PhD University of Glasgow, Scotland, 1997
MA University of Connecticut, 1995
MA Loyola University, 1991
BA Baldwin-Wallace College, 1989
Medieval literature, Mythology, the Vikings
Fee attended a small liberal arts college in Ohio; his undergraduate experience was not unlike that of his current students, and Gettysburg at times seems eerily familiar. Fee received an MA in English at Loyola University in Chicago; from there Fee moved on to the University of Connecticut, where he received an MA in Medieval Studies. Fee then went to the University of Glasgow, in Scotland, where he received his Doctorate in English Language. He also ate a lot of haggis, drank a little single malt scotch, and hiked and climbed extensively in the Highlands. Fee teaches a class on the Literature of Homelessness that includes a service-learning component in Washington, DC. Fee's Medieval Drama courses modernize and stage productions, and Fee has taught a number of courses in Denmark, where his Hamlet class twice has staged the play in Kronborg Slot, aka "Hamlet's Castle." Fee has helped lead educational adventure treks through the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Fee has published various articles, has given many presentations, and has 6 books out, 1 soon to be released, and 1 under contract: Gods, Heroes, and Kings: The Battle for Mythic Britain(Oxford 2001); Mythology in the Middle Ages (Praeger 2011); The Goddess: Myths of the Great Mother(Reaktion 2016); American Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales (ABC-CLIO 2016); Arthur: God & Hero in Avalon (Reaktion 2019); and the award-winning Conspiracies & Conspiracy Theories in American History (ABC-CLIO 2019). Energy in American History: A Political, Social, and Environmental Encyclopedia is forthcoming, while In the Wake of the Vikings: ReDiscovering Norse America is under contract. Fee also has many series of audio lectures available through Audible and most other podcast platforms; see Fee's Amazon Author Page for a cornucopia of all things Fee: amazon.com/author/christopherfee
Course develops students' ability to express themselves in clear, accurate, and thoughtful English prose. Offered regularly. Fulfills first-year writing requirement. Open to first-year students only.
Selective survey of medieval and early modern English literature from the likes of Beowulf through the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603 - almost a millennium. The goals of the class are to introduce students to several major writers and works of these centuries, to give an outline of the development of the literature, and to help develop skills in reading critically and discussing and writing about literature. Fulfills humanities requirement and English department Pre-1800 requirement.
Course replete with folkloric, legendary, and mythic elements which can be linked to an evocative material record. These traditions are chock-full of gods and goddesses, heroes and villains, monsters, magic, trickery, and treachery. Begins with a discussion of the natures of oral narratives and of mythic archetypes, and an introduction to theoretical concepts which aid in understanding the cultural functions of storytelling and mythmaking; students then move on to discuss the development of Medieval Epic literary traditions founded upon far earlier oral materials. Fulfills humanities requirement and English department Pre-1800 requirement.
Course charts the development of Robin Hood, beginning with the earliest sources and analogues; after exploring how this misty medieval figure became a commonplace of modern popular entertainment, course examines Outlaw Heroes from around the globe. Course explores why Outlaw Heroes in general are popular, as well as why Robin Hood in particular is reborn for each succeeding generation.
Course provides an historical understanding of the vocabulary, forms, and sounds of the language from the Anglo-Saxon or Old English period to the twentieth century. Important: This course counts only as an elective toward an English major and toward Education certification. It DOES NOT count as a 200-level intermediate literature course. Recommended for Education minors Fulfills Humanities requirement
Introduction to advanced literary study. Attention is placed on close reading, using the library and electronic resources and incorporating scholarly perspectives. Course also considers a variety of theoretical approaches to literature and their place within contemporary literary scholarship. Offered regularly.
Exploration of conflicting theories concerning the origin and development of medieval drama. Course examines social roles, discusses issues of text and performance, and compares the relative merits of 'good literature' and 'good drama.' Students read examples drawn from a variety of genres of drama, and view performances of several plays on videotape. Class stages its own production of the Noah story. Counts toward Theater Arts major. Offered occasionally.
