Faculty Profile

Chelsea Skalak

Assistant Professor of English (2015)

Contact Information


Historic President's House 3rd Fl, Room 9


  • B.A., Northwestern University, 2008
  • M.A., University of Virginia, 2011
  • Ph.D., 2015

2018-2019 Academic Year

Fall 2018

ENGL 331 Medieval Romance
In the Middle Ages, the vernacular language we now call “English” was considered unworthy of true literature. Therefore literature composed in English, or “romances,” was valued primarily by the marginalized members of society: women, the middle classes, and laypeople. Romance as a genre evolved to both romanticize and critique the lives of the aristocracy, symbolized in the heroic knight (or princess in disguise), the quest, and the search for the Holy Grail. In this class, we will consider issues of class, gender, sexuality, and national identity through the lens of this most popular and least lauded of medieval genres.

ENGL 403 Questions/Methods of Lit Schol
Building upon the critical methods and skills learned throughout the English major, this class will explore central questions of literary scholarship in preparation for writing the senior thesis. We will take as our base text Shakespeare’s King Lear and its afterlives, including the Kurosawa film Ran and Jane Smiley’s Pulitzer-winning novel A Thousand Acres. We will use the reception of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy over the last four hundred years to engage with the major theoretical models and writing practices that ground the study of literature.