News Archive

R-MWC Professor Earns Women's Studies Fellowship

Mara Amster spending a year at Brandeis University's Women's Studies Research Center.

8/5/2005 4:15:06 PM


Mara Amster’s fascination with prostitution began in graduate school while studying Shakespeare.

“I kind of fell into it,” she said, laughing at the looks she gets when she tells people her research interest. “I loved Shakespeare, and it was amazing how often these types of characters appear in his works.”

Amster, a Randolph-Macon Woman’s College assistant professor, earned a coveted spot this year as a Visiting Research Associate at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center. The one-year fellowship will allow Amster to pursue research for her book, Sex and the Early Modern City. While in Boston, Amster will examine 17th century representations of prostitution and its relationship to pleasure, performance, pornography, and profit.

The Brandeis Center takes an interdisciplinary approach where scholars, researchers and artists focus on questions related to women’s lives and gender dynamics. Amster will be among historians, economists, musicians, and artists during her fellowship.

"I’m really looking forward to getting feedback and information from all of the participants,” she said.

On R-MWC’s campus, Amster is best known for her Renaissance Literature class, subtitled "Unruly Women." In this upper-level course, she examines a wealth of writing (drama, poetry, medical treatises, legal documents, royal proclamations, and sermons) that concerns itself with the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries’ most unruly women: prostitutes, murderesses, witches, and virgins. The class is based on her research on female sexuality, gendered representations, and Renaissance literature and culture and allows students to make connections between life in the 21st century and life in the 17th century

She is currently finishing her first book, a two-volume anthology, 17th Century Texts on Prostitution.

For more information, please contact Brenda Edson, strategic communications manager, at 947-8142 or

| |

CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations