Donna Beth Ellard

Associate Professor

  • Faculty

What I do

Donna Beth Ellard is an Associate Professor of Medieval Literature, specializing Old English poetry.


medieval literature, Old English, Latin, historical linguistics, postcolonialism, psychoanalysis, Deleuze studies

Professional Biography

I received my PhD in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a Concentration in Medieval Studies. Before arriving at the University of Denver, I was an ACLS New Faculty Fellow at Rice University. My research and teaching interests include Old English, Latin, and historical linguistics; early medieval literature and archaeology; evolutionary biology and biolinguistics; and postcolonialism, psychoanalysis, and Deleuze studies.


  • Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2010


My first book, Anglo-Saxon(ist) pasts, postSaxon futures (Punctum Books, 2019), examines the “Anglo-Saxonist,” a racial and colonial figure created at the intersection of certain medieval texts and their canonization by a group of nineteenth-century historians, archaeologists, and philologists. While my book considers the racial-colonial frameworks that construct Anglo-Saxon studies, it likewise engages in the work of disentangling the field from these frameworks via a multi-genred approach to scholarly writing that includes autoethnography, creative non-fiction, and speculative literary criticism.

My scholarship continues to pursue projects meant to foster a more inclusive (and thereby postcolonial) early medieval studies. I am a co-founder of the professional organization Islands of the North Atlantic (IONA) and co-administering (with Mary Kate Hurley) a collaborative project titled Disinventing Old English.

In addition to these projects, I have, for many years, maintained a long-standing interest in how interspecies relationships can facilitate interdisciplinarity. To these ends, I am completing a BA in Biology and at work on a second book, Writing With Birds, Writing With the Biosciences.

Featured Publications

Ellard, Donna Beth. “OED. "Anglo-Saxonist, n.": Professional Scholar or Anonymous Person.” Rethinking History 23.1 (2019): 16-33.
Ellard, Donna Beth. “Communicating between species and between disciplines--Lessons from the Old English Seafarer.” Exemplaria: Medieval, Early Modern, Theory 30.4 (2018): 293-315.
Ellard, Donna Beth. “Ella's Bloody Eagle: Sharon Turner's History of the Anglo-Saxons and Anglo-Saxon History.” postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 5.2 (2014): 215–234.
Ellard, Donna Beth. “Going Interspecies, Going Interlingual, and Flying Away with the Phoenix.” Exemplaria: Medieval, Early Modern, Theory 23.3 (2011): 268-292.