Dr O’Brien is of mixed origin; she grew up in Belgium, bilingual (trilingual when very small), and her background has shaped a broader concern with hybridity, migrancy, cosmopolitanism, and tolerance. She has been at UBC since 2009. Before then, she taught at Princeton University, Trinity College Dublin (Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies), and University College Dublin. She has also worked in bookselling, freelance web-design, and translation.
She teaches French language, literature, and culture. Her research is on Medieval literature and culture (mainly Old French and Occitan poetry), connections between medieval and post-medieval textuality and hypertextuality, the purpose of reading and its practice in interactive communities, and the integration of teaching and research in/as learning. Her other interests—some of which conjoin her teaching and research—include speculative fictions of many forms and from many times (Medieval marginalia and romance, bande dessinée and graphic novels, SF, cinema), and food.
(1) French language, literature, and culture
(2) Medieval French and Occitan poetry, and Medieval Studies
(3) Applied Medievalism:
- the integration of teaching and research in/as learning:
—translatio, translation, philology, and comparative literature
—cultural literacy and literary culture
—interactive transformative learning-centred learning and innovative sustainable knowledge-centred learning
- teaching literature and integrated reading and writing:
—using multiple and mixed (including digital) technologies in teaching, learning, reading and other literary activities, and research
—reading, reception history, and remixing
—commentary and criticism
- practical applications and theoretical implications:
—how teaching literature helps to think about literature itself, in its broad sense and broader context
—feminism, marginality, hybridity, migrancy, ecocriticism, and cosmopolitanism
Course Design and Development
Research and Writing in Progress
Consent in medieval Occitan poetry, and its medievalist application elsewhere in the 21st century. Article-length early versions online as “The Joy of Consent: Feeling Together” (2018) and “Translating Rape in Flamenca” (2019: prologue, part 1, part 2).
Articles and Book Chapters
“Reading (and) Courtly Love in Flamenca, via the Charrette Project.” Dame Philology’s Charrette: Approaching Medieval Textuality through Chrétien’s Lancelot (Essays in Memory of Karl D. Uitti), ed. Gina Greco and Ellen Thorington (Tempe, AZ: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, Arizona State University Press, 2012): 195-214.
“Making Sense of a Lacuna in the Romance of Flamenca.” TENSO – Bulletin of the Société Guilhem IX 20.2 (2005): 1-25.
(1) Writing online: essays, commentary, and other critical creative longer-form non-fiction (and some very short stories).
(2) Courses designed and course materials developed while working at UBC:
French Language, Literature, and Culture
- FREN 101 & 102: Beginners’ French I & II (2018-19); older versions are archived and remain openly accessible (2012 and 2013-18’s FREN 101 and FREN 102)
- FREN 215: Oral French Practice (2014-16); access restricted to registered users—course students and instructors—and with a twin Canvas site; this project was supported by a UBC TLEF
- FREN 220_922: Introduction to Early French Literature and to Textual Analysis (2017)
- FREN 221_204: Introduction to Modern Literature written in French and to Textual Analysis (2012)
- FREN 320: Advanced Studies in French Literature from 1000 to 1700 (2009)
- FREN 333: French Civilization I: A historically-based approach to French civilization and culture from their origins to the Third Republic (1875) (2013)
- FREN 336: The Francophone World in Images: “Qu’est-ce que la bande dessinée ?” (2016)
- FREN 420L: Selected Topics in French Literature: “Éducations sentimentales: Perceptions masculines du féminin dans la littérature française des 18e et 19e siècles” (2009)
- RMST 221B: Literatures and Cultures of the Romance World I: Medieval to Early Modern: “Animal Reading” (2019)
- RMST 221: Literatures and Cultures of the Romance World I: Medieval to Early Modern: “Intrigue” (2011)
- RMST 221: Literatures and Cultures of the Romance World I: Medieval to Early Modern: “Mischief” (2010)
- RMST 221: Literatures and Cultures of the Romance World I: Medieval to Early Modern: “Adventures” (2009)
- MDVL 301A: Medieval Studies: European Literature from the 5th to the 14th Century: “The Liberal Arts” (2016)
- MDVL 302: European Literature of the 14th to the 16th centuries: “Criticism” (2011)
- MDVL 310D: Topics in Medieval Studies: “Marvels” (2017)
Most of the materials above are freely accessible (Creative Common BY-NC-SA), though some parts of some sites are only for students in that course (ex. online discussion) or for instructors teaching it.