My name is Dr. Laura Kalas. I’m a lecturer in English Literature at Swansea University, a medievalist, feminist, mother, teacher, juggler, domestic diplomat, indefatigable thinker, and old-leather-bound-book obsessive.
Oh, and an unashamed proponent of the Hygge lifestyle (if there are candles, furry throws, log fires, books and glasses of red, I’m in).
This site is for medieval musings, thoughts about medieval gender, physiological modification, and the interplay of science and gender. Here, I shall ponder questions about the human body, identity, and women’s religious experience in the Middle Ages. I hope that you will join me in such musings.
My first book, Margery Kempe’s Spiritual Medicine: Suffering, Transformation and the Life- Course was published in March 2020 and is available here. The book is the first full-length interdisciplinary study of the Book from a medical humanities perspective. Focusing on the connections between mysticism, medicine and reproduction as a feminist project, the book interrogates Kempe’s utility of the medical paradigms of which she has previously been a passive subject. My next project explores other European female visionaries and question the ways in which bodily and mystical experience collide via complex identity-modifications. Scientific understandings of the female body in the Middle Ages and the corporeal metamorphoses of religious women underpins my work. The transhistoricity of the medieval and the modern continues to surprise me, and I am interested in researching further the highly sophisticated medieval ideas about health, spirituality and gender that seem to play out quite markedly in the technological age.
I was the winner of the 2015 Gender and Medieval Studies graduate student essay prize, and my article is published in Medieval Feminist Forum here.
Please sign up to my site and join me in my thinking about all things medieval, medical, and metamorphic!