Catherine Clifford PhD

Assistant Professor of English

  • 641-784-5153

I discovered this profession by way of Shakespeare, and although I have invested myself in areas of literature, drama and history mostly unrelated to the Bard, Shakespeare remains my sacred poet and intellectual catalyst. My primary research has been into early modern court performance histories, and my work centers around the relationships between monarchs, palaces and drama during England’s Renaissance. More specifically, I am interested in ways spaces, especially spaces occupied by persons in political power, perform. In these spaces, narrative drama (like that created by Shakespeare and his contemporaries) creates new lenses through which we might understand the relationships between power and art.

Carrying these interests into the classroom, as Assistant Professor of English at Graceland University, I encourage students to read literature both artistically and culturally/historically. Literature offers windows into the ways humans in diverse cultures and civilizations have asked and sought answers for the big humanistic questions. Our humanity requires intellectual investment in these questions, and nothing is more thrilling for me than to see students of all levels, majors and interests engaging deeply in this process of meaning-making. At Graceland, I have the exciting pleasure of teaching, along with our Discourse cycle, our British Literature surveys, Shakespeare, World Literature and Structures of Modern English. 

I grew up in Texas and consider Dallas my home, but rural Lamoni is a natural fit for my temperament and eccentricities. Along with literature, long-distance running is my other passion, and I feel most myself when I go trail running for the better part of the day with my dog, Red (as in Clifford, the Big…Dog). One of my most profound life experiences was finishing my first 100-mile trail race in 2015, hopefully the first of many. There is nothing you can’t do when you’ve run all night long. Along with running, I am also a TV junkie, a builder of LEGOs and a loyal football fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the Oklahoma State Cowboys (Go Pokes!). 

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