Kathy Lavezzo


I teach courses in Critical Race Theory, Arthurian Romance, premodern images of Jews and Muslims, The Book of Margery Kempe, the Pearl-poet, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and other topics pertaining to the middle ages and theories of identity formation. I have authored or co-edited four books on topics that include early forms of English nationhood, English mapmaking, and early English antisemitisms. My current book-in-progress, Bad Medievalism, confronts the negative affective components of medieval study that emerge when we track the medieval roots of modern racism. 

For over two decades, since my 1999 article on whiteness and the Old English sermons of Ælfric of Eynsham, I’ve committed myself to analyzing questions of race and ethnicity. Most recently, that commitment manifests in a 2021 essay in postmedieval on whiteness, J.R.R. Tolkien and Stuart Hall; a 2022 review of The Rings of Power Amazon series in the Los Angeles Review of Books; and my new book project, Bad Medievalism, which recovers underappreciated medievalisms by Black thinkers and writers including Stuart Hall, Gloria Naylor, and Paule Marshall. In the last five years I have also committed myself to decolonizing my classes by acknowledging indigenous history and prison-labor, by expanding the geographic reach of primary texts, and by featuring works by historically marginalized groups. I also introduced the first CRT class at Iowa.

Research Areas:
Medieval and Early Modern
African American
Gender and Sexuality
Transnational and Postcolonial Literature

Kathy Lavezzo CV

Kathy Lavezzo
Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara 1999; M.A., University of Virginia, 1988
Contact Information

452 English-Philosophy Building (EPB)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States