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Crystal Bartolovich

Associate Professor of English

Crystal Bartolovich, who does not usually refer to herself in the third person, grew up in rural Ohio where she read all of the books in the tiny local public library, including a remarkable number of volumes on animal husbandry and agronomy, before leaving home at 12 for a convent boarding school. While there, her already considerable habits of quiet contemplation were certainly refined, but, happily, she was also introduced to the pleasures of intellectual—and political—community, since her new school was a hotbed of Liberation Theology. When her parents vetoed her post-graduation plan to join a commune and devote her youthful energies to radical politics, she reluctantly headed off to college instead-- the first woman in her large extended family to do so. To her astonishment, once enrolled, she never left the university: in the fullness of time, she wrote a dissertation on the relation between pastoral poetry and changes in farming practices and landholding in early modern England as agrarian capitalism emerged (a project for which her quirky childhood experiences and reading came in handy). Since she earned her PhD in 1993 with that dissertation, she has been awarded research fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania, Brown, and the Folger Shakespeare Library, and published over 30 essays on topics ranging from early modern literature and culture to Marxist theory and the politics of globalization, in venues such as Shakespeare Studies , Cultural Critique , and New Formations . With Neil Lazarus, she edited the collection of essays Marxism, Modernity and Postcolonial Studies (Cambridge UP, 2002). She also edits the journal Early Modern Culture. Currently, she is working on two projects, one concerning the history and concept of the “commons,” and the other examining the cost of the loss of so-called “progress” narratives of modernity. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in early modern literature and culture (e.g. Milton, Early Modern London, Poetics and Politics of the English Revolution, History Plays), Utopian literature and theory, Marxist theory and Cultural Studies. She also leads the workshops for distinction and honors students writing theses in English. Above all, she appreciates and encourages a capacity for independent and critical thought, as well as thoughtful, engaged writing, in her classes, at every level.


Areas of Supervision

Has worked with PhD and Masters candidates on projects in Early Modern literature, Utopianism, Globalization, Primitive Accumulation, and the Politics of Space, as well as, more generally, students employing a Cultural Studies or Marxist methodology.