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Jennifer  Knight

Jennifer Knight

Jennifer Knight
Instructor

Contact

Office: SOC 262
Phone: 813/974-2807
Email: jlknight@usf.edu

Links

Education

Ph.D., Harvard University, 2011

Teaching

I like to teach about hairy barbarians! Of course, I aim to dispel the many popular misconceptions attached to the groups of people that tend to fall into this category. I currently teach courses on Celtic History and Viking History, two groups of peoples that were tremendously influential on history and yet remain largely misunderstood in popular conceptions. My course "Celtic History" covers the development of the disparate peoples that come to fall under the umbrella of 'Celtic' from the Iron Age through the coming of the Normans to the nascent nations of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. "Viking History", which covers the expansive influence of medieval Scandinavian travelers and settlers across the globe.

I also teach the course "The Irish in America", which partners with USF Special Collections to provide a unique, Public History-rooted approach that presents students with the opportunity to interact directly with artifacts and primary sources, as well as contribute to a growing database on Irish Studies and Celtic Heritage Oral Histories that we are developing. The course content traces the experience of Irish immigrants to America: the forces that drove their emigration from Ireland, and the issues they confronted upon arrival in the U.S.

My online course "A History of Ireland" provides a fast-paced tour through the complex, fascinating, and at times emotionally challenging course of Irish History from the time of St. Patrick in the 5th century through the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922.

Finally, I also direct the internship program for the Dept. of History. Students who are interested in completing an internship for credit that will contribute towards the completion of the degree should contact me for further details. Additional information can also be found on the department's website here: http://history.usf.edu/ug/internships/.

Research

My research focuses on reading the unusually rich corpus of early medieval Irish literature for insights into major social concepts such as gender and identity. Long viewed as 'traditional' in nature and mined for relics of the pre-Christian past, new scholarship (including my own) now regards early Irish literature as the product of a highly educated Christian elite segment of early Irish society. As such, these works are being viewed in new ways. No longer a "window on the Iron Age" (to quote the highly influential Kenneth Jackson article of the 1970's), early Irish literature can be seen to reflect and examine issues pertinent to its medieval authors. Social issues such as violence and the heroic ethic frequently come under critical examination, while gender and relative status commonly serve the plot of the tales.

My recent publication “Gender and Comedy in the Early Irish Tale Fled Bricrenn” reads the tale as an early example of a gender comedy that employs a theme of gender role reversal to satirize the masculine heroic ideal. My previous publication "The Wooden Sword: Age and Masculinity in Táin Bó Cúailnge" examines the comment on weakness and the male life cycle presented in the Táin by the tale's enigmatic boy-hero Cú Chulainn. I am currently pursuing a book-length study on the manipulation of gender as a literary theme in the group of early Irish tales known collectively as "The Ulster Cycle".

Finally, I, together with Matthew Knight, Asst. Director of USF Special Collections, have begun the development of a major oral history project focused on the large Celtic-heritage population of the South-West Florida region. 'The Celtic Heritage Oral History Initiative' aims to collect the stories of our area's unique Celtic-heritage community and create a resource that will be available to researchers world-wide via an online database. The database is currently under development and nearing completion, while the first set of interviews-- collected by students in the Fall 2016 course "The Irish in America"-- are currently undergoing digitization.

Specialty Area

Medieval Ireland, Scotland, and Wales; Early Irish and Welsh Literature and Folklore; Medieval Society and Identity; Women and Gender; Celtic Diaspora and Heritage Communities

Current Courses

RefCourseSecCourse TitleCRDayTimeLocation
23545EUH 3185004Viking History
Course Description
3TR9:30am-10:45am

SOC 149
23555HIS 3938012The Irish in America
crosslised with HIS 6925-020 Course Description
3MW9:30am-10:45am

SOC 128
22533IDS 3947011Cooperative Internship
2

TBA TBA
18476HIS 4900005Directed Reading
Instructor's permission required.
2

TBA 100
24850HIS 4900022Directed Reading
1

TBA TBA
21262HIS 4940001Internship in History
1

TBA 100
21264HIS 4940003Internship in History
3

TBA 100
24847HIS 6908027Independent Study "Internship"
3

TBA TBA
24464HIS 6925020The Irish in America
crosslisted with HIS 3938-012
3MW9:30am-10:45am

SOC 128

Recent Publications

“Gender and Comedy in the Early Irish Tale Fled Bricrenn” South Atlantic Review vol. 81(Summer 2016) 14-32.

"The Wooden Sword: Age and Masculinity in Táin Bó Cúailnge," Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium XXXIII (Harvard University Press, 2014) 107-122.