2011 Executive Board Elections
by Lynn Ramey — last modified Oct 12, 2011 09:39 AM
— filed under: Elections
Bios for candidates for election.
Position in English Literature:
Debra Best received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2000, and first joined SEMA in 1995. She is currently an Associate Professor of English at California State University, Dominguez Hills. She has published and presented numerous papers on the role of monsters in Middle English romance. Her current project examines laughter and humor in the romances, and she received the Sutton Research Initiative Award from her university to continue this research.
Alison Gulley received her B.A. in English from the University of Texas and an M.A. and Ph. D. in medieval English literature language from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She spent nine years teaching medieval and Renaissance literature and freshman composition at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, NC, and then made a happy move to Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, where she is on the faculty of the English Department and Women’s Studies. She teaches classes in medieval literature, Chaucer (at the graduate level), the history of the English language, Arthurian literature, research and bibliography, and sophomore British literature. Alison’s research generally focuses on spirituality in Anglo-Saxon and Middle English literature and she has published on Ælfric’s virgin martyrs and on Margery Kempe. She has recently finished an article on the 2007 film Beowulf as a paradigm for understanding the American response to the events of 9/11 and is finally wrapping up her book The Displacement of the Body in Ælfric’s Virgin Martyr Lives for Ashgate Press. She is eager to return to a study of literary representations of torture and affective piety in Old English literature. She has been a member of and presenter at SEMA since 2001.
Position in Foreign Languages:
David S. King is an associate professor of French at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He has also taught at Carson-Newman College (2001-2004), the University of Memphis (1998-2001). and Northwestern University (1997-1998). He completed his PhD at Washington University, under the direction of Norris J. Lacy. As a scholar, David focuses on violence and related issues in twelfth- and thirteenth-century French literature. He has written several essays on amputation as a metaphor: “Mutilation and Dismemberment in the Chanson de Roland: a Question of Faith?” Romance Notes (2005), “The Meaning of Amputation in the Chansons de Geste,” Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures (2008), “A Motif Transformed: The Meaning of Lost Limbs in Arthurian Romance,” Arthuriana: The Journal of Arthurian Studies (2008), “Learning from Loss: Amputation in Three Thirteenth-Century French Verse Romances,” (forthcoming in Modern Philology). and “Identity, Dismemberment, and Illusion in L’Atre périlleux,”(forthcoming). For this year's SEMA conference, David has deviated from his habit--"Moral Education in L'Esquiriel, or What's a Mother to Say?"--and will talk about sex rather than violence.
Joan E. McRae earned her B.A. in French from Agnes Scott College, her M.A. from Middlebury College (after a year at the University of Georgia) and her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. After twelve years of teaching at the all-male Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, she answered a call to fill the Chair of Foreign Languages at Middle Tennessee State University where she supervises 12 languages. She teaches Medieval French and Detective Fiction courses at MTSU, as well as Introductory French and Film. Her research interests encompass 15th century French poetry, Arthurian and Grail literature, and the Romance of the Rose. She has published two critical editions of the 15th century French poet Alain Chartier (Routledge and Champion) and is a co-editor in the Yale 229 Arthurian Cycle series (Brepols); her current projects are a co-edited volume of essays on Alain Chartier (Brill) and a monograph on the literary quarrels of the Romance of the Rose and the Belle Dame Sans Mercy (Florida State). She gave her first paper at SEMA in 1999 in Knoxville, just a few years ago.
Dorothy Schrader is a faculty member at Oklahoma State University (Stillwater) in the Dept of Foreign Languages (French). She has published articles on various 13th century chansons de geste in Manuscripta, Olifant, and in proceedings of the Société Rencesvals and is a frequent presenter at SEMA and MAMA on recent topics that include Old French fabliaux, text and image studies and French epic exordia. Schrader has been a participant in various NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes on medieval literature, manuscript illuminations, and archival sciences. She received her Ph.D. from Florida State University (Harry Williams, dissertation director). She has presented conference papers at 10 different SEMA venues (1982-2011).
