Faculty Profile

Chelsea Skalak

Assistant Professor of English (2015)

Contact Information

skalakc@dickinson.edu

East College Rooom 306
717.245.1064

Education

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

2017-2018 Academic Year

Fall 2017

ENGL 101 Medievalism & Modern Culture
The novels of J.R.R. Tolkien popularized a new era of medievalism in the arts, inspiring an incredible output of novels, art, movies and television, and video and role-playing games. Yet “medievalism” is also often hurled as an insult, indicating outmoded or backwards-looking modes of thought. In this class, we will consider the ramifications of the resurgence of medievalism in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including questions of genre, politics, race, and gender in society. Authors include J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin, and G.R.R. Martin.

WGSS 301 Medieval Women Writers
Cross-listed with ENGL 341-01. 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 301-01. 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.

Spring 2018

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.

MEMS 200 Intro to Literary Studies
Cross-listed with ENGL 220-02.

ENGL 220 Intro to Literary Studies
Cross-listed with MEMS 200-09.

ENGL 321 Mapping the Global Middle Ages
From England to Jerusalem, Morocco to Rome, Ireland to India, the medieval traveler encountered and came to terms with varieties of cultures, religions, and races. The maps and written records of these travelers, both imagined and real, inspired the imaginations of their contemporaries and helped shape larger cultural narratives about nationalism, religion, and personal identity. This course will examine medieval maps and travel narratives from 1000-1500 CE in order to better understand the diverse cultural work performed by reports of encounters with other cultures. How did these travel narratives strengthen or question faith, critique or support nationalism, and establish or sustain gendered and racial identities?