PhD in English, Northeastern University (Boston, Massachusetts)
MA in Text and Performance, King’s College London and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
BA in English, University of Maryland, College Park
Dr. Tabitha Kenlon joined AUD in 2014 after teaching writing at Northeastern University for five years. At AUD, she teaches composition and literature. She advises the Theatre Club and serves on the Reading Across Campus and Arts & Sciences Lecture series committees. She has also completed coursework focusing on assessment techniques and analysis. Dr. Kenlon believes in student-centered learning and in bringing literature to life. She sometimes holds class in the auditorium (and always invites students to get on stage and take a bow), and recent classroom activities have included a treasure hunt, walking while blindfolded, and writing tweets in the voice of Frankenstein’s monster.
Dr. Kenlon’s research concentrates on eighteenth-century British novels, theatre, and conduct manuals, with particular emphasis on the contributions and concerns of women. Her book, Woman As She Should Be: How Conduct Manuals Created a Female Ideal, will be published by Anthem Press next year. It is the first book to analyze the context of specific volumes of advice both within their time of publication and as part of a sustained conversation about guidelines for female behavior. This interdisciplinary work combines textual literary analysis with a social history sensibility, incorporating theories of performativity and gender construction to better understand the centuries-old struggle to first imagine and then create the ideal woman in Britain and America.
Dr. Kenlon was a Visiting Fellow at Chawton House Library in 2013 and has presented papers at the American Society for Theatre Research, the Renaissance Society of America, and both the American and British Societies for Eighteenth-Century Studies. She serves on the organizing committee of the Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837, a UK-based scholarly association.
Dr. Kenlon has written three articles for Intertextual Networks, a digital humanities collaboration funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and supervised by the Women Writers Project. Dr. Kenlon is also working on a book project that examines the eighteenth-century British Gothic novel and its elements of travel writing and depiction of appropriate female behavior.
Woman As She Should Be: How Conduct Manuals Created a Female Ideal, Anthem Press; forthcoming, 2020
“Castles in the Air: Female Gothic Fiction as Imaginary Travel Writing,” essay for New Perspectives in Gender, Travel and Genre, Vernon Press; forthcoming, Fall 2019
“Women in Charge and Men in Skirts: William Shakespeare, Hannah Cowley, and Performances of Gender,” paper for the Women Writers Project Intertextual Networks research initiative, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (US); forthcoming, Summer 2019
“Scold, Punish, Pity or Seduce?: The Confused Rhetoric of Advice to Unmarried Women,” essay for Exploring the Lives of Women 1558-1837; November 2018
“Like a Woman: Gender Confusion in The Merry Wives of Windsor and Who’s the Dupe?,” paper for the Women Writers Project Intertextual Networks research initiative, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (US); second of three blog posts, June 2018
Book review of The Speaker’s Chaplain & the Master’s Daughter: A Georgian Family & Friends, by Barry Shurlock, for Journal for Eighteenth Century Studies; vol. 40 (2017)
“A Bold Stroke for a Husband, or What You Will: Hannah Cowley’s Interpretation of William Shakespeare,” paper for the Women Writers Project Intertextual Networks research initiative, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (US); first of three blog posts, November 2016
“Teaching Hannah Cowley in Dubai,” blog post, Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837,
“Scripts for Life: How Plays, Novels, and Conduct Manuals Created Women in Eighteenth-Century Britain,” peer-reviewed article on Readings, November 2015