James Staples
Visiting Assistant Professor of English
Phone: (860) 297-5162 Office Location: 115 Vernon Street, #102
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Trinity College faculty member since 2023
General ProfileTeachingResearchPublications/PresentationsHonors/Awards
Ph.D., New York Univ.
B.A., College of William and Mary

Dr. Staples’s research takes seriously the productive intersection of theology—specifically mystical theology—and poetry in the development of alternative modes of critical thinking in the Middle Ages. Studying the Middle Ages through the lenses of queer theory, posthumanism, gender and sexuality studies, and critical race theory, Dr. Staples demonstrates the disorienting value of reading the past and the present together. He’s written articles related to these topics, published in various journals, including Romanic Review and Exemplaria, and he’s currently developing a book project on the Pearl-Poet.

Dr. Staples draws on this generative comparison between the medieval and the modern in his classes, teaching courses like “Distressed Damsels,” which challenges students to think more expansively about gender identity and sexuality in the Middle Ages and the present. His courses on Chaucer, romance, and dream visions similarly consider how authorship, genre, and language relate to structures of power, identity, and social resistance.