About me

II pictureI am director of the Humanities Institute at the University of Michigan, and I teach in the Departments of Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies. I also have an appointment in Romance Languages and Literatures, where I advise graduate students and may occasionally teach.

My research focuses on the French Middle Ages. I have published on gender and sexuality in medieval romance and in the area of animal studies, and I have also written on medieval narratives more generally. My most recent book is In the Skin of a Beast: Sovereignty and Animality in Medieval France (University of Chicago Press, 2017). Other recent publications include Marie de France: A Critical Companion, co-authored with Sharon Kinoshita (Boydell, 2012), a translation of Gui de Cambrai’s thirteenth-century Barlaam et Josaphat (Penguin, 2014), and a companion volume, co-authored with Donald S. Lopez, Jr., called In Search of the Christian Buddha (Norton, 2014)My newest research is for a book entitled Ovidian Ecologies, a study of medieval French translations and adaptations of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

I have advised undergraduate research on medieval literature and animality; medieval narratives about rape; images of animals, particularly in fables; and on women and marriage in texts by medieval women writers. I have directed dissertations on medieval topics such as violence in old French epics; male friendship in romance narratives; gender and medieval and early modern epistolarity; French literary representations of Byzantium; models of authority in troubadour lyrics; French-Greek literary exchanges; and noblewomen and the literature of consolation in late medieval France. I have also co-directed dissertations on a variety of nonmedieval topics, including studies of French and Italian feminists of the 70s and 80s, insect imagery and insect logic in postwar American fiction, and American genealogies of wonder.