Simone Chess

Simone Chess

Associate Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies; Associate Professor
Affiliate of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program (GSW)


 10401.2, 5057 Woodward

Simone Chess



 Simone Chess is Associate Chair and Associate Professor of English at Wayne State University and an affiliate of the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program. Her book, Male-to-Female Crossdressing in Early Modern English Literature: Gender, Performance, and Queer Relations (Routledge, 2016) argues that representations of male-to-female crossdressers in literature show models of queer male femininities that are relational and beneficial. In addition to the book, she has published articles and book chapters on the topics of crossdressing and gender labor, bathroom activism, ballads and Shakespeare, early modern representations of blindness, the role of oath-making in “murderous wife” ballads, and other aspects of early modern gendered representation. Her next book project will bring together early modern queer and disability studies.



Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  •  Early Modern British Literature and Culture

  •  Queer Studies

  •  Gender and Sexuality

  •  Disability Studies


  • PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2008
  • BA, Smith College, 2002

Selected publications

Male-to-Female Crossdressing in Early Modern English Literature: Gender, Performance, and Queer Relations. New York: Routledge Press, 2016.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

"Asexuality, Adolescence, and ‘Age Drag’ in Early Modern Literature” in Queering Childhood in Early Modern English Drama, eds. Jennifer Higginbotham and Mark Albert Johnston. (New York: Palgrave, 2018). pp. 31-55.

“Male Femininity and Male-to-Female Crossdressing in Shakespeare’s Plays and Poems” in Queer Shakespeare: Desire and Sexuality, ed. Goran Stanivukovic. London: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2017). pp. 227-244.

“Or whatever you be: Crossdressing, Sex, and Gender Labor in John Lyly’s Gallathea,” Special Issue: Sex Acts in the Early Modern World, Renaissance and Reformation. Vol 38, No 4 (2015), pp.145-166.

“Disability and Gender,” in Gender: Sources, Perspectives, and Methodologies. ed. renée c. hoogland. Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Gender. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2016. pp. 27-40.

“Performing Blindness: Representing Disability in Early Modern Popular Performance and Print” in Recovering Disability in Early Modern England, ed. Allison Hobgood and David Houston Wood (Ohio State University Press, 2013). pp. 105-123.

“Drinking and Good Fellowship: Working Class or Workers’ Classes at the Alehouse?” in Broadside Ballads from the Pepys Collection, ed. Patricia Fumerton (Tempe, Arizona: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2012). pp. 267-299. [essay together with a curated selection of ballads]

“Shakespeare’s Plays and Broadside Ballads,” Literature Compass (volume 7, 2010). pp. 772-785.

“‘and I my vowe did keepe’: Oath Making, Subjectivity and Husband Murder in 'Murderous Wife' Ballads,” in Ballads and Broadsides in Britain, 1500-1800, ed. Patricia Fumerton and Anita Guerrini (Ashgate Press, 2010). pp. 131-148.

Co-Authored Essays
“The English Broadside Ballad Archive: From Theory to Practice,” co-written with Patrcia Fumerton, Tassie Gniady, and Kris McAbee. in Teaching Early Modern Literature from the Archives, MLA Options for Teaching, Heidi Brayman Hackel and Ian Moulton, eds, (New York: Modern Language Association, 2015). pp. 90-100.

“Calling All Restroom Revolutionaries,” in That’s Revolting: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, co-authored with Alison Kafer, Mattie Udora Richardson, and Jessi Quizar. ed. Mattilda, aka Matt, Bernstein Sycamore (Soft Skull Press, 2004; reprinted 2008). pp. 216-306.

Currently teaching

  • ENG 7014: Queering the Renaissance (3 credits, Winter 2019)

Courses taught

ENG 2200: Shakespeare's Plays and Poems (3 credits, Winter 2017)

GSW 2500: Humanities Perspectives on Gender and Sexuality (3 credits, Fall 2016)

ENG 3110: British Literature to 1700 (3 credits, Fall 2016)