Assistant Professor
1114 Polett Walk


Medieval, Chaucer, Gender, Sexuality, Manuscripts, Obscenity, Sexual Violence, Education


Carissa Harris joined Temple’s English Department in Fall 2013. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in English literature, with an emphasis on medieval studies, from Northwestern University. She earned her B.A. in English and Women’s and Gender Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. In 2016, she was awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award from Temple’s College of Liberal Arts. She is the recipient of a 2016 Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty as well as a 2016-17 Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and a 2011-12 Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship.

Her teaching and research interests include Middle English and Middle Scots literature, Chaucer, gender and sexuality studies, rape and consent, history of the book, alcohol and alehouse culture, and the history of obscenity. Her first book, Obscene Pedagogies: Transgressive Talk and Sexual Education in Late Medieval Britain, is forthcoming from Cornell University Press. Obscene Pedagogies argues for the pedagogical utility of obscene speech in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Middle Scots insult battles, pastourelles, and erotic lyrics, showing how obscene speech was a valuable tool for teaching ​audiences ​about rape, consent, pleasure, and desire in late medieval England and Scotland. She is in the beginning stages of a second book project, tentatively titled The Poetics of Rage: Women’s Anger, Misogyny, and Political Power in Britain, 1300-1600.

Selected Publications

  • Rape and Justice in the Wife of Bath’s Tale,” in The Open Access Companion to the Canterbury Tales, ed. Candace Barrington, Brantley L. Bryant, Richard H. Godden, Daniel T. Kline, and Myra Seaman,
  • “All the strete my voyce shall heare”: Gender, Voice, and Female Desire in the Lyrics of Bodleian MS Ashmole 176.” Forthcoming in Journal of the Early Book Society 20, winter 2017.
  • “Rape Narratives, Courtly Critique, and the Pedagogy of Sexual Negotiation in the Middle English Pastourelle,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 46.2 (May 2016): 263-87.
  • “Inserting ‘a grete tente, a thrifty, and a long’: Sexual Obscenity and Scribal Innovation in Fifteenth-Century Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales.” Essays in Medieval Studies 28 (2012): 1-16.

Courses Taught

  • English 2114: Social Issues in Literature: Rape, Consent, and Desire
  • English 2201: Survey of English Literature, Beginnings to 1660: Writing Perspective
  • English/Women’s Studies 2197: Women in Literature: Bad Girls and Unruly Women: Female Transgression from the Bible to the Bad Girls Club
  • English 3212: Literature of the Medieval Period: Sexual Subjects in Late Medieval England
  • English 4397: Wine, Women, and Wikked Words: The Literature of the Alehouse in Late Medieval England
  • English 5011: Early British Literature: Sexual Subjects in Late Medieval England
  • English 8101: Medieval Lyric