09/06 – 15/06 Rachel Moss

We’ve again got a reason to thank this week’s curator as they’ve stepped in at fairly short notice due to an unavoidable schedule change.  Rachel has been drafted in with serendipitous timing though, as she’ll be running a Gender Day during her curation, which (judging from past discussions) might interest some of our followers.  She’ll also be well-ensconced in marking and saying goodbye to her finalists, which might give a taster of academia to those not familiar with it and some support for those that are!

Hi everyone! I’m Rachel Moss, and I’m thrilled to be part of We The Humanities. As someone with a strongly interdisciplinary background and whose work deals at least in part with the idea of identities, the inclusive, wide-ranging nature of this project really appealed to me. I hope to share a little of my world with you this coming week, but also hopefully to interact with you, too! Like teaching, twitter works best when communication is less of a lecture and more of a conversation.

Having studied for my PhD in Medieval Studies at the University of York and holding a postdoctoral position in Paris, I’m currently employed by the University of Oxford as a lecturer in late medieval history. This sounds like a glamorous pedigree, but I have had my share of early career uncertainty! One of the most popular posts on my blog, Meny Snoweballes, was about the challenges facing early career researchers in today’s tough higher education market . While We The Humanities celebrates our fields, I think it can also be a useful place to reflect on where we can improve, and handily my week’s curation coincides with Gender Equality Now!, a day I’m co-organising that is intended to produce a manifesto for working toward gender equality in higher education in the UK. I’ll be livetweeting the event with the hashtag #genHE on my regular account @menysnoweballes, and I’ll also be sharing some of our discussion on @WeTheHumanities. Diversity is still an issue within the academy – in Britain, a staggering 92.3% of academic professionals are white, and the median gender pay gap is 16.2% [source] – and so I hope my curation will provide an opportunity to explore some of these issues.

As for what else I might be tweeting about: you’re likely to get some discussion of both medieval studies and the value of interdisciplinary research! My past and current research reflects a varied but interconnected series of interests related to the social, political and literary cultures of later medieval English society. Within these broad areas I am particularly preoccupied by: gender and sexualities, especially masculinities; the household and family; Middle English romance and its audiences; and reading and writing culture. Last year I published my first book, Fatherhood and its Representations in Middle English Texts (D.S. Brewer, 2013). From October I’m a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow and will be working on a new project on homosociality in medieval England.

While most of my teaching has wrapped up for the term, the end of the academic year tends to make me thoughtful, and so I might reflect a little on my experiences of teaching – especially as I have a farewell dinner with some of my finalists on Wednesday! This week I will also have a big batch of exam scripts to mark… And what better way to avoid that than tweeting for you all? I look forward to procrastinating with you all over the next week, and hope you’ll talk back to me as much as I talk to you.


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