Faculty of Arts - English, Drama and Writing Studies

Dr Mark Amsler

MA (Ohio State), PhD (Ohio State)

Senior Lecturer,
Undergraduate Adviser English and Writing Studies  

Dr Mark Amsler

English, Drama and Writing Studies, Humanities

Email: m.amsler@auckland.ac.nz

Extension: 87516 (ph + 64 9 373 7599)

Arts 1 Building
14a Symonds St
Level 6
Room 623
Hours please email or call for appointment

Research interests

Medieval and early modern studies; writing and literacy studies; critical discourse analysis; English language and linguistics; literary and cultural theory; linguistics and education.


Current research

I am presently completing a book on medieval pragmatics and writing, focusing on interactions of speech and texts and looking at uses of strategic vague language by heretics, suspected heretics, and women, at the Council of 1215 as a multilingual literacy event, at genre and self writing by Abelard, Margery Kempe, and Chaucer's Wife of Bath, and at the relations between grammar and affect in medieval language theory and narrative.

Another project I'm involved with uses archival research to unpack the ideologies, practices, and reconstructions of language contact in the Americas (primarily through colonizations), Europe (esp Mozarabic Spain), and the South Pacific from 1400 to 1850, based on collections in Auckland, Australia, Europe, and North America. This project is located at the intersection of the history of linguistics and historio-cultural anthropologies.

Postgraduate supervision

I currently supervise or co-supervise doctoral students working on:

1) linguistic hybridity in digital and print discourses in Pakistan, NZ, and the UK;

2) Old English prose and syntactic complexity (with special attention to Aelfric's Catholic Homilies);

3) translation, transcreation, and language choice in post-1900 anglophone fiction from South Asia (Rushdie, Roy, Ghosh);

4) Rene Girard's theory of mimetic sacrifice and the narrative construction of Satan and demons in Gospels.

I invite proposals for Masters and Doctoral research projects in medieval literatures, literary and critical theory, literacy studies, history of linguistics (esp before 1900), and/or English sociolinguistics.

Recent publications


Affective Literacies: Writing and multilingualism in the later Middle Ages (Turnhout: Brepols, 2012).

Etymology and Grammatical Discourse in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1989). Available at < googlebooks.com >.

(ed.) Creativity and the Imagination: Case Studies from the Classical Age to the Twentieth Century (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1987).

(ed.) The Languages of Creativity: Models, Problem-solving, Discourse (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1986).

Recent articles

2010. “Creole Grammar and Multilingual Poetics.” In Medieval Multilingualism: The Francophone World and Its Neighbours, ed. Keith Busby and Christopher Kleinhenz. Turnhout: Brepols. Pp. 15-42.

2010. “Slipping Away.” In DIASPAR: a mapping of randomness. Ed. Rafe Copeland. Auckland: Rafe Copeland. Limited print edition. Preview available at: www.rafecopeland.co.nz/index.php?link=diaspar.

2010. “Pre-Modern Letters and Textual Consciousness: From the Pre-Socratics to the First Grammatical Treatise.” Historiographia Linguistica, 37:279-319.

2009. "Jakobson’s Dominant, Hyperliteracies, and Structures of History." In The Prague School and Theories of Structure. Ed. Martin Prochaszka et al., Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht. Pp 387-414.

2005. “American linguistics before Whitney.” Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd ed. Ed. Keith Brown et al. Oxford: Elsevier, 2005. (also www.sciencedirect.com). Vol. 1:176-184.

2005.“Linguistic theory in the later Middle Ages.” Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd ed. Ed. Keith Brown et al. Oxford: Elsevier, 2005. (also www.sciencedirect.com). Vol. 7: 218-222.

CV and papers available and downloadable at < auckland.academia.edu/markamsler >.

Career history

BA (The Johns Hopkins University), MA and PhD (Ohio State University).

Prior to The University of Auckland, I taught English, linguistics, and medieval studies at the University of Delaware, Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

I currently serve on the editorial boards for Historiographia Linguistica and Language and History.

Current teaching

Course Title Availability in 2014
ENGLISH 121 Reading/Writing/Text Summer School, repeated Semester 1 and 2
ENGLISH 203 English Language to 1900 Not offered in 2014.
ENGLISH 258 Writing as Critical Discourse Semester 2
ENGLISH 366 Writing as Critical Discourse Semester 2
ENGLISH 725 Writing, Literacy, Poetics Semester 2
ENGLISH 777 Special Topic in Writing Studies: Pedagogy and Performance Semester 1

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