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Mel Vipperman-Cohen


Dr. Melissa (Mel) Vipperman-Cohen (she/hers), assistant professor, teaches early modern and Renaissance British literature, theater, and poetry, as well as the history of English literature, composition courses, and critical queer theory. 

Her research incorporates queer theory and economic criticism in analysis of early modern literature to explore the negotiation of value in shifting social, economic, and political structures. She brings attention to the erotic and economic elements of exchange to deepen and complicate economic history while calling attention to what she calls queer capitalism – practices, such as usury and counterfeiting, that are forms of capitalism predicated upon queer bonds imbued with emotional and sexual significance.

Her pedagogy forges innovative connections between multiple mediums, critical theories, and historical contexts through extensive experience teaching synchronous and asynchronous remote courses as well as in person with a focus on accessibility and inclusion.

Vipperman-Cohen was also the Managing Editor for the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies (University of Pennsylvania Press) from 2017-2021, where she supported the publication of much significant early modern scholarship and several innovative special issues including “Early Modern Islamic Cities” (18.3), “Capitalism – Catholicism – Colonialism” (19.2), “Early Modern Trans Studies” (19.4), and “Character Beyond Shakespeare” (21.2).

She is currently working on a book project tentatively titled Queer Capitalism and Global Economies of Desire on the Early Modern English Stage, in which she argues that the queer affective and economic bonds created in early modern chains of credit and reputation supersede heterosexual reproductive possibilities and may be foundations for novel understandings of selfhood and value.

Degrees & Institutions:

Vipperman-Cohen received her bachelor’s degree in English from Barnard College of Columbia University and her master’s degree and doctorate in English Literature from University of California San Diego.


Early modern and Renaissance British literature, theater, and poetry. Queer theory and economic criticism. Performance studies and comic studies.


“‘What devils dare not move/ Men to accomplish, women work them to:’ Queer Women, Queer Wealth in Robert Daborne’s A Christian Turned Turk.” Race/Queer/Queens. Ed. Mira Kafantaris and Urvashi Chakravarti. Early Modern Cultural Studies Series, Palgrave. 2023. Forthcoming.

“‘Coins, Counterfeit, and Queer Threat in The Comedy of Errors.”  Money and Magic in Early Modern Drama. Ed. David Hawkes. New York: Arden Studies in Early Modern Drama, Bloomsbury Publishing. 2022.