Donna Beth Beth Ellard

Assistant Professor

What I do

Donna Beth Ellard is an Assistant 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 in the process of co-editing (with Mary Kate Hurley) a collaboratively-written project titled Disinventing Old English that aims to disinvent both Old English and the edited collection format, simultaneously.

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, D. B. (2019). Anglo-Saxon(ist) pasts, postSaxon futures. Earth, USA: Punctum Books.
Ellard, D. B. (2019). OED. “Anglo-Saxonist, n.”: Professional Scholar or Anonymous Person. Rethinking History, 23(1), 16-33.
Ellard, D. B. (2018). Communicating between species and between disciplines—Lessons from the Old English Seafarer. Exemplaria: Medieval, Early Modern, Theory, 30(4), 293-315.
Ellard, D. B. (2014). 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), 215–234.
Ellard, D. B. (2011). Going Interspecies, Going Interlingual, and Flying Away with the Phoenix. Exemplaria: Medieval, Early Modern, Theory, 23(3), 268-292.