Karma Lochrie

Karma Lochrie

Provost Professor Emeritus, English

Affiliate Professor Emeritus, Gender Studies


  • Ph.D., Princeton University, 1981

About Karma Lochrie

I joined the English Department of Indiana University in 1999 after teaching at Loyola University Chicago and the University of Hawaii. My research has been concerned with gender, sexuality, and more recently, utopianism in medieval literature and culture. All of my work has been interested in the connections to be made across historical periods and the ways in which our habits of studying the past become implicated in the histories we discover. From my first book’s exploration of gender in medieval mysticism (in the rogue Middle English mystic Margery Kempe, and others), my research has worked with contemporary feminist and queer theories to understand the literature and culture of the Middle Ages. My third book, Heterosyncrasies: Female Sexuality When Normal Wasn’t, was a pioneering study of female sexuality in the Middle Ages in the context of a critique of the categories of sexuality with which scholars sometimes study the past. My most recent book, Nowhere in the Middle Ages, marks a significant shift away from the gender and sexuality in medieval texts, but it is also akin to my other work in its effort to think the medieval past “before” modern categories—whether those categories are sexual categories, like heterosexuality and heteronormativity, or whether they are literary categories, like utopian literature.

Journal Articles and Other Publications

“Medieval Masculinities without Men,” Beyond Heteronormativity: New Directions in Medieval Masculinity and Gender, ed. Ann Marie Rasmussen and J. Christian Straubhaar (essay forthcoming from University of Notre Dame Press 2018).

“Gower’s Transgender Riddles in ‘Iphis and Ianthe,’” in Ovidian Transversions: “Iphis and Ianthe,” 1350-1650, ed. Patricia Badir, Peggy McCracken, Valerie Traub (forthcoming from University of Edinburgh Press, 2018).

“Situating Female Same-Sex Love in the Middle Ages,” in The Cambridge Companion to Lesbian Literature, ed. Jodie Medd (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

“Configurations of Sexuality in the Middle Ages,” in The Cambridge History of Gay and Lesbian Literature, ed. Mikko Tuhkanen and E. L. McCallum (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

“Inventing Social Conscience: Cosmopolitanism in Piers Plowman, in Cosmopolitanism in the Middle Ages, ed. John Ganim and Shayne Aaron Legassie (NY: Palgrave, 2013): 141-62.

“Medieval Heteronormativity,” Vol. 2 of the Berg Cultural History of Sexuality, Julie Peakman, General Editor; Sexuality in the Middle Ages (350–1450), ed. Ruth Evans (Oxford: Berg Publishers, 2010).

“Provincializing Medieval Europe: Mandeville’s Cosmopolitan Utopia,” in PMLA124.2 (March 2009): 592-99.

Special edition of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies on Utopias, Medieval and Early Modern, co-edited with Patricia Ingham (2006).

“Sheer Wonder,” in The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Special Issue: Utopias, Medieval and Early Modern 36.3 (Fall 2006): 493-516.

Co-authored with Carolyn Dinshaw, “Queering History,” letter in Forum, PMLA121.3 (May 2006): 837-38.”

“Presidential Improprieties and Medieval Categories: The Absurdity of Heterosexuality,” in Queering the Middle Ages, ed. Steven Kruger and Glenn Burger (University of Minnesota Press).

“Presumptive Sodomy and its Exclusions,” Textual Practice 13.2 (Summer 1999): 295-310.

“Mystical Acts, Queer Tendencies,” in Constructing Medieval Sexuality, ed. Lochrie, McCracken and Schultz (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997): 180-200.

“Desiring Foucault,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 27.1 (Winter 1997): 3-16.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Murderous Plots and Medieval Secrets,” in Premodern Sexualities, edited by Louise Fradenburg and Carla Freccero (Routledge, 1996): 137-52. Revised and reprinted version of an essay printed in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, special issue on Premodern Sexualities, ed. Fradenburg and Freccero 1.4 (1995): 405-17.

Selected Honors and Awards:

  • Choice awarded Covert Operations “Outstanding Academic Book of 1999” distinction.
  • Residential Research Fellow, Center for Cultural Studies, UC Santa Cruz in 1997.
  • College of Arts and Humanities Fellowship, Spring, 2006.