The Week In Review: October 5-11


Carol Clover, “Regardless of Sex: Men, Women, and Power in Early Northern Europe,” Speculum 68.2 (1993): pp. 263-287.

Jesse L. Byock, Feud in the Icelandic Saga (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983) and Medieval Iceland: Society, Sagas, and Power (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988).

Zoe Borovsky, “Never in Public: Women and Performance in Old Norse Literature,” the Journal of American Folkore 112.443 (1999), pp. 6-39.

Richard Bauman, “Performance and Honor in Thirteenth Century Iceland,” Journal of American Folklore 99 (1986), pp. 131-150

Total time spent in research this week: 13 hours


5,500 new words in the chapter three draft.

Total time spent on dissertation writing this week: 6 hours


College Writing I: On Monday, they conducted the peer review for their second essay, a rhetorical analysis of one of the class readings. On Wednesday we discussed the ways in which approaching our thinking about pop culture from a rhetorical standpoint opens up important insights into consumer culture. We began with a series of questions I posed to them (“How likely would you be to go to the theatre to see a movie that stars your favorite actor?”; “How likely would you be to go to the theatre to see a movie based on a book or book series you love?”; “How likely would you be to go to see a movie when you don’t know the story or the actors, but the previews look good?”; “How likely would you be to go to see a movie in the theatre based on a friend’s recommendation?”; and “How likely would you be to go to the theatre to see a movie that stars an actor you know is an excellent actor, but who you do not personally like?”) their possible answers were, “Not at all”; “somewhat”; or “very likely”. This opened a discussion about how context informs our choices in terms of what movies we will go to see (for instance, while almost everyone in the class said “very likely” for the first two questions, when we got to “based on a friend’s recommendations” that had shifted to “somewhat”– they wanted to know which friend, because some people’s opinions of movies were better than others. When they realized that this was a rhetorical choice, they were astonished! We then looked at a series of films (the original Dracula; Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Dracula 2000; and Twilight) and considered based on the advertising and who was in each film, what the target audience might be. The demographic shifts involved really surprised them. On Friday, we conducted a theoretical application of “Monster Culture: Seven Theses” to a monster text to show how theory can enhance and deepen our thinking on a subject. They turned in their roughdrafts for Essay Two via email by 5:00 p.m. Friday.

Literature and the Arts: This week we moved into Joan of Arc. the students did a really fantastic job discussing the differences between reading and interpreting historical documents and reading and interpreting fiction. Class discussions centered on the hagiographic tradition, Joan’s testimony in the trial, and what her story can reveal to us about the tensions between religion, faith, and politics, which led to robust discussion on Friday of political campaigns and the rhetoric of religious faith. It’s incredibly rewarding to watch them extrapolate this kind of thinking from our medieval models!

Total time spent on teaching this week (reading, lesson planning, and instruction): 10 hours


This week’s service consisted of sitting GSA office hours, responding to email, attending the Executive Board meeting to set the agenda for the General Assembly, and attending the Faculty Senate meeting.

Total time spent on service this week: 7 hours

Other Scholarly Activity

Conference Activity: I applied for a bursary for a conference I hope to attend next summer, and made lodging arrangements for MLA

I read through the job postings (which, alas, yet again did not take long, as there were no new medieval postings again this week). I wrote documents and applied for two jobs and a postdoctoral position, and started applications for two other jobs and a third postdoctoral position.

Total time spent on Other Scholarly Activity this week: 12 hours

Nurturing My Self

Although I’m still nursing a pesky cough leftover from the cold I managed to contract a few weeks ago, it was a much better week overall for me in terms of self-care. I ate better, slept more (but still not enough!) and managed to get two runs and two strenth-training workouts in. I facemasked several nights to take better care of my skin. As entertainment and relaxation, we watched The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and are going to watch The Desolation of Smaug tonight. Today, we’re taking advantage of the gorgeous weather and fall foliage and hiking in the mountains near our city, which I have been excited about all week. There are few things in this world more satisfying than a glorious hike in the mountains.

Readers Newsflash: Naomi Novik’s last Temeraire book will be out May 10, 2016, and Deborah Harkness is releasing a new All Souls title (The Serpent’s Mirror) in 2017. So much to look forward to!


About Melissa Ridley Elmes

Professor and writer; Unrepentant nerd; chaotic good. Author of Arthurian Things: A Collection of Poems. PhD, MFA. She/hers. Views my own.
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