Julia Schleck's Profile Image
Associate Professor of English and Vice Chair

Courses Regularly Taught

Beyond the Bawdy: Sex, Gender, & Cross-Dressing in Shakespeare

Art, Literature, Science, Travel: Power & the Renaissance Court

Gender and Colonialism in the Early Modern Period

Early Modern English Travel and Ethnographic Writing

Shakespeare and the Multicultural Mediterranean

Selected Publications and Projects


Dirty Knowledge: Academic Freedom in the Age of Neoliberalism. Provocations Series, University of Nebraska Press, 2022. Provocations Series.

Dirty Knowledge explores the failure of traditional conceptions of academic freedom in the age of neoliberalism. While examining and rejecting the increasing tendency to view academic freedom as a form of free speech, Julia Schleck highlights the problem of basing academic freedom on employment protections like tenure at a time when such protections are being actively eliminated through neoliberalism’s preference for gig labor. The argument traditionally made for such protections is that they help produce knowledge “for the public good” through the protected isolation of the Ivory Tower, where “pure” knowledge is sought and disseminated.

In contrast, Dirty Knowledge insists that academic knowledge production is and has always been “dirty,” deeply involved in the debates of its time and increasingly permeated by outside interests whose financial and material support provides some research programs with significant advantages over others. Schleck argues for a new vision of the university’s role in society as one of the most important forums for contending views of what exactly constitutes a societal “good,” warning that the intellectual monoculture encouraged by neoliberalism poses a serious danger to our collective futures and insisting on deliberate, material support for faculty research and teaching that runs counter to neoliberal values.

Telling True Tales of Islamic Lands: Forms of Mediation in Early English Travel Writing, 1575-1630. Apple-Zimmerman Series in Early Modern Culture. Selinsgrove, PA: Susquehanna University Press, 2011.

Telling True Tales of Islamic Lands examines early modern English printed works (1575-1630) which claimed that their stories about Muslim lands and peoples were “true,” interrogating what a “true story” might mean in this era and how such texts asked to be read.  Treating anonymously written news pamphlets and travel writings by George Sandys, the Sherley brothers, Thomas Saunders and Richard Hakluyt, this book explores the relationship between the varying generic contexts of these travel accounts, their authors, and the different reading communities that consumed such printed works.  By examining generic and social pressures on travel authors as they crafted their tales of early modern Islamicate cultures, Telling True Tales places at the center of its inquiry the question of how knowledge about these foreign lands and peoples was produced, vetted, and accepted as “true.”

Book Series

Julia Schleck is co-editor (with Christina Lee, Princeton University) of the book series Connected Histories in the Early Modern World, published by Amsterdam University Press. This series contributes to our growing understanding of the connectedness of the world during a period in history when an unprecedented number of people—Europeans, Africans, Asians—made transoceanic or other long distance journeys. It explores topics that highlight the cultural impact of the movement of people, animals, and objects at a global scale. The series editors welcome proposals for monographs and collections of essays in English from literary critics, art historians, and cultural historians that address the changes and cross-fertilizations of cultural practices of specific societies. General topics may concern, among other possibilities: cultural confluences, objects in motion, appropriations of material cultures, cross-cultural exoticization, transcultural identities, religious practices, translations and mistranslations, cultural impacts of trade, discourses of dislocation, globalism in literary/visual arts, and cultural histories of lesser studied regions (such as the Philippines, Macau, African societies).


Orientalism Revisited: a conversation across disciplines.” Co-authored with Justin
Stearns (NYU Abu-Dhabi) and Kaya Şahin (Indiana University Bloomington). Exemplaria: Medieval, Early Modern, Theory 33.2 (2021): 196-207.

“Experiential knowledge and the limits of merchant credit.” In Re-Mapping Travel Narratives in the Early Modern World: To the East and Back Again. Edited by Montserrat Piera. Amsterdam University Press/ARC Humanities Press, 2018. Pp. 257-70.

Alternate Histories of the East India Company, a special issue of The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 17, no. 3 (2017). Co-Editor, with Amrita Sen (University of Calcutta).

“The Marital Problems of the East India Company.” The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 17, no. 3 (2017): 84-105.

“Courtly Connections: Anthony Sherley's Relation of his travels into Persia (1613) in a Global Context.” Co-written with I. Kaya Şahin (University of Indiana Bloomington). Renaissance Quarterly 69, no. 1 (Spring, 2016): 80-115.

“Stranger than fiction: early modern travel narratives and the anti-racist classroom.” In Teaching Medieval and Early Modern Cross-Cultural Encounters across Disciplines and Eras. Edited by Lynn Shutters and Karina Attar. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Pp. 87-102.

“Textual truths and lived experience in George Sandys’ Relation of a Journey begun in 1610 and William Biddulph’s The travels of certaine Englishmen.”  In Through the Eyes of the Beholder:   The Holy Land 1517-1714.  Edited by Judy Hayden and Nabil Matar.  (Brill Publishers, in press). 

“Forming the Captivity of Thomas Saunders: Hakluyt’s Editorial Practices and their Ideological Effects.” In Richard Hakluyt and Travel Writing in Early Modern Europe. Edited by Daniel Carey and Claire Jowitt.  Ashgate & The Hakluyt Society, 2012.

“Forming Knowledge: Natural Philosophy and English Travel Writing.”  In Travel Narratives, the New Science and Literary Discourse, 1569-1750.  Edited by Judy Hayden. Ashgate Press, 2012. 

“'Fair and Balanced' News from the Continent: English Newsbook Readers and the Thirty-Years War.” Prose Studies 29, no. 3 (Winter 2007): 323-335.

“'Plain Broad Narratives of Substantial Facts': Credibility, Narrative, and Hakluyt's The Principall Navigations.” Renaissance Quarterly 59, no. 3 (Autumn 2006): 768-794.

Awards and Honors

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), Annual Intellectual Freedom Award, 2022.

Nebraska English Language Arts Council (NELAC), Intellectual Freedom Award, 2022.

UNL Faculty Senate James A. Lake Academic Freedom Award, 2018.

UNL Annis Chaikin Sorensen Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Humanities, 2017.

UNL College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award, 2010. 

AFCON (Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska) Annual Academic Freedom Award, 2009.


Ph.D. (2006), New York University
English Language and Literature

B.A. (1999), Drew University
English Literature and Music

Areas of Interest

Academic Freedom & Critical University Studies

Global Renaissance Studies

Renaissance literature, including drama, lyric poetry and prose

Travel writing and early modern colonial writings

Interdisciplinary interests include Renaissance music and history of science

Genre studies

Cultural Materialism/Marxism

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