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Jem Bloomfield

Assistant Professor in Medieval and Early Modern Literature, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

I joined Nottingham in September 2012, having previously taught at Oxford Brookes University, the University of Exeter and the University of Southern New Hampshire. I studied at Oxford and Exeter, writing my PhD on the production history of Webster's The Duchess of Malfi.

Expertise Summary

My research interests are focused around the production and reception of Early Modern drama, in its original context and throughout later centuries, as well as broader issues of cultural value. Having traced the trajectory of a play like Malfi, I was struck both by the way it radically changed when it was set in different contexts, and the continuities between widely varying productions. I'm particularly interested in the way non-Shakespearean drama is used to question or critique the cultural authority represented by Shakespeare. This connects with my work on why our society values certain forms of culture and rejects others.

Outreach and Public Engagement

As a way of reaching an audience beyond academe, I blog and write for a number of online sites, including Bad Reputation and California Literary Review. In the past my work has appeared at Liberal Conspiracy, GenderIT.org, The Cultural Value Initiative and has been included in the New Statesman's "best of the blogs" list. I mostly blog about culture and gender, and the way these topics intersect.

Teaching Summary

Undergraduate modules taught:

Studying Literature (Level One)

Beginnings of English (Level One)

Postgraduate modules taught:

What Is a Text?

What is Literary Research?

Approaches to Texts (Distance Learning)

Research Summary

My current research involves two strands. I'm interrogating the way modern productions of Early Modern revenge drama may replicate troubling attitudes to Catholic and Hispanic characters. A… read more

Recent Publications

  • JEM BLOOMFIELD, 2017. “My eucharist to the people of District Eleven”: Bread, Sacrifice and Thanksgiving in The Hunger Games Theology.
  • JEM BLOOMFIELD, 2016. Words of Power: Reading Shakespeare and the Bible 1st. Lutterworth Press.
  • JEM BLOOMFIELD, 2016. The Critical Backstory. In: PAUL FRAZER and ADAM HANSEN, eds., The White Devil: A Critical Reader Bloomsbury Academic. (In Press.)
  • 2013. "Ben Jonson, 2011" The Year's Work in English Studies.

Current Research

My current research involves two strands. I'm interrogating the way modern productions of Early Modern revenge drama may replicate troubling attitudes to Catholic and Hispanic characters. A combination of their status as coming from a "classic" period of British drama, and their sensational depictions of sex and violence which can be leveraged to make the works seem "accessible" in the modern academic and theatrical economy, seem to sometimes reactivate problematic strands in these plays which have lain dormant since their origin in the religious and racial politics of the seventeenth century.

Alongside this project I'm investigating the multi-layered nature of the Shakespearean canon, investigating how scholarship on the Biblical canon may provide new vocabularies and approaches for understanding the nature of canonicity. The works of scholars like Lee Martin McDonald and James Barr seem to provide a fruitful potential for decoupling Shakespearean canonicity from a concern with authorship, and illuminate how various kinds of canonicity determine what meanings are licensed in production and reception.

Past Research

My past work centred on "The Duchess of Malfi" by John Webster, and its four centuries of performance history. Webster's play is now the most performed play by one of Shakespeare's contemporaries, and my research traced the various adaptations and reframings it was subjected to. I paid particular attention to the use of the play to construct an essential "female identity", to define Britishness by contrast with Spanish Catholic characters, and the positioning of Webster as a "Jacobean" playwright whose work tackled risky and deviant topics which Shakespeare ignored.

Future Research

Soon I shall be starting a study called "The Sound of Your Own Voice", about clergy and the voice. This will bring scholarship from performance studies, philosophy and theology together with interviews with working clergy to examine the way voices reflect and build a sense of identity. I'm particularly interested in the ways certain voices are accorded more authority, and more potential to embody religious meanings, and I'll be scrutinizing these through the lenses of class, gender and race.

  • JEM BLOOMFIELD, 2017. “My eucharist to the people of District Eleven”: Bread, Sacrifice and Thanksgiving in The Hunger Games Theology.
  • JEM BLOOMFIELD, 2016. Words of Power: Reading Shakespeare and the Bible 1st. Lutterworth Press.
  • JEM BLOOMFIELD, 2016. The Critical Backstory. In: PAUL FRAZER and ADAM HANSEN, eds., The White Devil: A Critical Reader Bloomsbury Academic. (In Press.)
  • 2013. "Ben Jonson, 2011" The Year's Work in English Studies.
  • 2013. Two Jacobean Malfis: Controversy and Reception in 1892 and 2010 Shakespeare Bulletin.
  • 2011. "The Shame of this Pacific Reign": Engagement With the Past in Domestic Tragedy During the 1730s Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatre Research. 25(1),

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