Matthew Rinkevich, Unidel Center for Material Culture Studies Fellow
Unidel Center for Material Culture Studies Fellow
213 Memorial Hall
was born and raised in Levittown, PA. After graduating from West Chester
University in 2013, he earned his M.A. in English literature at the University
of Delaware in 2015.
As a doctoral candidate, Matthew studies sixteenth- and seventeenth-century
British literature, and his research focuses on liturgy and sacramental
theology, material cultures of religion, actor-network theory, and book history
and print culture. He is also interested in the reception of Shakespeare after
the early modern period.
In his dissertation, "Signs That Save: Sacramental Matter and Agency in English Literature, 1550–1650," Matthew argues that the sacraments of the early modern English church should contribute to our understanding of matter and material agency during the period. Analyzing the works of authors like Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, John Donne, and Hester Pulter, he considers the ways in which religious conflicts during the Reformation articulated combating epistemologies and phenomenologies of matter. He posits that, while the official theology of the English church limited or denied matter's ability to act, literature provided an imaginative space where belief in matter's agency could express itself. Doing so, he offers sacramental matter (water, bread, wine, oil, etc.) as essential for understanding the Reformation, the relationship between objects and humans in early modern England more broadly, and our own interactions with nonhumans today.
Additionally, Matthew teaches in the English
department. He regularly teaches English 110: Seminar in Composition, including
sections for the Honors Program. Literature courses that he has taught include
English 205: British Literature to 1660 and English 280: Approaches to
Literature for Non-Majors. This last course, he has taught online.
"Reading Ritual: Biblical Hermeneutics and the Liturgical 'Text' in Pre-Reformation England." Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme 41, no. 2 (2018). 37-63.
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