Larissa “Kat” Tracy publishes peer-reviewed article on transvestitism and Chaucer

Larissa “Kat” Tracy, Professor of Medieval Literature in the Department of English and Modern Languages, recently published a peer-reviewed article in the Medieval Feminist Forum, titled “Chaucer’s Pardoner: The Medieval Culture of Cross-Dressing and Problems of Religious Authority.” This article, which argues that Chaucer’s Pardoner can be read as a cross-dressing woman who disguises herself as a man in order to attain a position of religious power that would otherwise be denied to her, uses contextual and linguistic evidence from Old French fabliaux, Middle English hagiography, Old French romance, and historical narratives of Pope Joan and Joan of Arc to paint a more comprehensive portrait of the larger culture of cross-dressing in late-medieval Europe.

This article is part of a larger monograph on the medieval culture of cross-dressing.

Larissa “Kat” Tracy does radio interview on The Work FM

On July 1, 2019, Larissa “Kat” Tracy, Professor of Medieval Literature in the Department of English and Modern Languages, did a live radio/video interview on The Frequency of Hope with Stephanie Clark on Richmond Community Radio The Work 93.9FM. The interview, which lasted two hours, covered a range of topics from medieval and modern treason, to modern political ideas about the Constitution, treason law, Game of Thrones, and Historical European Martial Arts.

The video feed and radio archive is available here:


Larissa “Kat” Tracy publishes new edited collection on treason

Dr. Larissa “Kat” Tracy, Professor of Medieval Literature in the Department of English and Modern Languages, recently published her eighth book, an edited collection titled Treason: Medieval and Early Modern Adultery, Betrayal, and Shame with academic press Brill.

Treason had very specific definitions in the Middle Ages: betrayal of the lord/king or country. But treason manifested in multiple ways throughout the medieval and early modern periods including rebellious lords, disloyal subjects, and unfaithful queens. Treason was adjudicated and punished differently in different periods and different communities; often the shame of treason lingered long after the immediate act. Arranged in three thematic sections, this volume investigates the nature of treason in medieval and early modern society in both practice and representation—its consequences, its lasting effects, its impression on societies and social standing. It includes articles dealing with treason, adultery, betrayal, or the shameful consequences of such betrayal in law, literature, art history, history, from across the span of the medieval period and into the early modern period. This collection includes seventeen interdisciplinary articles, including Tracy’s piece “The Shame Game, from Guinevere to Cersei: Adultery, Treason and Betrayal.”

Her other books include Torture and Brutality in Medieval Literature (D. S. Brewer, 2012), Women of the Gilte Legende (D. S. Brewer, 2003) and the edited collections Heads Will Roll: Decapitation in the Medieval and Early Modern Imagination, with Jeff Massey (Brill, 2012), Castration and Culture in the Middle Ages (D. S. Brewer, 2013), Wounds and Wound Repair in Medieval Culture, with Kelly DeVries (Brill, 2015), Flaying in the Pre-modern World (D. S. Brewer, 2017), and Medieval and Early Modern Murder (D. S. Brewer, 2018).

Dr. Elif Guler publishes pioneering article in Advances in the History of Rhetoric, chairs panel/presents paper in Copenhagen

Dr. Elif Guler, Assistant Professor of Professional Writing and Rhetoric with Longwood’s English and Modern Languages Department, recently published an article in Advances in the History of Rhetoric. The article entitled, “Understanding Turkish Rhetoric in the Intertextuality of Two Seminal Texts: The Orkhon Inscriptions and Ataturk’s Nutuk” (with I. Goksel, vol. 22 no. 2, pp. 194-207), constitutes the first study that discusses the characteristics of the Turkish rhetorical tradition. The study examines the ways in which Turkic/Turkish rhetoric was practiced and conceptualized in two seminal texts from the pre-Islamic and republican periods of the Turkish rhetorical tradition: the Orkhon inscriptions (8th century) and Atatürk’s Nutuk (1927). The intertextuality of these texts helps explore their relationships across time and space as well as mediate rhetorical styles and performances in their discourse. By focusing on how rhetoric was produced and understood by Turks – a group whose history spans centuries since their ancient origins in central Asia, the study contributes to the conversations on a more globalized and inclusive rhetorical praxis.

Dr. Guler was recently also invited to present a paper and chair a panel–including scholars from Thailand, Serbia, Ukraine, and Colombia–at a conference organized by the International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences and held from June 23-27 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Dr. Guler’s paper entitled, “Rhetoric for Divine Bliss: The Cultural and Pedagogical Implications of Kut and Tore as the Pillars of Turkish Rhetorical Tradition,” explored some of the major Turkish historical texts’ teachings on how to use language, explaining the texts’ aim to educate an ‘ideal rhetorical agent’ who has to study language in order to effectively communicate with and utilize authority and power. The findings suggest that the notions of kut and töre underwrite these historical texts (from the 8th and 11th centuries) as the pillars of performing in/with language. Kut roughly represents a divinely sourced bliss. Töre refers to a certain set of moral principles that are supposed to guide and govern an individual’s behavior–principles that, when followed, leads to an individual’s eternal bliss and, when violated, might result in his or her demise. Rather than defining rhetoric as “the moral person speaking,” historical Turkish texts suggest that attaining kut requires subjecting the ‘tongue’ to a certain rhetorical training which is what ensures one’s morality (proper following of the töre). Dr. Guler discussed how such non-Western texts can present us with different sets of rhetorical conventions that raise interesting questions and can provide scholars with various points for critical discussion about how to exercise a moral understanding of rhetorical agency in our quest to advance the civil discourse.

