Stephanie Shirilan

Syracuse University

Stephanie Shirilan is Associate Professor of English at Syracuse University, where she teaches courses on early modern British literature, with an emphasis on drama and prose. She is the author of Robert Burton and the Transformative Powers of Melancholy (Routledge, 2016). Her specialties include the literary histories of science, medicine, religion, and empire. She is co-director of two CNY Humanities Corridor Working Groups, one on the History of Scientific Norms and the Concept of the Normal, and the other on Practice-Based Performance Studies. These two enterprises demonstrate the span of her work across intellectual history and theatrical practice. Her current book project, The Breathing World: A Natural History of Air in Shakespeare, engages environmental and medical history, sound, affect, and disability studies in order to examine the pneumatic and respiratory themes of Shakespeare’s work and explore their enduring legacies in a contemporary moment that has made us more painfully aware of the politics of respiratory security. Her contributions to the working group will emphasize the synesthetic dimensions of respiratory and pneumatic sense in early modern Europe and the challenges of writing a history of respiratory medicine that captures this complexity.