Dr. Robin E. Bates, Professor of English, is the John M. Turner Chair in the Humanities.
Dr. Bates grew up in Atlanta and Americus, GA before moving to North Carolina to study Theatre at Appalachian State University and enjoy life in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. She returned to Americus to pursue an MEd in English at Georgia Southwestern State University while working for World Communities Theatre and directing a Shakespeare group for local youth in the Sumter Players community theatre. After a PhD in English and a few years as an instructor at Auburn University, Dr. Bates found her way back to the Blue Ridge when she joined the English Department at Lynchburg.
Specializing in how British literature, especially the work of early modern writers like Shakespeare, is part of the formation and evolution of national and imperial/colonial identities, Dr. Bates’s scholarly work has explored the complex place of literature in cultural contact zones. Her first book, Shakespeare and the Cultural Colonization of Ireland (Routledge 2007/2008) considers Shakespeare’s constructions of Irishness and modern Irish writers’ responses. Her work since then has shifted to investigate the construction of British national identity, most recently how mapping and the relationship to land impact the development of national/regional identity. Early modern chorographic writing such as John Leland’s Itinerary of England and Wales, for which Dr. Bates developed an online mapped index, play a significant role in current projects studying British identity, landscape, and the relationship to place. Her work has been published in Papers in Language & Literature and included in the collection Celtic Shakespeare: The Bard and the Borderers. She has presented her work nationally and internationally and been featured on the That Shakespeare Life podcast.
Dr. Bates teaches coursework in Shakespeare and early modern British literature, literary criticism, and applied and public humanities, and teaches literature and composition courses for the DELL program, including the Literature and the Body course. She teaches dramatic literature as well, usually as part of co-leading the English Department’s study abroad program to London. She is a member of the English Department and program director for the Applied and Public Humanities minor.