Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


Sponsored by the New Chaucer Society, New Chaucer Studies: Pedagogy and Profession offers essays, news, and resources for teachers and scholars of Geoffrey Chaucer and his age. Published twice per year, this peer-reviewed, open-access journal is dedicated to our work inside both the classroom and the institution, as well as to our outward-facing work contributing to the public discourse. In these ways, the journal seeks to advance a broad and embracing conception of medieval literary studies.


Editors’ Introduction: On Fragility, Institutions, and Reflecting

This issue includes a cluster of brief essays on editing scholarly journals, three essays on teaching, and two columns: How I Teach and Conversations.

Borderlands Chaucer

This essay pursues imperfect analogies between Chaucerian poetics and border theory/pedagogy, drawing on the author’s experience teaching Chaucer in the US-Mexico Borderlands. It calls for reading Chaucer from the classroom and from the margins, in order best to locate Chaucer and medieval studies in leaner, less canon-driven, and more effectively anti-racist 21st-century curricula.

Life with Concepts: Allegory, Recognition, and Adaptation

This essay examines questions around teaching allegory to undergraduates in a liberal arts setting, with a focus on the uses for both reading and inviting students to write contemporary adaptations of premodern works. The complexities of literary character are sometimes reflexively disallowed to the personified figures of premodern allegory. A better tack, without assimilating medieval literary modes into modern ones, might have us attend to the variety of ways in which concepts are given embodied, social life in allegory. Adaptation assignments can invite self-involving hermeneutic engagement, analytic rigor, and creative response from students. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's Everybody, a recent adaptation of Everyman, is looked to here as a model conversation partner for such a pedagogical approach.

J. K. Rowling, Chaucer’s Pardoner, and the Ethics of Reading

This essay discusses teaching Chaucer’s Pardoner and his Tale through his queerness and fitness to tell a moral tale. It is informed by ethical reading theory and pursues a comparison between the Pardoner and J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. Rowling’s public comments about trans women have disaffected many fans of her book and film series, and I suggest that wrestling with such dilemmas in the classroom provides students with tools to navigate similar ethical problems outside of an academic setting.


Cluster: Reflections on Editing Scholarly Journals

Editing JEGP : some (ambivalent) reflections

Editors Robert Meyer-Lee and Matthew Giancarlo offer some personal and historical reflections on the work of editing a contemporary scholarly journal in medieval literary studies, The Journal of English and Germanic Philology. This essay considers some of the ambivalences and challenging assumptions involved in editing a journal that has been established for a long time in our field of scholarship.

And Gladly Edit: Studies in the Age of Chaucer 1997–2003

Larry Scanlon reflects on editing SAC from 1997 through 2003.

Reflections on Editing Studies in the Age of Chaucer 2007–13

David Matthews reflects on editing SAC from 2007 through 2013.

What Does It Mean to Be Exemplary?: Reflections on Editing Exemplaria, Part I

A brief diary of the founding of EXEMPLARIA: A JOURNAL OF THEORY IN MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE STUDIES with the history of the journal 1987-2008.


Reflections on Editing Exemplaria, Part II: An Interview

In an interview with Katie Little, Noah Guynn and Elizabeth Scala reflect on editing Exemplaria during the years 2008–2018.

Reflections on Editing Exemplaria, Part III

This is the third portion of an invited piece on the editing of the journal Exemplaria.

Editing the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies as a Hub of Publishing in a Local Academic Community

Journals circulate the life blood of academic publishing: authors need editors to help them present their work in its finest form, while readers need editors to deliver the most welcome reading, and editors need both authors and readers for their journals to thrive. Michael Cornett reflects on his career at the center of this symbiotic relationship as managing editor of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. The institutional stability afforded by Duke University Press as the publisher of JMEMS and Duke University’s Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies as the campus home for the journal has allowed Cornett to develop an active hub of publishing that integrates the journal within a local academic community, while maintaining the public-facing connection to the wider world of publishing. Editing at its best is collaborative, community-based, knowledge-building work.

Editing postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies

For the past eleven years, postmedieval, a multi-disciplinary journal devoted to the study of both medieval and medievalist cultures, has published quarterly issues aimed at an international audience of scholars, artists, and writers. Having recently celebrated the journal’s one-decade anniversary, we reflect here on our work as two of the editors who launched a new journal and/or kept it afloat through changes in its ownership, marketing, and management. Our observations about editing pertain to commercial publishing as a venue for scholarly and creative works, and we emphasize our experiences reconciling corporate publishing practices with the production of an innovative, accessible, equitable, and rather bespoke journal.

Reflections on Editing New Literary History: An Interview with Bruce Holsinger

Bruce Holsinger reflects on editing the journal New Literary History.

How I Teach ....

Slow Teaching with Gawain

This essay describes my pedagogical shift while teaching online during the Covid 19 pandemic. I switched to classes structured by slow, careful translation of medieval texts, with positive effects on student attention and participation.


Background Noise

Responding to the last New Chaucer Society: Pedagogy and Profession issue on the Pandemic, Siân Echard reflects on her experiences as an educator and member of the academy in times of the pandemic.