Kara L. McShane is Assistant Professor of English at Ursinus College, where she specializes in medieval literature and digital humanities. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 2014. Her research interests include Middle English romance and dream vision, travel writing, cultural translation, and digital pedagogy; she is especially interested in the intersections between writing and the vernacular in medieval English culture.
Her work has appeared in the South Atlantic Review, The Once and Future Classroom, and Studies in Medievalism. She is presently at work on her first book, tentatively titled Exotic Documents and Vernacular Anxieties in Late Medieval England. In it, she examines instances of non-English writing across a range of Middle English narratives, arguing that these moments of writing create space for authors to express anxieties about writing as a means of memorialization and about the vernacular as a medium. The fascination with writing within Middle English literature, she argues, is central to understanding the relationship between language and national identity.
Kara’s interest in the development of English identity in the Middle Ages has led very naturally to an interest in medievalism, particularly how “the medieval” is deployed to address contemporary social and political issues. She is the general editor of Visualizing Chaucer, a Robbins Library Digital Project, and has contributed to The Camelot Project. She also serves as an assistant editor for medievally speaking, an open-access review journal supported by the International Society for the Study of Medievalism.
As “the medievalist” of her department, Kara teaches on all manner of medieval topics. Recent offerings have included courses on medieval & early modern travel writing, medieval women, and medieval romance. She also teaches a course called Structure of the English Language, which combines advanced grammar and history of English and is quite a lot of fun.
Kara shares her home and her fascination with all things medieval with her wife Karen, three chinchillas, and a grumpy but very handsome cat named Severus.
|Kara with Gower.|