Nettie Vinsonhaler

Picture of Chris Vinsonhaler

Assistant Professor


Office: S-751K

Office Hours: Summer Hours: Monday 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Phone: +1 (212) 220-8299

Chris Vinsonhaler brings a wealth of experience to her teaching and scholarship. For two decades, she served on the roster of The Mississippi Arts Commission as a professional storyteller and musician. During that time, she toured nationally and internationally, working with schools to expand literacy programs through storytelling and audio materials, as a way to accelerate language acquisition and create community-centered alternatives to publishing industry biases. Her passion for oral narrative also prompted her performance study of the Old English poem Beowulf, which garnered a fellowship funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. In furthering that project, she entered the Florida State University Humanities program, and then the University of Iowa, where she earned a Ph.D. in English with a concentration in medieval studies. For the past six years, she has proudly served on the BMCC English Department faculty. During that time, she used a a CUNY Faculty Development grant to produce a new performance of Beowulf with BMCC students as stage designers and actors; she served as a fellow in the BMCC Teaching Academy and the Gateway Initiative; she submitted various essays on pedagogy to The Inquirer and the CETLS blog; and she worked with Jean Amaral and other faculty members to create the BMCC Voices podcast and the “This I Believe Public Reading Project.”


Curriculum Vitae


The Beowulf Project


PH.D. University of Iowa, 2013. 

Florida State University, Humanities Doctoral Program, May 2006.

M.L.S. University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi. 1992.

M.A. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. in English, 1983.

Georgia College, Milledgeville, Georgia. 1980-81.

Courses for teacher certification, K-6 language arts.

Augusta State University, Augusta, Georgia. 1980-81.

Courses for teacher certification, K-6 language arts.

B.A. University of Georgia, 1978.

A.A. Emory University at Oxford, Oxford, Georgia, June 1976

Courses Taught

Research and Projects

The Beowulf Project



Forthcoming: Co-authored with Richard Fahey: “Scyld and Grendel: Two Reigns of Terror” Heroic Age Journal.

Forthcoming: Review for Religion & Literature: Kathy Lavezzo: The Accommodated Jew: Anti-Semitism from Bede to Milton. Cornell University Press, 2016.

“The Hearmscaþa and the Handshake: Desire and Disruption in the Grendel Episode,” Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies. UCLA.

Beowulf: A Dramatic Translation 2004. Self-published with support from a fellowship funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Pearls: A Collection of Folklore from Hancock County. Editor and project consultant. Publication sponsored by The Mississippi Arts Commission and The Renaissance Project, 1997.


Creating Safe Space for Discussion

No Attendance? No Problem!

Teaching Observations

Honors, Awards and Affiliations


Distinguished Teaching Award, Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY). 2021

W.R. Irwin Teaching Award, University of Iowa. 2012 

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, University of Iowa. 2012 

Teaching Fellow, Professional Development Program, University of Iowa. 2009-13 

Leon Golden Teaching Award, Florida State University. 2006 

Fellow, National Writing Project Summer Seminar (Gulfport, Mississippi). 2001 


CUNY Faculty Development Award. 2017

NEH Summer Seminar on Beowulf (University of Western Michigan). 2016

NEH Summer Seminar on Narratology (University of Iowa). 2010

Humanities Fellowship on Beowulf in the Nowell Codex, Newberry Library, Chicago. 2007

Performance Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts. 2003


International Society for the Study of Early Medieval England

The Medieval Academy of America

International Association of Scholars of Mimetic Theory

Northeast Modern Language Association

Additional Information