Speaker Spotlight: Sarah Covington by Kristen Vitale

Dr. Sarah Covington will take part in the research roundtable discussion “Ideas, Religion and Memory” at “Re-Reading the Revolution”: A conference launching Léamh: Learn Early Modern Irish http://history.uconn.edu/2017/09/25/uchi-re-reading-the-revolution-a-conference-launching-leamh-learn-early-modern-irish/


Dr. Sarah Covington is a historian of early modern England and Irish studies at Queens College/ CUNY Graduate Center. She is the director of the Queens College Irish Studies program, a professor of History at Queens College, as well as professor of History at the Queens Graduate Center. Dr. Covington teaches on crime and punishment in early modern Europe, history of religious violence, the history of the devil, the history of Christianity, memory and history in Ireland, popular culture in early modern Europe, the history of Scotland, Tudor and Stuart England, and more. Author of over twenty-five journal articles and book chapters, she is also the Book Review Editor of the Renaissance Quarterly.

Her first book, published in 2004, The Trail of Martyrdom: Persecution and Resistance in Sixteenth-Century England, explores the religious persecutions by the Tudor monarchs from the reign of Henry VIII through Elizabeth I. This work ultimately investigates obedience, disobedience, religious enforcement and martyrdom in sixteenth century England. Her second work, Wounds, Flesh, and Metaphor in Seventeenth-Century England, published in 2009, studies “the theme of physical and symbolic woundedness in mid-seventeenth century English literature.” In this work, Dr. Covington highlights writers from sixteenth century England and their desperate attempt to “represent the politically and religiously fractured state of the time and re-imagined the nation through language and metaphor in the process.” Dr. Covington is currently writing two new works. The Black-Billed Birds and the Battling Seas: Oliver Cromwell, Memory, and the Dislocations of Ireland channels her knowledge of Irish history. This book “traces Oliver Cromwell and memory in the Irish historical, literary and folkloric imagination over three centuries.” Her second book will observe the “theological and literary reinterpretations of problematic biblical characters…in the wake of the sixteenth-century reformation.”

While Dr. Covington’s historical concentration is deeply rooted in the persistently awesome world of early modern England and Ireland, her thematic approaches to teaching and her own research include memory, the use of literature assimilated with history, as well as the Reformation and martyrdom. Her original use of methodologies attest to her sophistication as a historian. It is vitalizing, if not inspiring, to see that the assimilation of literature with history can be accomplished with great intellect and grace, while producing original and stimulating scholarship on a relatively studied area of history. Indeed, her thought-provoking research on Thomas Cromwell and memory, and her examinations of religious disobedience in Tudor England, in particular, will prove Dr. Covington to be a brilliant contribution to her roundtable discussion and to the conference as a whole.