Ann Astell, a member of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, is a specialist in spirituality and medieval English literature. She obtained her Ph.D. in 1987 (on The Song of Songs in the Middle Ages) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison after having graduated with her M.A. (1979-1981) from Marquette University.
Her distinguished fellowships include one at the Center of Theological Inquiry Fellowship, 2010-2011, Princeton, NJ and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (in Religion), 2001-2002.
She was Professor of English and chair of Medieval Studies at Purdue University before becoming Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame in 2007.
She is President of the international Colloquium on Violence and Religion and a past Board member and President of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality.
She is the author of the following books:
The Song of Songs in the Middle Ages (1990),
- Job, Boethius, and Epic Truth (1994),
- Chaucer and the Universe of Learning (1996),
- Political Allegory in Late Medieval England (1999),
- Joan of Arc and Sacrificial Authorship (2003).
- Eating Beauty: The Eucharist and the Spiritual Arts of the Middle Ages (2006).
She is also the editor or co-editor of five volumes on topics related to historical Christian spirituality, including
Lay Sanctity, Medieval and Modern: A Search for Models (2000);
- Joan of Arc and Spirituality (2003, with Bonnie Wheeler);
- Levinas and Medieval Literature: The “Difficult Reading” of English and Rabbinic Texts (2009, with Justin Jackson)
- Sacrifice, Scripture, and Substitution: Readings in Ancient Judaism and Christianity (with Sandor Goodhart, 2011).
Other publications include articles in Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (2012), Franciscan Studies (2009) and in Contagion: Journal of Violence, Mimesis, and Culture (2009).