Erin Murphy

Professor, English, College of Arts & Sciences

Erin Murphy’s research and teaching interests center on the intersection of literature and politics, with primary areas of focus in seventeenth-century English literature (particularly Milton and women writers), and gender and sexuality studies more broadly.  Her first book, Familial Forms: Politics and Genealogy in Seventeenth-Century England, investigated how writers from across the political spectrum explored the promise and the threats of using family as a means to stabilize politics.  Moving beyond the much-discussed patriarchal analogy, this study drew on feminist and queer theory to illuminate the temporal stakes of family politics, giving particular attention to the explicit and implicit debates over genealogy as a literary and governmental form.

Erin’s new book project deploys an inter-historical approach, reconsidering the writing of seventeenth-century women in relation to the English civil wars, as well as the ways that this writing has been appropriated during other moments of war, including our own moment of global conflict.  She is also co-editing a collection of interdisciplinary and theoretical essays entitled Milton Now, which expands discussions of Milton beyond the dominant historicist paradigm while simultaneously engaging wider questions about the current state of literary studies.  In response to recent debates about queer theory and historicism, she isworking on a suite of essays on seventeenth-century ideas of reproductive temporality.  In addition to offering undergraduate and graduate classes in English, she will also teach the new theories and methods graduate seminar in the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.