Courtney Naum Scuro

Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, Theater and Dance, Chapman University, CA 2004

M.A., English, California State University, Long Beach, 2015

Dissertation Committee:

Heidi Brayman (chair), Deborah Willis, Emma Stapely

Research Areas:

Early Modern Literature, Time, Theories of History, Material Print Culture, Queer Studies, Shakespeare in Performance

Research Interests:

My work explores experiences and perceptions of time through a diverse range of early modern English “texts”: Shakespeare, ephemera, material and performance culture. Bringing these works together illuminates the ambivalent, inconclusive, ommissive, and excessive modes of expression that temporality invites across a wide range of cultural objects and discourses.

In my dissertation, “Timed Writing: Tested Ethics, Timely Matters, and English Textuality in Shakespeare’s England,” I explore the overlooked place of timekeeping in early modern politics of difference. Focusing on disruptively monstrous, queer, technological, and magical times, I uncover how the multiplication of available timescapes raises questions about the ethics of the time one keeps in a variety of texts. Through plays, poetry, travel writing, pamphlets, and even portraiture, we see early moderns grappling with anxieties over how time matters in the face of intense horological upheavals. These texts’ temporally-inflected moral ambivalences expose the powerful role keeping time plays in practices of social marginalization and the repression of alternative forms of life. And yet, while early modern writers prove strikingly attuned to these deeper implications of timekeeping, they have been largely overlooked in scholarship. This project looks to address this missing (time)piece in our study of early modern temporality. Through exploring these dynamics, this project also raises other critical questions about experiences and understandings of time. How and why does time matter to early moderns–morally and materially? And how does time help to construct a sense of body, or community, or world and with it, of one’s own belonging in and to each? “What is‘t o’clock?” : more than a quotidian question after the hour, such expressions of temporal uncertainty invite us into the radical contingency and plurality of early modern timescapes and invite us to explore how time becomes a vehicle for reconceiving perceptions of the possible across multiple modes of creative expression.

I am also interested in exploring the place where what has come to be called “high theory” meets early modern studies. My scholarship considers the applicability of recent theorists’ work, particularly on time, within the historical contexts of sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, I believe it is equally important to critically examine this issue in the reverse: to look at the influence of early modern literature, and Shakespeare in particular, within contemporary critical and philosophical movements. I am currently finishing an article tentatively entitled “‘The rest is [never] silence”: Textual Returns, Spectral Retrievals, and Time’s Disjunctive Subject in Derrida and Shakespeare’s Hamlet.” In it, I consider how to situate Derrida-meets-Shakespeare (and equally, the other way around) within the milieu of contemporary thought and especially, am interested in how we might productively think through their relation within the much more limited sphere of critical practice today.

With a professional background in the performing arts, I am interested in the history of Shakespeare in performance as well as the benefits of integrating performance, media, and other artistic practices into teaching Shakespeare.

Recent Activity:

Graduate Travel Grant, Shakespeare Association of America, 2020
Humanities Graduate Research Grant, Center for Ideas and Society, UCR, 2019/2020
Dissertation Development Award, Graduate Division, UCR, 2019/2020
Outstanding T.A., UWP, UCR, 2016/2017
Graduate Student Paper Prize, English Department, UCR, 2015/2016
Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellowship Award, UCR, 2015
M/MLA Graduate Student Paper Prize for “ Placing and Playing the Past: History, Politics, and Spatial Ambiguity in Richard Mulcaster’s The Queen’s Majesty’s Passage”, 2014

Selected Presentations:
“‘Keep[ing] Time Well’: Intersections of Time, Agency, and Community in The Roaring Girl.” Shakespeare Association of America, Seminar, April 2020, virtual.

“‘Swifter than the moon’s sphere’: Imagining Time’s Magical Matter in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Shakespeare Association of America, Seminar, March 2019, Washington D.C.

“All the King’s Dishes: Heraldic Food, Consuming Symbolism and the Space(s) of the Body in John Lydgate’s ‘The Soteltes at the Coronation Banquet of Henry VI’”: PAMLA Conference (Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association) November 2015, Portland, Oregon

“Placing and Playing the Past: History, Politics, and Spatial Ambiguity in Richard Mulcaster’s The Queen’s Majesty’s Passage”: Midwest/MLA Conference, November 2014, Detroit, Michigan