Paul Gaffney is interested in language use and how we think about our cultural past. He believes that academic subjects should not be isolated into traditional categories, nor isolated from our daily lives; he is always finding new ways to connect rigorous academic study to current concerns. He prioritizes working with students to cultivate their own eclectic interests and expertise, helping them develop into lifelong learners and innovators. One of his particular obsessions is leading classes to England, Scotland and Wales. These intensive journeys uncover a rich layering of cultural, political and intellectual issues that change how students see the world.
He twice won grants in order to take part in National Endowment for the Humanities workshops — in 2015, for “Manuscript Materiality” and in 2016 for “Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.”
- B.A., English and Linguistics, Western Washington University
- M.A., English, University of Virginia
- Ph.D., Medieval Literature, University of Virginia
- Medieval literature and manuscript studies
- Interests as diverse as Old Icelandic, Shakespeare films, nineteenth-century architecture, emerging American dialects, and cultural ecology
- “Masculinity.” With Ellen Rentz, chapter in A Companion to Sexuality in the Western Medieval Word, edited by Michelle Sauer. ARC Humanities Press, 2018.
- “Manuscript Materiality and Immateriality.” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching, 2018.
- “Controlling the Loathly Lady, or What Really Frees Dame Ragnelle.” The English “Loathly Lady” Tales: Boundaries, Traditions, Motifs. Edited by S. E. Passmore and S.Carter. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2008.
- Gaffney loves to travel, although he has only visited 21 countries to date. He has crossed North America by car, airplane, bus, and train; he is exploring further options. Ask him about “arp.”