Boards of the International Spenser Society and of the Milton Society of America.
Professor Sanchez's first book, Erotic Subjects: The Sexuality of Politics in Early Modern English Literature, examines how sixteenth- and seventeenth-century writers used scenarios of erotic violence and cross-gender identification to explore the origins and limits of political allegiance (Oxford University Press, 2011). She is currently writing a book, tentatively entitled "The Ethics of Promiscuity: Feminism, Queer Theory, and Early Modern Sexualities," which argues that consciousness of the debates and genealogies of feminist and queer theory can expand our understandings of women's sexuality in both the past and the present. By adopting a pluralistic, even conflicted, theoretical framework, this book reassesses early modern representations of female promiscuity, celibacy, masochism, and homoeroticism in erotic poetry by both women and men.
In addition to these monographs, Professor Sanchez is currently co-editing three volumes of essays. With Ania Loomba she is co-editing Rethinking Feminism in Early Modern Studies: Gender, Race, and Sexuality, a collection of fourteen essays on the current state of feminist studies of the early modern period (Ashgate, forthcoming in 2015). With Ayesha Ramachandran she is co-editing a special volume of Spenser Studies on "Spenser and 'the Human,'" which brings together sixteen essays and five response papers that examine Spenser's complex relationship to the category of "the human" and which thereby both draw on and contribute to current discussions in posthumanism, animal studies, and environmental studies (forthcoming in 2016). And with Ari Friedlander and Will Stockton she is co-editing a special volume of the Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies (JEMCS) entitled "Desiring History and Historicizing Desire," a group of six essays discussing the relations between queer and historicist methods of reading.
Future projects include a short book entitled Shakespeare and Queer Theory (under contract with Bloomsbury: Arden Shakespeare and Theory Series) and essays on early modern sexual discouse, women writers, and amatory fiction. Prior to these current and future projects, Professor Sanchez has written a number of essays on gender, sexuality, and politics in early modern England (for a full list of published and forthcoming work, see her cv).