Medieval, Chaucer, Gender, Sexuality, Manuscripts, Obscenity, Sexual Violence, Education
Carissa M. Harris’s research and teaching focus on gender and sexuality in medieval England and Scotland. She earned her Ph.D. from Northwestern University and her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. In 2016, she won Temple’s CLA Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Institute for Advanced Study.
Dr. Harris’s first book, Obscene Pedagogies: Transgressive Talk and Sexual Education in Late Medieval Britain (Cornell University Press, 2018), analyzes sexual education, consent, and rape culture from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to the Access Hollywood tape. Obscene Pedagogies won the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship’s 2020 biennial prize for Best First Book of Medieval Feminist Scholarship. Her current book project is titled The Poetics of Rage: Women’s Anger, Misogyny, and Political Power in Premodern Britain. She is co-editor, with Sarah Baechle and Elizaveta Strakhov, of a volume of essays titled Subjects of Violence: Women, Consent, and Resistance in the Late Middle Ages (under contract with Penn State University Press). Her contributions to the volume include an edition of sixteen medieval pastourelles and rape songs specifically tailored for the undergraduate classroom as well as an essay about intersectionality and survival.
She is an editor for the journal Exemplaria: Medieval, Early Modern, Theory as well as an editorial board member for Medieval Institute Publications’ Premodern Transgressive Literatures series and the Chaucer Review, and she serves on the Executive Committee for the MLA Chaucer Forum. Her work has been published in Studies in the Age of Chaucer, Journal of the Early Book Society, New Literary History, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Review of English Studies, Chaucer Review, the Open Access Companion to the Canterbury Tales, and Medieval Feminist Forum. She also writes public-facing essays on topics such as the history of “Teen Mom” entertainment programming, medieval drug-facilitated sexual assault, medieval rape reparations, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, medieval impotence trials, and the history of the word “wench” for outlets including Slate, Vox, Electric Literature, The Washington Post, Narratively, and others.
Dr. Harris is on research leave at the Institute for Advanced Study beginning in September 2020.
“Pastourelle Fictionalities.” New Literary History 50.1 (Winter 2020): 239-42.
“Teen Moms: Violence, Consent, and Embodied Subjectivity in Middle English Pregnancy Laments.” Review of English Studies 71 (Feb. 2020): 1-18.
“‘It was a woman or a womans thing’: Neglected Obscene Riddles in CUL MS Dd.5.75.” Journal of the Early Book Society 22 (2019): 215-26.
“‘It is a brotherhood’: Obscene Storytelling and Fraternal Community in Fifteenth-Century Britain and Today.” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 41 (2019): 249-76.
“‘For Rage’: Rape Survival, Women’s Anger, and Sisterhood in Chaucer’s Legend of Philomela.” Chaucer Review 54.3 (July 2019): 253-69.
“‘A drunken cunt hath no porter’: Medieval Histories of Intoxication and Consent.” Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality 54.2 (April 2019): 109-34.
Rape and Justice in the Wife of Bath’s Tale,” in The Open Access Companion to the Canterbury Tales, ed. Candace Barrington, Brantley L. Bryant, Richard H. Godden, Daniel T. Kline, and Myra Seaman, https://opencanterburytales.dsl.lsu.edu/wobt1/. Published online September 2017.
"All the strete my voyce shall heare’: Gender, Voice, and Female Desire in the Lyrics of Bodleian MS Ashmole 176.” Journal of the Early Book Society 20 (2017): 29-58.
“Rape Narratives, Courtly Critique, and the Pedagogy of Sexual Negotiation in the Middle English Pastourelle,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 46.2 (May 2016): 263-87.
“Inserting ‘a grete tente, a thrifty, and a long’: Sexual Obscenity and Scribal Innovation in Fifteenth-Century Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales.” Essays in Medieval Studies 28 (2012): 1-16.
English 2114: Social Issues in Literature: Rape, Consent, and Desire
English 2201: Survey of English Literature, Beginnings to 1660: Writing Perspective
English/Women’s Studies 2197: Women in Literature: Bad Girls and Unruly Women: Female Transgression from the Bible to the Bad Girls Club
English 3212: Literature of the Medieval Period: Sexual Subjects in Late Medieval England
English 3212: Literature of the Medieval Period: The Seven Deadly Sins
English 4397: Wine, Women, and Wikked Words: The Literature of the Alehouse in Late Medieval England
English 5011: Early British Literature: Sexual Subjects in Late Medieval England