Emily Houlik-Ritchey

After receiving my Ph.D. in medieval English Literature from Indiana University, Bloomington, I spent two years at the University of California, Santa Barbara as the Arnold Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Department of English before coming to join Rice's faculty. My work has been supported by an NEH Summer Teaching Institute at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and a Mellon Summer Institute in Spanish Paleography at the Huntington Library. My articles on medieval romance, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower and his Iberian translators, and the theoretical figure/concept of the Neighbor have appeared in Studies in the Age of Chaucer, Exemplaria, South Atlantic Review, Literature Compass, and E.S. Revista de Filología Inglesa. My current book project is a comparative analysis of the shared romance traditions of England and Iberia from the vantage of neighboring texuality. The book argues for a more nuanced understanding of the complexity of Christian-Muslim relations and religio-geographic representation of Iberia across the shared medieval story traditions of Fierabras, Floire and Blancheflor, and Constance in their Middle English and Castilian versions. The book’s ambition is to open interdisciplinary conversations on the genre of medieval romance across non-traditional linguistic pairings. A second book project will merge neighbor theory with the insights of ecocriticism and new materialisms to elucidate the ethical dilemmas of choice and action that append interrelations among diverse beings, especially when those relations are vexed.

My teaching interests within the centuries we dub the “Medieval” are diverse. Temporally, they range from the literature and language of Old English up through the Early Modern period, and I can even be enticed beyond. Geographically, my teaching interests range from the literature of the British Isles to the European subcontinent, and into the Mediterranean region. My courses regularly incorporate postcolonial theory, critical race studies, theories of gender/sexuality, the environmental humanities, and theories of neighboring. I am always most interested when things get messy and intertwined—that is, in the way definitions, binaries, and representations turn out to be not nearly so simple as they may first appear.

I use feminine pronouns, I am a sucker for really good chocolate, and I spend my off-campus time re-reading my favorite books, hiking, swimming, and other outdoor activities, and raising two spunky kids.

Research Areas

Gender & Sexuality' Postcolonial & Transnational Studies; Race & Ethnicity; Ecocriticism & Environmental Humanities; Medieval Literature


Ph.D., Indiana University, Bloomington

Honors & Awards

2020, Graduate Students Association Faculty Teaching and Mentor Award

2020, George R. Brown Teaching Grant

2019, McMurtry College Outstanding Faculty Associate

2019, HRC Faculty Teaching Release Fellowship

2018, McMurtry College Distinguished Faculty Associate

2017, Sophia Meyer Farb Prize for Teaching


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