Replica of one of the stone monuments constituting the Orkhon inscriptions (located in Ankara, Turkey)

Dr. Elif Guler receives the best article award from the Popular Culture Association in the South

Dr. Elif Guler’s Studies in Popular Culture article, “The Symbolic Restoration of Women’s Place in Turkey’s Resurrection” (2018) is the winner of the Whatley Award, given in memory of a founder and early president of the Popular Culture Association in the South. According to the editor’s letter of recognition, “The editor and editorial board select one article that best represents the scholarly values Professor Whatley sought for the organization and the study of popular culture. In addition to the award, the winner’s name and the article’s title are listed in the Fall and Spring 2019 issues in recognition of the achievement.”

Dr. Elif Guler facilitates a workshop, presents scholarship, and co-chairs a SIG at CCCC 2019

Dr. Elif Guler, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Longwood’s Professional Writing Program, recently facilitated a pedagogical workshop, presented a paper, and co-chaired a special interest group at the 2019 Conference on College Composition Communication (CCCC) which took place from March 13-16 in Pittsburgh, PA. Since 1949, CCCC has been the world’s largest professional organization for researching and teaching composition, from writing to new media.

Dr. Guler facilitated a workshop entitled, “(Un)veiling Mediated Texts for an Intercultural/International Performance of Rhetoric,” which modeled the use of cross-national mediated texts (e.g., translated television debates and social movement sites), in order to expand students’ perception of non-Western cultures. The unit introduced an instructional unit which aimed to help students explore non-Western women’s dress styles (often stigmatized in Western contexts) and the surrounding discourses as rhetorical artifacts. The unit aims to hone students’ critical thinking skills through a cross-cultural understanding of rhetorical action.

Dr. Guler’s paper entitled, “Recovering Turkish Principles of ‘How to Perform Rhetoric’ from Yusuf’s Wisdom of Royal Glory,” examined non-Western principles of rhetoric evident in the aforementioned text (1069) and how the text aims to educate an ideal agent who has to study language so s/he can effectively communicate with and utilize authority and power. By sharing the writing assignments developed for her rhetoric/writing courses at Longwood, Dr. Guler also discussed how Yusuf’s text can help contemporary writing students explore different national cultures and a moral understanding of rhetorical agency. Dr. Guler presented her paper as part of a panel entitled, “Defying the Rhetorical Tradition: A Multinational Performance of Rhetoric-Composition,” which she organized with a diverse group of scholars focusing on Ethiopian, Indian, and Chinese rhetorical traditions. The panel was chaired by Cheryl Glenn, the 2019 CCCC Exemplar Awardee and Distinguished Professor of English (Writing and Rhetoric) at the Penn State University.

Finally, Dr. Guler also co-chaired the Special Interest Group on Non-Western/Global Rhetorics – a standing group which seeks to increase rhetorical knowledge globally, to create new kinds of collaborations, and to welcome “Other” rhetorical traditions (Middle Eastern, Indian, Chinese, Asian, African, and indigenous American, and so on) to the disciplinary conversations at CCCC.

Mike Lund’s Writing Workshop for Vets Featured


There are many ways to honor Veterans on Veteran’s Day, but one of the easiest may be simply listening to their stories. One church in Buckingham County has taken that a step further–with the help of Dr. Mike Lund, professor emeritus of English–and self-published the stories of the veterans in its congregation. WMRA’s Emily Richardson-Lorente went to meet a few of the contributors.

Listen to the interview or read the transcript  here.

Lacy J. Klinger, Assistant Professor of Theatre, to perform with Broadway Actor

(Norfolk, VA) Lacy J. Klinger, Assistant Professor of Theatre, and senior BFA Theatre Performance Major Garrett D. Reese will be performing in the Virginia Theatre Association’s ( staged reading of the musical Bubble Boy. The musical is written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio (Despicable Me, The Lorax, The Secret Life of Pets), who also wrote the 2001 major motion picture of the same title and starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

Klinger and Reese were chosen out of 100 video submissions from across the state of Virginia, which included a brief selection of a musical theatre song that showed off their vocal range and comedic acting technique. Klinger is playing the role of the title character’s germ-a-phobic, neurotic mother Mrs. Livingston. Reese will be playing the character of Slim, the leader of a biker gang, as well as serving in the ensemble.

“Slim is very much a ‘tough guy’ with a very soft heart,” Reese says. “He’s been burned in the past but he refuses to live with regret, as we learn from his song, appropriately titled ‘Regret,’” Reese laughs.

