Featured Speakers

Ann Astell, The University of Notre Dame

Ann Astell is a Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, where she was appointed in 2007, after serving as Professor of English and chair of Medieval Studies at Purdue University. Her research focuses on medieval literature and spirituality. She is the author of six books, including The Song of Songs in the Middle Ages (1990), Job, Boethius, and Epic Truth (1994), Chaucer and the Universe of Learning (1996), Political Allegory in Late Medieval England (1999), and Joan of Arc and Sacrificial Authorship (2003). The writing of her most recent book, Eating Beauty: The Eucharist and the Spiritual Arts of the Middle Ages (2006) was supported by a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (2001-2002). She is also the editor or co-editor of five volumes on topics related to historical Christian spirituality, including Lay Sanctity, Medieval and Modern: A Search for Models (2000); Joan of Arc and Spirituality (2003, with Bonnie Wheeler); Levinas and Medieval Literature:  The “Difficult Reading” of English and Rabbinic Texts (2009, with Justin Jackson), and Sacrifice, Scripture, and Substitution: Readings in Ancient Judaism and Christianity (with Sandor Goodhart, 2011). Recent publications include articles in Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (2012), Franciscan Studies (2009) and in Contagion: Journal of Violence, Mimesis, and Culture (2009). A member of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, she currently serves as President of the international Colloquium on Violence and Religion and President of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality.

Susan Irvine, University College London

Susan Irvine studied at the University of Otago, New Zealand, for her BA, and at the University of Oxford for her DPhil. She was Darby Fellow in English Literature at Lincoln College, Oxford, from 1987 to 1992. Since then she has been teaching in the Department of English at UCL, where she is now Professor of English. She has published widely on Old English prose and poetry. From 2002 to 2007 she was Co-Director of an AHRC-funded project to produce a comprehensive study and edition of the Old English versions of Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, which was published by OUP in 2009. She is a member of the Advisory Boards for the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists and for the Leverhulme-funded Boethius Commentary Project at the University of Oxford, and was a visiting professor at the Università di Roma Tre in 2009. Susan’s research has focused recently on literature associated with King Alfred’s court at the end of the ninth century.

Eleanor Johnson, Columbia University

Eleanor Johnson completed her B.A at Yale University (2001) and her Ph.D. at The University of California, Berkeley (2009). She specializes in late medieval English prose and poetry, medieval poetics and philosophy, law and literature in the Middle Ages, early autobiography, and vernacular theology. Her first book, Practicing Literary Theory in the Late Middle Ages: The Ethics of Form in Chaucer, Gower, Usk, and Hoccleve, recently appeared from University of Chicago Press, and she is currently working on a new book about the aesthetics of contemplation in late Middle English mysticism and drama. Her recent essay publications include an article on time and affect in The Cloud of Unknowing  (Journal for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 2011), “The Poetics of Waste” (PMLA, 2012), an essay on trespass and contract law in Troilus and Criseyde in The New Chaucer Handbook (Oxford UP, 2013), and a new edition and facing-page translation of the 14th century poem Wynnere and Wastoure (Broadview Press, 2012). Two collections of her poetry, The Dwell (Scrambler Books) and Her Many Feathered Bones (Achiote Press) were published in 2009 and 2010.


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