Whitney Sperrazza Headshot

Whitney Sperrazza

Assistant Professor

Department of English
College of Liberal Arts

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Whitney Sperrazza

Assistant Professor

Department of English
College of Liberal Arts


Prof. Sperrazza is currently on research leave through Summer 2023.

My work sits at the intersections of early modern literary studies, histories of science, intersectional feminist theory, and digital humanities. I take a highly interdisciplinary approach in both my research and teaching, always interested in the questions that form in disciplinary contact zones.

I am currently at work on several major projects. First, my in-progress book traces an alternative history of women’s engagement with science. Instead of looking for singular examples of female scientists throughout history, I turn to the work of female poets who were engaging with new scientific questions and methods in 16th- and 17th-century England. The book centers on the following questions: how does women's poetry prompt us to reconsider what counts as scientific work? what can women's writing teach us about the relationship between poetic and scientific practices? what are the different ways in which science can manifest poetically?

Second, I am building a digital project prototype exploring the relationships among book history, textile work, and computer programming. /The Craft of Computation/ will be a robust digital exhibit featuring the first book made by an automated machine, a silk woven edition of /Les Laboureurs/ (1883) by Alphonse de Lamartine, held at the Cary Graphic Arts Collection at RIT. With this project, I aim to expand the familiar story of computing history and bolster efforts to bridge humanities and STEM fields.

Finally, together with a regional team of faculty, staff, students, community educators, and activists, I am designing and building a digital humanities project titled /Resistance Mapping/. This interactive project supports ongoing anti-racist curriculum development for Rochester schools, and will serve as a portal into place-based racism and resistance in Monroe County, NY.

I teach in both the English Department and the Digital Humanities and Social Sciences Program. My goal as an instructor is to help students understand and think beyond disciplinary boundaries, always with an eye to the relationship between past and present, physical and digital. 


Personal Links
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Select Scholarship

Journal Paper
Sperrazza, Whitney. "Mary Sidney’s Postmortem Poetics." Shakespeare Studies 49. (2021): 175-180. Print.
Sperrazza, Whitney. "Knowing Mary Wroth's Pamphilia." Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 19. 3 (2019): 1-35. Print.
Invited Article/Publication
Sperrazza, Whitney. "The Algorithm’s Needlework Origins." The Sundial. (2021). Web.
Sperrazza, Whitney. "Reading Anatomy Texts Like Poetry (and why we should do it more often)." The Collation: Folger Shakespeare Library. (2021). Web.
Sperrazza, Whitney. "Before Lovelace." Lady Science. (2020). Web.
Published Review
Sperrazza, Whitney. "Early Modern Manuscripts Online." Rev. of Early Modern Manuscripts Online, ed. Isabella Magni. Early Modern Digital Review 2020: n.p. Web.

Currently Teaching

3 Credits
This course provides an in-depth look at literary giants and the masterpieces of prose or poetry they have created; it's an opportunity to see the role they played both within the context of their own time and within the larger span of literary history. These great authors confront key questions of modernity that continue to occupy us to this day; they ask the question of what it means to be human and explore fundamental human themes. They give us a fresh perspective on the past and on ourselves.