Here you can learn out about research opportunities in the English Department, including places to present and publish your work, and the research interests of faculty, as well as potential programs for graduate study.


Faculty Research Profiles

Stephane Batkie: Medieval Aesthetics and Politics

My work is interested in how medieval literature in England uses, creates, and extends aesthetic values and structures in the political sphere. I look at Middle English and Anglo-Latin poetics to understand how form and textual surfaces generate a sense of political agency in the period. To this end, I consider matters of what I call the ethics of attention, poetics of sound and perception, manuscript culture, and the experimental nature of inter-linguistic context in the 12th-15th centuries. 

Benjamin Mangrum: Computational Thinking and Environmental Rights

I'm at work on two book projects. The first book considers how literary studies can help us understand "computational thinking," an idea that has become increasingly important in computer science. The second book is a cultural history of the idea of environmental rights. Before the environment became an object of legal studies in the 1970s, writers, artists, film makers, and other intellectuals associated "rights" and the environment in widely influential ways.

Jennifer Michael: Poetry and Silence

My second poetry chapbook is forthcoming next year, and I am thinking about a full-length collection to be entitled "Bodies at Rest." My current book project, "Poetry at the Edge of Silence," considers the paradoxical relationship between silence (especially contemplative silence) and poetic utterance. I also have several William Blake-related articles either in progress or in mind, considering on the one hand his overlooked debts to Aphra Behn, and on the other, his role in the fiction of Polish author Olga Tokarczuk.

William Engel: Death Arts in the Renaissance

I'm currently part of several projects involving the "death arts" in Early Modern (1500-1660) England - that is, tracing the way that people prepared for death, and made that preparation into an art - and how artists (like Shakespeare) adapted these practices in literature. If some students want to help, I'm also looking to develop a course on the Early Modern book-trade: Shakespeare's best-sellers (that is, the books that were most popular in Shakespeare's day)!

Matthew Irvin: Alternatives to Pity

I'm working on a book, tentatively entitled, Ruthless Reading: Refusing Pity in Late Medieval English Literature. In it, I examine ways of reading highly emotional literature (and a lot of medieval literature is very emotional), and suggest that responding with pity or compassion can help violent, dominant forces maintain power. I particularly like reading medieval literature alongside Marxist and Black Radical theorists. 

Student Research and Publishing Opportunities