MAA News – Schallek Fellow’s Report

Maj-Britt Frenze
2019-2020 Schallek Fellow

The Schallek Fellowship gave me tremendous support during my final year of doctoral study as I finished my dissertation and graduated in May of 2020. During the 2019-2020 academic year, I used the funds provided by the Schallek Fellowship to conclude my dissertation research and writing during my sixth year of study at the Medieval Institute (University of Notre Dame). I was able to devote the entirety of my time during the academic year to my research and intellectual development. The fall semester was primarily spent writing the Introduction to my dissertation and revising my two weaker chapters (“Forests” and “The ‘Saracen’ Giant”) in accordance with the feedback I received from my committee members. The remaining month of the fall semester (December) was spent writing my Conclusion and continuing to revise the entire dissertation. I finished the Conclusion and continued to revise in January of 2020, and I sent the entire draft of my dissertation to my committee members at the end of that month. In February of 2020, I made revisions that I considered necessary. I passed my dissertation defense on March 2, 2020 and submitted the dissertation to the Graduate School of the University of Notre Dame on April 6, 2020. During March of 2020, I completed optional revisions for the final submission.

During 2019-2020, I also revised some of the content of my dissertation into article drafts. The process of revising some of the dissertation content into article form helped clarify my thinking and thereby produce a stronger dissertation. In September of 2019, I submitted an article draft related to my “Forests” chapter, an article which was recently published in Early Middle English. In the article, entitled “Environmental Fiction in Trailbaston,” I acknowledged the support of the Schallek Fellowship. In March 2020, I submitted another article draft of different material from the “Forests” chapter while I was completing optional revisions on that chapter. This article is still under review, and if it is eventually published I will also acknowledge the support of the Schallek Fellowship. After submitting my dissertation to the Graduate School in early April, I worked on producing an article draft from my dissertation materials on the “fairy mistress” figure of romance. I plan to submit the article after receiving final feedback from my advisors.

As I finished my dissertation during the 2019-2020, I reflected on how I should move forward into revising the dissertation into a book. In light of the feedback offered by my committee members at my defense, I plan to enhance the research’s engagement with gender theory and ecofeminism. The book project, tentatively titled Gendered Ecologies in Medieval Literature: Boundaries, Borderlands, and Bodies, will include research from two or three content chapters of the dissertation as well as content from the Introduction and Bibliography. Like the dissertation, the book will take a comparative look at romance materials produced in late medieval Britain and Scandinavia. The book examines how medieval authors depicted the relationship between gender and landscape, assessing how literary environments reinforce, subvert, and participate in constructs of gender. It applies ecofeminist methodologies to the study of medieval literature, analyzing hitherto unstudied relationships between constructs of gender and literary landscape in medieval texts. I will acknowledge the support of the Schallek Fellowship in the Acknowledgements section of the book when it is completed. I am extremely thankful to have received the support of the Medieval Academy of America and the Richard III Society, American Branch.

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