2014 Election: Constitutional Amendment and Candidates for Office

Southeastern Medieval Association

October 2014

Constitutional Amendment and Candidates for Office


 Executive Board Summary

The SEMA Executive Board recommends passage of the following constitutional amendment to separate the office of Secretary-Treasurer into distinct positions. With this amendment, the Executive Boards hopes to encourage greater participation in the governance of the Association, and to better facilitate communication with and among members through a Secretary knowledgeable in social media.

The SEMA Constitution currently reads:

 The Secretary-Treasurer shall take care of the Association’s correspondence and shall be custodian of its funds, which includes collecting membership dues and paying bills. In addition, the Secretary-Treasurer will submit a written report to the Executive Council annually and will prepare and distribute to the membership minutes of the executive Council and the annual business meeting. This officer shall also have custody of the property of the Association and of the Executive Council.

 The revision to the Constitution, if passed, will read as follows:

 The Treasurer shall be custodian of the Association’s funds, which includes collecting membership dues and paying bills. The Treasurer will submit a written report concerning the Association’s finances to the Executive Council and the Association’s business meeting annually. This officer shall also have custody of the property of the Association and of the Executive Council.

 The Secretary will attend to the Association’s correspondence and maintain an up-to-date roster of members and contact information, as well as taking minutes of executive council and annual business meetings. The Secretary will also foster the Association’s online presence, publicizing the Association’s events and publications to members and nonmembers alike.

 If passed, this resolution will require an additional amendment to correct a slight contradiction in the Constitution. Currently, the Constitution states both that the position of Secretary-Treasurer “shall serve for a period of three years and shall be eligible for re-election” and “the term limit for the Secretary-Treasurer is stricken in the interest of continuity for this important position.” The amended Constitution will read that each of these office holders “shall serve for a period of four years and, in the interest of continuity for these important positions, shall be eligible for re-election.”

 The Treasurer’s first four-year term will run from 2014-2018; the Secretary’s first term will run from 2014-16, with subsequent terms running the full four years. (It will be beneficial to the Association to have these officers’ terms slightly staggered, in the interest of greater continuity.)

 The ballot will read:

YES, I support the constitutional amendment to separate the offices of Secretary-Treasurer into two positions


NO, I support the current structure of a single Secretary-Treasurer.



 SEMA members should vote for one candidate in each of the following elections. If the above constitutional amendment passes, the winning candidate for Treasurer and the winning candidate for Secretary will each assume his/her new position. If the constitutional amendment does not pass, the winning candidate for Treasurer will fill the position of Secretary-Treasurer. The question of the constitutional amendment will not affect the elections for Executive Board.


Candidates for Treasurer

 John Micheal Crafton is the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs as well as Professor of English at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia. His primary duty as Chief Academic Officer is to supervise the teaching, research, and service of the several colleges and schools. Dr. Crafton is also a professor of English and teaches courses with sad infrequency in Chaucer, medieval literature, the history of the English language, and critical theory. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee in 1986, after which time he completed a year-long postdoctoral study with Professor John H. Fisher, author of the The Complete Poetry and Prose of Geoffrey Chaucer. He has been an active member of the Southeastern Medieval Association since 1987, attending annual conferences, and with Steve Guthrie and Dan Mosser he helped initiate the History of the English Language SEMA discussion group. He has participated in several National Endowment for the Humanities seminars and institutes on medieval subjects and has published articles and reviews in Medieval Perspectives, Christianity and Literature, South Atlantic Journal, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching, Studies in Short Fiction, ANQ, Studies in Philology, and anthologies edited by Jean Jost and Richard Utz. His current research interest is in the Bayeux Tapestry, having completed a six-week NEH seminar at Yale on the subject with Professor Howard Bloch, and he has in recent years published with Mellen press The Political Artistry of the Bayeux Tapestry and edited a special issue on the Tapestry for the online medieval art journal Peregrination. His current scholarly obsession is trying to discover the organizing principle behind Fragement VII of the Canterbury Tales.

