Vanessa Wright

Profile

I joined the Institute for Medieval Studies as a PhD Student in 2015, working under the supervision of Professor Rosalind Brown-Grant, Catherine Batt, and Melanie Brunner. My PhD project examines the function of the literary motif of "cross-dressing" in French literature between 1200 and 1500. I aim to determine how texts containing this motif engage with contemporary legal and social debates; for example, the regulation of dress, marriage, and sexual activity. This project will also explore the manuscript context of this corpus of literary texts, with particular emphasis on the visual representation of "cross-dressing" characters in manuscript illuminations. This research project is funded by the School of History and IMS Postgraduate Research Scholarship

Prior to joining Leeds, I completed an undergraduate degree in 2012 at Royal Holloway, University of London with a BA Hons in French where my dissertation on literary representations of trial by combat was supervised by Professor Ruth Harvey. I was awarded the F. C Johnson award for the final year student showing the most promise in medieval French (RHUL 2012). I completed an MSt in Modern Languages at the University of Oxford in 2013, specialising in medieval French, and my dissertation on cross-dressing in thirteenth-century French literature was supervised by Dr Sophie Marnette.

Since 2016, I have worked as the Editorial Assistant for the academic journal Northern History. I have also been heavily involved with the journal Cerae: An Australasian Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, having served as Editor (volume 4) and Deputy Editor (volume 3). I am also currently a Library Assistant at St Helen's and St Katharine's School in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

I was awarded the 2018 Foremothers Fellowship from the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship.

Publications

  • New Approaches to Medieval Gender and Materialism, special issue of Medieval Feminist Forum (ed. by Vanessa Wright and others; in preparation)
  • Wright, Vanessa, ‘Illuminating Queer Gender Identity and Expression in the Manuscripts of the Vie de sainte Eufrosine‘ in Trans and Genderqueer Subjects in Medieval Hagiography ed. by Alicia Spencer-Hall and Blake Gutt (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2019). In preparation.
  • Wright, Vanessa, ‘Review: Male-to-Female Crossdressing in Early Modern English Literature’, Early Modern Literary Studies 20.1 (2018)
  • Wright, Vanessa, ‘Review: Sexual Culture in the Literature of Medieval Britain’, Ceræ: an Australasian Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 2 (2016)

Papers

  • ‘Dressing to Deceive: Cross-Dressing and Identity in Old French Fabliaux’, International Medieval Congress (2 July 2018, Univ, of Leeds)
  • ‘Illuminating the Cross-Dresser in the manuscripts of the Roman de Cassidorus’, Gender, Identity, and Iconography (8 January 2018, Corpus Christi College, Univ. Of Oxford)
  • Invited participant for the COST Action IS 1301 Final Meeting “New Communities of Interpretation” held in Rome (21-23 September 2018).
  • ‘Gender Identity and Cross-Dressed Body in the Lives of St Pelagia and St Margaret-Pelagia’, International Medieval Congress, (6 July 2017, Univ. of Leeds)
  • ‘The Shifting Identities of the Cross-Dresser in Le Roman du Comte d'Artois’, Work in Progress Seminar, Institute for Medieval Studies, (24 May 2017, Univ. of Leeds)
  • ‘The Trickster Wife: Transgressing Boundaries and Challenging Binaries in Old French Fabliaux’, International Congress on Medieval Studies (11 May 2017, Western Michigan Univ.)
  • ‘Sexual Dysfunction and the Cross-Dresser in Tristan de Nanteuil and Ysaïe le Triste’, Gender and Transgression in the Middle Ages (3 May 2017, Univ. of St Andrews)
  • ‘The Competing Representations of the Cross-Dresser in Le Roman du Comte d’Artois’, Hybrids, Hybridity and Liminality (20 April 2017, Univ. of Reading).

Teaching

  • 2016/17; 2017/18: Introduction to Medieval European Literature.
  • 2017/18: Led two workshops for students (level 1-3) on medieval book culture, using items from the University of Leeds' Special Collections.


Other Responsibilities
2017/18

  • Organiser of ‘New Approaches to the North: A Colloquium in Memory of Gordon Forster’ (Univ. of Leeds, 29 September 2018,).
  • Co-organiser for the conference ‘Medieval Bodies Ignored’ (Univ. of Leeds, 4-6 May 2018) and associated events and trips.
  • Organiser and moderator for the ‘Memories of Empire’ session (sponsored by Cerae) at International Medieval Congress (Univ. of Leeds, July 2018)
  • Member of the Medieval Group seminar series steering committee (2015-18, Univ. of Leeds).
  • Postgraduate Representative on the International Medieval Congress Standing Committee. This committee is comprised of academic from the University of Leeds and has oversight of all matters relating to the IMC with a focus on strategy.
  • Invited participant for the COST Action IS 1301 Final Meeting “New Communities of Interpretation” held in Rome (21st-23rd September 2018).

2016/17

  • Student representative for the Institute for Medieval Studies
  • Member of the Organising Committee for the two-day conference ‘Who Cares? The Past and Present of Caring’ (27-28th March 2017, Univ. of Leeds).
  • Organiser and moderator for the ‘Women and Francophone Literary Culture’ session at International Medieval Congress, 5th July 2017.
  • Member of the Organising Committee for the Postgraduate Colloquium (11th May 2017, School of History, Univ. of Leeds).
  • Participant at the COST Action IS 1301 Training School on ‘Late Medieval and Early Modern Book Culture’.
  • Postgraduate Representative for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality research cluster (School of History, University of Leeds).
  • Postgraduate Mentor for Students as Scholars programme (Univ. of Leeds)

Professional Memberships

  • Royal Historical Society
  • Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature
  • Medieval Academy of America


 

Research interests

My PhD project examines the function of the literary motif of "cross-dressing" in French literature between 1200 and 1500. I aim to determine how texts containing this motif engage with contemporary legal and social debates; for example, the regulation of dress, marriage, and sexual activity. This project will also explore the manuscript context of this corpus of literary texts, with particular emphasis on the visual representation of "cross-dressing" characters in manuscript illuminations. This research project is funded by the School of History and IMS Postgraduate Research Scholarship. I am supervised by Professor Rosalind Brown-Grant, Dr Catherine Batt, and Dr Melanie Brunner. I am interested more generally in questions of gender and sexuality, medieval book culture, and canon law.

Qualifications

  • PhD in Medieval Studies, University of Leeds (2015-19)
  • MSt in Modern Languages, University of Oxford (2012-13, distinction)
  • BA Hons in French, Royal Holloway, Univ. of London (2008-12; :1)