Animal Studies, Sound Studies, Medieval Literature
My doctoral research explores the themes of animal sound, noise and language in medieval French and English literature written in Anglo-Norman England, including glossaries and treatises, bestiaries, hagiography, fables, lyric and song. My work challenges some theoretical assumptions in contemporary animal studies by focusing on how language and sound expression is used to redefine networks of relation between humans and nonhumans in the Middle Ages. I consider the ways important texts from the Middle Ages, including the Fables by Marie de France and the Life of Saint Francis of Assisi use the sounds of beasts and birds to reinforce human exceptionalism whilst simultaneously placing the noises of different creatures back into the mouths of human audiences. I am currently writing articles on Walter of Bibbesworth's Tretiz, the vernacular Lives of St Francis of Assisi, and the literary patronage of medieval consort Adeliza of Louvain.
My postdoctoral project considers the tension between nature and culture in conceptualisations of medieval medicine, form-of-life, myth and legend. I am investigating the extent to which we can talk about medieval naturecultures in light of contemporary discussions in social science, ecocriticism, and the environmental humanities. In broader terms, I am also interested in questions of representation, interpretation, and translation studies.