Graduate Students


J Alden

J Alden is a first-year PhD student in the English Department at Boston College, with a Master’s in Humanities from the University of Chicago. Their interests center on medieval English and Irish literatures, and on literary subjects’ mutable or liminal bodies, especially  in relation to gender, the nonhuman, and the phenomenal. J also has interests in early medieval enigma and riddling, and the way these genres frame bodies and embodiment.

Carolyn Cargile

Carolyn Cargile is a PhD candidate in English at Fordham University. Her research interests sit at the intersection of literary studies and history. Her dissertation, “The Shape of History: Formal Variety and the Production of the Past in Twelfth-Century England and Normandy (ca. 1120–1154)” examines how diverse literary forms in history writing work to summon particular affective responses from readers. Her publications are forthcoming in Viator and from Brepols’s Transcultural Medieval Studies series.

Gabrielle DaCosta

Gabrielle DaCosta is a phD candidate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her dissertation considers the role of “social death” in medieval literature.

Adam Darisse

Adam J. Darisse (he/him) is a PhD candidate in the English Department at New York University. His research explores the intersection of emotion, the reception of patristic theology, and mapping practices in early medieval English literature. More specifically, he is interested in the ways in which theologically inflected representations of joy and sorrow were used to create a sense of spatio/temporal distance in Old English literature set in Asia and Africa. Previously, as a US-UK Fulbright Awardee, he earned a Master of Arts in Medieval Studies from the University of York and he also holds a Master of Arts in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts Boston. He has presented his research at the International Congress of Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo), as well as the International Medieval Congress (Leeds).

Alice Grissom

E. Alice Grissom is a 2nd-year MA student in the Center for Medieval Studies at Fordham University. Their research centers on the role of the body in social identity formation and categorization, particularly though a focus on bodies inscribed in Old and Middle English literature. They are currently working on the dynamics of embodiment and death in anchoritic texts. Additionally, Alice works in digital humanities practices and with projects developed in the Center, such as Medieval New York and the Siege of Antioch.

Emma Hitchcock

Emma Hitchcock is a PhD candidate in the department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her research attends to shifting genre contours, religious conversions, and practices of remembering and knowing in the early medieval North Atlantic. Her reading methods, informed by critical Indigenous studies, aim to contribute to our understanding of colonial structures and reparative possibilities. Emma is currently (autumn 2022) a Visiting Scholar at the Arctic University of Norway’s Center for Sámi Studies. In 2019, she was selected to participate in the FAB Musiconis initiative, a digital humanities collaboration between Columbia and Paris-Sorbonne University. She is also an enthusiastic member of the Disinventing Old English working group, a large-scale collaborative project of reimagining the way that early medieval English is conceptualized and taught in academic settings.

Megan Perry

Megan Renz Perry is a Ph.D. Candidate in Yale’s Medieval Studies Program. She works on the intellectual history of the early Middle Ages. A Baylor Honors College alumna, she completed her master’s work in medieval history at the University of Kentucky on Carolingian accounts of the vice of greed.  She is currently writing her dissertation on the Alfredian translation of the Pastoral Care in its political (ecclesial and secular), pedagogical, and philosophical contexts. Practically, this means she is currently engaged in chasing down annotated and glossed copies of the Regula Pastoralis from the ninth century. She has been active on the organizing committees for the Yale Lectures in Medieval Studies and the Harvard-Yale Medieval History Graduate Student Conference.

Jason Ray
Jason Ray.jpeg

Jason Ray is a PhD candidate in English at Fordham University, focusing on medieval literature and critical theory. He received a BA in Theater Studies from Yale University and an MA in Medieval & Renaissance Studies from Columbia University.  His dissertation project explores how nostalgia operates in medieval texts, particularly how medieval subjects themselves feel and write about their past in those texts. Jason was awarded a 2022-2023 Fulbright Research Award to the UK.  As a Fulbright Global Wales Visiting Student Researcher hosted by Bangor University, Jason is currently working on a project titled “Memory, Experience, and Dis/Identification in Early Welsh Literature.”

William Smoot

W. Tanner Smoot is a PhD candidate in history at Fordham University in the Bronx, New York. His research interests focus primarily on the religious culture of early and central medieval England, Flanders, and Normandy. Previously, he received his Masters Degree in history from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. His dissertation project examines the social aspects of prose hagiographic commission in the Channel World, with a special interest in the writing methods of itinerant hagiographers. He maintains an interest in medieval methods of recording history, and has written both on the re-writing of hagiography and the collection of miracles at saints’ shrines. From 2021-2022, he served as an editorial assistant for the journal Traditio: Studies in Ancient and Medieval History, Thought, and Religion. He has presented his work at various conferences, including the International Congress on Medieval Studies and the Haskins Society.

Emma Styles-Swaim

Emma Styles-Swaim is a PhD candidate in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her work uncovers a poetic epistemology in early medieval literature, considering the intersections of philosophy, logic, natural philosophy, theology, and poetic form. She is particularly interested in riddles, dialogues, and catalogue poems. In reading poetry for its unique approaches to truth, wisdom, and understanding, Emma seeks to nuance our existing categories of knowledge in the early middle ages.

Emily Sun

Emily Sun is a fourth-year PhD student in English at Harvard University. She currently serves as coordinator of the Harvard Medieval Colloquium, and is also a project coordinator and collaborator on the Disinventing Old English project. Emily previously earned her BA in English from Columbia University, where she was a Richmond B. Williams Fellow. At present, Emily’s research focuses on the sea-crossings, sea-changes, and encounters with others that are depicted in early medieval English texts, as well as how these scenes are co-opted by contemporary writers to address movements and migrations of the present.


Ghislaine Comeau

Ghislaine Comeau is a PhD student at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. Her SSHRC-funded research focuses on examining texts from the early medieval period. Her dissertation project, provisionally titled “Early England and Islam: Tracing and Placing “Saracens” Within Early English Literature,” investigates direct references and allusions to “Saracens.” In her new approach, she mostly considers writing produced during the years prior to the Viking invasion from writers such as Bede, St. Boniface, and Alcuin and seeks to resist the pervasive image on an insular Early Medieval England that is unaware or and unaffected by Islam.