Dr Mark Eugene Amsler

BA (Johns Hopkins), MA (Ohio State), PhD (Ohio State)


Prior to the University of Auckland, I taught English, Linguistics, and Medieval Studies at the University of Delaware, Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

I currently serve on the editorial boards for Historiographia Linguistica and Language and History.

I am currently Director of the Europe Institute at the University of Auckland.

Research interests

Comparative medieval and early modern studies; English language and linguistics; critical literacy studies; critical discourse analysis; literary and cultural theory.


Research | Current

I am writing a book on medieval pragmatics and written discourses, focusing on interactions of speech and texts. I am exploring the uses of strategic vague language by heretics, suspected heretics, and women, the Council of 1215 as a multilingual literacy event, the genre of "self writing" as composed by Abelard, Margery Kempe, and Chaucer's Wife of Bath, and the relations between grammar and affect in medieval language theory and narrative.

I am doing archival research to unpack the ideologies, practices, and reconstructions of language contact in the Americas (primarily through colonizations), Europe (esp Mozarabic Spain), and the South Pacific from 1400 to 1850, based on collections in Auckland, Australia, Europe, and North America. This project connects with others on the history of post-1750 linguistics in the wake of European and North American colonizations and the emergence of historico-cultural anthropologies.

Teaching | Current

COMPLIT 202/303 Interpreting Folktales (Semester 2)



Postgraduate supervision

I have recently supervisd or co-supervised doctoral students working on:

1) linguistic hybridity in digital and print discourses in Pakistan, NZ, and the UK;

2) Old English prose and syntactic complexity (with special attention to Aelfric's Catholic Homilies);

3) translation, transcreation, feminism and language choice in post-1900 anglophone fiction from South Asia (Rushdie, Roy, Ghosh);

4) Rene Girard's theory of mimetic sacrifice and the narrative construction of Satan and demons in Gospel narratives.

5) Li Qiao's Wintry Niight Trilogy and the emergence of Taiwan nationalist sensibility

6) contemporary Maori women novelists

I invite proposals for Masters and Doctoral research projects in comparative literary and critical theory, literacy studies, medieval studies, history of linguistics (esp before 1900), and/or English sociolinguistics.


Phi Kappa Phi honorary society

Areas of expertise

I teach and research in critical theory and semiotics, with special emphasis on premodern literatures, sociolinguistics, literacy, history of the book, and social history.

I also work in the intersection of linguistics, education, and social praxis.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Amsler, M. (2015). The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics. LANGUAGE & HISTORY, 58 (1), 74-76.
  • Amsler, M. (2012). Poverty as a Mobile Signifier: Waldensians, Lollards, Dives and Pauper. Paper presented at 16th Annual Conference of the Perth-Medieval-and-Renaissance-Group on Poverty in the Medieval and Early Modern World, Perth, AUSTRALIA. 11 June - 12 June 2010. EXPERIENCES OF POVERTY IN LATE MEDIEVAL AND EARLY MODERN ENGLAND AND FRANCE. (pp. 25).
  • Amsler, M. E. (2011). Critical Pedagogy in the English Classroom. Paper presented at Much Ado About English (International Federation of Teachers of English [IFTE] quadrennial meeting, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. 18 April - 21 April 2011.
  • Amsler, M. E. (2011). Affective Literacies: Writing and Multilingualism in the Late Middle Ages. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols.
  • Amsler, M. E. (2011). Does affect have grammar?. Paper presented at History of Emotions in the Medieval and Early Modern Worlds, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. 8 June - 11 June 2011.
  • Amsler, M. E. (2011). Bede's Literacy Casebook: Historia ecclesiastica, Book 4. Paper presented at Australia-New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (ANZAMEMS): Eighth Biennial Conference, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. 2 February - 5 February 2011.
  • Amsler, M. E. (2011). First catch your question: critical language awareness and crossing lines in the classroom. Paper presented at Society of Auckland Gifted Educators (SAGE) annual meeting, Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Amsler, M. E. (2011). Same as it ever was: universities then and now. Paper presented at Globalization, Higher Education and the Knowledge Economy: Refiguring subjects and spaces in the neo-liberal university, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. 1 December - 2 December 2011.

Contact details

  • Media Contact

Office hours

Sem 2, 2014

Mondays 2-3, Thursdays 12-1, or by apppointment

Primary location

ARTS 1 - Bldg 206
Level 6 , Room 623
New Zealand

Web links