Aaron W. Kitch

Associate Professor of English

Teaching this semester

ENGL 1038. American Dreamers

Traces the influential and shaping myth of social mobility and meritocracy that James Truslow Adams coined the “American Dream” in 1931 to describe “a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” In order to explore the ways that this myth has shaped American fiction and culture, we will analyze a range of literary, dramatic, and filmic representations, from the frontier of Nebraska in Willa Cather’s O Pioneers! (1913) to the immigrant stories of the short documentary American Dreamers (2012) and the rap musical Hamilton (2016). In between, we will read fiction by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Flannery O’Connor, Grace Paley, and Paul Beatty, together with nonfiction by Barbara Ehrenreich, Martin Luther King, Jr, and James Baldwin, among others.

ENGL 2203/GOV 2245. Shakespeare and Politics

Considers Shakespeare as a political thinker whose plays both absorb classical political philosophy and respond to pressing political matters of his day (and beyond). This team-taught course encourages open-ended debate and argumentation in order to foster informed and critical conversation between Shakespeare and Plato, Machiavelli, More, and Montaigne, among others. Beginning with philosophical questions about human nature, citizenship, and the rights of kings that appear in Shakespeare’s histories and tragedies, we turn in the second half of the course toward the politics of religion, ethnicity, and gender in the comedies and romances. Note: This class fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.

Professor Kitch studies and writes about a range of genres of early modern literature drama as they intersect with discourses of political economy, sexuality, and natural philosophy.  His first book focused on Political Economy and the States of Literature in Early Modern England.  In addition to publishing on the intersection between the history of science and sexuality, he is currently working on a short book on the philosophical idea of "species being" in relation to Shakespeare as well as a book about early modern literature and natural philosophy entitled Shakespeare and the Book of Nature.


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  • Ph.D., University of Chicago
  • M.A., University of Colorado Boulder
  • B.A., Yale University

PDF Curriculum Vitae



Alchemical Sexualities in Early Modern England (in progress)

Political Economy and the States of Literature in Early Modern England (London: Ashgate Publishing Group, 2009)

Selected Articles

"Hamlet's Disenchanted Materialism," in Enchantments and Dis-Enchantments in Early Modern England, ed. Nick Davis and Nandini Das (Routledge, forthcoming)

"The "Ingendered" Stone: The Ripley Scrolls and the Generative Science of Alchemy," Huntington Library Quarterly 78:1(2015): 87-125 (Access article in PDF)

“The City’s Money: Made, Lost, Stolen, Lent, Invested,” in Thomas Middleton in Context, ed. Suzanne Gossett (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011)

"Shylock's Sacred Nation," Shakespeare Quarterly 59 (2008): 131-55. (Access article in PDF)

"Medwall's 'Condycion': Fulgens and Lucrece and the New Tudor Drama," Cahiers Elisabethains 68 (2005):1-8

"Printing Bastards: Monstrous Birth Broadsides in Early Modern England," in Parenting and Printing in Early Modern England, ed. Douglas Brooks, Women and Gender in the Early Modern World series (London: Ashgate, 2005), 221-36.

"Bastards and Broadsides in The Winter's Tale," Renaissance Drama 30 (2001): 43-71. (Access article in PDF)

"The Character of Credit and the Problem of Belief in Middleton's City Comedies," SEL - Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 47:2 (Spring 2007): 403-426. (Access article in PDF)

"Golden Muse: Protestantism, Mercantilism, and the Uses of Ovid in Marlowe's Hero and Leander," Religion and Literature 38:3 (Autumn 2006): 157-176. (Access article in PDF) 

Book Reviews

Julia Reinhard Lupton, Citizen-Saints: Shakespeare and Political Theology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), for Upstart Crow, vol. 29 (2010)

The Martin Marprelate Tracts: A Modern and Annotated Edition, ed. Joseph L. Black (Cambridge University Press, 2008), for Renaissance Quarterly 62 (Summer, 2009): 584-5

Valerie Forman, Tragicomic Redemptions: Global Economies and the Early Modern English Stage (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), for Shakespeare Quarterly 61 (2010): 607-9.

Blair Hoxby, Mammon’s Music: Literature and Economics in the Age of Milton (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), for the Journal of Early Modern History (2007)

Julie Crawford, Marvelous Protestantism: Monstrous Births in Post-Reformation England (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005), for Shakespeare Yearbook (2007).

Christopher Kendrick, Utopia, Carnival, and Commonwealth in Renaissance England (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004), for English Studies in Canada (2006)


Invited Respondent, “Service Relations in Early Modern England,” Shakespeare Association of America, Boston, MA (April 7 – 12, 2012)

“Atomic Love: Marlowe and the Erotics of Epicurean Materialism,” Shakespeare Association of America, Seattle, WA (April 7 – 10, 2011)

“Eco-Calvin,” “Nature and Human Nature in Early Modern England” panel at the Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies, Dallas, TX (October 22 – 25, 2009)

Chair, “Sidney’s Elizabeth, Montgomerie’s Rosnard, and the Heart of Middleton,” Renaissance Society of America, Los Angeles, CA (March 19 – 21, 2009)

Organizer (with Blair Hoxby) of "Religion and Economics in Early Modern England" seminar, Shakespeare Association of America, Dallas, TX (March 13-15, 2008)

"Mimetic Rivalry: Jonson's Late Masques and the Civic Pageants of Munday, Middleton, and Dekker," MLA, Chicago, IL (December 28, 2007)

"Aesthetics and Renaissance Historicisms: Afterimages of Empirical Life" Renaissance Society of America (March 22-24, 2007)

"The Religious Politics of Female Sexuality in the English Epyllion, 1588-1603" Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (February 15-17, 2007)

"Shylock's 'Sacred Nation': Citizenship, Sovereignty, and Merciful Capitalism in The Merchant of Venice"
Shakespeare Association of America, Bermuda (March 17 - 19, 2005)

"Believing in Middleton: The Credit Economy of the City Comedies"
Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies, Orlando, FL (November 17 - 21, 2004)

"Henry Medwall and the New 'Condycion' of Tudor Drama"
Shakespeare Association of America, New Orleans (April 7 - 11, 2004)

"Gutenberg Galaxy Revisited: Print, Drama, and the English Reformation"
Faculty Workshop, Bowdoin College (November, 2003)

"Paper Stages: John Rastell's Adaptation of Fernando de Rojas's Celestina for the English Stage," Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing
(SHARP) panel, Renaissance Society of America, Toronto, (March 27 - 29, 2003)

"The Stationers' Company and the Regulation of the Broadside Ballad, 1557-1585"
Midwest Modern Language Association, Cleveland, OH (November 1 - 3, 2001)

"The News at Court: Jonson's Late Masques"
Center for Renaissance Studies, Newberry Library, Chicago (June 7 - 9, 2001)

"'The Well-Spoken Nobody': The Printed Broadside and Early Modern Literacy"
Modern Language Association, Washington, D.C. (2000)

"Timely Matter: The Sixteenth-Century Broadside Ballad"
Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies, New Orleans, LA (November 17, 2000)