 Britt Mize received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in 2003 and is now Associate Professor and Rothrock Research Fellow at Texas A&M University. The common thread in his teaching and research interests is the notion of tradition, and particularly the transformation or retooling of tradition according to changing priorities. He works on Old English poetics, Middle English drama, and for his current book project, medieval conceptions of Judas Iscariot. He has served as a graduate program administrator at Texas A&M, and he led fundraising and managed the budget for a major symposium, The Presents of the Past, held in spring 2014 (the event came in about $1000 below its budget limit of $28,000 in committed funds).



Candidates for Secretary

 Alison Gulley received her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She formerly taught at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, NC, and is currently Associate Professor in the English department at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, where she teaches medieval literature at the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as the undergraduate History of the English Language. She has published several articles on Old and Middle English literature and the book The Displacement of the Body in Ælfric’s Virgin Martyr Lives (Ashgate, 2014). Alison has served on the SEMA executive committee and was co-planner and co-host of the fall, 2013 meeting of SEMA in Boone.

 Molly Martin is Associate Professor of English and Foreign Languages at McNeese State University, in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she teaches medieval English and Latin literature and language, as well as a host of other classes. She has published one book, Vision and Gender in Malory’s Morte Darthur, in addition to essays on Chaucer and Malory. Her current research focuses on castles and space in Arthurian literature. She serves as the Associate Editor for the journal Arthuriana, a post she started in January.


 Candidates for Executive Board

 Position 1: Replacing Alison Gulley

 Mark Bradshaw Busbee is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English at Samford University, where he teaches courses in medieval literature and writing. He is a co-editor for Grundtvig-Studier, an international journal published in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the co-editor (with Jane Beal) of Translating the Past: Essays on Medieval Literature in Honor of Marijane Osborn. He is currently working on a collection of essays about teaching the Middle English Pearl for the MLA’s Approaches to Teaching series. Busbee has published essays on Old English literature, as well as nineteenth-century Scandinavian scholarship on medieval literature.

 Larissa “Kat” Tracy is Associate Professor of Medieval Literature at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. A SEMA member since 2002, she has organized sessions and presented papers at SEMA conferences for several years. She also co-organizes an annual regional undergraduate research conference in medieval studies that has benefited greatly from the participation of SEMA members. Meeting in the Middle 9 is currently in the planning stages. She is the author of Torture and Brutality in Medieval Literature: Negotiations of National Identity (D.S. Brewer, 2012) and Women of the Gilte Legende: A Selection of Middle English Saints’ Lives (D.S. Brewer, 2003). With Jeff Massey, she co-edited Heads Will Roll: Decapitation in the Medieval and Early Modern Imagination (Brill, 2012), and edited Castration and Culture in the Middle Ages (D.S. Brewer, 2013). Her next project is a co-edited volume with Kelly DeVries on wounds and wound repair, which is under contract with Brill. She has published articles on violence, fabliaux, comedy, gender, hagiography, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and teaches a variety of courses, including studies abroad, on various aspects of medieval literature. She lives in Richmond.


Position 2: Replacing Lee Follett

 Phyllis Jestice is a professor of History and chair of the Department of History at the College of Charleston.  She is currently working on a monograph exploring female regency during the minority of Otto III of Germany (late tenth century). Phyllis has been a member of SEMA since her arrival in the South in 2000, and besides past service on the executive board co-hosted the 2012 SEMA conference in Gulfport, Mississippi. (She moved to Charleston for the sake of the music culture, and she and her cats Heraclius and Mechtild are very happy there.)

Peter Larson received his B.A. in Classics and History from the College of William and Mary, and holds MA degrees in Medieval History from the Catholic University of America and Durham University and his Ph.D. in History from Rutgers. He currently is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in the Department of History at the University of Central Florida. Larson’s research specialty is the social history of later medieval England. He is the author of Conflict and Compromise in the Late Medieval Countryside: Lords and Peasants in Durham, 1349-1400 (Routledge, 2006), a study of social and political relations on different estates as peasants re-forged their lives and communities in the aftermath of the Black Death. He is working on a new book entitled “Community and Change: The Social and Economic Transformations of a Northeastern Parish, 1349-1660” on how ordinary English men and women accepted, resisted, and adjusted to the transition from medieval to early modern. His next project examines women’s experiences throughout northern England and how gender roles varied across the region based on local culture and economy. In addition to his research on England, Larson is part of an interdisciplinary team at UCF that is developing a digital poster tool to enable dynamic presentations of Arts & Humanities research. His teaching focus is medieval and British history and graduate historiography & theory, but he has also taught courses on the Crusades, heresy and magic, sport history, and the history of the English language.


