burney_275
Burney 275 f.120  – Detail of a historiated initial, with a woman with an open book, and a king on horseback.

I am an enthusiastic teacher of Medieval literature in the Department of English, Languages, and Cultures at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  As an Associate Professor of Medieval literature at Mount Royal University, I am lucky to introduce my undergraduate students to Old English literature, Middle English literature, and History of the English language, while my students introduce me to new perspectives for the content and ideas in our classes.  Together, we question and work with the issues the texts themselves invite us to consider.  This method demonstrates how I put my theorizing of emergence into pedagogical practice in the historical literary classroom.

The rise of medievalisms in post-medieval We have to be willing to rely upon emergence, while creating the space for emergence, so that we negate the fallacy of “progress” or “progression” that periodisation relies upon. Quote by Kenna Olsenpopular culture has forcefully shown that while the medieval can be thought of as a period from the past, we also, as post-medievals, create the medieval daily.  In my classes, at all levels, we think of this as polytemporality, and we rely on this idea to remember that while the texts we study might be centuries old, the ideas, politics, questions, tensions, assumptions, and curiosities are relevant, important, and generative for us today.

The courses listed below are those I am teaching in the Fall 2019 semester.

I regularly supervise undergraduate Honours students on their Honours projects, and employ undergraduate and graduate level Research Assistants on my various research projects.  For more, see Supervision.

English 3324 – Early Medieval Literature

The 2019-2020 MRU Calendar description for this course reads:

“This course examines a selection of representative texts produced during the Age of Chaucer (mid-fourteenth century to c. 1500), offering a variety of literary genres and diverse contexts. The texts will be read in the original language, with instruction in the grammar, orthography and pronunciation of Middle English provided.”

Here’s my more exciting and pointed description:

In these cultural moments when rhetoric, words, the perception of time, truth, and the value of public discourse are issues highlighted daily in popular culture, this course will invite you to consider how you individually engage with written text, and how society engages with the issues that concern it. This course will excite your senses, demand your energy, and provide intellectual potential, questions, and answers that will intensify your imagination and abilities. This course will trouble your sense of time, engage your sense of play, and will challenge you to consider this question: why does the medieval matter? We will consider aspects of emergence, polytemporality, sexuality, sexism, and rascism (to articulate a few) via some of the most provoking and important texts written in the Middle English literary period – literature in the Age of Chaucer.

English 4410 – Select Topics in Medieval Literature, 650-1500

The 2019-2020 MRU Calendar decription for this course reads:

“This advanced seminar engages students in a selection of poetic, prose, and dramatic works from the medieval period. Featured works may include Beowulf, the works of Chaucer, literature by and about women, Romances in poetry or prose, religious ecstasies, Arthurian legends, and Middle English lyrics.”

This Fall, the course is entitled, Pluriverse: Medieval Immersive Spaces – Textual Minds, Lexis of Landscapes.

Here’s the description:

Space – both of time and distance – influences reading methodologies and understandings. Reading medieval English literature and understanding its underlying and produced cultures requires an understanding of medieval cosmologies and philosophies (in even the most general sense). Medieval literature is often built from an “literary ecology of consciousness,” to use Jonathan Kramnick’s recent phrase, that relies upon a lexicology whose genealogy derives specifically from the immediate medieval environment, while simultaneously, via the authorial mind at work, builds a textual form that creates or replicates environments or spaces unique to the medieval English environment. This course, in connection with Dr. Olsen’s Material Medieval Memory Project (which is currently funded, in part, by MRU’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability), will examine, via various current theoretical approaches and media ecologies, including 3-Dimensional Immersive technologies, ecocriticism, divergence, materiality, architectonics, and thing theory, how medieval English literary form is built via environmental response, and how such “ecologies of consciousness” can be understood in a post-medieval world whose lexis of landscape has changed from that of the medieval. We will read a variety of texts across the Old and Middle English periods (some in their original language, and some in translation when appropriate) in digitally immersive settings and situations via the technology available in the Riddell Library and Learning Centre’s Immersion Studio. By considering medieval English literature, as responses to, and creators of, its cultural and temporal spaces via digital surrogates and methodologies, this course “proposes a pluriverse” (as defined recently by Blaser and de la Cadena) that will promote medieval literary understanding and inspire understanding of historical difference in a post-medieval setting.

For more on my Material Medieval Memory Project