Kent State English Professor Recognized for Outstanding Research
Kent State University recognized Professor of English Susanna Fein, Ph.D., for her work in the Department of English and awarded her with an Outstanding Research and Scholarship award. She was one of three faculty scholars selected for the annual award. Dr. Fein was recognized for her contributions in editing The Chaucer Review, a journal that treats the literature of the Middle Ages with a focus on the poet Geoffrey Chaucer. Todd Diacon, executive vice president and provost, and Paul DiCorleto, vice president for research, presented the award to Dr. Fein.
“I’ve worked here at Kent State for 30 years now so I knew that these awards and scholarships existed, but I never expected that I would be the recipient,” Dr. Fein says. “I know many others who have won these awards, so to be on their level is such an honor.”
Chaucer, known as the father of English literature, is one of the focal points of Dr. Fein’s work. She also works on translating and transcribing manuscripts from the Middle Ages. With her passion and her research in alignment, she considers herself a medievalist: an expert on medieval history, literature and culture.
“Chaucer is the key poet of the 14th century, which is near the end of the Middle Ages,” Dr. Fein says. “Another side of my research relates to manuscripts from the whole period with a special attachment to books that preserve medieval English literature and poetry. As I’m sure you can imagine, back then they did not write in nice, standard formats, so deciphering manuscripts can be tricky and time consuming, but it’s what I love to do.”
She views her work not as a job but as a passion. Many of the manuscripts she works with include texts not just in English but also in French, Latin or sometimes both. Translating them to modern English is a challenge she enjoys, Dr. Fein says.
“My work is a lot like archeology and forensics in the sense that I have to find out every detail with little help, and then I have to piece those details together,” she says. “The whole time I have to keep in mind my ultimate goal of transcribing the manuscript so it's readable in today's society.”
Her passion for Chaucer’s work has fueled her career of publishing numerous books and has helped establish her as a scholar of Chaucer. Her achievements led fellow colleagues to nominate her for the award. Winning has meant more than just being recognized for her work; it was an encouragement for her to continue studying Chaucer and medieval manuscripts.
Along with reading medieval literature, Dr. Fein loves being a teacher and helping her students find their passions.
“I can’t help but feel a certain pride when I see my students continue on in the field, whether that be English or medieval studies,” Dr. Fein says. “My hope is that I will have an influence on my students to think more broadly about our world’s history.”
For more information about Dr. Fein and her work, visit www.kent.edu/english/profile/susanna-fein.