Position 3: Replacing Dean Swinford

 Lee Templeton is Associate Professor of English at North Carolina Wesleyan College. His research and teaching interests include medieval British literature, particularly issues of gender, grief, and chivalric identity; Chaucer; Malory; ancient and medieval literatures in translation; Shakespeare; History of the English Language; literary theory and rhetoric; and rhetoric and music. His work has appeared in Medieval Perspectives, Sound Fabrics: Studies on the Intermedial and Institutional Dimensions of Popular Music, Symploke, Preternature, and the Sixteenth Century Journal. His current project is an edited collection on grief and gender in the Middle Ages.

 Amy N. Vines is an Associate Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In addition to articles on women’s readership of medieval chronicles, parental lament in Middle English Nativity lyrics, and patterns of patronage in Hoccleve’s Series, Vines’ first book, Women’s Power in Late Medieval English Romance, considers how women functioned in medieval romances as models of cultural and social authority through an examination of the influence exerted by female characters in both intellectual and chivalric contexts. Although most of her early work has consistently engaged with gender, literature, and cultural productions in the medieval period, locating the often obscured influence women had in important cultural institutions of the Middle Ages, Vines’ second book project is broader in scope. The book, titled Teaching Chivalry: The Context of a Medieval Ideal, examines the role of domestic didacticism on the construction of chivalric identity in a variety of medieval genres. Understanding early domestic lessons as constitutive of knighthood, she argues, places the beginnings of the chivalric curriculum in the space of early childhood—a period of one’s life influenced by a variety of figures from different social and cultural backgrounds—rather than in the noble, male-dominated spheres of formal apprenticeship and the court. Vines’ research and teaching interests in women and medieval culture would contribute broadly to SEMA’s Executive Board, particularly in its emphasis on interdisciplinarity.


Position 4: Replacing Joan McRae

Anne-Marie Bouché (PhD, Columbia University 1997) is currently Associate Professor of Medieval Art History at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida. She began her career as a rare books and manuscripts librarian at Mills College (Oakland, Ca.), and subsequently earned a PhD in art history and taught at C.W. Post University, Princeton University, and Columbia University. Her publications focus on how medieval art constructs and communicates complex meaning. In addition to several articles, she is the co-editor (with Jeffrey Hamburger) of a collected volume of conference papers, The Mind’s Eye: Art and Theological Argument in the Middle Ages (Princeton University Press, 2006). She has been a member of SEMA since 2010, serving on the Executive Board, serving as a peer reviewer for papers submitted to Medieval Perspectives, as well as organizing sessions and giving papers at the annual conferences.

Máire Johnson received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto Centre for Medieval Studies in 2010. She has taught at the University of Toronto, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma State University—Stillwater, and is currently serving as Visiting Assistant Professor of Medieval Europe at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. Her courses have ranged from surveys in Western and World Civilization to seminars at both the freshman and the upper-class level in topics such as Medieval Magic in Modern Culture, the Jacobite Rebellions, The Rise of Europe, 300-1400, and Celtic Culture Through the Ages. Her research interests lie in the medieval Celtic regions; her work currently focuses primarily on Ireland’s hagiography, Old Irish vernacular law, and depictions of sanctity and gender roles. Her book, Human yet Holy: Heroic Sanctity in Early Ireland, is undergoing secondary revisions for resubmission to Boydell and Brewer, and she is working on three additional projects: an exploration of instances of sarcasm in the Lives of Ireland’s saints; an analysis of the gendering of grief in early Irish texts, from heroic to hagiographical; and an assessment of a possible apocryphal interpretation of some of Ireland’s enigmatic sheela-na-gig figures. Máire is on the editorial board of the American Society of Irish Medieval Studies as the representative for the field of history. She has been a member of SEMA since 2010, is an active participant in and presenter at the annual conference, and would very much like the opportunity to contribute more fully.


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