Kirsten comes to the University of Chicago after completing her undergraduate studies in anthropology and history at DePaul University, and receiving her MSc in Medieval Literatures and Cultures from the University of Edinburgh. Her work in medieval studies has spanned from the 10th-15th centuries, with specific emphasis on the twelfth-century renaissance and the functions of animals and metamorphosis in medieval romance literature. After looking at the relationship between animals and gender in the Lais of Marie de France in her undergraduate thesis, Kirsten’s master’s dissertation turned to the figure of the serpent-woman in medieval French works such as the Roman de Melusine and Le Bel Inconnu. As a student at the University of Chicago she hopes to continue her work in animal studies in French medieval romans as well as exploring animals in the genres of theatre and poetry of the High Middle Ages. Her interest in nature as part of medieval social culture has also led her to begin work in the visual culture of manuscripts and allegorical descriptions of animals.
Medieval French and Anglo-Norman literature; animal studies; theories of metamorphosis and identity; gender studies; eco-criticism; nature in medieval visual culture; twelfth-century renaissance; allegory and symbolism of romance literature; vernacular writing.