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About David C Moberly

My current research is in the field of early modern English literature and gender studies. I am especially interested in England's captivity narratives and dramas featuring captivity themes. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many Englishmen and women were taken captive by pirates and enslaved in what is now the Middle East and North Africa. Several writers of the time created narratives and dramas about the experiences of such captives. Recent scholarship has brought to light many of these works and pointed out their importance in establishing what was still a young, unsure, and developing English identity in this early period. Most of this scholarship, however, has dealt with narratives of the male captivity experience, leaving literary representations of women's experiences in captivity largely unexplored. My Master's Thesis examines a hitherto neglected body of works from the period featuring female characters enslaved in Islamicate lands, pointing out that early modern captivity literature maintained a gendered double-standard that allowed men to reaffirm the strength of their European and Christian identities despite the power of Islamic hegemony while simultaneously exposing the faithless flaws of the “weaker sex,” creating within the genre female captive characters who ultimately betray their “true,” European identities.


Present Faculty Member, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Research Interests

Early modern English literature and Anglo-Islamic relations

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Honors and Awards

  • Klaeber Fellowship, 2011-2012
  • Edgren Fellowship, 2009-2011
  • CLS Scholarship 2011, 2012