Mary Franklin-Brown is an associate professor of French and a member of the graduate faculty of the Center for Medieval Studies at the University of Minnesota. She specializes in literature and intellectual history of the 12th and 13th centuries in a comparative perspective, working on sources in Catalan, Latin, Old French, and Old Occitan. She has published a study of the interplay of encyclopedism and literary practice, Reading the World: Encyclopedic Writing of the Scholastic Age (University of Chicago Press, 2012), and articles on French romance and troubadour lyric.
During her fellowship year, Franklin-Brown is beginning a new book, “Rewriting the Human in 12th-Century France: Matter, Form, Time.” This project will trace the connections between the body, philosophy, and poetry in the early scholastic period, reexamining the humanism of 12th-century writers in light of the critiques of humanism that have been published in recent decades, inspired by developments in information technology, artificial intelligence, and robotics. While IT and AI may seem far from the Middle Ages, the philosophical questions they inspire parallel those with which medieval thinkers grappled and can provide useful grounds for contemporary debates.
Franklin-Brown completed her graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, with an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies and a Humanities & Social Sciences Chateaubriand fellowship. Her first book, Reading the World, received a competitive book subvention from the Medieval Academy of America and won the 2013 Harry Levin Prize from the American Comparative Literature Association.