Professor Straker taught at the College of the Holy Cross and Harvard University before coming to Queen’s in 2000. His main expertise is in English literature of the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries—especially Chaucer and his followers, romance, and medieval historical writing—but extends into the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His work is primarily historicist, because he finds the history of the periods he studies to be as irresistibly fascinating as their texts; however, he is intrigued by a wide array of theoretical approaches to premodern literature, especially those that focus on constructions of gender and subjectivity. He frequently teaches introductory survey courses, so his focus has shifted from historical periods to pedagogy, particularly the effect of online learning on student engagement, and methods for teaching writing.
Middle English literature, especially fifteenth-century followers of Chaucer (Lydgate, Hoccleve), romance, and historiography; theoretical approaches to medieval culture; early modern literature; constructions of gender and subjectivity in medieval texts.
I am available to supervise dissertations on a wide array of topics related to Old and Middle English literature, early modern literature (especially non-dramatic), and 19th–21st-century medievalism.