Dr. Jessica Riddell is a Full Professor in the English Department at Bishop’s University specializing in late medieval and early modern dramatic and non-dramatic literature. Dr. Riddell teaches a wide range of courses, including medieval romance, medieval drama, Shakespeare and his contemporaries, Sixteenth and Seventeenth century poetry and prose. She is also the inaugural Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence: in this capacity, she explores innovative teaching and learning practices, creates mentorship opportunities for students and faculty, mobilizes knowledge around learning in higher education (with a particular focus on the humanities), enhances professional development initiatives for her colleagues, and participates in a wide range of visioning and consultations at the national and international levels. She is the VP Canada on the Board of ISSoTL (International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) as well as a Board member for the 3M National Executive Council. Dr. Riddell is the faculty columnist of University Affairs and her articles appear in a series called “Adventures in Academe.” Dr. Riddell was awarded the 3M National Teaching Fellowship in 2015, the first recipient of the award at Bishop’s University. She was also awarded the William and Nancy Turner Award for Teaching Excellence (2011-2012), the most prestigious recognition of teaching excellence at Bishop’s. Dr. Riddell earned her MA and PhD in English Literature from Queen’s University.
Dr. Riddell’s research interests encompass late medieval and early modern literature, performance and ritual theory, and the articulations of subjecthood in courtly and civic drama from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century. Her disciplinary research theorizes that sixteenth-century drama provides well-documented intersections between politics, performance, and power. Her SSHRC Insight Development Grant enabled her to investigate how technologies in the sixteenth century (the printing press, illuminated manuscripts, heraldic scrolls, portraits) recorded and shaped identity and gender, especially pertaining to political leadership in Elizabeth I’s court. Her recent work has examined early Tudor representations of sovereignty in theatrical, visual, and verbal forms in order to argue that there is significant and strategic generic experimentation in the recording of royal, aristocratic, and civic spectacle – spectacle designed to advance the political agendas of the monarch, the aristocracy, and the civic authorities. She is currently working on a book length project on Elizabeth I that probes 1) the manner in which the queen and her male courtiers commissioned innovative and hybrid genres; 2) the representational strategies within these genres by means of which gender is contested and re-formed; and 3) the modes of dissemination of these hybrid performance-texts (i.e. manuscript and print). By examining how performance is textualized in these new genres, Dr. Riddell’s work attempts to expose the tensions animating the often fraught relationships among the Queen, her nobility, and the civic populace.