As a literary historian, my interests lie primarily in the literatures of the early medieval North Sea cultural sphere. In particular, I study the relationship of gender, language, and speech in early English, Old Norse, Middle English, and Middle Scots literature. With the study of gender and language, I also study profanity, obscenity, and forbidden speech acts. I am interested in literary representation of gendered speech and speech acts, literary moments where illicit speech becomes licit, the impacts of gendered obscenities, and the ways in which literary dialogue enables play with gender through cross-gender ventriloquism.
My doctoral dissertation, "You Sound Like a Wif: The Representation of Women's Speech in Old English Literature," studies every instance of women's speech in the extant vernacular texts to determine whether: 1) the anti-feminist rhetoric on the evils of women's speech that dominates high medieval literature exists in pre-Conquest England, 2) early English authors saw gender performance and speech as inherently connected, and 3) there are any gender-based speech patterns in the vernacular.
Studying the representation of women’s speech allows us to connect the gender systems, religious beliefs, historical contexts, and literary theories that motivated speech-based stereotypes and patterns. My work highlights these multifaceted factors through a unique interdisciplinary approach that employs Critical Discourse Analysis, computational linguistics, literary theory, and historical methodologies.
Dissertation: "You Sound Like a Wif: The Representation of Women's Speech in Old English Literature."
Expected Completion: May 2024.
Article: "A Topsy Turvey Court: Homosocial Humor in the Old Norse Sneglu-Halla Þattr."
Description: A study of the Old Norse þattr known as "The Tale of Sarcastic Halli" and its use of highly contentious profanity towards a humorous end.
Article: "Full of Ribaldrie, Scaldit in Scurrilitie: Forbidden Topics in the Freeing Verse of Middle Scots Flytings."
Description: A study of the poetic flytings of the Middle Scots makars and how these elite poets were praised for the unique insult format that was prohibited for everyone else.