Jennifer A. Jahner

Assistant Professor of English

Jennifer Jahner
Administrative Assistant:
B.A., Western Washington University, 1998; M.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2005, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2012. Caltech, 2012-.

Research Interests

Late Medieval Literature; Law; Poetics; Multilingualism; Manuscript Study; Gender; Histories of Medievalist Scholarship and the Reception of the Middle Ages


Literature and History; Visual Culture


Jennifer Jahner studies multilingual poetry in Britain and France from the late twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. Her research looks at how these poems engage in political and legal discourse and what they reveal about how people at the time understood political consent and community. She analyzes these poems as both formal experiments and historical records, examining how the constraints and conventions of the poetic form enabled writers and, later, editors to represent the past and how manuscript and print preserve that past. Jahner also studies the intersection of poetry and politics, especially during times of political turmoil. Poems that addressed political issues often advocated a certain political viewpoint and were often propaganda pieces, and she's interested in how such works promoted legal and administrative agendas and shaped responses to political change.

Jahner is currently working on The Conjured Realm: Poetry and Political Formation in the Era of Magna Carta, a book that examines how ideas about nation, community, and political identity emerged at the intersection of secular and religious reform movements in thirteenth-century Britain. She is also co-editing History Writing in Britain, 800–1550, a collection of new research into medieval British historical writing from the Anglo-Saxon period to the end of the Middle Ages.

Her awards and honors include the ASCIT Teaching Award at Caltech (2012–2013), the Diane Hunter Dissertation Prize from the University of Pennsylvania (2012), and the Medium Ævum Graduate Essay Prize (2010). She was also a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow (2011–2012). 

Selected Publications

  • "'If possession be poysen': Endowment, Sophistic, and the Legacy of Constantine in Late Medieval England," in The Life and Legacy of Constantine, ed. Shane Bjornlie (Ashgate, forthcoming)
  • "Verse Diplomacy and the English Interdict" Thirteenth Century England 15 (forthcoming 2015)
  • "Reading for the End: Prescriptive Writing and the Practice of Genre," Exemplaria, Special Issue on Genre (forthcoming 2015)
  • "The Mirror of Justices and the Art of Archival Invention," Viator (forthcoming Spring 2014)
  • "The Poetry of the Second Barons' War: Some Manuscript Contexts," English Manuscript Studies, 1100–1700 17 (2013): 201–222.
  • Medieval and Early Modern Devotional Objects in Global Perspective, co-edited with Elizabeth Robertson (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)