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Looking for doctoral programs that are open to extra-canonical works

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I'm looking for doctoral programs, either for the fall of next year, or for a year or two down the road and after my master's, where I can pursue research that happens to combine works from a well-established canon with less canonical works. Specifically, I'm looking to do research on elements that appear in medieval works from northwestern Europe (principally Germanic and Celtic Europe), and that also carry over into modern works that draw inspiration from those sources (I would offer fantasy as a genre as one example of this, though it is not the only one). For instance, my undergraduate thesis dealt with the concept of Faërie, the Otherworld, as it appeared in Celtic mythology, Norse mythology, English literature, and Tolkien's works. I imagine that it is probably difficult to find programs and advisors for research of this kind, so I am posting to get suggestions of departments to look into and individuals to potentially contact. I have already been pursuing this with my undergraduate professors, so I am looking to supplement their advice. Thanks!

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I agree with ComeBackZinc.  This kind of stuff actually seems rather common.  You might need to be flexible (i.e. find someone who looks at the 19th century and Regency-era romance novels or something like this), but I think you'll be able to find quite a few people in various programs who would be good to work with.

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You might want to take a browse through the program for the American Culture Association/Pop Culture Association's website, conference program, etc. A lot of English faculty who fold things like Tolkien into their work present at the national and regional ACA/PCA conferences. They have sessions there on everything from cosplay to gravestones to Shakespeare. You might be able to dig up some faculty working in areas that interest you.

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One term for that sort of stuff is (neo-)medievalism. There are a couple of societies for this, as well as the International Conference on Medievalism. Most of the scholars in these circles seem to come from the Medieval Studies side of things, but I'm sure a few must be working in English departments. I've attended the conference once and been in touch with a few people there.


Here's the main society's web address:



They also sponsor sessions at the Kalamazoo and Leeds conferences every year.


I was going to say you should PM me for recommendations, but really I don't know anyone working in the specific areas you're talking about. I can say that Richard Utz at Georgia Tech is one of the central figures of that society and a really nice guy. I emailed him last year out of the blue, and he was able to put me in touch with all the right people. He also took an hour out of his conference schedule to sit down and talk with me about my career options.

Edited by khyleth
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