Cynthia Caywood, PhD

Cynthia Caywood
Phone: (619) 260-4252
Office: Founders Hall 170B

Professor, English
Affiliated Faculty, Theatre

  • Ph.D., Duke University, English
  • M.A., University of Exeter, England; English
  • B.A., University of Kansas, English
  • Caywood is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Cynthia L. Caywood, Professor of English and Affiliate Professor of Graduate Theatre, has been a member of the USD faculty since 1984.  She received her BA in English from the University of Kansas; an MA in Drama from the University of Exeter, England; and a PhD in English from Duke University.  She has taught in the MFA program since 1987 and offers a course to second year students entitled “Approaching the Comic Text.”

Caywood is the co-founder of USD’s Women and Gender Studies Program and its Summer in London Study Abroad program. In 1998, she was awarded USD’s Davies Award for Teaching Excellence.  She held a USD Recognition Professorship in 2001-2002 and served as Department Chair from 2013 to 2016.

Areas of Expertise

History of British literature

Scholarly Work

Caywood's research has focused on writing theory, seventeenth and eighteenth century women writers, and August Wilson.  Her volume of essays, Teaching Writing:  Pedagogy, Gender and Equity (1987), co-edited with Gillian Overing, addresses the relationship between writing theory, teaching practices, and gender.  Her work on Aphra Behn, which examines Behn's language, rhetorical strategies, and dramaturgy, has appeared in Restoration, Literary London, and Restoration and Eighteenth Century Drama.  Caywood has also served as a dramaturg on restoration and eighteenth century theatre productions, including The Recruiting Officer, Sir Patient Fancy, and Lovers and Executioners.  With Richard James, she was commissioned to adapt Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol for Center Repertory Company, where it is staged annually. Her most recent work, August Wilson, a special issue of College Literature devoted to the great African-American playwright, was edited with Carlton Floyd and published in 2009.



Cynthia Caywood and Carlton Floyd
"'She Make you Right with Yourself' Aunt Ester, Masculine Loss and Cultural Redemption in August Wilson's Cycle Plays."

College Literature Special Issue 36.2 (Spring 2009): 74-95.

Areas of Interest

At USD, she teaches undergraduate courses in writing, drama, and Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-century British literature.  A founder of the Aphra Behn Society, she has published a number of articles on Aphra Behn and Restoration theatre.   She is also the editor of a special issue of College Literature devoted to August Wilson, and her adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol Creek is performed annually at Walnut Creeks’ Center Repertory Company. Her current book project, A Day in the Life of a Restoration Theatre, reconstructs the events at Dorset Garden Theatre in 1677 when Aphra Behn’s The Rover had its premier.