Lawrence University’s Gina Bloom has been awarded a pair of fellowships worth $44,000 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif., in support of her research on 16th- and 17th-century conceptions of the human voice and representations of boyhood.
Bloom, assistant professor of English, was one of three recipients of a prestigious $40,000 Solmsen Fellowship and will spend the 2004-05 academic year as a scholar-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Institute for Research in the Humanities. She was selected from a pool of 21 international applicants for the fellowship, which recognizes scholars who are working on literary and historical studies of the European Classical, Medieval and Renaissance periods.
“Professor Bloom’s fellowship appointment is a coup,” said David Sorkin, director of the Institute for Research in the Humanities and professor of history at UW Madison. “There were applications for this year’s Solmsen Fellowship from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and France. The applicants are all sort of a ‘who’s who’ of younger scholars working in the European tradition from antiquity to 1700.”
In addition to Bloom, this year’s other two Solmsen Fellowships were awarded to professors at the University of Arizona and Great Britain’s Cambridge University.
Bloom will spend her Solmsen residency conducting research for her book, “Playing Boys: Youth and Masculinity on the Early Modern Stage.” In the book, Bloom examines representations of boyhood in 16th-and 17th-century dramas. She focuses especially on boys at play — setting pranks, throwing dice, catching bugs, among others — and the way play was thought to prepare boys for adult manhood.
A $4,000 fellowship from the Huntington Library, home to a collection of rare books with an extensive concentration in the Renaissance, will support writing and research efforts this summer for Bloom to complete her first book, “Choreographing Voice: Agency and the Staging of Gender in Early Modern England.”
“Choreographing Voice” examines how early modern writers, especially dramatists like Shakespeare, understood the workings of the human voice — how it was produced by speakers and heard by listeners. Focusing on the ways writers represent the voice in stage plays, medical texts, song books and religious sermons, Bloom challenges perspectives on “voice” in modern feminist thought, offering an alternative view of the relationship between gender, speaking and power.
“The resources provided by these fellowships will help me make a significant contribution to scholarship on the early modern period,” said Bloom. “At the Huntington, I’ll have the privilege to examine texts that cannot be read anywhere else in the world. The Solmsen offers me the luxury of an extended period of time to research and write as well as the opportunity to work through ideas with some of the best scholars in the field.”
A specialist in English Renaissance literature, especially drama, and gender studies, Bloom joined the Lawrence English department faculty in 2001. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Michigan.