Assistant Professor of English
BA, University of Alabama
M.Phil, Trinity College of Dublin
MA, Pennsylvania State University
PhD, Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Ford teaches courses in medieval English and European literatures, history of the English language, grammar, history of the book, rhetorical composition, and speculative fiction (fantasy and sci-fi). Sometimes he uses traditional letterpress relief printing technologies to make books and broadsides with students; inky fingers help us all understand book history better. Dr. Ford is especially fond of thinking about the present through the lens of the deep past and of examining the effect of the present on our understanding of the deep past. In his classes and his writing, he is likely to use words and phrases like “literary history,” “intertext,” “philology,” “descriptive grammar,” and “manuscript witness” often. If an English literary work is old, strange, messy, ambitious, profound, and beautiful, he probably loves it. Naturally, Dr. Ford is a great admirer of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
In his own research, he examines the influence of Arabic and Hebrew literary traditions on the British story collections of the High and Late Middle Ages. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Petrus Alfonsi’s Disciplina clericalis are recurrent fascinations. Recent and forthcoming work appears in the journals postmedieval, Medieval Encounters, and Studies in Philology, and the essay collection Jews in Medieval England: Teaching Representations of the Other. He completed an M.A. and Ph.D. at Penn State and an M.Phil at Trinity College Dublin and taught at Penn State and Davidson College before coming to Converse in 2017.
Dr. Ford believes that the pronoun “y’all” is the most elegant solution to the centuries-old gap in the English pronominal system, and he is not very fond of the phrases “bad grammar” or “broken English.”