Celtic and Teutonic mythology, folklore, medieval and heroic literature. Medieval European literature. Arthurania/Arthurian romance literature. Ancient history. Tang Dynasty poetry. Works of Tolkien.
- English literature from the 14th century to the Reformation
- Scribes, archives, and manuscripts
- Authorship and literary culture
- Law and literature
- Political writing and intellectual history
- Travel, Anglo-European contact, and global medieval literature
I am a Comparative Literature professor. My research focuses on European Renaissance and Baroque Cultures. I am particularly interested in (1) Law and Literature (rhetoric, narration, and the law); (2) Classic, Renaissance and Baroque poetics; (3) Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Novella; (4) the picaresque novel and its relationship to confessional discourse, hagiography, and books of conduct; and (5) the politics of monstrous representation in Renaissance and Baroque theater.You can se some of my publications at http://uprrp.academia.edu/CRabell
My research interests include medieval and nineteenth-century French literature and cultural studies, the reception of medieval art, architecture, and literature in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe and America, early photojournalism, celebrity interviews, European and American writer house museums, naturalism, decadence, mysticism, cabaret culture, nineteenth-century French theater, the collection and study of Asian art in nineteenth-century France, and global food politics and sustainability studies. I teach a variety of courses from Beginning French I to advanced French language, literature, and culture courses with particular emphasis on the medieval period and the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I currently serve as Book Review Coeditor for the journal Nineteenth-Century French Studies and as a board member of the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Association.
Ph.D, English Literature, ~2022
University of Colorado, Boulder
Medieval European Literature, Critical Indigenous Studies, Digital Humanities
M.A, English Literature, 2015
University of Montana
Later Medieval Dream Vision Literature, Death and Mourning, Community Networks, Materiality, Affect
“The Ethics of Mourning: The Role of Material Culture and Public Politics in the Book of the Duchess and the Pearl Poem”
B.A., English Literature, 2013
University of Montana
Critical Theory, Medieval and Classical Literature
“Christian Transformations of Ovidian Pride in Dante’s Divine Comedy“
I am an Associate Professor of premodern literature in the Comparative and World Literature department at San Francisco State University, where I’ve been teaching since 2005. My location in a Comparative and World Literature department means that my teaching necessarily extends beyond my training as in European and Mediterranean studies to embrace the literatures of premodern Asia, Africa and the Americas. My research and writing is likewise marked by comparative methods and interdisciplinarity: my first book, In Light of Another’s Word: European Ethnography in the Middle Ages (UPenn, 2014), considered postcolonial critical-anthropological critiques of colonial ethnographic description and the ethnographic gaze in order to bring into sharp relief the differences of premodern ethnographic representation, namely its dialogism, particularly where European description predated colonial control. In showing a Latin Europe incorporative and integrative of the voices and perspectives of its (internal and external) others, I was also interested in the open-ended nature of European identity in its formative period. My current book project continues this interest while returning me to the complex ‘matter of Saracens,’ which first drew me to the study of the Middle Ages. Translating Saracens deploys translatio/n theory and material culture studies to read the movement of symbolic objects associated with Muslim imperial authority in chansons de geste and chronicles as evidence of European desire for ‘prestigious association’ with various Islamicate empires in the Middle Ages. I thereby call for renewed attention, through the work of these critically neglected objects, to ‘the Arabic role’ (Menocal 1987) in Europe’s cultural and imperial self-fashioning. I’m honored to have been elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the MLA Forum, CCLS: Medieval, for the term 2019-24.
My current research focuses on Old Norse/Latin bilingualism in medieval manuscripts. The project is funded by the European Commission through a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (Horizon 2020). Its title is “Tracing the Invisible. Old Norse and Latin in medieval manuscripts” with the acronym INVISIBILIA. Before that, I was a member of the project “From manuscript fragments to book history” at the University of Bergen. This project was funded by Bergen Research Foundation (BFS). There, I was working on office lectionaries, which from Norway are only preserved in fragmentary form, and the Nidaros Ordinal in its various preserved form. This work is still going on. Other research activities cover sermon preaching in medieval Iceland and Norway, fourteenth-century Skálholt as a cultural hub the distribution and use of Peter Comestor’s Historia scholastica in the North, and Grimr Holmsteinsson’s Jóns saga baptista II.
After studying in Edinburgh and Berlin, I entered the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate program in English, where I am currently completing my Ph.D. My research centers on war and literature in the late Middle Ages, focusing in particular on how the sprawling series of conflicts now known as the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) changed the way war was represented, theorized, and historicized. I also have related interests in classical reception, material texts, visual culture, and the methodologies of literary study.