Students in this course explore ancient Denmark and Scandinavia with Beowulf—the archetypal Tough Guy—as guide, maneuvering a mystical landscape of trolls, dragons, and witches, plying icy waters with Grettir the Strong, tasting Fafnir’s blood with Sigurd the Dragon-Slayer, swearing blood-brotherhood with Boðvar Bjarki, Bear-Warrior, and oh, so much more! Placing the Anglo-Saxon epic in the context of ancient Germanic legend, folklore, and myth, this course helps students to understand the literary geography of the poem, as well as giving them the tools to navigate this topography by introducing them to the rudiments of manuscript study and the Old English language. Beowulf is well-known to students of English literature everywhere and even the manuscript itself is now readily available through the Electronic Beowulf project. Less familiar, though, are the sites of the epic. The location of the great hall of Heorot has long been postulated to have been somewhere in the vicinity of Roskilde in Denmark. For generations no physical evidence seemed likely to corroborate such suppositions, but recent discoveries at Lejre have reinvigorated this investigation. Archaeological work now is allowing us to place the poem in a physical geography; this opens up more fully our understanding of the world which produced the poem. In addition to a fantastic literary work, therefore, we may now begin to understand Beowulf as an artifact in a historical setting. Fulfills Humanities requirement and English Department Pre-1800 requirement.
This ain’t your mother’s Harlequin Romance, baby! Love you’ll find, all right, but not the sappy sentimental kind you might expect, and in these tales battles, dragons, and the knights of King Arthur are every bit as common as lovers’ tears, instant infatuation, and bodice-ripping passion. The genre of the Medieval Romance had its earliest vernacular genesis in French and Anglo-Norman translations of Latin epic poetry, and eventually it evolved into an extremely popular courtly narrative aimed at a secular aristocratic audience. Because of these origins and aims we might expect Romances to deal with the interests and values of the courtly class, and this is indeed often the case: Spectacles of battles, tournaments, feasts, quests, and the hunt abound, along with elaborate descriptions of clothes, arms, armor, and rituals, most notably those related to “courtesy,” or polite courtly behavior. Perhaps the most well-known conventions of the Medieval Romance to modern readers are those of courtly love and “chivalry,” the code of knightly virtue and conduct. These are indeed common facets of the genre, and often Romances in fact might be said to articulate and to validate the cultural values and practices of the elite classes of the Medieval West. The Romance is much more than a mere series of re-assertions of fundamental interests and principles, however, and often it critiques the very cultures it seems designed to laud. The Medieval Romance may be—for these reasons—more difficult to define accurately than it seems upon first inspection. Offered occasionally.
Heard any good stories lately? Perhaps from the friend of a friend? All cultures have their stories, and as different as they may be on the surface, most myths and legends have some important similarities, as well as the crucial differences that reflect realities of a given culture and that make a particular story vibrant and unique. Storytelling provides answers to life’s persistent questions: All peoples everywhere ponder the same mysteries, and the answers developed by a particular culture can tell us a lot about that people. A society that worships a thunderbolt-wielding king god may be a warrior aristocracy; one that venerates an earth goddess fertility figure may be agrarian in nature; one that deifies tragic pop icons struck down by their own excesses may be obsessed with cults of celebrity and narcissism, as well as the inviolate sanctity of individual expression. A comparative approach to mythology allows us to grasp the fundamentally human nature underlying story-telling: Thus, although the stories we tell may be different from those of the ancient Sumerians, or those of the Celts, or those of the Sioux, the basic concerns addressed by those stories are often very similar indeed.
Intensive studies of announced topics in Medieval and Renaissance literature. Prerequisite: one course from 290-299.
“Homelessness" is a term that conjures up unsavory images in the popular imagination, flat, generic, clichés that owe as much to fear as to fact. The truth is that children account for a shocking proportion of the homeless in America today, as do women fleeing abuse, as do the working poor, many of whom find it impossible to secure affordable housing in many of our cities. If working men and women and school-attending children number among the homeless, why do the stereotypes of the pushy panhandler and the drunken skid-row bum continue to dominate our collective vision of homelessness? Why does this population continue to grow? What can be done to alleviate the circumstances surrounding homelessness in America? Should we act? Should we care?
Designed in collaboration with the Center for Public Service, this course combines the traditional academic component with experiential education through a number of Service-Learning opportunities. Each student will participate in regular service commitments in the local community throughout the semester, and the keystone of the course will be a group Service-Learning trip in October. We will meet and work with many people who are or who have been homeless, as well as quite a few who have dedicated their lives to serving those less fortunate than themselves. If experience is any guide, we will like a great many of the people with whom we will come into contact; we most certainly will learn from all of them.
In the classroom portion of this course, we will study portrayals of homelessness in popular works of fiction and film in order to refine our understanding of how the American understanding of homelessness has evolved since the Great Depression. Some of these works will reflect common assumptions about the homeless while others may challenge such views, but all will contribute to our understanding of how we as a people face the realities of poverty, homelessness, and social inequities.