James Kearney is an associate professor in the department of English, having arrived here in 2006. He is a scholar of early modern literature and culture; Shakespeare; literature and economics; early modern and postmodern ethics; the history of reading; and literary theory. His recent teaching has focused on various approaches to Shakespeare, including a highly innovative new team-taught course with Irwin Appel in the department of Theater and Dance. The course, entitled, “Experiencing Shakespeare,” was part of the Freshman Summer Start Program and was designed to immerse students into the humanities and arts from the very beginning of their time at UCSB. As undergraduate chair in the department, Kearney also developed the department’s Honors Program, which has now enabled students to delve deeply into advanced literary research. Also, as directory of the Early Modern Center, he has co-taught with graduate fellows, developing fascinating courses, such as one recent one on shipwreck narratives from the Odyssey to Castaway.
Dr. Kearney’s record shows an immense dedication to the department, to the discipline, and to his students. We were especially struck by the very personal comments James received. Virtually all noted his incredible rigor and passion, his wonderful lectures, but also, as one graduate student explained, “Dr. Kearney may be the best and most sincere listener, attuned not only to what I am saying, but also to the things for which I have not yet found words.”