Emily Houlik-Ritchey

After receiving my Ph.D. in medieval English Literature from Indiana University, Bloomington, I spent two years at the University of California, Santa Barbara as the Arnold Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Department of English. My work has been supported by an NEH Summer Teaching Institute at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and a Mellon Summer Institute in Spanish Paleography at the Huntington Library. My articles on medieval romance, Gower, and the Neighbor have appeared in ExemplariaSouth Atlantic ReviewLiterature Compass, and a special issue of E.S. Revista de Filología Inglesa on John Gower. My current book project, Ethical Romance: the Neighbor in Late Medieval England and Castile, argues that texts of late-medieval romance evince a serious concern with ethics, particularly the Jewish and Christian imperative to love the neighbor as the self. The book assesses the ethics of neighborly relations across differences of religion, race, gender, and geography in a comparative study of English and Spanish texts. A second book project, Ecologies of the Neighbor in Medieval Literature, will merge neighbor theory with ecocriticism to show that medieval English literature explores the ethical valences of human relations with those aspects of the non/human world that humans struggle to value. 

My teaching interests within the centuries we dub the “Medieval” are diverse. Temporally, they range from the literature and language of the Anglo-Saxons up through the Early Modern period, and I can even be enticed beyond. Geographically, my interests range from the literature of the British Isles to that of Spain and France. My courses regularly incorporate postcolonial theory, theories of gender/sexuality, critical race studies, ecocriticism, and theories of the neighbor. I am always most interested in the ways that things get messy and intertwined—the ways definitions, binaries, and representations turn out to be not nearly so simple as they may first appear. 

I am a sucker for really good chocolate, and I spend my off-campus time re-reading my favorite books, hiking and other outdoor activities, and raising two spunky kids.