BA, MA, University of Guelph
My teaching and research is in the literature and culture of the English middle ages. I have particular interests in the interactions of literature, civic culture, and political thought with Christian belief and practice between the “two reformations” (the twelfth-century reformation and its sixteenth-century counterpart); in the history and effects of the disciplinary divide between the medieval and the early modern; in medieval women’s visionary writing and mysticism; and in early drama, especially in relation to performance and ritual theory.
At the heart of my scholarship at present are the twin themes of the city, specifically late-medieval London, and mortality, specifically late-medieval death practice. My book, Learning to Die in London, 1380-1530, argues that the structured awareness of death and mortality was in several ways a vital aspect of medieval civic culture, critical not only to the shaping of single lives and the management of families and households but also to the practices of cultural memory, the building of institutions, and the good government of the city itself. This project has been supported by the Stanford Humanities Center (2010-11), and by the Boston University Center for the Humanities (2012-13). I have published articles on Middle English poetry, late medieval visionary writing, fifteenth-century urban culture, and Shakespeare.
I also teach courses in Chaucer, romance, history of sexuality, history of the English language, as well as medieval and early modern poetry. My aim in teaching premodern literature is to share with students the excitement of an encounter with historical distance. Difficulty of comprehension directs our attention to an opening of a critical space, a gap in thought that allows us to reflect on the historicity of our sense of self, language, and world.
- “The Good Death of Richard Whittington: Corpse to Corporation,” The Ends of the Body in Medieval Culture, eds. Suzanne Akbari and Jill Ross (2012)
- “Julian of Norwich,” History of British Women’s Writing. Vol. 1: 1350-1500, eds. Diane Watt and Liz Herbert McAvoy (2012)
- Amy Appleford and Nicholas Watson, “Merchant Religion in Fifteenth-Century London: The Writings of William Litchfield,” The Chaucer Review 46.1 and 2 (2011)
- “Shakespeare’s Katherine of Aragon: Last Medieval Queen, First Recusant Martyr,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 40.1 (Winter 2010)
- “The Dance of Death in London: John Lydgate, John Carpenter, and the Daunce of Poulys,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 38.2 (Spring 2008)
- “The ‘Comene Course of Prayer’: Julian of Norwich and Late Medieval Death Culture,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 107.2 (April 2008)
Work in Progress
- Learning to Die in London, 1350–1530 (monograph)
Honors, Grants, and Awards
- Stanford Humanities Center External Faculty Fellowship (2010–11)
- Harvard Visiting Fellowship (2001–2)
- Harvard College Certificates of Distinction in Teaching (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
- Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Dissertation Fellowship (2000–3)
- Mary Routledge Fellowship (2003).