Often when I’m planning a class, a line by Borges comes to mind: “A Book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.” Intensive study of literary texts forms the core of my pedagogical approach, and I challenge students to undertake close readings that are both rigorous and creative. By extension, I often use inquiry-guided approaches to show students the innumerable relationships that proliferate as a result of close literary analysis. I define and incorporate engaged learning in a range of contexts, using a variety of methods that enrich students’ experiences both within and outside the literature classroom.
As a product of my research, I’ve developed a hands-on approach to creativity and critical thinking in the literature classroom. Students make visual mini-podcasts in response to a randomly selected “provocation on beauty” in ENG137. They collage their final research paper topic on British multiculturalism in ENG341. After learning from a visiting lecturer, a book cover designer for Graywolf press, students in one class made original book covers for a novel from the syllabus. Students in ENG240 put their academic interest in water and the environment to work at Fort Snelling State Park on a trash clean-up service learning project by the Mississippi River. Other projects include art installations, paintings in response to Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, a pop-up maker space visit to study literary theory, erasure poems, working with artists’ books and rare books archives, and various digital-critical making projects.
I occasionally post photos of in-class projects on Instagram.
Courses I teach:
ENGL294: Beyond the Pale: Irish Caribbean Connections, Fall ’18
ENGL137: On Beauty, Spring ’18, Fall ’17, Fall ’16
ENGL400: Virginia Woolf: Film, Theory, Media (Capstone), Fall ’17
ENGL341: The Multicultural British Novel, Fall ’17
ENGL240: 20th British Literature: The Politics of Place, Fall ’16, Spring ’17
ENGL294: Bloomsbury to Brexit: British Literature and Visual Culture, Spring ’17
ENGL211: Make it New: Modern Art & Literature (Literature & the Other Arts), Fall ’14
ENGL181: Literature, Space, and Gender (Writing About Literature), Spring ’13
ENGL101: Culture/Body/Vision: Rhetorics of Advertising (Expository Writing), Fall ’12
ENGL181: British and Irish Modernisms (Writing About Literature), Summer ’12