pedagogy

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Overview:

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 axis 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.  In particular, I teach 1) through discussions, which ask how broad concepts are represented, challenged, and nuanced in visual and literary texts, 2) through experiential learning opportunities that often allow more theoretical thinking to emerge as a result of praxis, exploration, and physical encounters with material, and 3) through interdisciplinary thinking and writing.

Student Works:

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Courses:
Macalester College:
ENGL137 Novel: On Beauty, Fall 2016
This course explores the concept of beauty in its many forms, from feelings associated with beautiful places and people to the history of visual attraction and attention. Reading novels from the nineteenth century to the present, we will learn to see beauty from different perspectives and to ask how the visible world intersects with larger social issues. For example, can the beautiful be political? What happens to nature’s beauty in an era of environmental crisis? And how are shifting gender norms redefining beauty in today’s world? The novels we will study critique and analyze these issues even as they revel in the complexity of beauty across time, space, artistic forms, media, and cultures.

ENGL240 20th Century British Literature: The Politics of Place, Fall 2016
In this course, students will pay particular attention to how literary texts can illuminate relationships between place and the political. We will ask, for instance, how twentieth-century British and Irish texts suggest interactions between built environments (e.g. museums, estate houses, or operating rooms) and processes of social and political change (e.g. world wars, revolution, mass protest, or the rise of the welfare state). We will also ask, in a related manner, how texts illuminate natural spaces (e.g. bogs, rivers, or islands) as politicized, from providing sites of nostalgia and romance to offering metaphors for civilization and the primitive. In addition to writing several essays, students will collaborate on a PlaceMaking final project.

Emory University: 
ENG211 Make it New: Modern Art and Literature, Fall 2014
A seminar in which students learn about the history of modern art movements (Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Futurism, Cubism, etc.) and apply that knowledge, from thematics to form and technique, to literary texts through hands-on art-making, advanced writing, and discussion. Students visited a Cezanne exhibit at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA, and collaborated on video critiques of a work from the collection.
http://modernartandliterature.wordpress.com/
Named one of the semester’s “coolest classes” by the Emory Report

ENG181 Literature, Space, and Gender, Spring 2013
A freshmen seminar in “Writing About Literature.” Students read fiction, poetry, graphic novels, and theoretical texts that explore the social relationships between gender and built environments, landscapes, and metaphorical spaces. Students participated in a unit on artists’ books conducted in the rare books library, in addition to visiting Andalusia, Flannery O’Connor’s home.
http://literaturespaceandgender.wordpress.com/

ENG101 Culture, Body, Vision: The Rhetoric of Advertising, Fall 2012
A freshmen writing seminar in which students explore a range of literary, critical, and pop cultural works that engage with the ideas of advertising, consumer culture, and commercial art. Students studied Victorian yellowback novels in the rare books library and wrote several papers. The class also connected with the creative head of a non-profit via Skype to talk about promotional materials and fundraising. They then collectively decided how to invest a grant-funded class donation in the organization.
http://rhetoricofadvertising.wordpress.com/

ENG181 British and Irish Modernisms, Summer 2012
A “Writing About Literature” seminar that investigates literary modernism as an aesthetic, cultural, and intellectual movement and examines contemporary visual and literary responses to modernist texts. Students were oriented to modernism through a class held in the rare books library and discussed a film, graphic novel, novels, short fiction, dramatic monologue, and poetry.
http://britishandirishmodernisms.wordpress.com/