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Suzanne Edwards

Associate Professor

0035 - Drown Hall

PhD, University of Chicago, 2006

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Additional Interests

  • Feminist and Queer Theory
  • Medievalism


Suzanne Edwards is an Associate Professor at Lehigh University, with a joint appointment in English and Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She specializes in medieval European literature (written between 1200-1500) and feminist/queer theory. Before coming to Lehigh in 2007, she completed her MA and PhD at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Edwards’s research and teaching explore how the study of the past can help us to think in new ways about ethics and justice in the present. Her scholarship traces the long representational and intellectual histories that connect contemporary feminist/queer theory with medieval European literature. One strain of her scholarship examines how medieval literary and philosophical texts frame sexual assault, consent, and rape survival. A second strain considers medievalism, how and why the Middle Ages are retrospectively reimagined. In this work, she has focused—in particular—on the medievalism of Gloria Naylor. She is currently co-editing a volume on Women’s Restorative Medievalisms with Dr. Matthew X. Vernon. She is also working on a new book project that explores how the medieval dialogue form frames encounters across difference—between bodies and souls, between youth and old age, between vices and virtues, between men and women, between Christians and Jews—in light of contemporary feminist theories of intersectionality and assemblage.

Dr. Edwards disseminates her research in both traditional academic venues, public-facing formats, and collaborative creative projects. Together with Dr. Mary Foltz, she co-directs the Gloria Naylor Archive project, which makes the author’s collected papers more accessible to scholars, teachers, students, and fans.  She has also published personal essays on reproductive justice, work-life balance in the time of COVID, and mothering with cancer for general audiences. She served as textual and interpretive consultant for an original chamber piece, Body and Soul: After the Plague, by Belmont University composer Mark Volker. 

A winner of Lehigh University's Early Career Award and the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, Professor Edwards teaches a wide range of courses in medieval literature and culture, law and literature, and gender and sexuality studies. 


Suzanne M. Edwards, The Afterlives of Rape in Medieval English Literature. Palgrave Macmillan, New Middle Ages Series: New York, 2016.

Book Chapters

Suzanne M. Edwards, “Mothering with Cancer: Between Life and Death in Contemporary US Film, Literature, and Culture.” Mothering Outside the Lines, 241–64. Edited by BettyAnn Martin and Michelann Parr. Demeter Press: Toronto, 2023.

Suzanne M. Edwards, “Rape, Rapture, and Writing The Book of Margery Kempe.” Rape Culture and Female Resistance in Late Medieval Literature, 130–47. Edited by Sarah Baechle, Carissa Harris, and Elizaveta Strakhov. Pennsylvania State University Press: University Park, 2022. 

Suzanne M. Edwards, “Rape, Politics, and Medieval Saints: Transhistorical Perspectives in the Undergraduate Classroom.” In Teaching Rape in the Medieval Literature Classroom: Approaches to Difficult Texts, 12–28. Edited by Alison Gulley. Arc Humanities Press: Leeds, 2018. 

Benjamin G. Wright and Suzanne M. Edwards, “‘She Undid Him with the Beauty of Her Face’ (Jdt 16.6): Reading Women's Bodies in Early Jewish Literature.” In Religion and the Female Body in Ancient Judaism and Its Environments, 73–108Edited by Géza G. Xeravits. Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Studies 28. Walter de Gruyter: Berlin, 2015.

Articles in Refereed Journals

Suzanne M. Edwards, “‘A Beginning for Them All’: The Medieval Pluriverse of Gloria Naylor’s ‘Sapphira Wade.’” postmedieval 14.1 (2023): 119-148.

Suzanne M. Edwards and Trudier Harris, “Gloria Naylor’s Sapphira Wade: An Unfinished Manuscript from the Archive.” African American Review 52.4 (Winter 2019), 323-40.

Suzanne M. Edwards, “‘Burn All He Has, But Keep His Books’: Gloria Naylor and the Proper Objects of Feminist Chaucer Studies.” Special Issue, “New Feminist Approaches to Chaucer.” Edited by Samantha Katz Seal and Nicole Nolan Sidhu. Chaucer Review 54.3 (2019): 230-252.

Suzanne M. Edwards, “The Rhetoric of Rape and the Politics of Gender in the Wife of Bath’s Tale and the 1382 Statute of Rapes.” Exemplaria 23.1 (Spring 2011): 3-26.


Suzanne M. Edwards, “Feeling Words: Feminist Politics and Self-Fashioning,” Lucy Gans: Reading Between the Lines. Bethlehem: Lehigh University Art Galleries, 2023: 100-103. (Invited)

Suzanne M. Edwards, “Graveside Singing: Medieval Debate Poetry and the COVID-19 Pandemic.” New Chaucer Studies: Pedagogy and Profession 2.2, Autumn 2021: 90-94. 

Suzanne M. Edwards, “Consent and Misogyny: Response to Sarah Baechle and Sara V. Torres” Colloquium on Consent, edited by Carissa M. Harris and Fiona Somerset. Studies in the Age of Chaucer, 2022: 335-6. 

Encyclopedia Articles 

Suzanne M. Edwards, “Rape.” In The Chaucer Encyclopedia, edited by Richard Newhauser, Vincent Gillespie, Jessica Rosenfeld, and Katie Walter. John Wiley and Sons: Hoboken, 2023. 

Public-Facing Scholarship: Archival, Digital, Creative, and Analytical 

Suzanne M. Edwards (primary author), Mark Wonsidler, and Mary Foltz. “Gloria Naylor’s Other Places: Revealing a Writer’s Archive.” Exhibition. September 1, 2021-May 27, 2022. Dubois Gallery, Maginnes Hall, Lehigh University and Sacred Heart University, October 1, 23-January 1, 24. 

Mark Volker (composer) and Suzanne M. Edwards (textual and interpretive consultant). “Body and Soul: After the Plague,” a 50-minute chamber music piece. Premiered July 2021, by Chatterbird Ensemble in the Nashville Parthenon.

Afiwa Afandalo, Ellen Boyd, Nadia Butler, Victoria Davis, Suzanne M. Edwards (primary author), Mary Foltz, Lauren Gilmore, Sam Sorensen, Isaiah Rivera, Rob Weidman, and Ayanna Woods, The Gloria Naylor Archive, website, finding aid, digitization, and metadata creation, First published August 2020, with significant updates in 2021 and 2023.

Suzanne M. Edwards and Larry Snyder, “Yes, balancing work and parenting is impossible. Here’s the data.” Washington Post, July 10, 2020. July 12, 2020 (print).

Suzanne M. Edwards, “What the ‘Health of the Mother’ Means,” Salon, October 24, 2012,  


Undergraduate Courses

  • WGSS 001: Gender and Society
  • WGSS 296/ISE 296 (co-taught): Algorithms and Social Justice 
  • English 187: Law and Literature 
  • English 11: Literature Seminar 
  • English 100: Working With Texts 
  • English 195: Getting Medieval—Religious, Sexual, and Political Violence 
  • English 125: Survey of British Literature I 
  • English 327: Chaucer 
  • English 290: Medieval Pagans, Muslims, and Jews 
  • English 360: Gender and Genre in Middle English Literature 
  • English/Religion/WGSS 396 (co-taught): Biblical Women—Re-Reading Texts and Traditions 
  • English/WGSS 396: Gloria Naylor and Her Archive 

Graduate Courses 

  • English/WGSS 495 (co-taught and solo taught): Gloria Naylor in the Archives 
  • English/WGSS 481: Feminist and Queer Theory 
  • English 433: Dream Visions and Revelations 
  • English 433: Sex, Gender, and Sexuality in the Middle Ages