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Chi-Fang Sophia Li

BA and MA (Oxon); MA and PhD (Warwick)


I came to the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, in 2001. At Warwick I obtained two degrees: an MA in the Culture of the European Renaissance (2002) and a PhD in Renaissance Studies ( Jan 2009). My PhD thesis is entitled 'Thomas Dekker and Chaucerian Re-Imaginings', a double project that offers a new scholarly biography of Thomas Dekker (c. 1572-1632) and demonstrates the ways in which he refashions his principal source, Geoffrey Chaucer, in theatrical terms. This research considers Dekker in both literary and theatre histories and situates Dekker among his collaborators, among them, Henry Chettle, Michael Drayton, Anthony Munday, Thomas Middleton, and John Webster. My supervisor was Professor Carol Chillington Rutter; mentor, Dr Susan Brock; examiners, Professor Peter Mack (FBA, internal) and Dr Richard Rowland (external from York). The funding bodies of my doctoral research were the National Science Council of Taiwan (four-year Taiwan Merit Scholarship) and the Renaissance Centre, which provided bursaries and travel grants.

At Warwick in the 2000s I was taught by many junior and senior academics who were headhunted to join Warwick in the 1990s. The senior established professors continue to shine, whereas the young and promising ones are now eminent scholars in their fields, among whom some have been elected Fellows of the British Academy. As I look back from now, I feel tremendously grateful that I could be part of the Renaissance community.

In August 2009 I was appointed assistant professor at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan (abbreviated as NSYSU). In Feb 2015 I was promoted to associate professor. My rigorous training at both Oxford and Warwick enabled me to win a highly competitive, prestigious Junior Investigators Research Award from Academia Sinica (award value: £12,500) in 2016. I was the only female award recipient among other 12 male scientists and 4 male social scientists. Thanks to the recognition of Academia Sinica, I was further appointed Distinguished Associate Professor at NSYSU and got my tenure in 2017. I was promoted to professor in February 2022.

Current Employment: Professor at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung 804, Taiwan

My Research Areas:

At the doctoral level, my research was anchored in English Renaissance Drama and the reception of Chaucer in the English Renaissance. Since 2009 I have secured successive research grants, which allowed me to investigate how the prose writings of John Stow, Thomas Nashe, and Thomas Middleton inform Dekker's dramatic and non-dramatic works. From 2016 on I have been working on a long-term research project entitled 'Italy under the English Quill", which enables me to explore the ways in which the translations of the Italian novelle and the writings of Castiglione and Aretino shape the representations of Italy in English Renaissance Drama.

During January - June 2019 I was very fortunate to be awarded a research fellowship sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan, which allowed me to return to the Centre as a visiting associate professor to work on a project entitled 'The Impact of the Italian Wars on the Literary Geography of the English Renaissance'. The purpose of this research is to weave together the Centre's invaluable Italian legacy (pioneered by Sir John Hale, Julian Gardner, Peter Mack, Michael Mallett, Humphrey Butters, Christine Shaw, Ronnie Mulryne, Margaret Shewring, David Lines, Jonathan Davies et al) with my expertise and new research findings. A preliminary result of this research was presented at the Stvdio Seminar on 11 June 2019. Following this research visit, I was made an honorary research fellow of the Centre.

Published Peer-reviewed Journal Articles in English
  • Li, Chi-fang Sophia. Commissioned Book Review of Chaucer's Queens: Royal Women, Intercession, and Patronage in England, 1328-1394 by Louise Tingle. Renaissance Quarterly 76.3 (xx-xx). (Forthcoming)
  • Li, Chi-fang Sophia. Commissioned Book Review of The Cambridge Companion to The Canterbury Tales. Renaissance Quarterly 75.3 (2022), 982-984.
  • Li, Chi-fang Sophia. 'Chaucerian Topoi and Topography in Thomas Dekker's (and John Webster's) Westward Ho (1605) and Northward Ho (1607)'. Comparative Drama 55.2-3 (2021), 355-379.
  • Li, Chi-fang Sophia. 'In Conversation with Shakespeare in Jacobean London: Social Insanity and Its Taming School in 1&2 Honest Whore'. Shakespeare Survey 73 (2020), 63-78.
  • Li, Chi-fang Sophia. 'Thomas Dekker Revealed in the Henslowe-Alleyn Papers'. New Theatre Quarterly 34.1 (2018), 16-34.
  • Li, Chi-fang Sophia. 'The Roaring Girl in Retrospect: the RSC Production of 1983'. New Theatre Quarterly 30.3 (2014), 274-97. (Featured as the front cover article of the issue.)

