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Matthew C. Hansen


  • Matthew C. Hansen, English Literature, Boise
  • (208) 426-1215
  • LA 205

Since 2006, Matthew Hansen has implemented an innovative approach to teaching Shakespeare at the undergraduate level by incorporating a unique service-learning project as the structural and organizational core of the course. Service-learning is a teaching and learning methodology which fosters civic responsibility and applies classroom learning through meaningful service to the community. In this instance, students in ENGL 345 read, discuss and analyze — both in writing and through performance — Shakespeare’s plays. To aid students in still more deeply understanding Shakespeare’s language, characters, plots and storytelling conventions, and to reinforce how performance operates as a form of literary-critical interpretation, my students and I run a 6-7 week long after-school program, which I call “Shake It Up After School” (SIUAS) in three Boise elementary schools. Undergraduate students, under the shared guidance of myself and experienced student-leaders who serve as site directors at each individual school site, teach Shakespeare to fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students by helping them to learn, memorize, and perform an hour-long abridgment of one of Shakespeare’s plays.

This work, in addition to defining important aspects of my professional identity as a teacher, contributes significantly to my scholarly identity. The approximately 20 individual productions of Shakespeare, performed by elementary-aged students in Boise Schools, the 4,000 plus hours of student service hours, and the more than $22,000 in external grant funds secured for and invested into this program over a decade mark it as a substantial form of what Ernest Boyer labels “the scholarship of engagement.”


  • Ph.D., English Literature, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2005
  • M.Phil., Shakespeare and the Drama to 1642, Oxford University, 1997
  • B.A. with Honors, Washington & Lee University, 1994


Shakespeare, Renaissance Drama, Renaissance Poetry and Prose, Performance Theory, Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, Scholarship of Engagement

Recent Publications

  • “Shakespeare and Service-Learning” in Creating the Premodern in the Postmodern Classroom, edited by Anna Riehl Bertolet and Carole Levin (Tempe, AZ: ACMRS, 2018).
  • “Shake It Up After-School: Service Learning, Shakespeare, and Performance as Interpretation” in Service Learning and Literary Studies in English, eds. Laurie Grobman and Roberta Rosenberg (New York: MLA, 2015).
  • “‘O Brave New World’: Shakespeare and Service-Learning.” Pedagogy 11.1 (Winter 2011).
  • “Resources for Teaching and Studying Volpone” in Volpone: A Critical Guide, edited by Matthew Steggle (London: Continuum, 2010).


  • ENGL 175 Literature & Ideas
  • ENGL 275 Methods of Literary Studies
  • ENGL 345 Shakespeare
  • ENGL 350 Renaissance Literature
  • ENGL 500 Research Methods in Literary Studies
  • ENGL 510 Seminar in Major American or English Author
  • ENGL 530 Studies in a Literary Period