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Renaissance Studies


Mary Hill Cole

mary hill cole

Cole is professor of history and current chair of the history department. She received her PhD in English history at University of Virginia. She teaches undergraduate courses in English history, modern European history, and women’s history. In the graduate MLitt/MFA Shakespeare in Performance program, she teaches courses in Tudor-Stuart political, religious, and social history. Her book, The Portable Queen: Elizabeth I and the Politics of Ceremony, was published by University of Massachusetts Press in 1999. She has published articles on Elizabethan progresses in Douglas F. Rutledge, ed., “Ceremony and Text in the Renaissance” (University of Delaware Press, 1996); Carole Levin, Jo Eldridge Carney and Debra Barrett-Graves, eds., “Elizabeth I: Always Her Own Free Woman” (Ashgate, 2003); and Jayne Elisabeth Archer, Elizabeth Goldring, and Sarah Knight, eds., “The Progresses, Pageants, and Entertainments of Queen Elizabeth I” (Oxford University Press, 2007). Her article, “Maternal Memory: Elizabeth Tudor’s Anne Boleyn” appears in an anthology, “Elizabeth I and the ‘Sovereign Arts’: Essays in Literature, History, and Culture.” She also is Mary Baldwin director of the Virginia Program at Oxford and advisor to Phi Alpha Theta, the history honor society.

Ralph A. Cohen

Gonder Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance in the Master of Letters and Fine Arts program at Mary Baldwin, Cohen also is Director of Mission and Co-Founder of American Shakespeare Center. The Montgomery, Alabama, native who earned an undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College and a master’s and PhD at Duke University, is a scholar, writer, and editor. He has directed 18 of Shakespeare’s plays, including two productions of the playwright’s favorite play Antony and Cleopatra, and the first professional production of Richard III to use a woman in the title role. With the reconstructed Globe theatre in London, Cohen runs a summer Shakespeare institute that concentrates on plays in performance. He has directed National Endowment for the Humanities institutes on Renaissance staging and performance.

Virginia Francisco

virginia francisco

Francisco, a theatre historian, actress, and director, is professor emerita of theatre at Mary Baldwin College. She teaches theatre history, drama, play analysis, and stage management. Her work as a director appears regularly in the college’s theatre, where she alternates musicals with plays emphasizing social issues. Her recent research examines visual evidence for performances of Shakespeare’s time. A lifetime research interest is the acting and directing of Charles Kean, a 19th century actor-manager who was one of Queen Victoria’s favorites. She has published a number of articles on these topics. She holds the BA degree in theatre from MBC, an MA in English from University of Virginia, and a PhD in theatre history from Indiana University.

Sara Nair James

Professor of Art History

Sara JamesSara Nair James, Professor of Art History, holds a BA in art from Mary Baldwin College, an MA in humanities (Medieval Studies) from Old Dominion University, and a PhD in art history (Italian Renaissance) from the University of Virginia. She has taught art history and interdisciplinary courses at Mary Baldwin since 1991. Her courses include Ancient, Medieval, Italian Renaissance, Northern Renaissance, Baroque, and Early English art and architecture. During May Term, she leads groups of Mary Baldwin students on a trip — usually to Italy — to share her knowledge of, and enthusiasm for art, history, and contemporary culture. Dr. James has received travel grants for research from the Mednick Foundation, ARTstor, the Kress Foundation and the Ross and Yum Arnold Fund. For spring 2007, she has received her second appointment to the American Academy in Rome as a Visiting Scholar. She contributes regularly to the Sixteenth Century Journal, the Renaissance Quarterly ,and Historians of British Art as a book reviewer. She has presented her scholarship at numerous regional, national, and international conferences, with the most recent being at the National Portrait Gallery and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.  Her publications include a chapter, “Vasari on Signorelli: The Origins of the Grand Manner of Painting,” in Reading Vasari (Philip Wilson, 2005) and a book, entitled Signorelli and Fra Angelico at Orvieto: Liturgy, Poetry and a Vision of the End-time, (Ashgate Publishing, 2003). She currently has a book manuscript ready for publication entitled, Art in England from the Saxons through the Tudors. Her website address is:

Sarah Kennedy

sarah kennedy

Kennedy holds an MFA from Vermont College and a PhD from Purdue University. She is the author of four books of poems, including Consider the Lilies (David Robert Books 2004), Double Exposure (Cleveland State University Press Open Competition Winner 2003), and Flow Blue (Elixir Press Prize in Poetry Winner 2002). Kennedy has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is a contributing editor for Shenandoah and West Branch.

Paul Menzer

Menzer, director of Mary Baldwin’s MLitt/MFA program, and associate professor, teaches classes about the text, context, and performance of Shakespeare. He earned a PhD from University of Virginia.

Theresa K. Southerington

Terry SoutheringtonA professor of theatre, Southerington is an alumna of Mary Baldwin College. She holds MA and MFA degrees in theatre from University of Virginia, as well as the MS is mathematics from James Madison University. Her primary field is costume, and she studied authentic Elizabethan costume practice at London’s Globe Theatre. Her designs are frequently seen onstage at Blackfriars Playhouse and Ash Lawn Opera. Southerington teaches acting and directing as well as the technical and design courses: basic production, costume, makeup, stagecraft, scene design, and lighting. She has an extensive resume of acting and directing ranging from Shakespeare to Tennessee Williams, and Noel Coward to modern British farce.

Martha Walker

Walker is associate professor of French and director of Women’s Studies. Her scholarly research focuses on politics and gender in contemporary French and Francophone theater. She offers courses on theater as both literary and performance text as well as on 19th and 20th century women writers. In addition, she teaches intermediate- and advanced-level French, the latter including an introduction to French and Francophone culture through film and literature.