Dr. Nardizzi specializes in English Renaissance literature, especially Shakespeare. He also has research interests in ecotheory, plant studies, queer studies, and disability studies. His first book, Wooden Os: Shakespeare’s Theatres and England’s Trees (University of Toronto Press, 2013), brings into view the forest and the trees of English Renaissance drama: it explores the surprising connections among Shakespeare’s theatre, drama set “in the woods,” and an environmental crisis that propagandists claimed would lead to an eco-political collapse – an unprecedented scarcity of wood and timber. The Society for Theatre Research short-listed it for the 2013 Theatre Book Prize.
His current research project, Marvellous Vegetables: Plants and the Poetry of Description in the English Renaissance, explores the relationships between poetry and botanical natural history in sixteenth- and early-seventeenth-century England. Its focus is the conceptualization of both kinds of writing as forms of description: the method of the poet and the naturalist in this period was “to describe.” Cross-disciplinary, multilingual, and transatlantic in its objects of study, this project examines figurations of plants in English poetry; it also investigates the use of classical and vernacular poetry as evidence for identifying new or unknown plants and for describing morphology and medicinal application in texts such as John Gerard’s Herball. I develop this argument about poetic description in four case studies that are designed to encompass exotic and native plants, to span high and low social registers, and to track the colonial movement of plants across oceans, cultures, and languages. Akin to entries in an herbal, these studies illuminate the surprising place of laurel trees, leeks, tulips, and the potato in the period’s poetry and natural history. They also help spotlight the hitherto unexamined – but central – place of these plants in the field of English Renaissance studies.
With Stephen Guy-Bray and Will Stockton, he has co-edited Queer Renaissance Historiography: Backward Gaze (Ashgate, 2009); with Jean E. Feerick, The Indistinct Human in Renaissance Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); with Tiffany Jo Werth, Premodern Ecologies in the Modern Literary Imagination (Toronto, 2019); and with Robert W. Barrett, Jr., a special issue of postmedieval called “Premodern Plants.” He was awarded a Killam Teaching Prize in 2011, the Dean of Arts Faculty Research Award in 2018, and was in residence at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies in 2014-15. He has received research funds from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Insight Development, Connection, and Insight Grants), the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Shakespeare Association of America, and the Henry E. Huntington Library.
Since joining UBC in 2006, Dr. Nardizzi has taught a range of courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels on English Renaissance literature. His teaching interests also include ecotheory, queer theory, and disability studies. He has supervised undergraduate and graduate students conducting research on these topics.
A Selection of Recent Publications
Books and Collections
- Premodern Ecologies in the Modern Literary Imagination. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019.
- Wooden Os: Shakespeare’s Theatres and England’s Trees. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013.
- The Indistinct Human in Renaissance Literature. Co-edited with Jean E. Feerick. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
- Queer Renaissance Historiography: Backward Gaze. Co-edited with Stephen Guy-Bray and Will Stockton. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009.
- “Daphne Described: Ovidian Poetry and Speculative Natural History in Gerard’s Herball,” Philological Quarterly 98.1-2 (2019): 137-56.
- Contribution to “Memory Studies and the Anthropocene: A Roundtable.” Memory Studies 11.4 (2018): 509-11.
- “Shakespeare’s Queer Pastoral Ecology: Alienation around Arden.” ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 23.3 (Summer 2016): 564-82.
Book Chapters (Select)
- “Environ.” In Veer Ecology: An Ecotheory Companion, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Lowell Duckert (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018), pp. 183-95
- “Afterword.” In Queer Shakespeare: Desire and Sexuality, ed. Goran Stanivukovic (London: Bloomsbury Arden, 2017), pp. 279-94.
- “Disability Figures in Shakespeare.” In Oxford Handbook on Shakespeare and Embodiment, ed. Valerie Traub (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 455-67.
- “Wooden Actors on the English Renaissance Stage.” In Renaissance Posthumanism, eds. Joseph Campana and Scott Maisano (New York: Fordham University Press, 2016). pp. 195-220.
With colleagues at UBC, the University of California, Davis, and Simon Fraser University, Dr. Nardizzi currently co-directs the research network “Oecologies: Inhabiting Premodern Worlds” (http://oecologies.com/).
Our research collective asks how we might rethink modern “ecology” through the study of premodern natural history, taxonomy, hierarchy, and categorization; discusses the relations among terms such as N/nature, landscape, ecology, economy, environment, and technology; and asks how our regionally and temporally specific conceptions draw / differ from premodern inhabitations of the world.
Each year we employ at least one graduate student RA to work on this project.