Elizabeth Schirmer

photo_elizabeth schirmerBiographical Statement: 

I received my Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2001, and my AB in English and French Literatures from Stanford University in 1993. I joined the NMSU English department in 2001. I enjoy teaching in the Honors College and the Women’s Studies Program as well as in the English Department.

Research Interests:

  • late-medieval English literary and religious writing
  • vernacular cultures of reading, c. 1400
  • Lollardy
  • the Pearl-Poet
  • rhetoric and hermeneutics in the Middle Ages
  • gender
  • narrative theory and medieval texts

Courses Recently Taught:

  • ENGL 271: Survey of British Literature I (Beowulf through the 18th c.)
  • ENGL 239: Medieval Understandings
  • ENGL 405: Chaucer
  • ENGL 525, WS 550: Medieval Women Reading the Bible
  • ENGL 4/522, WS 4/550: Dying for Love: Sex and the Spirit of Early English Poetry
  • ENGL 4/517: Queer Theory
  • ENGL 4/593: Middle English Textual Cultures
  • ENGL 5/690: Medieval Rhetoric

Departmental Projects

Dr. Schirmer currently serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies, working with and advising students in our undergraduate programs. She also serves on the Personnel Committee, and she helps craft the curriculum through the work of the Literature Area Group. Dr. helped develop the Minor in Medieval and Early Modern Studies as well as the Major in Women’s Studies, and she has served as faculty advisor for two student groups: Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Friends (currently the Stonewall Coalition) and Feminists Reinventing Equality Everywhere (FREE).

Selected Publications:

  • “Canon Wars and Outlier Manuscripts: Gospel Harmony in the Lollard Controversy.” Huntington Library Quarterly. 73 (2010). pp. 1-36.
  • “William Thorpe’s Narrative Theology”. Studies in the Age of Chaucer. 31 (2009). pp. 267-99.
  • “‘Trewe Men’: Pastoral Masculinity in Lollard Polemic.” In Masculinities and Femininities, ed. Fred Kiefer (Brepols, 2009). pp. 117-30.
  • “Reading Lessons at Syon Abbey: The Myroure of Oure Ladye and the Mandates of Vernacular Theology.” In Voices in Dialogue: Reading Women in the Middle Ages, ed. Linda Olson and Kathryn Kerby-Fulton (U of Notre Dame P, 2005). pp. 345-76.
  • “Orthodoxy, Textuality, and the ‘Tretys’ of Margery Kempe.” Journal x. 1.1 (1996). pp. 31.56.

Professional Statement:

Dr. Schirmer’s teaching and research alike are motivated by a fascination with models of reading and how they are taught and learned. Rather than literacy in the narrow sense, she is interested in reading as a basic means of comprehending, organizing, and manipulating experience. In her research and in the classroom, she asks how particular ways of engaging with texts shape the intellectual, ethical, political, and spiritual lives of readers medieval and modern.

Contact: eschirme@nmsu.edu or 575-646-1733

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