Shayne Legassie

Office:   Greenlaw 424
Curriculum Vitae:   PDF icon Legassie.pdf
Hire Date:   2 009

Administrative or staff position:  
Director of Graduate Admissions


Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature

Affiliated Faculty, Program in Medieval & Early Modern Studies

Affiliated Faculty, Program in Sexuality Studies


Ph.D. Columbia University (2007)

M.Phil. Columbia University (2002)

M.A. Columbia University (2000)

B.A. University of New Hampshire (1998)


My research interests include: the literature of medieval and Early Modern Europe, Mediterranean Studies, travel writing, gender and sexuality studies, and critical theory. My published and forthcoming essays have treated authors such as Chaucer, Boccaccio, Margery Kempe, and Jane Austen. Currently, I am completing the manuscript of my first book Differently Centered Worlds: The Traveler’s Body and the Rise of Late Medieval Travel Writing. The book argues that the emergence of European travel writing must be understood within the context of medieval Europe’s uneven integration into the larger global economy. In particular, it demonstrates that the representation of the traveler’s body provided writers with ways of thinking about the generic and formal possibilities of travel narrative in a world in which geographic knowledge was increasingly valued for its pragmatic, rather than its symbolic, uses. I have also begun the preliminary research for a second book with the working title The Lives and Times of Medieval Corpses. This study will consider the role of corpses in medieval political spectacle and their frequent presence in the literature of Spain, Italy, and England.

Over the next few semesters, I will be teaching courses on premodern short fiction, medieval drama, ethnography and literature, erotic writing, and the horror film. Although these courses address a range of topics, they are all designed to foreground discussions about theory and method in literary studies. These courses also emphasize literature’s relationship to other forms of writing and even to other media, inviting students to consider how literature participates in the development of ethical, aesthetic, political, and even scientific, thought. If your guilty pleasures include zombies, jousting, or alba poems (and whose do not?), then I probably have just the course for you.


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