Silver Professor; Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and English
- 1982 Ph.D. in English Literature, Princeton
- 1978 A.B. in English Literature, Bryn Mawr College
AWARDS, FELLOWSHIPS, GRANTS, AND HONORS
- 2017-18 James Robert Brudner Class of 1983 Memorial Prize in LGBT Studies, Yale University
- 2015 Julius Silver, Roslyn S. Silver, and Enid Silver Winslow Professorship, New York University
- 2014 Distinguished International Visiting Fellowship, Center of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Australia Research Council
- 2010 John Edward Taylor Fellowship, University of Manchester, UK
- 2010-12 President, New Chaucer Society
- 2006 Distinguished Editor Award, Council of Editors of Learned Journals, for GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies; shared with co-editor David M. Halperin
- 2001 Special Citation for outstanding contribution to the field of LGBT Studies, Crompton-Noll Award, MLA Gay/Lesbian Caucus, for GLQ; shared with co-editor David M. Halperin
- 1997 Crompton-Noll Award, MLA Gay/Lesbian Caucus, Best Essay in Gay/Lesbian Studies, for “Getting Medieval: Pulp Fiction, Gawain, Foucault”
- 1996-7 Marta Sutton Weeks Fellow, Stanford Humanities Center
- 1994-5 President's Fellowship, University of California
- 1993 John Nicholas Brown Prize, Medieval Academy of America, for Chaucer’s Sexual Poetics
- 1990-1 Senior Fellow, Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities, UC Berkeley
- 1985 Summer Stipend, National Endowment for the Humanities
- 1981 Harold W. Dodds Honorific Fellowship, Princeton University
- 1978 European Fellowship, Bryn Mawr College
Carolyn Dinshaw has been interested in the relationship between past and present ever since she began to study medieval literature. Her 1982 dissertation, subsequently published as Chaucer and the Text in 1988, explored the relevance of new critical modes for older literature, while in her 1989 book, Chaucer's Sexual Poetics, she investigated the connection of past and present via the Western discursive tradition of gender. In Getting Medieval: Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern (1999), she traced a queer desire for history. In her most recent book, How Soon is Now? Medieval Texts, Amateur Readers, and the Queerness of Time (2012), she looks directly at the experience of time itself, as it is represented in medieval works and as it is experienced in readers of those works. In the classroom, she regularly teaches materials past and present, in courses ranging from Medieval Misogyny to Queer New York City.
In graduate courses such as “Medievalisms” and “Time and Temporality in Medieval Literature,” she has explored expanded notions of history and time—affective history, embodied history, and the feeling of being a body in time—in texts ranging from Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy to Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde to Washington Irving’s “Rip van Winkle” to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Buried Giant. Dinshaw has also taught "Ecological Approaches to Medieval Literature," in which students read medieval texts (especially those featuring a figure of Nature) in relation to theoretical materials by, among many others, Timothy Morton, Martin Heidegger, Bruno Latour, Catriona Sandilands and Bruce Erickson, and Dipesh Chakrabarty. Her work in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis (where she is jointly appointed with the English Department) has provided a rich context in which to develop these ideas theoretically and cross culturally.
Dinshaw’s current research projects extend her interests into the visual field. It’s Not Easy Being Green focuses on the eerie figure of the foliate head – a decorative motif well nigh ubiquitous in medieval church sculpture in Western Europe that became known in the 20th century as the Green Man. This imagined mixture of human and vegetable (a head sprouting leaves or made up of vegetation) is the point of departure for her research on human/non-human relations, queerness and queer sexual subcultures now, "the ecological thought" (as Timothy Morton puts it), and what medieval literature can tell us about it all. The second project, Exploring Nowhere: Mirages, Digital Maps, and the Historical Problem of Location, is undertaken with visual artist Marget Long. It is a project that explores paradoxical places where time and space operate differently from all other places on earth – “nowheres that are somewhere” (to adapt Alessandro Scafi’s resonant phrase for medieval representations of Paradise). Long and Dinshaw look to the optical phenomenon of the mirage—a strange and elusive "nowhere"—to explore the broad concepts of location and locatability. They investigate the mirage’s visual and cultural history through a wide array of materials in order to imagine (among other things) how to work and play with current digital mapping technologies intended to work us.
How Soon is Now? Medieval Texts, Amateur Readers, and the Queerness of Time.
The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Women's Writing.Ed. Carolyn Dinshaw and David Wallace
Chaucer and the Text: Two Views of the Author.
“Crocker Land: A Mirage in the Archive.” With Marget Long. In Daniel Marshall, Kevin P. Murphy, and Zeb Tortorici, eds. Turning Archival. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, forthcoming 2018.
“Black Skin, Green Masks: Medieval Foliate Heads, Racial Trauma, and Queer World-making.” In Bettina Bildhauer and Chris Jones, eds. The Middle Ages in the Modern World. Proceedings of the British Academy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. 276–304.
“Re-reading, or, When You Were Mine.” Afterword in Looking Forward, Looking Back: The Legend of Good Women. Spec. issue of Chaucer Review, ed. Betsy McCormick, Leah Schwebel, and Lynn Shutters. Volume 52 (2017): 162–66.
“All Kinds of Time.”Presidential Address. Studies in the Age of Chaucer 35 (2013): 3–25.
“Ecology.” In Marion Turner, ed. A Handbook of Middle English Studies. West Sussex: John Wiley, 2013. Pp. 347–62.
“Born Too Soon, Born Too Late: The Female Hunter of Long Eddy, circa 1855.” In 21st-Century Gay Culture. Ed. David A. Powell. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008. Pp. 1-12.
“Temporalities” In Twenty-first Century Approaches: Medieval. Ed. Paul Strohm. Oxford University Press, 2007.
“Theorizing Queer Temporalities: A Roundtable Discussion.” With Lee Edelman, Roderick A. Ferguson, Carla Freccero, Elizabeth Freeman (moderator), Judith Halberstam, Annamarie Jagose, Christopher Nealon, and Nguyen Tan Hoang. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 13:2-3 (2007): 179-95.
“Medieval Feminist Literary Criticism.” Cambridge History of Feminist Literary Criticism. Ed. Susan Sellers and Gill Plain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Pp. 11-26.
“Touching on the Past.” In The Boswell Thesis: Essays for the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of John Boswell's Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality. Ed. Matthew Kuefler Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006. Pp. 57-73.
“The History of GLQ, Volume One: LGBT Studies, Censorship, and Other Transnational Problems.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 12 (2006): 5-26.
“Pale Faces: Race, Religion, and Affect in Chaucer's Texts and Their Readers,” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 23 (2001): 19-41.
“History's Queer Touch: A Forum on Carolyn Dinshaw's Getting Medieval: Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern.” With Elizabeth Castelli, Rosemary Drage Hale, Amy Hollywood, Mark D. Jordan, Ann Pellegrini, and Angela Zito. Journal of the History of Sexuality 10 (2001): 202-212.
Carolyn DinshawSilver Professor; Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and English email@example.com 20 Cooper Square
New York, NY 10003
Phone: (212) 992-8303