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Melissa E. Sanchez

Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature

Director, Center for Research in Feminist, Queer, and Transgender Studies

Director, Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies


Curriculum Vitae

Fisher-Bennett Hall 216

Office Hours

fall 2021

Tu 1-2 and by appointment

Melissa E. Sanchez received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. Her research and teaching focus on feminism, queer theory, and sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature, and she is Director of Penn's Center for Research in Feminist, Queer, and Transgender Studies and Penn's Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program. She is currently editing the Routledge Companion to Queer Literary Studies (under contract) and co-editing (with Stephanie Burt and Drew Daniel) "All the World in Thee": An Historical Book of Queer Poems (under contract, Columbia University Press). She is also completing two books-in-progress: "What Were Women Writers?" and "Assuming Guilt."

Professor Sanchez is the author of three books. Queer Faith: Reading Promiscuity and Race in the Secular Love Tradition, which was awarded the honorable mention for the MLA Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies, reassesses key texts of the pre-history of modern monogamy—from Paul to Luther, Petrarch to Shakespeare—to show that writing assumed to promote fidelity in fact articulates the perversity of desire and the elusiveness of self-knowledge (NYU Press, "Sexual Cultures" series, 2019). Shakespeare and Queer Theory introduces students and scholars to the fields of queer theory, Shakespeare studies, and the interchanges between them (Bloomsbury Arden "Shakespeare and Theory" series, 2019). 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). 

In addition, she has edited three volumes of essays. With Ayesha Ramachandran she co-edited a special issue of Spenser Studies on "Spenser and 'the Human,'" which brings together essays that examine Spenser's complex relationship to the category of "the human" and which thereby both draw on and contribute to current discussions in humanism, posthumanism, animal studies, and environmental studies (2016). With Ania Loomba she co-edited Rethinking Feminism in Early Modern Studies: Gender, Race, and Sexualitya volume of essays on the current state of feminist studies of the early modern period, which received the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women (SSEMW) Award for Best Collaborative Projet of 2016 (Routledge, 2016). And with Ari Friedlander and Will Stockton she co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies (JEMCS) entitled "Desiring History and Historicizing Desire," a collection of essays discussing the relations between queer and historicist methods of reading (2016).




News & Events

Doctoral Dissertations Chaired


Alicia Meyer "Pedagogies of Power: Gender, Race, and Bridewell Hospital on the Early Modern Stage"


Davy Knittle "Designs on the Future: Gender, Race, and Environment in the Transitional City"


Emily C. Gerstell "Trafficking Women: Interest, Desire, and Early Modern English Drama"
Marissa Nicosia "Historical Futures in Seventeenth-Century Literature"

Courses Taught

fall 2023

spring 2023

ENGL 7901.401 Guilt and Reparations  

fall 2022

ENGL 0159.401 Gender and Society  

spring 2022

ENGL 003.401 Queer Theory  

fall 2021

fall 2020

ENGL 311.301 English Honors Program  
ENGL 590.401 The Affordances of Guilt  

spring 2020

spring 2019

ENGL 020.301 Literature Before 1660  
ENGL 590.401 Feminist Theory Now  

fall 2018

ENGL 090.402 Gender and Popular Culture  
ENGL 290.402 Women Writers  

summer 2018

spring 2018

ENGL 338.301 Milton  

fall 2017

ENGL 600.301 Proseminar  

spring 2016

ENGL 731.301 Early Modern Sexualities  

fall 2015

ENGL 390.401 Early Modern Sexualities  

spring 2015

ENGL 096.401 Feminist Theory  

fall 2014

ENGL 739.301 Milton  

fall 2013

ENGL 600.301 Proseminar  

spring 2013

ENGL 096.401 Feminist Theory  
ENGL 338.301 Milton  

spring 2012

ENGL 096.401 Feminist Theory canceled  

fall 2011

ENGL 311.301 English Honors Program  

fall 2010

ENGL 101.001 Shakespeare  
ENGL 800.301 Pedagogy  

spring 2009

ENGL 020.001 Literature Before 1660  
ENGL 238.301 Milton  

fall 2008

ENGL 096.401 Feminist Theory  
ENGL 600.301 Proseminar  

spring 2008

fall 2007

ENGL 020.001 Chaucer to Milton  
ENGL 311.301 English Honors Program  

spring 2007

fall 2006

ENGL 022.001 Romance