Jimmy Livingston, a boy destined to live his entire life in a plastic bubble lest he be killed by just one germ, will be played by professional Broadway actor Jacob Stuart Dickey ( who is currently in the ensemble of Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway. Dickey also serves as the understudy for the roles of Aladdin and Kassim.

This staged reading, performing on Friday October 26, 2018, is being produced in conjunction with the professional theatre company Wolfbane Productions (, based in Appomattox, VA, and directed by Ken Arpino, the company’s Executive Director. The rest of the cast is comprised of high school students and theatre professionals throughout the state of Virginia, as well as VTA’s own president, Jeff Price.

“For the last few years, [VTA] has had some pretty awesome people at the conference, but access to our headliners has been somewhat limited,” Jeff Price states. The staged reading was brought to life in order to allow those attending the conference to meet the conference’s headliners during The President’s Reception. “We want as many folks as possible to get an opportunity to hob nob with the amazing artists we bring in.”

Not only will the reading provide an opportunity to mingle with headliners, it will allow the performers to showcase their talent to those professionals. “I am most excited for Garrett’s opportunity to share his talent with not only industry professionals across the state, but the successful writing team of Paul and Daurio and executive director of Wolfbane, Ken Arpino,” Klinger says. “It’s a wonderful chance for him to make professional connections just before he graduates. He is an exceptionally talented actor and deserves all the best after leaving Longwood University.”

Reese is honored to represent Longwood Theatre at the conference in front of potential future Longwood students. “I am truly grateful for the opportunity,” Reese says. “I am very happy I was chosen and I cannot wait to meet everyone at the conference, to make these connections, and to showcase all the training I’ve received here at Longwood.”

Women’s Choir Commissioning Consortium

Dr. Pamela McDermott and members of Longwood’s Chamber Singers have been working as part of a women’s choir commissioning consortium: a group of women’s choirs gathered to commission a work by, for, and about women. The resulting work is being performed this semester: first, in a world premiere performance in Raleigh on Saturday, Oct. 5, then in a Virginia premiere on Oct. 30 at Hollins University, and finally in concert at Longwood on Nov. 19.

Dr. Nana Wolfe-Hill of Wingate University initiated the project with composer Linda Tutas Haugen, who is known for her work with historical, literary, and ethnic sources. After extensive research into the source materials of Appalachian folk music, searching for songs that captured a woman’s heart and experience, she created Appalachian Love Songs: Women’s Reflections on Love, Loss and Strength, five movements for women’s voices, piano, and violin.

Haugen writes: “The songs are about love and loss through accident, war, and unfaithfulness; the strength of women supporting and mentoring each other; finding solace and comfort through music and song; determining success or happiness through one’s actions rather than being defined or controlled by others; and the joy, tenderness and companionship of a life-long journey with a spouse.”

During the rehearsal process, Dr. McDermott and the members of Chamber Singers offered feedback to Haugen as she finalized the scores and discussed Haugen’s research findings as she finalized her writings about each song. At the world premiere in Raleigh, members of Chamber Singers worked with 120 singers from 16 other ensembles. They learned directly from the composer and then performed for an audience of choir directors and family members.

You can view a short clip of “Lily Monroe” from the dress rehearsal in Raleigh here: “Lily Monroe” is about a woman who becomes a soldier and saves her lover. Haugen’s research into this folk song led her to documents from the 17thand 18thcenturies about a number of women soldiers in Great Britain and Europe, including officers, and their awards and burials with honors. She told of the repression of these stories during the Victorian era, when the notion that “a woman’s place is in the home” became greater than the history of women at war. We found it especially meaningful that Haugen mentioned Joan of Arc as an example of a woman warrior.

Thank you to Dean Byrne, whose support ensured that Longwood’s singers would experience this unique access to the process of musical research and composition, collaborative rehearsal and performance, and the reflection and discussion these experiences generated and continue to generate. Appalachian Love Songswill be performed in Farmville on November 19, 7:30 pm, in Jarman Auditorium as part of the choir department’s fall concert, “We Are Found in Song”.

Cook and Cole Awards for Mentorship

Congratulations to Mary Carroll-Hackett and Andrew Yeagley, the 2018 recipients of the Cook and Cole Medals for Undergraduate Mentorship.

The John Randall Cook Faculty Mentor Award and the Waverly Manson Cole Faculty Mentor Award recognize, respectively, a tenure-track faculty member and a tenured faculty member who have demonstrated excellence in mentoring undergraduate scholarly activity and creative endeavors and working with students to disseminate the results through professional meetings, publications, exhibits or performance.  These faculty members demonstrate a sustained record of such mentorships and impact on students’ careers as they move to graduate school or employment.

Mary and Andrew were recognized at the opening meeting of the Cook-Cole College on Wednesday, August 15. Pictured are Roger Byrne, Dean of the College; Mary Carroll-Hackett; Andrew Yeagley; and Adam Franssen, chair of the selection committee.