Anthony Revelle, a graduate student in French in the Romance Languages and Literatures at U-M, was recently selected for a graduate student fellowship in the Institute for the Humanities for 2022-2023. During the tenure of the fellowship, Revelle will participate in the life of the Institute for the Humanities, working there and contributing to the weekly Fellows Seminar and the events organized at the Institute.
“I'm excited to be part of this intellectual community, to exchange with fellows, and I plan to complete my dissertation during the tenure of the fellowship, benefitting from the conditions offered by the Institute,” Revelle said.
Revelle’s research focuses on gender issues through Old French literature, especially in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. His work centers around the interplay between social disparities, gender roles and cultural distinctions, as well as the place of the body in gendered staging.
“I have a huge interest in masculinities, queer theory, the history of sexuality and the issue of embodiment, and more generally in the significance of fiction in the construction of identities and social roles,” Revelle said. “In particular, deviance with regard to the norm, transgressions, and unexplained silences in medieval romances arouse my curiosity.”
As a medievalist, Revelle’s dissertation features “Old French literature’s obsession with the consumption of flesh, to put into question who eats what (or whom) and with whom.” Throughout his dissertation Revelle focuses on literary scenes of flesh eating as singular sites where differences in terms of species, gender, sexuality, class, and race, come to the forefront.
“My starting point was the association of meat-eating with virility in medieval texts, and particularly with upper-class manhood,” Revelle said. “I argue that consuming flesh grounds inequalities and hierarchies, but also that literary texts lay these hierarchies bare and allow their disruption. “
One example that Revelle focuses on is what “happens when cultural boundaries collapse, for example, nonhuman animals are invited to eat together with humans, or when humans eat forbidden flesh, such as that of other humans?” Revelle is currently approaching the last stages of his dissertation, where he uses the question of sharing flesh as a way to approach what it is, ontologically, to be an animal, from a medieval writer's perspective.
The fellowship is very competitive and speaks for the quality and originality of Revelle’s research.