Robert N. Watson
B.A., summa cum laude, Yale University, 1971-75
Ph.D., Highest Honors, Stanford University, 1975-79
William Shakespeare; Ben Jonson; Renaissance environmentalism and religion; Metaphysical poetry; the U.S. in the 1960s; contemporary poetry.Professor Watson received his B.A. summa cum laude from Yale in 1975 and his Ph.D. with Highest Honors from Stanford in 1979, then spent six years as a professor at Harvard before coming to UCLA in 1986, where he has served as Chair of the Department of English, Chair of the Faculty of the UCLA College of Letters and Science, and Associate Vice-Provost for Educational Innovation. He has won national senior research fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as a UC President’s Fellowship.
Professor Watson teaches mostly Shakespeare, English Renaissance poetry, and historical ecocriticism, although he also created and led a new interdisciplinary General Education course on the 1960s. For seven years he served as Head Scholar of the Teaching Shakespeare Summer Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.. In 2001, he received the annual UCLA Distinguished Teaching Prize, and from 2006-8 he held the Gold Shield prize, given to one faculty member at the university for outstanding contributions in research, teaching, and public service.
His latest book, Back to Nature: The Green and the Real in the Late Renaissance, won the 2007 Elizabeth Dietz Memorial Prize,“awarded annually for the best book published in early modern studies,” as well as the ASLE Prize for the best book of ecocriticism of 2005-07. He continues to study Renaissance environmentalism, and has recently published poetry in the New Yorker and other literary journals.