Michael Lawson is a 4th-year PhD student in the Department of Scandinavian with a dual focus on Scandinavian Languages & Literatures and Medieval Studies.
Michael began his academic journey at East Tennessee State University, earning a B.A. in Education in 2017 and an M.A. in History in 2019. His thesis, “Children of a One-Eyed God: Impairment in the Myth and Memory of Medieval Scandinavia,” explored the body as a conceptual space in both the mythopoetic and literary spheres of medieval Iceland. Michael further pursued his passion for Scandinavian studies at Berkeley, where he completed a second M.A. in Scandinavian Languages and Literatures in 2021 with an emphasis in Old Norse and modern Norwegian.
An engaging educator, Michael has taught reading and composition courses on a range of topics, including the legendary heroes of the Icelandic family sagas, dreams and the night in Nordic film and literature, the romance-laden adventures of warrior-poets in the skald’s sagas, and the chivalric romance stories of the sagas of knights. With an expanded teaching portfolio, he currently instructs students in the Old Norse language.
Michael’s research interests encompass various medieval literary genres, with a particular focus on Arthurian legends in Middle Welsh and Old French, the works of Chrétien de Troyes and Marie de France, and their translations, adaptations, and imitations by medieval Norwegian and Icelandic scribes. As he advances in his academic career, Michael’s primary research objective is to investigate the original romances of late medieval Iceland. His current research delves into the development of this genre, examining the valences of courtliness and its interpretation through the lens of an arguably peripheral medieval Icelandic society.