Faculty Profile

Chelsea Skalak

Assistant Professor of English (2015)

Contact Information

skalakc@dickinson.edu

Historic President's House 3rd Fl, Room 9
717.245.1064

Education

  • 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.

Spring 2019

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.

WGSS 301 Chaucer's Women
Cross-listed with ENGL 311-01. Patient Griselda, sensual Alisoun, long-suffering Constance, the irrepressible Wife of Bath - in The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer provides a wide range of women who alternately uphold and challenge the medieval boundaries of femininity. In this class we will explore medieval conceptions of gender, sexuality, and authority by way of Chaucer's most memorable women, read alongside confessional manuals, scientific treatises, and religious tracts that provide insight into how medieval scholars conceptualized the differences between men and women.

ENGL 311 Chaucer's Women
Cross-listed with WGSS 301-03. Patient Griselda, sensual Alisoun, long-suffering Constance, the irrepressible Wife of Bath - in The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer provides a wide range of women who alternately uphold and challenge the medieval boundaries of femininity. In this class we will explore medieval conceptions of gender, sexuality, and authority by way of Chaucer's most memorable women, read alongside confessional manuals, scientific treatises, and religious tracts that provide insight into how medieval scholars conceptualized the differences between men and women.

ENGL 404 Senior Thesis Workshop
A workshop requiring students to share discoveries and problems as they produce a lengthy manuscript based on a topic of their own choosing, subject to the approval of the instructor. Prerequisites: 300 and 403.