Sarah Elizabeth Zeiser

I am an Associate of the Celtic Languages and Literatures department at Harvard University, as well as Project Manager in the Division of Arts & Humanities and Special Assistant to the Dean. I received my Ph.D. in May 2012 with the dissertation "Latinity, Manuscripts, and the Rhetoric of Conquest in Late-Eleventh-Century Wales." This study explores the complex interactions among language, text, and political context in Wales during the decades surrounding the Norman Conquest of England. I argue that writers in medieval Wales created in both their literary compositions and their manuscripts intricate layers of protest and subversion in direct opposition to the authority of the Norman political hegemony and the aggrandizing spread of the Canterbury-led church. These medieval literati exploited language and script as tools of definition. They privileged Welsh or Latin as their audience shifted, and they employed the change from early Welsh script to the Caroline script of the Normans as not just a natural evolution in script development, but as a selective representation of mimicked authority.

My current research is interested in representations of nation and protest in the thirteenth-century Latin poem "Trucidare Saxones," as well as broader questions of the nature and application of grief in medieval Wales.

I was a Graduate Fellow at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in 2011-12, and was a Junior Fellow at the Institute for Historical Research at the University of London, as well as a Frank Knox Memorial Traveling Fellow (2010-11). I was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures at Harvard from 2012-2015.

I received my B.A. from Smith College in 2006 (Medieval Studies; minor: Ancient Studies). I am a violinist in the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra.