public writing

nosuchthingI write about literature, politics, and higher education. My first publication for a general audience came about when I made a connection between fake news during the 2016 US presidential election and medieval political prophecy. In my work, I am interested in comparing the past to the present and also in exploring how the past is present in our society, our institutions, and our ideas.

A lot of my writing for public audiences has a political edge. The past was bad–unequal, violent, blind to itself–but differently bad from the present. Measuring that difference can help give purpose to ongoing efforts to organize for a better future.

higher education

on literary periodization.” 7 March 2019.

Poetry Reading Is on the Upswing/Why It Matters That More Americans Read Poetry Now.” Inside Higher Ed 19 November 2018.

formalism is historicism.” 19 August 2018.

how to turn your dissertation into a book.” 8 May 2018.

how to get your research published.” 29 March 2018.

Why Educate?” Boston College Magazine winter 2018: 48-9.

What Is Education For? – To Kill a Mockingbird and Medieval Literature.” How Did We Get into This Mess? 30 November 2017.

There Is No Such Thing as ‘the Digital Humanities’.” Chronicle of Higher Education 1 November 2017.

What’s the Point of Learning? Piers Plowman and Education Today.” Fair Field 3 October 2017.

Teaching with Collaborative Digital Textbooks.” Inside Higher Ed 14 June 2017.

Petitions and the Power of Poetry/Students Should Be Taught New Kinds of Poetry.” Inside Higher Ed 14 April 2017.

success in academia involves a lot of failure.” 17 January 2017.

medieval literature and social justice

Literature and Revolution.” Medium 28 March 2018.

The First Day of Spring, Then and Now.” Medium 20 March 2018.

The 13th-century Revolution That Made Modern Poetry Possible.” Aeon 15 September 2017.

Melisandre’s prophecy is, like, totally medieval.” 29 July 2017.

Millennial Bashing in Medieval Times.” The Conversation 5 July 2017.

History in the Future Tense.” The Account 1 May 2017.

Feeling ‘British’.” The Public Medievalist 28 March 2017.

Poor People, in the Abstract.” Times Literary Supplement 19 January 2017.

Before ‘Fake News’ Came False Prophecy.” The Atlantic 27 December 2016.

politics now (and then)

Stop Calling Trump ‘Medieval.’ It’s an Insult to the Middle Ages/Is Trump’s Wall ‘Medieval’? A Medieval Historian Explains the Problem with Invoking the Era.” Vox 25 February 2019.

The New Moralists.” Medium 30 July 2018.

Civility Won’t Save Us.” Medium 25 June 2018.

Did the Middle Ages End?” The Medieval Magazine 31 July 2017.

the false equivalence of ‘false equivalence’.” 7 May 2017.

political fictions.” 6 March 2017.

There’s Nothing Medieval about Trump.” How Did We Get into This Mess? 23 February 2017.

the dangers of echo chambers in newsrooms.” 12 December 2016.


Beowulf, lines 841-55. In Beowulf by All, ed. Elaine Treharne and Jean Abbott.

Gawain in 101 tweets. Twitter, March 2015.


with Anna Kijas and Sarah Melton, “Desegregating Boston’s Schools: Crisis and Community Activism, 1963-1977.” John J. Burns Library, Chestnut Hill, MA, 2017-2018.


See here.