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My research explores literature and religious culture in the Middle Ages, especially England from around 1100 through the Reformation (1530s). I focus on the history of the Virgin Mary, visionary and mystical literature, monastic literary traditions, and women's writing. 

How did medieval manuscripts and texts function as complex, sacred objects? 

How did women readers and authors shape literature in the Middle Ages? 

How did religion open up new opportunities for women to create and engage with texts?

In my work I pursue these questions through a combination of close textual analysis, theology, historicism, manuscript and material context, feminist criticism, and queer theory.

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I am a professor in British literature in the Department of Foreign Languages, at the University of Bergen, Norway. Here I co-lead the UiB Literature and Religion Research Group, and am PI for a Norwegian Research Council project on the influence of St. Birgitta of Sweden in medieval England, with PhD student Julia King and previously with post-doc Dr. Katherine Zieman (see Projects). I am also active in the UiB Medieval Studies Cluster. 

In March 2021  I was honored to receive the Meltzer Research Fund Award for Outstanding Younger Researchers, which is awarded annually to 2 UiB researchers under 40. More about the award here and my relevant research here.  

Autumn 2021 I had a research stay in Oxford, UK, to look at Birgitta-related manuscripts. I held a stipendiary Sassoon Visiting Fellowship at the Bodleian Library Special Collections for October, a Jesus College Short-Term Visiting Fellowship for all of Michaelmas Term, and a discretionary fellowship at the English Faculty.

Teaching

Photo credit: Øyvind Ganesh

How do we create open and accepting atmosphere to enable the best conditions for learning? 
How do we teach learners to ask the hard questions that can change the world? 


In my teaching I am particularly concerned with the 'whole researcher' – training students how to cultivate their intellectual
curiosity, feel a satisfying emotional investment in academic discovery, and develop a strong set of healthy working habits to support them going forward. 

At UiB I teach all levels in higher education, from undergraduate, MA coursework and supervision, doctoral level supervision, and extending into training for post-docs. At the introductory level I cover everything from Old English onwards including general introduction to literary studies material. Over my years teaching at Yale, University of Michigan, and UiB, I have developed a range of specialized upper-level BA and MA seminars covering premodern topics, usually combined with modern theory. Arthurian Literature, Women's Writing, Chaucer, and Book History are staples. 

I supervise a broad spectrum of MA thesis topics in English literature – everything from Sir Gawain to Elizabeth Gaskell to Ursula Le Guin. At the moment I am supervising a doctoral project on devotional manuscript circulation in fifteenth-century England, centered on Syon Abbey and Birgittine texts. I am available for PhD supervision within my research expertise.

Administration

How can administrative structures encourage, and not hinder, academics to make new intellectual breakthroughs?
How can the camaraderie and fellowship of a coherent research community increase
not only workplace
 satisfaction, but also publication and grant success? 

Enabling researchers to produce their most powerful research - while balancing the other demands of work and life - has  become a driving force in my career since arriving at UiB in 2013.

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Professionalization of early career researchers is a significant part of my administrative skills portfolio. I regularly give lectures and workshops on career development and time management to different groups at UiB and around the world and am available to present these in person or virtually: see more information here. I now collaborate with the new UiB Early Career Center, UiB Ferd, to offer seminars to the entire university. Many of these seminars originated during the six years I co-led the UiB PhD Research School in Literature, Culture and Aesthetics, where I helped train doctoral candidates in professional researcher skills and career development, in addition to offering writing workshops and practice conference paper workshops.

I am currently the Research Coordinator at the Department of Foreign Languages serving a four-year term until 2025. In this role I coordinate PhD students and their progression, lead the departmental research and research education board, administrate departmental-level research funding, help support researchers applying for ERC and NFR research grants, and support research groups in the department, among other things. 

I also actively participate in institutional democracy at UiB. On the Humanities Faculty Board at UiB, I currently serve as one of the four elected representatives for Group A (permanent research and teaching employees), from August 2021-June 2025.

During my several years as program director (fagkoordinator) of the literature and culture section of the English program, I coordinated all teaching responsibilities for both BA and MA level, including developing the yearly teaching plan, leading meetings to check course descriptions and syllabi, checking class and exam schedules, and recruiting external examiners. 

Education 

2011

PhD, English Language and Literature, Yale University

2009

MA, English Language and Literature, Yale University

2008

MPhil, Medieval Studies, Yale University

2005

MPhil, Medieval English Literature, Cambridge University

2003

BA, English Literature and Medieval Studies, Brown University

Employment

2020-

Professor, British literature 

Department of Foreign Languages, University of Bergen (UiB), Norway

2013-20

Associate Professor (Førsteamanuensis), British literature 

Department of Foreign Languages, University of Bergen (UiB), Norway

2011-13

Assistant Professor (non-tenure track)

Department of English, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

2011-13

Post-doctoral Fellow (4-year research fellowship)

Michigan Society of Fellows, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Contact

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