Meet our Core Faculty: Donna Alfano Bussell

Donna Alfano BussellDonna Alfano Bussell
Assistant Professor of English
Ph.D. English, Columbia University

Phone: (217) 206-8091
Office: UHB 3072

Teaching Concentration:  Chaucer, Anglo-Norman literature, medieval hagiography, medieval drama and liturgy, Women in the Middle Ages, Arthurian Literature and the Crusades, Insular politics and the rhetoric of devotion in the Middle Ages.


Chaucer, Seminar in Major Figures of British Literature: Chaucer and Shakespeare, Introduction to British Literature, Introduction to the Discipline, Literary Study and Research, History of the English Language, Arthurian Literature, Capital Scholars Honors Program, CAP 226: What is Power?


Dr. Bussell received her Ph.D in English from Columbia University in 2006. She specializes in medieval literature with an emphasis on women authors and the images of holy women as political mediators. Dr. Bussell is currently working on a project about a twelfth-century nun, Clemence of Barking, and her influence on other authors in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and completing an article on Mary Magdalen liturgies in England.

Dr. Bussell is also a certified bilingual (English-Spanish) speech-and-language pathologist who spent many years working with special needs children.  She was also a registered nurse.

Teaching Awards:

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching; UIS Pearson Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching (2014); UIS nominee for the “U.S. Professors of the Year” award (2014), sponsored by CASE and Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.


  • Straight Talk: Community, Conflict, and Critique in the Lives of Women Saints in Medieval England.


  • Edition of the Anglo-Norman Prologue to Adgar’s Gracial. Eds. Jocelyn Wogan-Browne and Thelma Fenster. The French of England: Vernacular Literary Theory and Practices, 1130-1450, under contract to University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, forthcoming 2007.
  • “The Fantasy of Reciprocity and the Enigma of the Seneschal in Marie de France’s Equitan.” Cygne: Journal of the International Marie de France Society, 3, (Fall 2003), 7-48.
  • “Heloise Redressed: Rhetorical Engagement and the Benedictine Rite of Initiation in Heloise’s Third Letter.” Ed. Bonnie Wheeler. Listening to Heloise: The Voice of a Twelfth Century Woman. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000. 233-254.


  • Sarah Salih. Versions of Virginity in Late Medieval England. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer. 2000.  Le Cygne: Journal of the International Marie de France Society 1 (Fall 2003): 45-9.


  • Forthcoming: “The Global Arthur: Including Crusade Narratives in an online Arthurian Literature Course.” Medieval Association of the Midwest, Annual Meeting January 2007 and co-sponsor with Karen Moranski of MMLA Session: “The Once and the Future?: Teaching Arthurian Literature Online and In Class”.
  • “The Magdalen Liturgy at Lewes and Pontefract: English Translations of Cluniac Observance.” Session: The Geography of Saints’ Liturgies: England, Poland, and Italy. The International Medieval Congress 2004 at the University of Leeds, Leeds, England.  July 12, 2004.
  • “Historicizing Mastery and Transforming Lordship in Chaucer’s S. Cecilia.” Session: Hagiography and Historiography in Chaucer. The International Congress of the New Chaucer Society, Annual Meeting 2004 at the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland.  July 17, 2004.
  • “Queen takes King: The Becket-Era Queens in two late twelfth-century Katherine of Alexandria Legends.” Session in Honor of Joan M. Ferrante and Robert W. Hanning; Thirty-Eighth Annual International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI. May 8, 2003.
  • “Rebuilding the Lost City: Porphyry’s Grief, and a Better Heaven in Clemence of Barking’s Life of St Catherine.” Interpreting Women: Texts Readers and Reception at the Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy 2002, New York City. April 5, 2002.

Back to top