Patricia L MacKinnon

Patricia MacKinnon

Position Title
Lecturer Emerita of Comparative Literature

Comparative Literature


Education and Degrees

  • Ph.D. University of California, Santa Cruz
  • B.A. University of California, Irvine

Course(s) Taught

  • Chivalry: Crusades, Chanson de Geste, Troubadour Poetry, and Chivalric Romance (Medieval Studies)
  • Dante’s Divine Comedy (Humanities Program)
  • Dante’s Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso, and Vita Nuova (University Honors Program)
  • Literature of Fantasy and the Supernatural (Comparative Literature)
  • World Literature Major texts (core series):  Ancient World through Post-Modernity (Comparative Literature)
  • Writing for Prospective Teachers (University Writing Program)


Patricia L. MacKinnon completed her Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Cruz in Comparative Literature where she studied multiple languages and literatures.  Her doctoral dissertation, entitled The Analogy of the Body Politic, written under the direction of Robert M. Durling, pursued a history of ideas approach tracing the psyche/polis correlation as the governing rhetorical and heuristic device in a series of intertextually linked writers from Classical Antiquity through the Renaissance, specifically Plato, Virgil, St. Augustine, Dante, Petrarch, and Ariosto.  Over the last 40 years Dr. MacKinnon has taught broadly based, globally conceived Humanities, Liberal Arts, and Comparative Literature programs at UCLA, Stanford, St. Lawrence, and Clarkson universities.  As a member of the Comparative Literature Department at UC Davis for two decades, she also taught for Medieval Studies, the Humanities Program, the Honors College, the First Year Seminars, and the University Writing Program.  She served on numerous departmental and university committees and as the Graduate Advisor in pedagogy in Comparative Literature.  As an Emerita faculty member, she has enjoyed continuing to offer courses on “Reading Dante’s Divine Comedy”. []