Jeffrey A. Masten, 1986
B.A., Denison University
M.A., University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Citation awarded on Saturday, June 3, 2017
Jeffrey Masten credits his start as a leading scholar of Shakespeare and sexuality studies to mentors in Denison’s English, women’s studies, and music departments. After earning his Ph.D. as a Mellon Humanities Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, Jeff began his career at Harvard, where he was Gardner Cowles Associate Professor in the humanities. He joined Northwestern’s English department with tenure in 1998. At Northwestern, Jeff has been honored for both teaching and research. He received the Weinberg College Distinguished Teaching Award and was named the Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, Northwestern’s highest teaching honor. He has advised nearly 40 Ph.D. dissertations, and from 2005 to 2008, he directed Northwestern’s gender and sexuality studies program.
Jeff’s research focuses on early English literature, including Shakespeare, women’s writing, and the history of sexuality. He has published books covering sexuality in Renaissance drama, and his discovery of a previously unknown copy of Marlowe’s 1594 play Edward II, a key document in the early history of homosexuality, was published in the London Times Literary Supplement.
In 1988, Jeff co-founded Denison’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Alumni Association (now Denison Pride). His work to build LGBTQ alums’ connections with the college included a controversial 1992 Denison Magazine essay on the group’s first Homecoming gathering. He continues to serve on Denison Pride’s steering committee. Jeff was a member of Denison’s board of trustees and Alumni Council from 2010 to 2016. He also returns to campus to consult with the queer studies program faculty, teach classes, and participate in Denison Singers Reunions. Jeff was elected as a trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America. He has lectured in England, Ireland, and Germany, and at more than 50 top U.S. colleges, universities, and libraries. In December 2016, he was awarded a major fellowship by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Jeff lives in Chicago with his partner Jay Grossman.