Mae T. Kilker


Year Matriculated into Ph.D. Program


Areas of Interest

Anglo-Saxon Literature, Philology, and Environmental Humanities


University of Notre Dame, Ph.D., Medieval Studies Spring 2017, expected GLOBES Certificate in Environment & Society Spring 2017, expected
M.M.S. Spring 2013
University of South Carolina, M.A., English Literature Spring 2011
University of Toledo, M.A., Sociology Fall 2006
B.A., English Literature Spring 2002
B.A., Law and Social Thought Spring 2002


My historically based training in literature, language, and manuscripts – coupled with a longstanding engagement in environmental concerns - allows me to present a cross-disciplinary, long-durée understanding of human-environmental interaction. My research explores how early medieval people created an understanding of the natural world in their narratives and cultural memory, demonstrating how the concepts of community and environment were formed and defined in the Early Middle Ages. I challenge the traditional viewpoint of the environmental memory of the wetlands as wasteland, more fully exploring what these representations of landscape meant for people living in the early medieval period, within the context of the North Atlantic bio-cultural region. Drawing on traditional English research models of philology and close-reading, I integrate the archaeological record alongside modern biological research on animal behavior and botanical morphology to interrogate the literary record of human-environmental intra-action in the sixth to twelfth centuries. This leads to a richer understanding of earlier models that can help us approach the more complicated challenges of today’s global environment.

Recent Scholarly Activity

  • NEH Summer Institute June/July 2016
  • Fulbright Student Research Fellowship Fall 2015 – Spring 2016
  • Nanovic Institute, Professional Development Award December 2014  
  • “The Rune Poem and the Anglo-Saxon Ecosemiosphere: Identifying the Eolh-Secg in Man and Plant,” (Journal of English and Germanic Philology, forthcoming).
  • “Guthlac of Crowland, Transcorporeal Agency, and the Materiality of Wetlands” in Rethinking Environmental Consciousness, ed. Steven Hartman, Reinhard Hennig, Mae Kilker, and Anders Olsson (Brill, forthcoming).

Online Profile