Professor and Associate Dean of Arts, Undergraduate Programs

Photo of Katherine Acheson.PhD, Toronto
MA, Toronto
BA, Carleton

Extension: 30336
Office: PAS 2454
Email:
koa@uwaterloo.ca

Biography

I did my BA at Carleton University in Ottawa (where I grew up), and my MA and PhD at the University of Toronto. I held a SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford, and I taught at the University of Toronto and Concordia University before I came to Waterloo. I have been at Waterloo since January of 1997.

My areas of interest have changed over the years; while I entered my PhD program thinking I would work on early Canadian literature, I was inspired to switch to Renaissance literature by a course called "Literature and Power in Renaissance England," given by Germaine Warkentin, who would become my supervisor. During my graduate training, I found a manuscript of the memoir and diary of Anne Clifford, and went on to edit the diary for my dissertation project (since published in 1995 and in 2006). When I came to UWaterloo I was influenced by the English department’s unique emphasis on the rhetorical dimensions of literary texts and media forms, and my research and teaching of the last twenty years reflects this.

My published works includes essays on Behn, Clifford, Milton, Marvell, and Shakespeare, Writing Essays About Literature (Broadview, 2011) and Visual Rhetoric and Early Modern English Literature (Ashgate, 2013). Early Modern English Marginalia, a collection of essays which I edited and which features the latest thinking on the phenomena of marginalia, is forthcoming (Routledge, 2019), as are chapters in The Oxford Companion to Marvell (OUP, 2019) and The Edinburgh History of Reading: Volume I (Edinburgh UP, 2019). My current work is about the ways that visual features of early modern printed literature contributed to reader experience, generic practices, and literary value.

My undergraduate teaching is primarily in seventeenth-century literature; my graduate courses in recent years have been about visual rhetoric and early modern print, Milton, and the history of the book. My focus in recent years has been on student experience in my classrooms, and I especially like to support undergraduate students doing original research on early modern topics and graduate students doing projects that allow for self-expression while reflecting rigorous intellectual standards.

My graduate seminars and supervisions in recent years have been related to my current research on visual rhetoric and early modern literature and culture. I am interested in supervising graduate students, especially doctoral candidates, with interests in seventeenth-century English literature and culture, and in visual rhetoric.

Selected publications

Books

Visual Rhetoric and Early Modern English Literature. Material Readings in Early Modern Culture (Series), Adam Smyth and James Daybell, eds. Ashgate, 2013.

Writing Essays About Literature. Peterborough, ON: Broadview P, 2011.

Clifford, Anne. The Memoir of 1603 and the Diary of 1616-1619. Ed. Acheson. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2006.

The Diary of Anne Clifford, 1616-1619: A Critical Edition. The Renaissance Imagination (Series), Stephen Orgel, ed. New York, NY: Garland, 1995.

Articles & Book chapters

"Military Illustration, Garden Design, and Marvell’s Upon Appleton House.”English Literary Renaissance. 41.1 (January 2011): 152-198.

"The Picture of Nature in Seventeenth-Century English Aesop's Fables." The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies. 9.1 (fall 2010): 26-52.

"Gesner, Topsell, and the Purposes of Pictures in Early Modern Natural Histories." Printed Images in Early Modern Britain: Essays in Interpretation, ed. Michael Hunter. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010. 127-144.

"Anne Clifford's Style." In Lady Anne Clifford: Culture, Patronage and Gender in 17th Century Britain. Ed. Karen Hearn and Lynn Hulse. Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 2009. 117-130.

"Hamlet, Synecdoche and History: Teaching the Tropes of 'New Remembrance.'" College Literature. 31(2004)4: 111-134.

“’Outrage your face’: Anti-Theatricality and Gender in Early Modern Closet Drama by Women.” Early Modern Literary Studies. 6(2001)3: 7: 1-16.

“Authorship, Sexuality and the Psychology of Privation in Milton’s Paradise Lost.” ELH 67(2000)4: 905-924.

“The Modernity of the Early Modern: The Example of Anne Clifford.” In Discontinuities: New Essays on Renaissance Literature and Criticism. Eds. Viviana Comensoli and Paul Stevens. Toronto: U of T P, 1998. 27-51.

Fellowships & Awards

  • SSHRC 4A, 2011
  • uWaterloo-SSHRC 2005, 2008, 2010
  • University of Waterloo Outstanding Performance Award (2004, 2007, 2010, 2013)
  • Paul Mellon Centre for the Study of British Art Research Grant (2008)
  • Folger Shakespeare Library Short-Term Fellowship (2007 and 2013)
  • Learning Initiatives Fund, University of Waterloo
  • SSHRC Post-doctoral Fellowship (1995-1996)
  • SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (1987-1991)
  • Queen Elizabeth II Doctoral Fellowship (1991-1992)
  • Royal Society of Canada, Alice Wilson Award, for most distinguished tri-council doctoral award holder (1988)

Current research

While I continue to work on the relationship between visual and verbal rhetoric in the early modern period, my current research focusses on two projects: one, a visual history of the Canadian beaver; and two, writing in Bibles, 1500-1800.

Areas of graduate supervision

  • Early modern literature and culture
  • Visual culture
  • Visual rhetoric
Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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