Office Hoursspring 2022
Toni Bowers (Professor; Ph.D. Stanford University).
I specialize in 4 related subject areas: English-language writing from the 17th and 18th centuries, gender studies, the history of pantomime, and silent film. I have written or edited books on the social and imaginative construction of middle-class motherhood in early-modern Britain, on the ideological struggles built into scenes of seduction/rape in literature and visual art, and on the relationship between force and sentimentalism in early-modern writing from the Atlantic world. I publish student-friendly editons of important early narrativess and edited collections of thematically related essays by other scholars, as well as original scholarly essays in peer-reviewed journals. I participate in peer-review as a reviewer as well as an author. I have lectured by invitation across the United States and in Canada, England, Finland, France, the Netherlands, and Scotland.
I consider teaching to be my most important work and the place where I make my most valuable contribution. I regularly teach courses on writing from the 17th and 18th centuries, lyric poetry, epistolary fiction, and silent film. I have taught at Penn for thirty years, and during that time have also been invited to serve as a visiting professor at the University of Edinburgh and at Kings College London. In 2018, I served as MacLain Distinguished Professor at Colorado College.
In addition to dozens of essays and reviews, I've published two original monographs: Force or Fraud: British Seduction Stories and the Problem of Resistance, 1660-1760, (Oxford University Press, 2011), and The Politics of Motherhood: British Writing and Culture, 1660-1760 (Cambridge University Press, 1996). With Professor John Richetti (Penn), I co-edited an abridgement of Samuel Richardson's 1747-48 masterpiece Clarissa (Broadview Press, 2010); our edition is now in frequent use in undergraduate and graduate classrooms worldwide. With Professor Tita Chico (Maryland) I edited a volume of scholarly essays titled Atlantic Worlds in the Long Eighteenth Century (Palgrave: 2012). With Professor Albert Rivero (Marquette), I am currently editing the first annotated student edition of Richardson's 4-volume novel Pamela (1740-41), one of the most influential works of the eighteenth century. I have been granted permission by the respective literary estates to edit and publish two first-person memoirs about the art of the pantomimist filmmaker Charles Chaplin; these works were written by close Chaplin contemporaries, but have never before been published. I am working on digitalizing both memoirs now, and expect to complete the editing in 2023.
I direct and advise doctoral dissertations both at Penn and at other institutions around the world, supervise independent studies at both the undergraduate and graduate levela, and serve on committees for Penn's English Department, the School of Arts and Sciences, the University as a whole, and several national and international scholary societies. I have been the recipient of a number of fellowships and prizes, for instance from the NEH, the British Academy, the Newberry Library, the Huntington Library (two long-term awards), the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and the Harry Ransom Center, among other awards.
I co-founded the Atlantic Studies Seminar at Penn's McNeil Center for Early American Studies and I founded the campus-wide undergraduate club Perspectives in Humanities. The latter student group, with my help, inaugurated the ongoing Penn Authors' Forum, where Penn faculty informally share their research with undergraduates. I served for many years as Faculty-in-Residence at Kings Court-English College House and on the Steering Committee and as a Core Faculty Member for Penn's Gender Studies program (GSWS), as well as on the Advisory Board to the McNeil Center. I serve as editorial consultant for a number of academic journals and publishing houses. I've been both Delegate and member of the Executive Committee of the Delegates for the ACLS (American Council for Learned Societies), and have served the Modern Language Association as a member, then Chair, of the Executive Committee for Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century Studies. I've also been a Delegate for the MLA and have served on its Executive Committee for Scottish Literature.