Clark Hulse's research focuses on Renaissance literature and visual culture. In addition, he is exploring the role of public culture in the development of contemporary American cities.
His book The Rule of Art: Literature and Painting in the Renaissance (1990) examined the theoretical language through which the poets, painters, and patrons of the Renaissance conceived of the relationship between literature and the visual arts. The book pursued a radically interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach, proposing an archeology of artistic knowledge. This approach was again reflected in Early Modern Visual Culture: Representation, Race, Empire (2000), co-edited with Peter Erickson, a volume of essays exploring art-literature relationships, and defining the field of visual culture for early modern England.
Hulse's first book, Metamorphic Verse: The Elizabethan Minor Epic (1980), explored the non-dramatic poetry of Shakespeare, Marlowe, Spenser, and others. More recently, Elizabeth I: Ruler and Legend (2003) offers a synthetic portrait of the great Tudor queen and her age. It was published to accompany the exhibitions of the same name. Hulse has also published essays on a range of topics, including Shakespeare, Sidney, Spenser and Titian.
Hulse's research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Newberry Library, British Academy, and College Art Association.
Over the past twenty years, Hulse has been deeply involved in the public humanities. He has served on the Illinois Humanities Council and currently is a director of the Chicago Humanities Festival. He acted as Executive Director of the Festival in Winter-Spring 2013.
In 2003 Hulse curated the project Elizabeth I: Ruler and Legend, which comprised an exhibition at the Newberry Library with major loans from the British Library and private collectors; a traveling exhibition that visited 40 cities under the sponsorship of the American Library Association, a web exhibition that won the Leab prize for outstanding web exhibition by a research library, plus extensive public programming. The project was named a "Milestone" by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
In 2006-2010, Hulse was been involved in the creation of the Richard J. Daley Global Cities Forum, a major international gathering of leaders from the governmental, business, academic, and civic sectors to discuss the most important urban issues and most promising solutions. In 2011-2012 he served as Executive Director of Creative Santa Fe, an organization committed to the development of the arts and culture economy of Santa Fe, NM.
Hulse's current projects include two books: Counterfeiting Men: Portraiture in the Age of Henry VIII, and Continental Divides: Culture and Globalism in American Cities.
Hulse served as Dean of the UIC Graduate College from 1999 to 2009, and as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs from 2001 to 2009, and Associate Chancellor from 2007-2011.