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.
- B.A., English and Linguisitics, Western Washington University
- M.A., English, University of Virginia
- PH.D., Medieval Literature, University of Virginia
Dr. Gaffney researches and writes about medieval literature and manuscript studies. He enjoys studying interests as diverse as Old Icelandic, Shakespeare films, nineteenth-century architecture, emerging American dialects, and cultural ecology.
He twice won grants in order to take part in National Endowment for the Humanities workshops. In 2015, “Manuscript Materiality” and in 2016, “Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.”
- “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.
- Prof. Gaffney loves to travel, although he has only visited twenty-two countries to date. He has crossed North American by car, airplane, bus, and train; he is exploring further options. Ask him about “arp.”