Medieval Ecology, Sound, Environmental Humanities
My first monograph Animal Soundscapes in Anglo-Norman Texts highlights how thinking about sound unsettles fixed assumptions about language in relation to the animal in medieval textual cultures. My work 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. Animal Soundscapes 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 that 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 noise pollution inThe Voyage of Saint Brendan, the sound milieux of theThe Middle English Physiologus, the 'cri' in Old French texts, and the literary patronage of medieval consort Queen Adeliza of Louvain.
My next project considers the naturalcultural tensions in ideas of race and species in bestiaries and beast fables. I am investigating the extent to which we can talk about ideas of species in medieval naturecultures in light of contemporary discussions in anthropology, critical race studies, ecocriticism, and the environmental humanities. I am also interested in questions of sound and music, poetry and performance, and translation studies.