Bethany Christiansen is a PhD student in her fourth year at Ohio State. She studies the language, literature and cultural history of medieval England, with a focus on the Anglo-Saxon period (roughly 500-1100 CE). Christiansen's current research concerns early medieval medical texts, particularly medical manuscripts produced in England between 1000-1130 CE. She focuses on Latin and English recensions of the enlarged Herbarium, a book of remedies made from plant and animal products. These manuscripts bear evidence of successive revisions and additions that demonstrate an increased attention to women’s medicine over the relevant period. Her research into these neglected codices helps illuminate obstetric and gynecological medicine during the period of immense political and social change in the long eleventh century.
Her current research also includes lexical semantic studies of Old English and Latin words related to anatomy, sex, and reproduction; late antique and early medieval attitudes toward contraception; and the role of linguistic context and cultural milieu in semantic shift, with a focus on early Middle English anatomical vocabulary. Christiansen's broader interests include history of the English language, rise of standardization, English lexicography, history of medicine/science, paleography/codicology, literacy and, especially, women’s literacy in the pre-modern era.