Skip To Content Skip To Menu Skip To Footer

Faculty Profile

Chelsea Skalak

(she/her/hers)Assistant Professor of English (2015)

Contact Information

skalakc@dickinson.edu

East College Room 304
717.245.1064

Bio

Professor Skalak is a teacher and scholar of medieval British literature. Her research interests include medieval gender and sexuality, legal studies, female authorship, and digital humanities. She has published articles on medieval romance, marital rape in The Canterbury Tales, and teaching the global Middle Ages. Recent courses include Chaucer's Women, Medieval Women Writers, King Arthur from Medieval to Modern, and Mapping the Global Middle Ages. She is a contributing faculty member in Medieval and Early Modern Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Education

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

2021-2022 Academic Year

Fall 2021

ENGL 101 The Legend of King Arthur
The legend of King Arthur has captured imaginations for hundreds of years, inspiring adaptations even into the present day. Yet when the legend originated a millennium ago, it was already considered a tale of a bygone age, the dream of a romantic past. This class will study the medieval origins of the King Arthur story and then trace that legend through time to the present day, including the films King Arthur and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. As we read, we will consider how each text responds to both its historical context and its own imagined past.

ENGL 222 Tools/Tech/Cult of Dig Humn
We are all familiar with reading and writing in digital environments. But what can we gain if we use digital tools for analysis that only they can do? What if we could read every newspaper headline from an entire decade, map out a novel in physical space, or visually break down the relationship between two poems? Does reading change if it happens only online? In this class, we will learn various tools and techniques of digital humanities, while familiarizing ourselves with the theory of reading and writing in digital environments. As a final project, everyone will create a digital edition of a short text, complete with analysis using the tools presented in this class.

WGSS 301 Medieval Women Writers
Cross-listed with ENGL 341-05.This course examines the writing of female mystics, abbesses, poets, and scholars from the time period 1100-1500. In a historical time in which women were alternately represented as innocent virgins or devilish temptresses, these women negotiate for themselves far more complex identities and relationships with the world than their societies often believed them capable. We will consider issues of class, gender, sexuality, and religion, through the writings of Heloise, Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich, Marie de France, and Christine de Pizan.

ENGL 341 Medieval Women Writers
Cross-listed with WGSS 301-06.This course examines the writing of female mystics, abbesses, poets, and scholars from the time period 1100-1500. In a historical time in which women were alternately represented as innocent virgins or devilish temptresses, these women negotiate for themselves far more complex identities and relationships with the world than their societies often believed them capable. We will consider issues of class, gender, sexuality, and religion, through the writings of Heloise, Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich, Marie de France, and Christine de Pizan.

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.