Research

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My research focuses on representations of pre- and post-mortem punitive spaces in Old and Middle English literature. In my dissertation, “Purgatory and Prison: Punitive Spaces in Old and Middle English Literature,” I explore what medieval penal spaces, such as Purgatory, Limbo, and Hell share in common with earthly carceral spaces, and the ways in which marginal figures—such as dead pagans, excommunicants, restless ghosts, and even devils—in medieval narratives engage with those spaces. I argue that in the Middle Ages, prison inmates and the restless dead were of liminal status, and their permeable confines occupied the center of each medieval community’s social, economic, and spiritual landscape. Punitive measures were a means of correction and rehabilitation, and liminal figures were reintegrated after a relatively short period of punishment. Over time, however, as both religious and secular penal practices evolved, the connection between purgation and imprisonment became more attenuated, and liminal figures moved to the periphery of the medieval imaginary. I illustrate this point by using an online time-lapse mapping tool to chart the movement of gaols, prisons, churches, and graveyards from the heart of each medieval community to the periphery, demonstrating that as these punitive spaces shifted from center to margin, the once-strong association between prison and Purgatory began to diminish and was eventually lost.

Publications

“Asceticism in Anglo-Saxon and Syriac Soul and Body Narratives.” Humanities, (forthcoming).

“if (not “Quantize, Click, and Conclude”) {Digital Methods In Medieval Studies();}.” Meeting the Medieval in a Digital World, ed. Matthew Davis. Amsterdam University Press. Forthcoming 2018. MS 20 pp.

“Two New Approaches to Exploring Monstrous Landscapes in Beowulf and Blickling Homily XVII.” Essays in Medieval Studies,vol. 31, 2015, pp. 165-181. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/ems.2015.0009

“Early Modern OCR Project (eMOP) at Texas A&M University: Using Aletheia to Train Tesseract.” ACM Document Engineering Proceedings, September 2013. 23-26.

Rev. of Debates in Digital Humanities, ed. Matthew K. Gold, in Information and Culture: A Journal of History, with Laura Mandell, et al, March 2013.

Works in Progress

“Formulas as a Test for Verse-Medial Extrametrical Syllables in Old English Poetry.” Article in progress, co-authoring with Britt Mize.

SPEAR (Syriac Persons, Events, and Relations), contributing author as a part of Syriaca.org: The Syriac Reference Portal http://syriaca.org.

“Modeling a Factoid Prosopography with TEI and Linked Data.” (Submitted to the Journal of the Text Encoding Initiative), co-authored with Daniel Schwartz and Nathan Gibson.

Visualization Projects

Mapping the Medieval World with VisualEyes

Prisons in Medieval London

Medieval Cemeteries in London

Mapping Networks in The Lives of St. Margaret

St. M BL MS Harley 4012

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Cambridge Corpus Christi College 303 MS, C. 1150

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Tiberius A. iii MS, c. 1050

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Cambridge Corpus Christi College 303 MS, C. 1150

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The Liflade ant te Passium of Seinte Margarete (c. 1225)

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John Lydgate’s Lyfe of Seynt Margarete, c. 1415-1426

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John Mirk’s Sermon on St. Margarete MS, 1403

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Mapping Literary Landscapes in Shakespeare using Gephi

Network Graph Generated for Hamlet

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Network Graph Generated for Othello

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Network Graph Generated for The Tempest

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