Jennifer L. Airey

Jennifer Airey

Associate Professor of EnglishZink Hall  340
(918) 631-2854

I specialize in Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature, with an emphasis on Restoration drama and theater history. My research concentrates on depictions of gender and sexuality, both on-stage and in Restoration culture, and I am particularly interested in interrogating the relationship between extra-literary sources--propaganda pamphlets, circulating broadsides, and popular sermons--and the British stage. My book, The Politics of Rape: Sexual Atrocity, Propaganda Wars, and the Restoration Stage, is forthcoming from the University of Delaware Press, and is the first full-length study of representations of sexual violence in Restoration theater and political culture. The study offers an intensive look at seventeenth-century propaganda, gathering together a wealth of understudied pamphlet texts, and identifying a series of stock figures that recur throughout the century: The demonic Irishman, sexually violent villain of the 1641 Irish Rebellion tracts; the debauched Cavalier, the secretly Catholic royalist rapist; the poisonous Catholic bride, the malignant consort who encourages the rapes of Protestant women; the cannibal father, the evil patriarch who rapes his daughters-in-laws before ingesting his own sons as a symbol of monarchical overreach; and the ravished monarch, the male rape victim whose sexual violation protests his political disenfranchisement. The study then traces the appearance of these figures on the British stage, examining well-known works by Dryden, Rochester, Behn, Lee, and Shadwell, alongside lesser-known plays by Orrery, Howard, Settle, Crowne, Ravenscroft, Pix, Cibber, and Brady. I am currently at work on a new book project, examining treatments of gender and class violence in Gothic drama of the late eighteenth century.

Education and Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., Boston University, 2008
  • M.A., Boston University, 2003
  • B.A., Brandeis University, 2002 (graduated summa cum laude, with highest honors in English and American literature)

Previous Teaching Experience

  • Teaching Fellow  Boston University, 2003-2008
  • Teaching Fellow  Harvard University Extension School, 2007-2008

Professional Affiliations

  • American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
  • Aphra Behn Society
  • East-Central American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
  • International Gothic Association
  • Midwestern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
  • Modern Language Association

Courses Taught at TU

  • Gothic Fiction (ENGL 3713)
  • Masculinities (ENGL 4863)
  • Early Modern Sexualities (ENGL 3713)
  • Senior Seminar: Popular Culture (ENGL 4973)
  • Special Topics: Restoration Drama, Early Modern Sexualities, Gothic Fiction (ENGL 8113-8213)

Awards & Recognition

  • 2007 The Angela J. and James J. Rallis Memorial Award, Boston University Humanities Foundation.
  • 2007 The Clarimond Mansfield Award, Boston University.
  • 2007 The Edwin S. and Ruth M. White Prize, Boston University Humanities Foundation.
  • 2005 The Warren and Myrtle Ault Memorial Fellowship, Boston University.
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Brandeis University
  • B.A. summa cum Laude, highest honors in English and American literature, Brandeis University


  • The Politics of Rape: Sexual Violence, Religious Controversy, and the London Stage, 1660-1800
    forthcoming from the University of Delaware Press
  • Eve's Nature, Eve's Nurture in Dryden's Edenic Opera Studies
    English Literature 50.3 (Summer 2010): 529-544.
  • Restoration
    32.1 (2008): 71-91.
  • 'For fear of learning new language': Antitheatricalism and the Female Spectator in The Country Wife and The Plain Dealer
    Restoration 31.2 (2007): 1-19.