Adin Lears

Assistant Professor


311 Marano Campus Center

Office hours

Spring 2018
1:00 - 4:00
or by appointment

    Adin Lears is Assistant Professor of English and Medieval & Renaissance Studies at SUNY Oswego. Her research focuses on the role of sensation, affect, and embodiment in medieval theories of knowledge and their cultural and social contexts, especially those relating to gender and sexuality. Her first book project, World of Echo: Noise and Knowing in Late-Medieval England, argues that lay modes of listening that flourished in England around the turn of the 15th C. enabled new forms of attachment to language and song that invited readers to experience them as noise, foregrounding the emotional and bodily force of these media more than their grammatical or musical structure. An excerpt from this project entitled "Noise, Soundplay, and Langland's Poetics of Lolling in the Time of Wyclif" appeared inStudies in the Age of Chaucer (2016). Other work on Old and Middle English literature has appeared or is forthcoming from The Chaucer ReviewViator, and the edited volume Vernacular Aesthetics in the Later Middle Ages. Lears has also begun work on a new project examining how craft and craftsmen brought tensions among religious, scientific, and technical forms of knowledge to the foreground of intellectual and literary culture in late-medieval England.
       At Oswego, Adin is the director of the program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies and regularly teaches a variety of courses on medieval literature, as well as on the history of the English language and on theories of language. In the classroom, she encourages animated reading and performance aloud, prompting students to use their senses in the service of critical analysis and interpretation.    

Classes taught


ENG 265/820 TR 9:35-10:55 322 Marano CC

ENG 365/800

TR 2:20-3:40 208 Marano CC

ENG 395/810
ENG 595/810

TR 11:10-12:30 323 Marano CC

ENG 265 SOPHOMORE SEMINAR IN GENRE: SATIRE & ITS SATELLITES-“Satire is a lesson, parody is a game.” So said the great novelist and wit Vladimir Nabokov when an interviewer asked him to distinguish between the two terms. This course delves deeper into these and other related terms, surveying an array of texts from the Middle Ages through today. Our investigation of satire’s “satellites”— concepts and rhetorical strategies that often get associated or conflated with the genre such as “irony,” “parody,” “absurdity,” “irreverence” and more—will furnish a broad toolbox of vocabulary and theories for understanding the genre. By exploring these terms and the social and political issues that often accompany them, we will debate the larger question of what makes a text ‘funny’ and examine the cultural work of humor.

ENG 365 JUNIOR SEMINAR: AUTHOR, WILLIAM LANGLAND-What is the nature of knowledge? How do language, imagination, and play help and hinder us in seeking it? And how can one come to know—really know—love? These are some of the big questions the drive the quest of “Long Will,” the protagonist of William Langland’s epic series of dream visions and dreams within dreams now known as Piers Plowman. Using supplementary historical and critical readings for context, this course examines the single known work of Langland, the dark horse of medieval British literature, who is often overlooked in favor of his more famous contemporary Geoffrey Chaucer. In addition to reading the fullest of Langland’s three versions of the poem, we will also explore what his revisions say about the society, culture, and thought of late-medieval England. Occasional attention to Langland’s Middle English will deepen this investigation—and prove to be surprisingly easy and fun. As we move through the world with Langland’s Will, we’ll encounter a parliament of rodents debating what to do about a tyrannical cat, a procession of deadly sins given monstrous and bizarre bodies, a jousting Jesus, and more.  In the process, we’ll gain a fuller understanding of what it meant to be an author in the Middle Ages.

ENG 395/ENG 595 SS: MEDIEVALISM/MODERNITY-Medieval writers imagine modernity as a time of great promise and instability as methods and tools for producing knowledge multiplied, prompting questions about ethics and the limits of the human mind. Modern writers imagine the middle ages as a utopian world of artisanal flourishing and moral integrity, as a nightmarish site of irrationality, superstition, and menace, or as something in between. This course explores the ways that authors across what we now consider the “medieval” and “modern” eras—including Geoffrey Chaucer, William Morris, Alexander Pope, George Eliot, and others—imagined their own time in relation to past and future ages. Readings will be structured around concepts that may include the gothic, decadence, the animal, youth/age, secrecy/knowledge, and nature/artifice. By examining how authors both reinforced and challenged linear conceptions of time, this course will explore how literary visions of the past, present, and future play with time’s arrow in order to complicate how we think about progress.