Associate Professor 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 Director of the Europe Institute at the University of Auckland, an interdisciplinary research unit focused on the EU and Europe in the wider world in political, cultural and historical contexts.

Research | Current

  • Critical theory and semiotics
  • Medieval literatures
  • History of linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics, especially codeswitching, language change and variation, English linguistics
  • Literacy and history of the book

I currenly work in the areas of medieval studies, history of linguistics, and cultural theory, moving between earlier periods and the contemporary scene. I am especially interested in pragmatics and written discourses, focusing on interactions in spoken and written texts. Heretical, nonconformist, and alternative communities are of particular interest in my current work, as well as vague language, language mixing, and genre play.

I have a long interest in the complex engagements of European colonials and missionaries with the peoples of the Americas and the Pacific in terms of language contact and its impact on the history of linguistics.

I am also involved in a longterm international research collaboration devoted to the history of the senses in the ancient, medieval, and early modern era, partially funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Teaching | Current

COMPLIT 200 World Literatures 1: Life, Death, War, Peace, Love.

COMPLIT 202 Interpreting Folktales

COMPLIT 303 Interpreting Folktales

COMPLIT 705/709 Reading Across Cultures

Postgraduate supervision

I have recently supervisd or co-supervised doctoral students writing theses 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) Li Qiao's Wintry Niight Trilogy and the emergence of Taiwan nationalist sensibility;

6) contemporary Maori women novelists;

7) a comparative analysis of crime fiction by writers from China, UK, and US.

I am available to supervise Masters and Doctoral research projects in comparative literary and critical theory, genre analysis, literacy studies, medieval studies, history of linguistics (esp before 1900), and/or English sociolinguistics.


Phi Kappa Phi honorary society


  • Postgraduate adviser for Comparative Literature

Areas of expertise

Critical theory and semiotics. Medieval literatures. History of linguistics. Sociolinguistics, esp. codeswitching, language change and variation, English linguistics. Literacy and history of the book.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Amsler, M., & Shore, C. (2017). Responsibilisation and leadership in the neoliberal university: a New Zealand perspective. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 38 (1), 123-137. 10.1080/01596306.2015.1104857
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Cris Shore
  • Chih, Y. W. (2017). The Cultural Representation of Taiwaneseness and Taiwanese Nationalism in Li Qiao’s Wintry Night Trilogy The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Yu-Wen Chih
  • Amsler, S., & Amsler, M. (2014). Imagining Unthinkable Spaces. Argos Aotearoa: A Journal of Place/Politics, 1 (1), 102-109. Related URL.
  • 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. Related URL.
  • 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.

Contact details

Office hours

Sem 2, 2016

Fridays 12-1, or by apppointment

Primary location

CLL - Bldg 207
New Zealand

Web links