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 Melissa M. Caldwell

Melissa M. Caldwell

Assistant Professor of English

Office: 3050 - Coleman Hall
Phone: 217-581-7481
Email: mcaldwell@eiu.edu

Office Hours:  Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:00-11:00 a.m. and 12:30-2:00 p.m.

My research interests include early modern intellectual history and moral philosophy; the transmission, adaptation and influence of skepticism in England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; religious and political polemical literature of the Reformation and the English Civil War; hybridity in literary-philosophical texts; and the relationship between word and image in literary, philosophical, and religious texts. My publications include "Minds Indifferent: Milton, Lord Brooke, and the Value of Adiaphora on the Eve of the English Civil War" in The Seventeenth Century, and "Skepticism and Post-Reformation Ethics: Richard Hooker’s Galen" in Studies in Philology. My current work focuses on skepticism in the religious and moral thought of England from the 1520s to the 1640s. In this project, I am interested in how writers use skepticism as a means by which to negotiate competing interests of reform and orthodoxy and how skepticism becomes a stabilizing yet generative force as more complex didactic modes of thought and writing replace dogmatic ones. By expanding current critical formulations of early modern skepticism, I offer a fuller account of skepticism’s history and examine its relationship to early modern epistemology, ethics and aesthetics. More largely, this project suggests that the reconstitution of ethical value through literary modes represents complex responses to epistemic growth and limitation. 

Education

PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Research

Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century British studies, intellectual history, skepticism, religion and literature, and classical transmission

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