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Office: Merrifield 1C
Phone: (701) 777-6392
Spring 2013 Office Hours:
- Ph.D., English, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2003
Women's Studies Graduate Minor
Certification in Critical Theory, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
- M.D. required coursework completed, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
passed USMLE Step 1 Examination, 1995
As an undergraduate I was free simply to take courses that interested me. Eventually my advisor asked me whether I was going to sign up to take the MCAT or the GRE, and I saw that I had pursued two avenues of study: English/classics and pre-med (sciences). I wound up taking both tests and ultimately joined the Medical Scholars Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where I was a graduate student in the English department, a medical student, and an interdisciplinary medical scholar.
Finishing two doctorates takes a long time, and I had two children along the way. After finishing my PhD, I decided to try the academic job market before finishing my medical clerkships and residency. I was lucky to become an Assistant Professor at a small liberal arts college in Salem, Oregon. Teaching at Willamette University for three years was a great experience, but couldn't offer my academic spouse the same opportunities. We came to the University of North Dakota in 2005.
My history informs my philosophy as a UND professor in three ways. First, I want students to cross boundaries. My approach is interdisciplinary, and I hope for students to analyze lots of things in their lives as if they were texts. Second, I encourage students to explore their own interests, even if their connections don't seem to make sense at first (like English and medicine). Students often design their own writing projects, for instance. Third, I try to situate learning in the larger life context of the student as a person.
The two things I most appreciate about UND are the range of opportunities and the open intellectual community. I enjoy working closely with students at all levels, from incoming first-years to PhD students. I feel like I am in a situation similar to most students: UND is big enough to offer me a lot of different opportunities (like teaching in the medical school or the First-Year Experience program), and small enough to provide the support needed to take advantage of them.
My research tends to center on bodies, bringing together my background in medical science and critical theory. Whether I am analyzing seventeenth-century British texts or recent films, I examine the cultural construction of bodies and their meanings. I further seek out the theoretical implications of textual readings, such as the resonances of Margaret Cavendish's utopian science fiction with contemporary feminist theorizations of material science. I also have a strong interest in curricular development, and have published in this area on medical education.
- "Genetic Crossing: Imagining Tribal Identity and Nation in Gerald Vizenor's Heirs of Columbus," authored with Christopher Nelson, SAIL 23.1, Spring 2011.
- "The Importance of the Subjective as Argued in Margaret Cavendish's 'A Woman Drest by Age'," Academic Medicine 85.8: 1338-9, August 2010.
- Review essay on Novel Notions: Medical Discourse and the Mapping of the Imagination in Eighteenth-Century Fiction by Katherine Kickel, Eighteenth-Century Fiction 22(3): 565-6, Spring 2010.
- "Seeking Common Ground between Medical Humanities and the Basic Sciences" Academic Medicine 84(10): 1323, October 2009.
- "Some Lessons on Reflective Practice in Medical Education," Patient Education and Counseling 77: 4-5, August 2009.
- "Allegory as Historical and Theoretical Model of Scientific Medicine: Sex and the Making of the Modern Body in Phineas Fletcher's The Purple Island," Literature and Medicine 27.2: 175-203, Fall 2008 (published Fall 2009).
- I have had the good fortune to be part of UND's efforts to develop students' first-year experience. I teach a first-year seminar (FYS) tailored to new students who are interested in the health sciences (identified as a "Faculty Star" by a Presidential Scholar in this course in 2012), and I serve on the FYS Planning Committee.
- I work with colleagues across campus to develop Women and Gender Studies here at UND. I serve on the Executive Council and chair the Curriculum Committee, which helps to shape this interdisciplinary program.
- I have intensive experience with both the MCAT and the GRE writing sections. If you are preparing for one of these graduate exams or have questions, I can help!
Courses Recently Taught
- Seminar in English Literature: Theorizing Milton and Spenser (ENG 531)
- Problems in Literary Criticism: Theorizing Bodies (ENG 511)
- History of Literary Criticism and Theory (ENG 510)
Advanced topics courses:
- Trans-forming the World: Feminist Theory (ENG 417/AS 480)
- Fluid Sexualities: Queer Theory and Literature (ENG 415, ES capstone)
- Reading Reproduction (ENG 415, ES capstone)
- Literature and Culture: Reading the Body: Science, Culture, Text (ENG 369)
- Women Writers and Readers: Conceiving of Author-ity (ENG 357)
- "First comes love, then comes marriage": Gender and the Rise of the Novel (ENG 330)
Core English classes:
- Shakespeare: The Early Years (ENG 315)
- Survey of British Literature I (ENG 301)
- Literary Analysis II: Introduction to Critical Theory (ENG 272)
- Literary Analysis I: Reading and Writing about Texts (ENG 271)
- Introduction to Literature and Culture: Health/Science (ENG 227)
- Introduction to the Study of Women (AS/WGS 225)
- Introductory Composition (ENG 110)
- From House to WebMD: Diagnosing Health (UNI 110, First-Year Experience Seminar)
Originally from southeastern Wisconsin, I did my undergraduate work at Grinnell College in Iowa (B.A. with Honors, English and pre-medical with Classics concentration,1991). That's where I met my spouse, who also became an English professor (Chris Nelson). We were very happy that UND offered us the opportunity to work in the same department and stay in the Midwest.
Four kids who are very active in sports, music, and the arts keep me very busy. We love to spend time outdoors biking or swimming. I wind up traveling a fair amount for my daughter's regional and national gymnastics competitions and for family fun, and I take a lot of pictures. We have a big old house and a yard full of flowers that take a lot of work as well. I play the cello and am a voracious reader of fantasy and movie watcher.