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Biography

I love writing about medieval women--and many other topics.

I write on topics lurking in the margins of history, ranging from recently uncovered diaries of a teenaged girl in World War II to medieval women pilgrims, excrement in the Middle Ages, and waste. Professor of English at Texas State University, I grew up in New Jersey by the Great Swamp, a National Wildlife Refuge with terrain not unlike that of Grendel's Mother's mere in Beowulf, inspiring my novel Grendel's Mother. Committed to bringing the lives of medieval women to a wider audience and making the ethics of waste fundamental to our study of literature, I can be found blogging here and at homefrontgirldiary.com, grendelsmotherthenovel.com, and amedievalwomanscompanion.com.

 

Since I've written books on medieval excrement and waste in literature, I've also been interviewed by Wired, The New Yorker, and The History Channel on the savory topics of defecating and the hoarding of toilet paper!

 

I have traversed the 137 mile long Pilgrim's Way between Winchester and Canterbury, England; taught English in Japan for a year; and lived and taught in East Germany during the 1980's, gaining my own secret police file. I am currently working on a novel about those adventures and experiences behind the Iron Curtain. You can hear my interview about those experiences on the history podcast, Cold War Conversations. My article, "What it was like voting as an American in Germany right before the Berlin Wall fell," has appeared in The Local.de, Germany's News in English. "In a time when US absentee ballot signatures are being questioned, author Susan Signe Morrison remembers the 1988 election and a vexed incident of signature recognition." 

Having studied in Germany and taught in the former East Germany, my AB is from Swarthmore College and my A.M./Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Brown University. My publications have appeared in such journals as The Yearbook of Langland Studies, Medievalia et Humanistica, Medieval Feminist Forum, The Chaucer Review, Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, The New York Times, Women In German Yearbook, Journal of Popular Culture , Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik, as well as numerous book chapters. I live in Austin, Texas with my husband, daughter and son.