James Lee’s teaching and research focus on Renaissance drama and poetry. He teaches courses on Shakespeare, Milton, the history of the scientific method, and contemporary critical theory. Based on his research experience in molecular biology, his work attempts to show how literary texts shaped the major scientific debates of the early modern period in ways that the traditional history of science hasn’t acknowledged.
His second major area of interest involves developing the idea of the “Global Renaissance,” and how Renaissance English poets and dramatists began to imagine England’s place in a global frame of trade and diplomacy. He is specifically interested in how Renaissance theories of anatomy and psychology shaped the first cultural encounters of European emissaries and missionaries with East Asian cultures.
He is currently working on a book-length manuscript on the problems of the multiple conflicting models of the soul in Renaissance literature and science. His work on Michel Foucault’s ethics and the aesthetics of the sublime is forthcoming in New Literary History (2013), and his work on the molecular mechanism of cleft lip and palate has been published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (2001).
He received his B.A. from Cornell University (2004) and his Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley (2012).