Edith Snook- 2017 University Research Scholar

Dr. Edith Snook received her PhD in English from the University of Western Ontario in 2000, her MA in English from the University of Alberta in 1994, and her BA in History, also from Alberta, in 1991.  Dr. Snook joined the Department of English at the University of New Brunswick in 2001, where she was appointed to the rank of Associate Professor in 2005 and to Full Professor in 2012.  An early modern literature specialist, her research interests include women’s writing, material culture, and the history of medicine.

She is the author of several innovative books and essays. Women, Reading, and the Cultural Politics of Early Modern England (2005) examined how women approached reading as a site of cultural conflict over gender, status, education, religion, and nationalism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Her second book Women, Beauty and Power in Early Modern England: A Feminist Literary History (2011; reprinted in 2015) was named an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Reviews Online.  It looks at how women writing in seventeenth-century England used the language and practices of cosmetics, clothes, and hair to think about racial, class and gender identities and to convey ideas about politics, empire, religion, and philosophy. An edited collection of essays, The Cultural History of Hair in the Renaissance (in press), continues this ground-breaking research into beauty practices in the period.  A fourth book The Culture of Physic: Women’s Writing and Medicine in Early Modern England, a study of how women’s knowledge of medicine informed by their literary writings, will be coming soon to fruition.  Placed in top-ranked publications such as The Social History of Medicine, English Literary Renaissance, and The Seventeenth Century, and in major essay collections in the field of early modern women’s writing, other essays consider recipe culture, beauty culture, reading, maternal advice, and women’s paediatric medical knowledge. She has disseminated her research in over 30 presentations at international and national conferences. Deeply invested in archival research, this work has been supported by SSHRC Standard Research Grants and other funding and fellowships, including UNB University Research Fund grants, a Folger Fellowship and a stint as a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University. 

Dr. Snook’s current research project, Early Modern Maritime Recipes, shifts to this side of the Atlantic and is supported by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant.  With Co-Investigator Dr. Lyn Bennett (Dalhousie) and UNB’s Centre for Electronic Scholarship, she heads a small research team that will compile a record of extant manuscript and print recipes produced in the region, make them accessible to a wider audience via an open access web portal, and consider how Maritime recipes both interact with and help to constitute an Atlantic culture of intellectual exchange that included French, Indigenous, and English-speaking peoples. In the early modern period, recipes were written by women and men working in the home and professionally as cooks, physicians, surgeons, apothecaries, and chemists. Analysis of early modern recipes is an emerging field of study, largely focused on England that is demonstrating how recipes articulate social networks for knowledge creation and the exchange of knowledge across geographic, cultural, and social divides. This project is exciting because it not only shifts scholarly attention to the Maritime region but it will also demonstrate the unique place of this culturally heterogeneous region in the intellectual culture of the early modern Atlantic world.