department of english

114 Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881

– Main Office: 401.874.5931 - Graduate Office: 401.874.4663

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Kathleen Davis

  • Professor
  • Medieval Studies; Translation Studies; Issues of Periodization and Secularism
  • Phone: 401.874.2016, Office: 114C Swan Hall
  • Email:


Kathleen Davis was trained as a medievalist at Rutgers University, where she found encouragement to work across disciplinary boundaries. She has worked in the fields of medieval studies, translation studies, and postcolonial criticism, and has recently focused on the issue of secularism. She is the author ofPeriodization and Sovereignty: How Ideas of Feudalism and Secularization Govern the Politics of Time (2008; currently being translated into Turkish) and Deconstruction and Translation(2001; republished in Shanghai 2004). She is also co-editor, with Nadia Altschul, ofMedievalisms in the Postcolonial World: The Idea of “the Middle Ages” Outside Europe. Her articles and reviews have appeared in The Journal for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, History of the Present, Postmedieval, American Literary History, Speculum, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, Traductio, and Medievalia et Humanistica, as well as in numerous edited collections. She is currently working on two major projects, one on time in Old English poetry, and one on secularism and modernity.

Within medieval studies, Davis specializes in Old English literature, and is a co-founder of the ASSC (Anglo-Saxon Studies Colloquium), an organization dedicated to fostering exchange among faculty and graduate students interested in the language, literature, and culture of early medieval England.

Davis was honored to be a recipient in 2008 of a Newberry Library NEH Fellowship, and in 2010-11 with Membership at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where she worked on her project “Is Secularism Modern?”

A representative to the MLA Delegate Assembly and Chair of the MLA Old English Division Executive Committee, Davis has organized Old English Division’s sessions for the January 2015 MLA Convention. See abstracts here (PDF).


  • Ph.D., Rutgers University
  • M.A., Villanova University
  • B.A., Villanova University

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