Published Journal Article in Chinese

Book Chapters in Chinese

  • Li, Chi-fang Sophia. 'Londoners and Their Worlds: the Art of Place-making in William Haughton's Englishmen for My Money', in Boundary Narrative and Spatial Discourse, eds. Tee Kim Tong and Hsiung Ting-hui. (Kaohsiung: National Sun Yat-sen University Press, 2016).
  • Li, Chi-fang Sophia. 'Has Shakespeare Been to Italy? the Venetian Ghetto as a Case Study', in A Chivalric Quest: Festschrift in Honor of Professor Francis K. H. So's Retirement. (Taipei: Bookman, 2020), 229-66.
Other Publications in English & Chinese
  • Li, Chi-fang Sophia, & Tsai, Min-ling. 'Berenson in Chinese' in On the Future of I Tatti: Berenson's Words in Languages of the I Tatti Community, 26 June 2015 (Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Centre for the Italian Renaissance Studies).
  • Li, Chi-fang Sophia. 'Introduction' & 'Plot Summary' of A Midsummer Night's Dream for the performance programme of Shakespeare's Globe On Tour to Taiwan. Oct 2014.
Impact & Public Engagement (selected)
  • 17 June 2023. ‘On the Symptoms of King Lear’s Fixations, Madness, and Egotism: a Moral Revelation of Medical Humanities’. Online Public Lecture by invitation of the Taiwan Shakespeare Association.
  • 10 June 2023. In-person public lecture on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream by invitation of the Cultural Affair Bureau, Taichung City Government, Taiwan. Venue: Taichung Tun District Art Centre.
  • 26 April 2023. ‘King Lear’s Emotional Fixations and Madness’, In-person Public Lecture by invitation of the College of Medicine of NSYSU.
  • 6 October 2022. ‘Shakespeare and His Peers’. Online Public Lecture by invitation of ProQuest and Transmission Books & Microinfo Co., LTD.
  • 25 June 2022. ‘Music in Much Ado About Nothing’. Online keynote speech by invitation of the Taiwan Shakespeare Association Conference of 2022.
  • 6 May 2022. ‘Italy under the English Quill: a Dialogic Construction of Italophilia and Italophobia’. Online talk by invitation of the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan.
  • 2022 Four Shakespeare lecture concerts on ‘Erich Korngold’s Much Ado about Nothing and Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet were held at (1) the Odeum at National Taiwan University (14 April); (2) College of Engineering, NSYSU (15 April); (3) NSYSU (18 Nov); (4) Music and Literature Workshop at NSYSU (18 Nov).
  • 2020 Two Shakespeare lecture concerts on Vaugh Williams’ ‘Three Shakespeare Songs’ in The Tempest and ‘Serenade to Music’ in The Merchant of Venice were held at (1) National Taichung University of Education (27 Oct); (2) NSYSU (11 Nov).

  • 11 Dec 2019. Public Lecture on 'Objects, Playhouses, Shakespeare's London' at the Film Centre of National Chiao Tung University
  • Nov - Dec 2019. Four Public Lectures on the Songs in Twelfth Night (by Quilter and Finzi) and Hamlet (by Brahams, Strauss, Saint-Seans, and Chausson). To take place in National Taiwan University, Feng Chia University, National Sun Yat-sen University, and Kaohsiung City Dadong Arts Centre. Music collaborators included Dr. Yu-wen Chen (violinist) and Dr. Jung-ying Li (soprano).
  • Oct - Nov 2016. Four Public Lectures on Prokoffiev's Much ado and Korngold's Romeo and Juliet for 'Shakespeare and Music' Lecture Concerts in commemoration of Shakespeare's 400th anniversary. Music collaborators included Dr. Yu-wen Chen (violinist) and Dr Pei-chi Hung (pianist).
  • 28 Nov 2015. Public Lecture for the Shakespeare Exhibition co-organised by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the British Council, the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, and Wedgwood. An event that commemorated Shakespeare's 400th anniversary.
  • Aug - Oct 2014. Fifteen Public Lectures and Pre-show Talks for the Globe Theatre's performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream on Tour to National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts, Taiwan (under commission by the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan)
Professional Affiliations:
  • The Malone Society
  • Society for Renaissance Studies, UK
  • Renaissance Society of America
  • Taiwan Association of Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Studies ( appointed treasurer during 2012-2015; elected board member since 2014)

Courses that I offer at NSYSU:

Undergraduate Courses:

  • Required Survey Courses: English Literature Before 1600; English Literature 1660-1800; European Literature 1350-1800.
  • Optional Content Courses: Shakespeare; History and Culture of the European Renaissance; Machiavelli's Literature and Political Ideas.

