Michael Ovens

Dr Michael Ovens is an early career researcher working in the literature, history and performance of interpersonal violence in the medieval and early modern period. His doctoral thesis, Discourse in Steel: Aspects of Interpersonal Violence, Anxiety, and the Negotiation of Masculine Identity in Western European Literature, 1100–1600, was completed in 2016 with a Top-Up scholarship from the ARC Centre for the History of Emotions (CHE) and described as ‘of the highest merit, at the forefront of international PhDs in the field’ by one reviewer. He has published in several top-ranked international journals (including Viator, Parergon and Cahiers Elisabéthains) and has received a number of individual and collaborative grants in support of his research.

Alongside his traditional scholarly outputs, Michael is an active developer of educational and research software for the HTC Vive virtual reality (VR) platform. He has been supported in this research by The University of Western Australia’s Centre for Education Futures and West Australian Network for Dissemination who are funding the development and evaluation of Thine Enemy, a motion-controlled experience derived from his doctoral thesis, and Bodyblocks, a tool for visualising and exploring the human body in three dimensions at an undergraduate level. In 2018, Michael is building some medical education VR apps, and is developing an indie PC game that takes his doctoral research into historical martial arts and translates it into a mass-market edutainment game.

Michael completed UWA’s competitive Postgraduate Teaching Internship Scheme in 2014 before going on to tutor and lecture in various units. He was a founding member of Ceræ: An Australasian Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, whose first issue was sponsored by CHE, and is a practitioner and researcher of historical European martial arts.


Acaemia.edu Profile


The Forms of Things Unknown: Narrative Geometries in Medieval and Early Modern Literature
The Nonviolence of Violence
Discourse in Steel


‘Masculine Identity and the Rustics of Romance’. Viator 47.1 (2016): 45‒66.

‘Violence and Transgression in Chrétien de Troyes’ Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion’. Parergon 32.1 (2015): 53‒76.

Thine Enemy: A motion-controlled educational experience for the HTC Vive virtual reality platform in which students duck, parry and swing at virtual opponents in order to discover the physical and emotional realities of medieval combat. (In development)