Elisabeth (Lisa) Trischler
Elisabeth is a PhD candidate in the Institute for Medieval Studies exploring the intersection of art history and literature; in particular, how ideas are expressed and transmitted in the material culture of architectural space. Her current project is interested in the question of how architecture and urban expansion in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Florence influenced the poetry of Dante Alighieri’s Commedia.
PhD, University of Leeds, UK, Medieval Studies, School of History (2018 – Current), thesis title: ‘Urban Space and its Practices in Shaping the Imagination of Dante in his Commedia’, supervisors: Matthew Treherne (Professor of Italian Literature) and Claire Honess (Professor of Italian Studies), expected completion date: September 2022.
MA with Distinction, University of Leeds, UK, Medieval Studies, School of History (2014 – 2015), dissertation title: ‘Dante’s Commedia and the Experience of Late-Medieval Architectural Space’, supervised by Matthew Treherne.
Study Abroad Year, University College London, UK, awarded upper 2:1 (2012 – 2013).
BA with High Honours, University of Toronto, CA, Major in English Literature and Art History (2010 – 2014).
Journal Articles (Peer-reviewed)
Godwin, Matthew, and Elisabeth Trischler, ‘Remaking the Medieval: The Utility of Ethnonational Symbols for Far-Right Transnational Social Movements’, ed. by Tereza Capelos, Stavroula Chrona, and Cristiano Bee, Politics and Governance, Reactionary Politics and Resentful Affect in Populist Times, 2021 (with reviewers)
Godwin, Matthew, and Elisabeth Trischler, ‘Mythologizing the Medieval: Ethnonational Symbolism by Far-Right Extremists’, Partnership for Conflict, Crime & Security Research (PaCCS), 2019 <https://www.paccsresearch.org.uk/blog/mythologizing-the-medieval-ethnonational-symbolism-by-far-right-extremists/>
Trischler, Elisabeth, 'Alternative Readings on Dante's Procession in Earthly Paradise', in 5th NUME Cycle of Medieval Studies, (Florence, Italy, 3-4 June 2019) pp. 541-45.
Academic Work History
Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, University of Leeds, UK (2020 – Current), School of History, Medieval and Renaissance Europe module
Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, University of Leeds, UK (2020 – Current), School of English, Medieval aLiterature module
Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, University of Leeds, UK (2019 – Current), School of English, Foundations of English Studies module
Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, University of Leeds, UK (2019 – Current), School of Languages, Cultures, and Societies, Introduction to Dante’s Comedy
IMS Lectures and IMC Support Assistant, University of Leeds, UK, Institute for Medieval Studies (2014 – 2015)
Research Assistant, University of Toronto, CA, Prof. Adam Cohen, Prof. Jill Caskey, and Prof. Michèle Mulchahey (2012 – 2014)
Library Assistant, University of Toronto, CA, Department of Art History (2013 – 2014)
Preservations Assistant UCL Library, UK, Preservations Department (2012 – 2013)
Gallery Attendant, University of Toronto, CA, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (2011 – 2012)
Since 2013 Elisabeth has delivered fifteen research papers on subjects including literature, medieval plays, history, art, medieval diagrams, and medieval practices of memory at national and international conferences in Britain, Europe, and the USA.
‘Literal and Metaphorical Boundaries in Dante Alighieri’s Life and Commedia’ (presented at the Virtual International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, UK, 2020)
‘The Chiostro Paradox in Dante’s Commedia: Creating Meaning through Contemplative Modes’, Dante Society of America panel (presented at the 55th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI, 2020) *cancelled due to Covid-19
‘Dante’s Florence and the Use of Architectural Space in the Commedia’ (presented at the Meaning, Memory and Movement: Ancient and Medieval Spaces, University of Birmingham, UK, 2019)
‘Urban Design and Its Effects on Dante’s Commedia’ (presented at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, UK, 2019)
‘Alternative Readings on Dante’s Procession in Earthly Paradise’, (presented at the 5th NUME Cycle of Medieval Studies, Florence, Italy, 2019)
‘A Case Study Considering the Connections between Religious Performance and Theology in the Commedia’, Dante Society of America panel (presented at the 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI, 2019)
‘Reflections on The Castle of Perseverance’s Stage Plan as a Medieval Concordance Diagram’ (presented at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, UK, 2015)
‘The Castle of Perseverance’s Stage Plan as a Medieval Concordance Diagram’ (presented at the Out of the Margins Conference, University of Cambridge, UK, 2014)
Chair for ‘Mary’s Borders: The Virgin between Heaven and Earth in Literature and Material Culture’ (the Virtual International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, UK, 2020)
Co-Organiser for The Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds panel: ‘Borders and Boundaries, Real and Imagined in Late Medieval Italy’ (the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, UK, 2020) *cancelled due to Covid-19
Co-Organiser and Chair for The Leeds Centre for Dante Studies and The Institute for Medieval Studies panel: ‘Fourteenth-Century Italy and England: Dialogue beyond Borders’ (the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, UK, 2020) *cancelled due to Covid-19
Co-Organiser and Chair for Italians and Italianists in Kalamazoo panel: ‘Medieval Ars Memoriae in Italy: Theory, Techniques, and Practices’ (55th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI, 2020)
Out of the Margins Conference, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK, September 2015, 'The Castle of Perseverance’s Stage Plan as a Medieval Concordance Diagram'
In Via Dante Network, University of Leeds, University of Cambridge, and University of Oxford (2020 – Current) – founded a PGR and ECRs network for Dante studies which provides a forum for members to advertise relevant events, collaborate on similar academic material, open-up dialogues between institutions, and provide peer support. The Network also organises three casual colloquia per year as well as a PGR/ECR conference.