Postgraduate Courses:

  • Shakespeare (MA level); Renaissance Drama (MA level); Chaucer (doctoral level); Renaissance Prose Studies (doctoral level)

I'm also the Principal Investigator of the following research projects funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan:

  • July 2022 - Aug 2025 'Italy under the English Quill: In Conversation with Shakespeare on City-state, Nation-state, and War'.
  • July 2019 - Aug 2022 'Machiavelli under the English Quill: War, Fortune, and the Devil' (Project for Young and Talented Researcher under 45)
  • January - June 2019 'The Impact of the Italian Wars on the Literary Geography of the English Renaissance' (Visiting fellowship)
  • Aug 2017 - July 2019 'Italy under the English Quill: Book of Manners and Anti-courtly Satire' (Project for Young and Talented Researchers under 45)
  • Aug 2016 - July 2017 'Italy under the English Quill: Literary Re-Inventions in England 1558-1603' (Standard Project)
  • Aug 2014 - July 2016 'Origins of Early Modern Newswriting: Thomas Nashe and His Influence on News Production' (Standard Project)
  • Aug 2012 - July 2014 'Dekker-Middleton Collaboration: A Cultural Life' (Standard Project)
  • Aug 2011 - July 2012 'Dekker and Middleton Collaboration Then and Now' (Standard Project)
  • Aug 2010 - July 2011 'Troja-Nova Triumphans: Thomas Dekker's Civic Pageants' (Standard Project)
  • Aug 2009 - July 2010 'Searching the Theatrical Map on the Renaissance Stage: John Stow's Civic Writings' (Standard Project)

Commissioned Projects funded by the College of Liberal Arts, NSYSU.

  • 2016-2023 'Composers' Shakespeare'. Co-investigator: Dr. Yu-wen Chen (Music Department, NSYSU).
  • April 2011 - March 2014 'Londoners and Their Worlds'

Selected Academic Honours and Awards

  • 2017-2020 NSYSU's Distinguished Associate Professorship
  • 2013-2016 NSYSU's Research Excellence Awards
  • 2013, 2015, 2021, 2023 NSYSU's Teaching Excellence Awards
  • 2009-2019 The Department's Teaching Excellence Award

International Conference Organized

Selected Conference / Workshop Papers:

  • 7-9 July 2020 'Sir Geoffrey Fenton's Translation of Italy'. Society for Renaissance Studies Conference, University of East Anglia.
  • 3-5 July 2018 'The Impact of the Innovative Historical Method of Francesco Guicciardini's La Storia d'Italia on the Italian Plays of Shakespeare, Dekker, and Middleton'. Society for Renaissance Studies Conference, University of Sheffield.
  • 6-8 July 2016 'Justice and Mercy in 1&2 Honest Whore: the Globe Production of 1998'. The 16th Literary London Conference, University of London.
  • 22-24 July 2015 'Dekker-Shakespeare Connection: Dialogic Perspectives of Love, Desire, and Madness', The 15th Literary London Conference, University of London
  • 17-19 July 2013 'Dekker-Middleton Connection: a Cultural Life in the Years of Crisis', The 12th Literary London Conference, University of London
  • 4-6 July 2012 'The Royal Shakespeare Company's Roaring Girl (1983) in Thatcher's Britain', The 11th Literary London Conference, University of London
  • 29 June-1 July 2012, 'Adventurers and Their Worlds: Gloriana's "Place" and the "Places" of England in the National Geography of Old Fortunatus (1599)', Renaissance Old Worlds Conference, the British Library, London
  • 4-5 November 2011 'The "Play" of the Green Language in Thomas Dekker's Civic Pageants', The 5th TACMRS International Conference, National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan
  • 20-22 July 2011, 'Green Language in Dekker's The Magnificent Entertainment (1604)', The 10th Annual Literary London Conference, London
  • 11-14 July 2011 '"Rich" and "Poor", "Giants" and "Pigmies" in The Pleasant Comedy of Patient Grissil (1599): An Onstage Renaissance Criticism of the Griselda Legend', International Medieval Congress, Leeds
  • 16-18 July 2010 'Dekker Reading Stow', The 4th Biennial Conference of the Society of Renaissance Studies held under the auspices of the University of York
  • 17 July 2006: Book review of 'Bernherd Klein's Maps and the Writing of Space in Early Modern Europe and Ireland' at the Mellon-Newberry Workshop, titled 'Culture, Space and Power: Peopling the Built Environment in Renaissance England c. 1450-1700', also with Erica Artiles, Sharon Emmerichs, and Wendy Weise16 June 2004: 'Thomas Dekker and Gender Ideology' at the Warwick Postgraduate Conference