Judy Schaaf


Judy Schaaf, PhD

Professor Emerita

English & Communication




Liberal Arts 341


Yale UniversityPhD
Middlebury CollegeMLitt
Columbia UniversityMA


  • Medieval - late medieval Europe
  • Renaissance studies - early modern England
  • American studies - immigration and American identity
  • Literary nonfiction - travel and nature writing




Online and Continuing Education Courses

A study of selected readings dealing with a special topic chosen by the instructor. Recent special topics include New England Literature, Children's Literature, the Artist in Literature, Black Music, and Black Literature. May be repeated with change of content. Cross-listed as BLS 200; LST 200.
Register for this course.


Research interests

  • Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Early modern literature – 17th century
  • Contemporary literature about Muslim experience

Select publications

  • J. Schaaf (2015).
    Gawain’s British Reputation in Malory’s Morte Darthur
    Le personnage de Gauvain dans la littérature européenne du Moyen Âge , 283-317.
  • J. Schaaf (2013).
    The Christian-Jewish Debate and the Catalan Atlas
    Jews in Medieval Christendom: Slay Them Not, 245-273.
  • J. Schaaf (2012).
    Marco Polo in Genoa: Inventing China
    Sguardi sul Mediterraneo

Judy Schaaf is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where she has served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She received her Ph.D. in Medieval Literature from Yale University, a M. Litt. in American Literature from Middlebury College, a M.A. in English literature from Columbia University, and B.A. degrees in English and in Anthropology from Rice University.

Prof. Schaaf has also taught at North Carolina State University, at Norwich University in Vermont - where she was Charles A. Dana University Professor and Head of the Division of Humanities - and at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, where she was Fulbright Senior Lecturer in American literature. In Vermont, she served on the governing board of the Vermont Council on the Humanities and chaired the Council’s Program Committee.

In addition to a lifelong engagement with Medieval studies, she has focused her work in the last decade upon literature that explores issues of identity and agency for immigrants, particularly the literature of the Muslim diaspora. Her teaching – for the programs of the B.A. in English, the Master of Arts in Teaching, and the B.A. in Liberal Arts - has included graduate courses in both world and American literature, upper level study for English majors, and courses in general education that focus on topics like “immigration and American identity,” “Muslim/American,” and “Muslim Diaspora.” Her professional presentations on these subjects include:

"Ummah Diaries: Fictions of American Muslim Identity (before 9/11)" (American Literature Association, 2017)

“American Ummah: Michael Muhammed Knight’s The Taquacores” (American Comparative Literature Association, 2016)

“Comedy of Errors: Lessons of Identity and Agency in American Born Chinese (Modern Language Association, 2015)