• Kara McShane headshot

Kara McShane

Kara McShane was first drawn to medieval literature as an undergraduate because it seemed foreign and unfamiliar, but she quickly discovered that medieval writers cared about the same questions we do.  Her courses often focus on how medieval authors understood difference – race, class, gender, ability, religion, language – and challenge students to consider how medieval notions of the world have shaped our own.  By reading some of the best-known authors of the Middle Ages, such as Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower, alongside medieval travel narratives, performance texts, and anonymous poetry, students in her courses examine (and re-examine) why medieval literature fascinates us and how it is still with us.

McShane’s teaching and research on the popular culture of medieval England has led to an interest in contemporary imaginings of the Middle Ages in literature and film.  She has also contributed to the Robbins Library Digital Projects, notably through the development of Visualizing Chaucer.




  • B.A., College of Holy Cross
  • M.A., Ph.D., University of Rochester


Medieval Romance

Medieval Drama

Structure of the English Language

Postcolonial Middle Ages

Medieval Women

Poetry of Protest in Late Medieval England


Bears Make History: Digital Entrepreneurship in the Archive and Online

Research Interests

Middle English literature


Digital Pedagogy

Multilingualism, Translation, and Postcolonial theory

Travel Writing

Recent Work

“Gower as Data: Exploring the Application of Machine Learning to Gower’s Middle English Corpus.” With Alvin Grissom II. Accessus: A Journal of Premodern Literature and New Media.

“Deciphering Identity in The Book of John Mandeville’s Alphabets.” Philological Quarterly 97.1 (Winter 2018).

“Cosmopolitan Anxieties and National Identities in the Netflix Marco Polo.” Studies in Medievalism 26 (2016): 177-194.

“Social Healing in John Gower’s Visio Angliae.” South Atlantic Review 79.3-4 (2015): 76-88.

“Letter Exchange and Culture Shock in Alexander and Dindimus.” Travel, Contact, and Exchange. Ed. Aniesha R. Andrews. PHI Press: Weston, MA, 2014. Pp. 111-19.