The Centre for Dante Studies’ Lunch Series (2019 – Current) – a lunch series consisting of an informal discussion of a certain aspect of Dante’s work or a research project on Dante. The series presented the work of academic staff and PGRs with 6 sessions per year. (7 sessions planned for 2020-2021 academic year)
Peer Review College, School of History, Leeds (2019 – Current) – allows PhD students to submit a chapter or other work (such as an article or conference paper) for editing by two peers (one medievalist and one modernist). This organisation also runs workshops on various aspects of academic development, such as conference organisation and writing grant application (7 events planned for 2020-2021 academic year)
Cities and Spaces Research Cluster, School of History, Leeds (2019 – Current) – research seminars debating current scholarship on spatial theory and opportunities to present current work and research questions for discussion.
The Three T’s: Thesis, Transfer, and Teaching for International/EU Students (July 2020) – a workshop to help navigate the intricacies and expectations of a British PhD thesis and teaching
Leeds Excellence in the Arts Programme Workshop, University of Leeds (2018-2019) – a skills workshops for top-level third-year undergraduates within the Arts, Humanities, and Cultures Faculty at the University of Leeds on 'Critical Thinking and Incorporating Evidence' (November 2019) and ‘Academic Organisation’ (September 2018).
‘Canto per Canto: Talking with Dante in Our Time’, Elisabeth Trischler and Carmen Costanza discuss Paradiso XXV, Dante Society of America (2020) – podcasting initiative of 100 podcast conversations in collaboration with NYU Italian Studies and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò. Each podcast analyses a canto of the Commedia, highlighting how particular aspects still resonate with us in our time.
Eva Frojmovic in conversation with Lisa Trischler about her recent book, ‘Postcolonising the Medieval Image’ (June 2020) – part of series of interviews on research done by the Institute of Medieval Studies scholars. Created questions and moderated the session as well as pre-recorded the interview and trimmed the video. 50 members of the public and university attended.
‘A Life Less Ordinary ... In the Past – Daily Life in Italy’, Fifth Annual Be Curious showcase, The University of Leeds (2020) – an event showcasing historical research on social topics and daily life for the community of Leeds. This event is geared towards the wider public in order to allow children and adults the opportunity to understand and enjoy some of the innovative research happening at the University in a fun, interactive environment. *cancelled due to Covid-19
Executive Assistant, The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Toronto, CA (2017) – a non-partisan organisation that serves as the advocacy arm of the Jewish Federations of Canada. Assisted with the development and execution of public engagement events such as Lobby Days, Walk for Israel, Grassroots sessions, and benefits dinners. Researched and prepared reports on various advocacy initiatives, including: anti-racism directorate, inclusivity in universities, and collaborations between Israeli universities and Canadian universities. Developed fundraising initiatives.
Manuscript Exhibition, Art Gallery of Ontario, Summer Intern, Thomson Medieval Collection (2014) – the project considered six medieval manuscripts in the collection to explore ideas of manuscript production and function generally. I collaborated with marketing and the interactive department to produce the copy for the touch screens in the exhibition.
Workshop on Dante’s Commedia, Special Collections Assistant, The Warburg Institute (2012-2013) – a series of lectures run throughout the year exploring various canti of the Commedia. I presented a lecture on Dante’s influence on nineteenth and twentieth century art and selected manuscripts from UCL’s collection appropriate for the theme of each seminar. The seminars were open to the public.
Research Funding and Awards
Since 2012 Elisabeth has received approximately £110,000 of funding based on academic merit.
- Leeds International Doctoral Scholarship, University of Leeds (2018 – Current)
- Tetley and Lupton Scholarship, University of Leeds (2014)
- School of History Scholarship, University of Leeds (2014)
- Walter and Mary Tuohy Award in Arts and Science, University of Toronto (2013)
- The Kenneth Augustus Hemblen Memorial Award in Aegean Studies, University of Toronto (2013) based on best essay for academic year.
- St. George’s Society Award, University of Toronto (2012)
- St. Michael’s College In-Course Scholarship, University of Toronto (2012)
Other Professional Skills and Training
Work in Progress, Institute for Medieval Studies (June 2020) – delivery of a twenty-minute paper on Dante’s use of the term ‘chiostro’ with Q&A and comments on delivery and content.
Work in Progress, Institute for Medieval Studies (November 2019) – delivery of a twenty-minute paper on Dante’s Florence with Q&A and comments on delivery and content.
Before, During, and After the PhD, Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London (June 2019) – a one-day workshop on overcoming the fear of writing, understanding the PhD viva, applying for academic jobs, early career research, and careers in Modern Languages.
