Dr. Kersti Francis (she/they) is a premodernist and postdoctoral scholar in Boston University’s Society of Fellows.
Kersti’s work unfolds at the intersections of the history of science, networks of power, and LGBTQ+ studies in medieval and early modern literature. Her current book project, “Queer Magic: Sodomy, Sin and The Supernatural, 1150-1650,” uses the premodern framework of sins contra naturam and transhistorical theories of fictionality to argue that contemporary authors used literary magic to engage in queer and trans imaginings of bodies, relationships, and sexual acts. Their second project, “Fetishizing the Past: Historophilia and Premodern Sexuality,” interrogates medieval and early modern narratives of sexual desire that depend upon the pleasurable tension between past and present, engaging in what Kersti terms historophilia: an eroticism generated by the self-conscious interplay of dissonant temporalities. Kersti has also worked extensively on early modern histories of science, focusing on the role of alchemy in the Latin Christian West and the Dar al-Islam; on depictions of Mary Magdalene in medieval and Victorian understandings of prostitution; and on the figure of the meykongr (maiden-king) in the Old Norse saga tradition.
You can find Kersti’s writing in the Bulletin of the International Association for Robin Hood Studies, Comitatus, The Digital Medievalist, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Medieval Feminist Forum, Painful Pleasures: Sadomasochism in the Middle Ages, and Public Books, or on the podcasts “Classical Ideas” and “The Multicultural Middle Ages.” Their work has been supported by the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Ahmanson Foundation, The National Science Foundation, The History Channel, and the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, among others.
Kersti is also a writer, editor, and video game consultant. Since 2013, she has provided content editing, copy-editing, and proofreading services for mediums ranging from newspaper and journal articles to poetry and fiction pieces to PhD dissertations and technical handbooks. They also write weekly book reviews for Publishers Weekly and can be found procrastinating on Twitter (@kerstifrancis), where they tweet about feminism, queerness, dogs, history, and niche debates in academia.