About Jesus College/Our community/ People
Dr Ayoush Lazikani

Roles and subjects

Lecturer in English



Academic Background

DPhil, MSt, BA

Ayoush completed her BA, MSt, and D.Phil at the University of Oxford (St Hilda’s College). Her doctorate (completed 2013) was supervised by Dr Annie Sutherland, and it was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Undergraduate Teaching

Ayoush is a SEDA-accredited tutor; she teaches, lectures, and examines in the following areas:

Old English (Prelims Paper 2; FHS Course II Paper 1)

Middle English, including lectures on the core commentary text Troilus and Criseyde (FHS Course I Paper 2 and Course II Papers 2 & 3)

Andalusian lyric (Course II Paper 2)

Various dissertation topics in Old English and Middle English – including saints’ lives, devotional literature, medieval drama, Arthurian romance, and Beowulf (Paper 7)

In previous years, she has also co-taught the Paper 6 option ‘History of Emotions, c. 650-1700’

Postgraduate Teaching

Ayoush teaches the Masters course ‘Contemplative Worlds, 700-1450’ (which looks at medieval contemplative writing in Christian and Islamic traditions), and she supervises graduate dissertations in medieval emotion, spirituality, and gender.

Research Interests

As a researcher, Ayoush works in the history of emotions, specializing in devotional writing of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries. Her research considers English, Arabic, Anglo-Norman, Latin, and Persian texts, and she has particular interests in literature written for solitary contemplatives.


Ayoush’s first book, Cultivating the Heart: Feeling and Emotion in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Religious Texts (University of Wales Press, 2015), studies the languages of feeling—especially the interrelated affections of compassion, love, and sorrow—in texts and church wall paintings.


Her second book, Cry of the Turtledove: Emotion in Christian and Islamic Contemplative Texts, c. 1100-1250 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), is situated within the growing emphasis on ‘globalization’ in medieval studies, and it offers close comparative analyses of affect in medieval Arabic and English contemplative texts. In this book, Ayoush develops a framework for comparative work on affect which she calls ‘avian emotion’. An approach of ‘avian emotion’ invites us to gaze across cultures as well as within them, migrating from one to the other with sensitivity. Just as a bird flies across continents and nations, a comparative study seeks to become a kind of flight, moving across regions while remaining sensitive to the specific rhythms of the surrounding environment.


Ayoush has additionally published numerous essays in the Journal of Medieval Religious Cultures, the Journal of Medieval Monastic Studies, Leeds Studies in English, and various edited collections.


She is an Associate Editor for the Palgrave Encyclopedia of Medieval Women’s Writing in the Global Middle Ages.

Selected Publications


  1. Emotion in Christian and Islamic Contemplative Texts, 1100-1250: Cry of the Turtledove (New Middle Ages Series, Palgrave Macmillan, 2021)
  2. Cultivating the Heart: Feeling and Emotion in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Religious Texts (Religion and Culture in the Middle Ages Series, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2015)

Articles and chapters:

  1. ‘Tear-Language: Weeping as Resistance in Islamic and Christian Contemplative Hagiography’, in Global Medieval Women’s Mysticism, ed. Abir Bazaz and Alexandra Verini (forthcoming).
  2. ‘Speaking Across the Stars: Parallel Affective Communities in Islamic and Christian Hagiography’, in Medieval Women’s Writing: Speaking Internationally, ed. Liz Herbert McAvoy and Sue Niebrzydowski, with Vicki Kay and Kathryn Loveridge (forthcoming).
  3. ‘Of Loves Both Spoken and Silent: Rābiʿa al-ʿAdawiyya and the Wooing Group’, in Giving Voice to Silence (a volume in memory and celebration of Catherine Innes-Parker), ed. Cate Gunn, Liz Herbert McAvoy, and Naoë Kukita Yoshikawa (forthcoming).
  4. ‘Encompassment in Love: Rābiʿa of Basra in Dialogue with Julian of Norwich’, Journal of Medieval Religious Cultures 46.2 (2020), 115-136.
  5. ‘Sea-Water in Flame: Compunction in the Lambeth and Trinity Homilies’, in Cultures of Compunction in the Medieval World, ed. Graham Williams and Charlotte Steenbrugge (London: Bloomsbury, 2020), pp. 103-117.
  6. ‘What Grace in Presence: Affective Literacies in The Chastising of God’s Children and Church Wall Paintings’, in Late Medieval Devotional Compilations in England, ed. Marleen Cré, Diana Denissen, and Denis Renevey (Turnhout: Brepols, 2020), pp. 319-335.
  7. ‘Moving Lights: An Affective Reading of On leome is in this world ilist and Church Wall Paintings’, in Middle English Lyrics: New Readings of Short Poems, ed. Julia Boffey and Christiania Whitehead (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2018), pp. 31-44.
  8. ‘The Vagabond Mind: Depression and the Medieval Anchorite’, Journal of Medieval Monastic Studies 6 (2017), 141-68.
  9. ‘Seeking Intimacy in the Wooing Group’, Journal of Medieval Religious Cultures 43.2 (2017), 157-85.
  10. ‘The Wounded Beloved: Affective Wounding in Ancrene Wisse and the Wooing Group’, Leeds Studies in English, New Series 47 (2016), 115-35.
  11. ‘Liminal Performance in Hali Meiðhad’, Journal of Medieval Religious Cultures 42.1 (2016), 28-43.
  12. ‘Remembrance and Time in the Wooing Group’, in Reconsidering Gender, Time and Memory in Medieval Culture, ed. Elizabeth Cox, Liz Herbert McAvoy and Roberta Magnani (Cambridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2015), pp. 79-94.


  1. Reviewer for Year’s Work in English Studies:
    ‘Early Middle English’
    ‘Middle English Religious Verse’
  2. Review of Medieval Anchorites in their Communities, ed. Liz Herbert McAvoy and Cate Gunn (Cambridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2017): Journal of Medieval Monastic Studies 7 (2018), 329-332.
  3. Review of Speculum Inclusorum: A Mirror for Recluses, ed. E. A. Jones, Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013):  JEGP 114.4 (2015), 596-99.

Encyclopaedia entry:

  1. ‘Katherine Group’, in the Palgrave Encyclopedia of Medieval Women’s Writing in the Global Middle Ages, ed. Diane Watt, Liz Herbert McAvoy, and Michelle Sauer et al (forthcoming).


Subject notes for courses taught at Jesus College:

See also Dr Lazikani’s profile on the Faculty of English website.