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Kirsten Mendoza

Assistant Professor, Associate Director of Human Rights Studies

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: English, Human Rights Studies


Email: Kirsten Mendoza
Phone: 937-229-3482
HM 277


  • Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2018
  • M.A., Loyola University Chicago, 2013
  • B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012


Kirsten N. Mendoza is an Assistant Professor of English and Human Rights. Her first book project, A Politics of Touch: The Racialization of Consent in Early Modern English Literature, examines the conceptual ties that link shifting 16th and 17th century discourses on sexual consent with England’s colonial endeavors, involvement in the slave trade and global mercantile pursuits. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Renaissance Drama, Shakespeare Bulletin, The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Race, The Norton Critical Edition of Doctor Faustus, Race and Affect in Early Modern English Literature, Teaching Social Justice Through Shakespeare: Why Renaissance Literature Matters Now, and Arden of Faversham: A Critical Reader. Her research has been supported with grants from the Huntington Library, Newberry Library and the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Courses taught

  • Introduction to the English Major
  • Literature and Human Rights
  • Representations of Sexual Violence from Ovid to Toni Morrison
  • Shakespeare and the Construction of Difference
  • Shakespeare and Empire
  • Social Justice and Dramatic Literature
  • Survey of Early English Literature

Selected honors and grants

  • Stevens Award for Best New Essay in Drama Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society, 2022
  • Seed Grant, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Dayton, 2019
  • Woman of Remarkable Distinction Award, WORD Campus Group, University of Dayton, 2019
  • Dissertation Completion Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies, 2017-2018
  • Robert Ransom Myers Distinguished Doctoral Student Award, English Dept. at Vanderbilt, 2018
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award, College of A&S, Vanderbilt, 2017

Selected presentations

Invited Talks

Don Quixote and Its Context,” Research Methods Workshop for Early-Career Graduate Students, co-directed with Ed Friedman, Center for Renaissance Studies, Newberry Library, 2019

“Dido’s Sacrifice: A Critique of Empire through the Hindu Sati and Marlowe’s Dido Queen of Carthage,” New Scholar Series, Bates College, 2016

“To whom the wrong was done: Sexual Violence and the Racialization of Consent in Early Modern English Literature” and “Archival Resonances: Social Justice Pedagogy in the Early Modern Classroom,” New Directions, Renaissance Studies NOW, Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind., 2021

“Racecraft through Discourses of Civility in the Second Part of The Countess of Montgomery’s Urania,” Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Ohio State University, 2020 

“Antiracist Pedagogies of Remembrance,” Race in Early Modernity Forum, Department of English’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Program, Ohio State University, 2020