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Draft Mary Rambaran-Olm

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Mary Rambaran-Olm (born 1978) is specialist in the literature and history of early medieval England from the fifth to eleventh centuries. During her joint vice-presidency of the International Society for the Study of Early Medieval England, she was instrumental in its name change and is outspoken on the issue of race in Medieval Studies.


Rambaran-Olm is the Provost's Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto in the Faculty of English and Drama. Her research explores race in early medieval England, drawing on the theoretical frameworks of Stuart Hall and Dipesh Chakrabarty. Her translation of The Descent Into Hell was praised as "accurate and readable", as well as bringing new insight into the idea of time in the poem.
In 2019, she was a speaker at the Race Before Race symposium held at the Folger Shakespeare Library, which aimed to be critical of and imagine pathways for a more inclusive future for medieval and renaissance studies. She is a guest editor for the journal Postmedieval's forthcoming volume Race, Revulsion, and Revolution.{{Cite webtitle=About / News postmedieval – a journal of medieval cultural studies palgraveurl=
In September 2019, Rambaran-Olm resigned from her role as a joint vice-president of the (as it was named at the time) International Society of Anglo-Saxonists. Her resignation came as a result of the organisation's reluctance to change it's name, which had been requested due to the increasing connection between the term 'Anglo-Saxon' and white supremacist ideologies, particularly in North America. As a result of her actions she experienced cyber bullying, racial abuse and threats of bodily attacks.{{Cite webtitle=SMFS SMFS Statement in Support of Dr. Mary Rambaran-Olmurl= Irina Dumitrescu, a professor from the University of Bonn, resigned alongside Rambaran-Olm in solidarity. Several academic associations wrote statements of support to Rambaran-Olm, including: Queerdievalists; Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship; Medievalists of Color; the Islands of the North Atlantic Conference.


In 2012 Rambaran-Olm was awarded a PhD from the Department of English at the University of Glasgow for her thesis entitled 'John's Prayer: an edition, literary analysis and commentary'. She previously studied for a BA in English and History and the University of Calgary and for an MLitt in Medieval Literature at the University of St Andrews.

Selected publications

  • John the Baptist's Prayer, Or, 'The Descent Into Hell' from the Exeter Book: Text , Translation and Critical Study (2014).
  • "Is the title of the Old English poem" The Descent into Hell" suitable?." Selim: Journal of the Spanish Society for Medieval English Language and Literature= Revista de la Sociedad Española de Lengua y Literatura Inglesa Medieval 13 (2005): 73-86.
  • Leahy, Kevin, Mary Rambaran-Olm, Rachel Anderson, Larry Swain, and Anthony Adams. "Archaeology, Sculpture, Inscriptions, Numismatics." Old English Newsletter 43, no. 1/2 (2011): 177.
  • Toswell, M. J., Rambaran-Olm, M., & Withers, B. C. (2011). Manuscripts, Illuminations, Charters. Old English Newsletter, 43(1/2), 126.

External Links

Scholar Strike: Medieval Studies, White Supremacy and BLM - Mary Rambaran-Olm
History Workshop: Misnaming the Medieval: Rejecting “Anglo-Saxon” Studies - Mary Rambaran-Olm
Time Magazine: The Middle Ages Have Been Misused by the Far Right: Here’s Why It’s So Important to Get Medieval History Right
Drinking with Historians - Episode 8 (Mary Rambaran-Olm & Erik Wade)

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