We are immensely sad to announce that our dear colleague, Amanda Hopkins, died on Tuesday 19 July 2022, after a period of illness.
Amanda was a Senior Teaching Fellow in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. She was originally a medievalist who took a BA in English and European Literature at Warwick and did postgraduate study in Medieval Studies at the University of Bristol. She was highly respected in her field and had several excellent publications in this area, including a critical edition and translation of Melion and Biclarel: Two Old French Werewolf Lays (Liverpool Online Series, 2005) and two edited volumes, Sexual Culture in the Literature of Medieval Britain (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2014) and The Erotic in the Literature of Medieval Britain (D. S. Brewer, 2007).
Amanda taught across the departments of English and Comparative Literary Studies and French Studies at Warwick from the early 2000s until 2022. She also taught on the Academic Writing Programme, acted as Academic Lead for Study Skills in the SMLC and worked on several collaborative Student as Researcher projects. She was an outstanding teacher who was nominated countless times by students for Teaching Excellence awards, and she received three WATE commendations.
Amanda was an absolute live wire and her enthusiasm for her subject was absorbed by her students. She was a great facilitator and treated all her classes as workshops where students were expected to work hard and to get stuck into the texts they were studying. As well as being a brilliant teacher, Amanda was also a true intellectual and an artist with many talents. Outside of her academic work, she was a singer-songwriter who wrote and recorded three albums of music and who performed live regularly on the Coventry music scene.
Our librarian, Kate Courage, commented that Amanda’s “whole-hearted dedication to the students and their academic and personal development was remarkable and she was adored (and probably a just little bit feared, too!) by the students she supported.” Like Kate, many colleagues loved Amanda’s willingness to step up and let colleagues know what would most help the students in relation to teaching, support, reading lists and so on.
Students have been quick to let us know how instrumental Amanda was in their university training at all levels, from first-year undergraduates to final-year PhDs. Her endless enthusiasm for scansion was commented on by several colleagues, including Dr Liam Lewis, a former student who commends Amanda’s skill as a mentor: she was, he writes, “the best of teachers--strong willed, deeply committed to her subjects, willing to drive forward and chair a debate, down-to-earth, and sincere. Her students continued to engage with her online years after finishing their studies, and she maintained strong relationships with those that she had taught--a true testament to her intellectual and sociable powers.”
Amanda kept in touch with countless students: it was at the request of one of them, Fr Ryan Service, that Emma Mason (Head of ECLS) visited Amanda in her final week where she was keen to discuss the current syllabi for the Medieval, Epic, and Arthuriana courses. She was a brilliant scholar, gifted teacher, exceptional musician, and most importantly of all, a wonderful friend to many in English and French: countless colleagues have reported on her warmth during their first days as newcomers to the department, days made happier and easier due to Amanda’s charm and exuberance. She will be deeply missed by all of us and leaves an extraordinary legacy of committed scholars in her field and students who will always remember her charisma and passion.
Amanda’s was a life filled to the brim with energy, creativity, and curious engagement with the world. She embraced life fully and joyfully because she so loved these things, and she had so much more to give. She was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer in 2020 and underwent major surgery and chemotherapy during the pandemic. She was admitted to the Coventry Myton hospice for palliative care in July 2022 and died just a few days later.
Pur remembrance a tuz dis mais.
(Made for remembrance for evermore.)
From Marie de France, ‘Bisclavret’
Amanda was sent many wonderful and moving messages of gratitude from her students in the last weeks of her life. We would like to share two of them here:
I wanted to write you a message to thank you for everything. I absolutely LOVED your Modern French Thinkers class. Wednesday mornings, 9-11am, arriving in that fishbowl classroom to discuss Rousseau, De Beauvoir, Barthes (my fave)...leaving the room not really knowing what was true anymore because it's all a construct dammit! I loved it. The content was so interesting, and your teaching style suited me down to a T. You had a way of taking horrific, oh-my-jesus-christ-how-will-I-ever-understand-this concepts, and guiding us through them, sometimes leading us, sometimes pushing us in it with little more than a compass and a good luck, and telling us to figure it out for ourselves.
Thank you again, Amanda. Thank you so much.
I just wanted to write to you to say a massive thank you. Our little chats, be it after Study Skills, in Humanities Café, or even just in the corridors, will always be amongst my fondest memories of my time at Warwick. Your dedication to higher education and to us as students has been nothing short of remarkable, and I count myself lucky to have been able to attend your classes. I still refer back to your materials from the Study Skills modules even now, when a friend of mine asks me for some advice, or if I simply need a reminder. Your vivacity, your razor-sharp wit, and your strength of mind are truly infectious, and would always pick me up if I were feeling low. I'm just sorry that we never got to properly say goodbye at the end of my degree. I'll be raising a large glass of wine in your honour tonight, and thinking back on happy times. SMLC won't be the same without you.