Higley's primary interests lie in northern medieval literatures with an early emphasis on language, linguistics, and poetic structure. Her later work in fantasy and science fiction led her to explore medieval and modern notions of magic, machinery, monstrosity, and artifice. Her recent publications investigate the early origins of the werewolf, the medieval concept of the "robot," and manifestations throughout time of "simulacra"—lately, miniatures and artificial languages. This last interest has inspired her book on Hildegard of Bingen's "Lingua Ignota." In the meantime, Higley is investigating the educational possibilities of New Media, especially that of immersive environments and Virtual Realities.
- Medieval vernacular languages and literature of Northern Europe
- film and media studies