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Dr. Jennifer Garrison portrait on campus

Dr. Jennifer Garrison

Associate Professor, English

Phone: (403) 254-3758
Email: Jennifer.Garrison@stmu.ca
Office: A210
PhD English, Rutgers University
MA English, Rutgers University
BA English (Honours), University of Alberta

Specialization/research interests: Dr. Garrison teaches courses on later medieval literature and culture, Old English language and literature, Early Modern literature, Shakespeare, and literary theory.

I am passionate about teaching medieval and early modern literature. I love working with students to understand ways of thinking that are strange, unsettling, and sometimes uncannily similar to our own.

Dr. Jennifer Garrison is an irreverent but rigorous teacher and scholar of the Middle Ages.

In addition to teaching English 200A (the first half of the literary survey that forms part of STMU’s core curriculum), she primarily teaches a range of courses on medieval and early modern literature and culture, including courses on Shakespeare, Old English, and Arthurian Literature: Medieval to Modern. She enjoys inviting students to explore ideas outside of their comfort zones in a variety of ways including: challenging theoretical readings, group performances of scenes from Shakespeare, recitations of Middle English poetry, and the exploration of social and political ideas that extend beyond the literature classroom.

Dr. Garrison’s research focuses on fourteenth- and fifteenth-century English literature and culture. She is particularly interested in examining how medieval people imagined their own individual and communal identities in relation to power structures that were often oppressive and restrictive, including the monarchy and the hierarchy of the institutional church. For example, in her forthcoming book, Challenging Communion, Dr. Garrison argues that authors of Middle English texts frequently draw on the Eucharist to contest the boundaries between the material and the spiritual and to challenge the eucharistic ideal of union between Christ and the community of believers; by troubling the definitions of literal and figurative, they respond to and reformulate eucharistic theology in politically challenging and poetically complex ways.

English professor finds passion for medieval literature – Dr. Jennifer Garrison

(November 16, 2011) — Dr. Jennifer Garrison’s current passion for medieval literature did not spring from a youthful interest in all things Chaucer.

As an English honors student at the University of Alberta, Dr. Garrison was dismayed that medieval literature was one of her required courses.

“Like many students, I thought medieval literature would be boring,” she said. “If it hadn’t been forced on me, I wouldn’t have taken it.”

Now, nearly a decade later and with a PhD in English under her belt, Dr. Garrison is writing a book about the influence of medieval writings on those living within the oppressive structure of the church at that time.

“While some medieval literature sought to bring down the church, other texts merely reflected the alienation felt by those who remained devout,” she said. “How did the lay person of that time deal with this alienation?”

Dr. Garrison, who graduated from Rutgers University with a PhD in English in 2009, received the Dr. David Lawless Researcher/Scholar Award from St. Mary’s University this year. She will be using her award to help fund conference attendance and possibly a trip to Europe to examine original medieval manuscripts.

She joined the St. Mary’s faculty as a full-time Assistant Professor of English shortly after completing her doctorate at Rutgers, where she said she benefited from the teachings of other medieval literature scholars in nearby universities such as Princeton, NYU and Columbia University.

Dr. Garrison’s recent scholarly publications include “Liturgy and Loss: Pearl and the Ritual Reform of the Aristocratic Subject,” in Chaucer Review, Issue 44.3 (2010) and “Failed Signification: Corpus Christi and Corpus Mysticum in Piers Plowman,” in Yearbook of Langland Studies, Volume 23 (2009).

Dr. Garrison teaches medieval and renaissance literature and Shakespeare at St. Mary’s, where she says she enjoys working closely with St. Mary’s “fabulous English students” in a supportive academic atmosphere.

“Allegory and Affect.” 5th International Piers Plowman Society Conference at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, April 14-17, 2011

“Masculinity’s Self-Destruction: Philomela in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde.” 44th International Medieval Congress, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, May 2009.

“Liturgy and Loss: The Eucharist and the Ritual Transformation of the Self in Pearl.” 43rd International Medieval Congress, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, May 2008.

“Robert Mannyng’s Handlyng Synne and the Visual Nature of Lay Devotion.” 42nd International Medieval Congress, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, May 2007.

“Theology and Identification: Exempla in Robert Mannyng’s Handlyng Synne.” Annual Medieval Studies Colloquium, NYC Inter-University Doctoral Consortium, Stony Brook Manhattan, New York, NY, April 2007.

“National and Bodily Unity in Ælfric’s Life of St. Edmund.” 41st International Medieval Congress, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, May 2006.

“Challenging Restraint in the Old English Judith.” Anglo-Saxon Futures: The First International Workshop of the Anglo-Saxon Studies Colloquium, King’s College London, March 2006.

Challenging Communion: The Eucharist and Middle English Literature. Forthcoming in 2017 from Ohio State University Press.

“Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and the Danger of Masculine Interiority.” Chaucer Review 49.3 (2015): 320-343.

“Chaucer’s Troilus and the Danger of Masculine Interiority.” Forthcoming in Chaucer Review 49.3 (2015).

“Mediated Piety: Eucharistic Theology and Lay Devotion in Robert Mannyng’s Handlyng Synne.” Speculum 85 (2010): 894-922.

“Liturgy and Loss: Pearl and the Ritual Reform of the Aristocratic Subject.” Chaucer Review 44.3 (2010): 294-322.

“Failed Signification: Corpus Christi and Corpus Mysticum in Piers Plowman.” Yearbook of Langland Studies 23 (2009): 97-123.

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