Making an Impact with your Research, Institute for Medieval Studies (March 2019) – a workshop on how to disseminate your research to a broader audience outside of the university which explained the Research Excellence Framework, provided examples of current School of History students’ projects, and ideas on the benefits/resources of public engagement.
Research Progress Paper, School of History (February 2019) – delivery of a twenty-minute paper on my research project thus far with Q&A and comments on delivery and content.
Work in Progress, Institute for Medieval Studies (February 2019) – delivery of a twenty-minute paper on Processions in Dante with Q&A and comments on delivery and content.
Literature Searching for your Research, University of Leeds (February 2019) – a workshop on how to break down your research question into key concepts, using techniques such as Boolean to build a search strategy and identify sources, advanced search techniques, understanding database sources, etc.
Word for Thesis Writing, University of Leeds (January 2019) – a workshop on developing key skills for writing your thesis in Microsoft Word such as templates, styles, table of contents, figures, margins for binding, etc.
Plan and Deliver Webinars – Collaborate Ultra, University of Leeds (August 2020) – a webinar to introduce staff to teach online using student engagement features such as break-out rooms, whiteboards, polls, and recording sessions.
Foundations in Teaching, University of Leeds (October 2019) – a one-day course to understand the core skills to facilitate student learning in a range of small group teaching scenarios, including workshops and seminars.
Marking Workshop, University of Leeds (October 2019) – a workshop on how to mark assignments and provide critical feedback.
Medieval Latin (advanced: University of Leeds, 2014-2019)
Italian (Reading secondary sources, University of Leeds, 2018-Current); University of Durham (Spoken, Lower-Intermediate 2020); University of Toronto (Beginners, 2018)
Microsoft Office, Zotero, Photoshop, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, TEAMS, Zoom, Eventbrite, Mailchimp, and social media platforms.
Editor, Medieval, PG Journal of the Society for Italian Studies (2020 – Current)
PGR Representative, The Leeds Centre for Dante Studies (2020 – Current)
Co-Founder, In Via Dante Network (2020 – Current)
PGR Peer Mentor, University of Leeds, (2020 – Current)
Founder and Chair, The Centre for Dante Studies’ Lunch Series (2019 – Current)
Co-Chair, Peer Review College, School of History, Leeds (2019 – Current)
Co-Chair, Cities and Spaces Research Cluster, School of History, Leeds (2018 – Current)
Open Day Volunteer throughout academic year, School of History, Leeds (2018 – Current)
Treasurer, Leeds University Union Medieval Society (2018 – Current)
Member, Medieval Group at the Institute for Medieval Studies, Leeds (2018 – Current)
PhD International PGR Rep, Staff-Student Forum, School of History, Leeds (2018 – Current)
Executive Assistant, The Association of Ontario Midwives Benefits Trust, Toronto, CA (2017 – 2018)
Youth Engagement Lead of Equal Voice, Toronto, CA (2017 – 2018)
Member of CIJA’s Education Task Force, Toronto, CA (2017 – 2018)
Hart House Art Committee (2011 – 2014)
Memberships of Learned Societies
Medieval Academy of America (July 2020)
Royal Historical Society (May 2019)
Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature (May 2019)
The Society for Italian Studies (May 2019)
Dante Society of America (December 2018)
My interest in Dante Aligheri began in a first-year survey course where I was exposed to literature from the ancient world until the present day. I always wanted to merge the fields of art history and literature and medieval manuscripts were a great way to do this. While at UCL, during my third year of undergrad, I took part in the Warburg Institute’s workshop on Dante where a close reading of a single canto each week made Dante’s main arguments palpable. I volunteered for the workshop, assisting with the selection of manuscripts to display, discussion topics, and gave a lecture on Dante’s influence on nineteenth- and twentieth-century art. During the final year of my BA, I took two graduate seminars on pilgrimage and diagrams. I became fascinated with memory practices within the medieval period and how people moved within space and their interpretation of it. Dante’s Commedia became my first attempt at testing theories of how art is described and mediated in literature.
My MA began by considering the labyrinthine structure of the text and some of the illuminated manuscripts associated with the Commedia. However, I soon moved away from this and began applying spatial and architectural theory to the text in order to understand how Dante moved within the spaces as well as the different architectural spaces he encountered. Dante employs contrasting examples of architecture as literary devices, such as the gate of Hell versus the gate of Purgatory, or the Cluniacs’ opulent sculptural programmes compared with the Cistercians’ plain spaces. By placing the same architectural form in both Hell and Paradise, Dante not only understands architecture’s ability to generate particular ideologies but also teaches the reader to interpret the physical form in order to understand the ideology being conveyed – providing learning tools for the poem and life. By exploring case studies of how the city and cloister influenced Dante’s pedagogy, I opened up new ways of thinking about the poem by considering how space itself was experienced and negotiated in the Commedia and how this was influenced by Dante’s own lived experience and understanding of space.
I am also interested in medieval plays, specifically, The Castle of Perseverance, as well as performance, religion, medieval, practices of memory, and philosophy.