Dean Swinford is an Assistant Professor of English at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. He teaches undergraduate classes in medieval and early modern literature, composition, and the global humanities; his graduate courses focus on medieval studies and research methods. He has also taught at the University of North Florida, the University of Florida, and Florida International University. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Florida under the direction of James J. Paxson and wrote his dissertation while working as a Fulbright Fellow at Ghent University in Belgium. Recent essays appear or are forthcoming in Modern Philology (a study of stellification in The House of Fame), The Journal of Medieval Religious Studies (a comparison of John of Salisbury’s treatment of dream interpretation and the organic metaphor of the state in the Policraticus), LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory (an ecocritical reading of John Gardner’s Grendel), and The Mediaeval Journal (an analysis of astronomical practice and diabolical summoning in Johannes Kepler’s Somnium). His book, Through the Daemon’s Gate (Routledge 2006), examines the philosophical and thematic influences of medieval dream narratives on the Somnium, an allegorical “dream” that supports Copernican theories. SEMA provides a valuable forum for scholars at all stages of their careers; if elected, Dean hopes to take an active role in expanding these opportunities.
Position in History
Westley (Lee) Follett is an assistant professor of history (currently applying for promotion) at the University of Southern Mississippi where he teaches courses in medieval, classical, and world history. Prior to coming to USM in 2008, he was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Georgia and at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia. He spent a glorious year as post-doctoral scholar in the School of Celtic Studies at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies where he worked with Old and Middle Irish manuscripts in the Royal Irish Academy collection. His doctorate is from the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto (2002). A member of SEMA since 2009, he is a co-organizer of the 2012 annual meeting of SEMA in Gulfport, MS.
Follett’s primary research field is early medieval religious history with emphases on monasticism, hagiography, liturgy, and manuscript studies, and a geographical focus on Ireland. He is the author of Céli Dé in Ireland: Monastic Writing and Identity in the Early Middle Ages (Boydell & Brewer, 2006), and has published articles in The Journal of Celtic Studies, Eolas: The Journal of the American Society of Irish Medieval Studies, The Journal of Medieval Latin, and Insignis Sophiae Arcator, a festschrift on medieval Latin studies. When he isn’t researching dead Irish monks he runs herd on a pack of overly-active cub scouts.
Julie Mell is an assistant professor of history at North Carolina State University where she teaches survey courses and advanced seminars on medieval history and Jewish history. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the latter from the Department of Religion. Her research focuses on economic and religious issues during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. She is currently completing a book entitled "Which is the merchant, and which the Jew?" which challenges commonplace narratives about Jews and their "moneylending function" in the commercialization of Europe.
Jeff Massey is an associate professor in the Royal English Department at Molloy College and holds advanced degrees in medieval (Emory University) and classical literatures (Washington University in St. Louis). He voices a particular interest in mythology and monstrosity as evidence of popular culture (werewolves are his specialty), and is the vice president of MEARCSTAPA, the international association for the study of monstrosity. He is co-editor (with Larissa Tracy of Longwood University) of the forthcoming collection Heads Will Roll!: Decapitation in the Medieval and Early Modern Imagination (Brill) and has been the author of various articles ranging from gendered social readings of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde to mimetic love triangles in Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native, as well as strategies for teaching Beowulf, Arthuriana, and comic books in the classroom. He is currently under contract to write (with Brian Cogan of Molloy College) Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned by Watching Monty Python (St. Martin’s); fittingly, he has recently learned the first lesson in “not being seen.”
Tison Pugh is Professor in the Department of English at the University of Central Florida. His research focuses on gender and sexuality in medieval literature, medievalisms, and gender and queer theory. He is the author of Queering Medieval Genres, Sexuality and Its Queer Discontents in Middle English Literature, Innocence, Heterosexuality, and the Queerness of Children’s Literature, and the forthcoming Queer Chivalry: Medievalism and the Myth of White Masculinity in Southern Literature (LSU Press, 2012). Also, he has co-edited Approaches toTeaching Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and the Shorter Poems (with Angela Jane Weisl); Race, Class, and Gender in “Medieval” Cinema (with Lynn Ramey); Men and Masculinities in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde (with Marcia Marzec); and Queer Movie Medievalisms (with Kathleen Kelly). The edited collections with Professors Ramey and Kelly were
born respectively at SEMA 2004 in Charleston and SEMA 2005 in Daytona Beach. He was awarded the UCF College of Arts and Humanities Distinguished Researcher Award in 2007 and the UCF College of Arts and Humanities Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2009.