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 Insular literature. With the study of gender and language, I also study profanity, obscenity, and forbidden speech acts. I examine the literary representation of gendered speech and speech acts, anti-feminist literary tropes of women's speech (known as sins of the tongue), and how the sins of the tongue were weaponized to rigidify patriarchal gender norms.
My doctoral dissertation, "You Sound Like a Wif: The Representation of Women's Speech in Old English Literature," systematically examines 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 which dominates high medieval literature exists in pre-Conquest England, 2) early English authors considered speech as an aspect of gender performance, and 3) there are any gender-based speech patterns in the vernacular. The dissertation combines diverse methodologies, from computational linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis, literary theory, historical analysis, translation theory, to theology.
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.