Sonja Mayrhofer received her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa’s English Department in 2015 and joined the Rhetoric Department in 2016. She has taught a series of composition and literature classes (surveys and electives) in the University of Iowa’s English Department, Rhetoric Department, and General Education Literature Program. Thanks to her training as a medievalist, she has also taught courses for English majors centered on Chaucer, Emotion in the Middle Ages, and Arthurian literature. Her teaching in the Rhetoric Department has recently focused on the rhetoric of self-hood, both in advertising and memoirs.
Her scholarship is often interdisciplinary and is informed by her interest in comparative literature and the health humanities. Her dissertation focused on how humoral psychology influenced representations of bodies in medieval literary texts (specifically in St. Erkenwald, in Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale, in Richard Cœr de Lyon, and in Marie de France’s Yonec). Humoral psychology was not just a medical theory known to medieval medical practitioners, but also a deeply influential cosmology for the representation of bodies and emotions in literary works. Emotional complexity and its rhetorical expressions in any age and/or context continue to fascinate her and influence her teaching and writing.