The Wonderful Dr. E

Dr. Laurie Ellinghausen, who has been active in the Honors College since 2014, has been promoted to professor in the English Department and recently published her third book, Pirates, Traitors, and Apostates: Renegade Identities in Early Modern English Writing (University of Toronto Press).

“This project represents a new direction for my career-long interest in labor, class, and social change in Shakespeare’s England,” Dr. Ellinghausen said. “Whereas my first book examined troublemakers within England, this one treats renegades—pirates, mercenaries, and ambitious upstarts—who traveled outside England to gain wealth, adventure, and esteem not available to them at home due to class-based social restrictions. Reading and writing about the lives of such figures took me to some new and fascinating territory.”

A scholar of Renaissance/early modern English literature and culture, Dr. Ellinghausen said that she always has loved books, classes, and new ideas. “But my undergraduate years at the University of Houston, where I was an English major and an honors student, really helped me decide to make education into my career. I had great professors there and great models for teaching and scholarship that I still call on today.”

Dr. Ellinghausen, also known as “Dr. E.,” has been an advisor to the Honors College Living-Learning Community at Oak Street Hall and to Lucerna, the undergraduate research journal that is produced by the Honors College. Dr. Ellinghausen also co-led the first Honors College Scotland Study Abroad Program in July 2017. Collaborating with Dr. Henrietta Rix Wood, Associate Teaching Professor in the Honors College, Dr. Ellinghausen co-taught an Anchor 3 class about the literature and history of Scotland, and a Discourse 300 class that asked students to interview Scots about important contemporary issues.

Looking back on Scotland, Dr. Ellinghausen observed: “This study-abroad experience, a first for both Dr. Wood and me, turned out to be quite the adventure. We explored Edinburgh, the Lowlands, and the Highlands with fifteen bright, high-achieving students who really made the most of the opportunity.  I hope we have the opportunity to do it again one day.”

The author of two other academic books and numerous articles, Dr. Ellinghausen grew up in Texas and earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is an advocate of public universities and noted that “for some time now, the biggest challenge to education in this region has been lack of adequate state funding for instruction. I believe that continuing to educate the public about the enduring value of public education—which includes everything from STEM to the liberal arts—is key to changing legislative priorities.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Ellinghausen already is at work on a new book, Literature and the Seaman’s Labor in Early Modern England. “It’s a study of how literary texts represented the common sailor during the formative years of Britain’s maritime empire. I’d like to integrate more of these materials into my courses as well. Apart from those plans, I’m open to whatever new opportunities might arise for scholarship, teaching, and serving students,” she said.