March 10, 2016

Whitney N. Yarber, Communications Specialist

VSU Welcomes Expert on Medieval Studies March 22

Pictured is Dr. Suzanne Akbari, professor of English and director of the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto.

VALDOSTA – Dr. Suzanne Akbari will present Empty Idols and a False Prophet: European Representations of Islam in the Era of Crusade at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22, in Valdosta State University’s Hugh C. Bailey Science Center Auditorium Room 1011. Admission is free of charge and open to the public.

A professor of English and director of the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, Akbari will discuss her perspective on medieval encounters between Christian and Islamic cultures. Her visit is sponsored by VSU’s Department of English.

“Dr. Suzanne Akbari is an outstanding scholar in medieval studies,” said Dr. Theresa Thompson, professor in VSU’s Department of English. “Students will benefit from her public talk because it will provide some socio-historical contexts for many contemporary misperceptions of Islam.”

Akbari earned a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from the Krieger School of Arts and Science at Johns Hopkins University in 1984. She also earned a Master of Arts in English in 1989, a Master of Philosophy in English and comparative literature in 1991, and a Doctor of Philosophy in English and Comparative Literature in 1995, all from Columbia University. Her research focuses on the intersection of English and comparative literature with intellectual history and philosophy ranging from Neoplatonism and science in the 12th century to national identity and religious conflict in the 15th century.

Akbari serves as a volume editor and coeditor for the Norton Anthology of World Literature and editor of The Oxford Handbook to Chaucer. Her latest research project, The Shape of Time, contrasts the temporal breaks found in medieval chronicle traditions with poetic narrations of the historical past.

The author of more than 30 articles and book chapters and sole author and co-editor of nine books, all constructed on optics and allegory, Akbari’s third exclusively written book, Small Change: Metaphor and Metamorphosis in Chaucer and Christine de Pizan, is currently in production.

Contact Dr. Theresa Thompson at or (229) 333-7350 for more information.

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