About me

Professor Mara R. Wade is recipient of the LAS Dean’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2016).

Her most recent individual grants include:  The Newberry Library, Chicago, National Endowment for the Humanities and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship for the academic year 2016 – 2017 to research the monograph “Early Modern Intellectual Networks: Emblems as Open Sources, a social history of the emblem. She also has been awarded the Patricia Labalme Grant from the Renaissance Society of America for one-month’s research at the Centro Vittore Branca at Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, Italy (2016-2017). And she has earned a fellowship from DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) for two-month’s summer funding to conduct research at the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel in 2016. For additional items, please see “grants.”

She is the managing editor of the  journal Emblematica. For over a decade she has been the principle investigator (PI) for Emblematica Online, an NEH funded multi-year, international digital humanities research projectPlease see the interview  on the occasion of the NEH@50. Most recently she has published Gender Matters (2014);  The Palatine Wedding of 1613. Context, Celebration and Consequence of An Anglo-German Alliance. with Sara Smart (Exeter University) Wolfenbütteler Abhandlungen zur Renaissance-forschung (2013), which earned the Weiss/ Brown award in Renaissance Studies, Newberry Library, Chicago; and Emblem Digitization: Conducting Digital Research with Renaissance Texts and Images 2012 (= Early Modern Literary Studies, Special Issue 20).

Professor Wade’s research has a strong focus on digital humanities, and the international research group associated with Emblematica Online has published widely about their research. She also fosters the research of younger scholars, including recent PhDs, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Her grants have supported many graduate students in German and Library Science. Her assistants have all enjoyed their first publications with her mentoring, while the Emblem Scholars provide research opportunities for undergraduate students. Her research is outward facing and engages public humanities.

Her research also investigates the interstices between literature and the other arts, and she has published extensively on literature and music, theater, and the visual arts. She is especially interested in the role of dynastic women as agents of cultural transfer. All of her research reflects a strong orientation to gender studies. She held a named professorship at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien in Hannover, Germany, where she held the Maria Göppert Mayer Professorship for women’s and gender studies (2006). The HMTM is ranked the top Musikhochschule in Germany.

Professor Wade reviews grants for the National Endowment for the Humanities (Bilateral Digital Humanities Program), the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft,  FWO (Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen), American Council of Learned Societies, European Science Foundation, and the Austrian Science Fund. She has served her disciplines in a number of capacities, including leadership roles in the Modern Language Association, the Renaissance Society of America, Sixteenth Century Studies and Conference, and the Society for German Renaissance and Baroque Literature. She served as Chair of the International Society for Emblem Studies from 2008-2014. By appointment of the State of Lower Saxony, she serves as member of the academic advisor council (akademischer Beirat) of the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel (2014-2019). She serves on the selection committee for a Distinguished Scholarly Edition of the MLA (2015-2018) and is a member of the nominating committee for the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference.

She has also served as a visiting professor at Seminar für deutsche Philologie at the University of Göttingen (1998) and has taught consortium seminars on Northern European Court Festivals and on Emblems at the Newberry Library, Chicago. She was the co-director with Professor Wolfgang Behringer, Universität Saarbrücken, of the Wolfenbüttel Summer Course, “Communication and the Culture of the Body in Early Modern Europe,” in August 2011.

Her teaching ranges from early modern German literature and book history to cinema studies, Jewish studies, and gender studies. She teaches regularly an undergraduate seminar, “Books Matter, Book Matters,” for the Campus Honors Program at the University of Illinois. Since 2012 the undergraduate researchers, the “Emblem Scholars,” have been investigating Renaissance emblem books and Digital Humanities under her direction. She is strongly committed to study abroad and the teaching of German. To these ends she regularly works with international organizations and institutions as well as the Austria Illinois Exchange Program to promote academic exchange.

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