Plenary Speakers

Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook
Associate Professor
Departments of English and Comparative Literature
University of California, Santa Barbara

After teaching in Yale University’s English Department 1990-1995, Professor Cook moved to UC Santa Barbara. Among courses she has offered: “Writing Nature in the 18th Century”; “Performing the Restoration Playhouse”; “Going Postal: Letter-Narratives”;  and “Augustan Poetry and the Public Sphere.” Cook is affiliated with the Early Modern Center and the Literature & Environment initiatives in English, and with UCSB’s Environmental Humanities Center.

Cook’s research interests include theater studies, letter-narratives, and nature/culture encounters in early modern British literature. In Epistolary Bodies: Gender and Genre in the Eighteenth-Century Republic of Letters (1996), she examined how epistolary novels play with and against print culture (Montesquieu, Richardson, Riccoboni, Crèvecoeur). Cook’s recent article on the French artist Sophie Calle reads her “Take Care of Yourself” project (2007) as a remediation of 18th-c. epistolary conventions.

In 2012, Cook co-edited the collection Invaluable Trees: Cultures of Nature 1660-1830. She is currently working on a book entitled “Talking Trees: Others and Ethics in Long-Eighteenth-C. British Literature,” which considers the history of environmental ethics in writing about trees and forests. Recent articles have focused on avian migration, botany and monstrosity, and the 18th-c. global circulation of flora.

Together with several graduate researchers, she is developing the Early Modern British Theater: Access (EMBTA) project. Please visit our website, which collects resources for teaching theater studies 1500-1800, at

Jonathan Goldberg
Department of English
Emory University

Jonathan Goldberg joined the Emory faculty in fall 2006 as Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor. He previously taught at The Johns Hopkins University, where he was Sir William Osler Professor of English Literature; he also has held positions at Temple, Brown, and Duke Universities. English Renaissance literature is the focus of many of the books he has published which explore that field by asking theoretical, materialist, and historicist questions, paying particular attention to questions of race, gender, and sexuality. They include Endlesse Worke (1981), James I and the Politics of Literature (1983), Writing Matter (1990), Sodometries (1992), Tempest in the Caribbean (2004), and The Seeds of Things (2009). He is also the author of a book on Willa Cather, editor of Milton and of the anthologies Queering the Renaissance (1994) and Reclaiming Sodom (1994). He edited Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s posthumous The Weather in Proust (2011). He published a monograph for Arsenal Pulp’s Queer Film Classics series on Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train in 2012. He is co-editor of This Distracted Globe: Worldmaking in Early Modern Literature, which appeared in 2016, as did Melodrama: An Aesthetics of Impossibility, a book about films by Douglas Sirk, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alfred Hitchcock and Todd Haynes and fiction by Patricia Highsmith and Willa Cather.