Meet Our Faculty - Margaret Ferguson
Margaret Ferguson talks about what she loves to teach from the early modern period--that is, roughly speaking, from 1500 to 1700. Among Ferguson's favorite teaching subjects are the dramas and poems of Shakespeare, which play with language in fascinating ways; and works by early modern women writers who were hardly ever read in U.S. college classes until the 1990s. An example is Elizabeth Cary, who published a play in 1613 called The Tragedie of Mariam, Faire Queene of Jewry. Ferguson co-edited the first modern teaching edition of this play in 1994 and has been presenting it to her students ever since, sometimes with Shakespeare's Othello; both plays tell the story of female characters who are wrongfully accused of adultery--and killed--by madly jealous husbands. Ferguson invites her students to think about similarities between early modern English literary texts and those produced in our own society, but she also stresses the importance of thinking about the cultural differences between the England that Shakespeare inhabited and the culture--or cultures--that UC Davis students live in and seek to understand today.