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Office: Merrifield 100E
Phone: (701) 777-4306
Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana:
Ph.D. in English, 1995 (Major field: American Literature. Minor field: Composition Studies).
M.A. in English, 1988.
A.B. with Honors in English, 1985.
I grew up in Nebraska and Indiana and went to college at Indiana University in Bloomington. As a high school senior, I thought I was going to be a political science major, but quickly decided that I really preferred the kinds of issues and ideas we were discussing in my literature classes. By my second year of college, I had decided to major in English and by my third year I knew I wanted to go to graduate school. I ended up staying in Bloomington for work on my Masters/PhD, after completing my undergraduate degree. While my primary area in graduate school was the study of American literature in cultural and political contexts, I soon discovered how much I enjoyed teaching and became very interested in courses in Rhetoric/Composition, primarily because that field helped me think about how to make my teaching practices consistent with my larger teaching goals. Eventually, Rhetoric and Composition became my PhD minor and I took advantage of several opportunities to work with other graduate students on projects and issues concerned with the teaching of writing.
After leaving graduate school, I took a position as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Mississippi for four years. I then left for an Assistant Professor position at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster. I was there for three years before coming to UND in 2001. UND has been a great fit for me, because I have been able to explore a lot of interests in the literature courses I have taught: young adult literature, contemporary women's writing, the romance, film theory, and theories of the gaze. At the same time, I have been able to work with my interests in Composition and the teaching of writing by becoming the Academic Director of Composition for several years.
I teach in a lot of different areas in 19th and 20th century American literature and culture including women's literature, African-American literature, and regionalism. My research tends to take a cultural studies approach to late 19th century literature; in particular, I have been exploring how theories of the sentimental help us to understand more about the construction of race in novels written during and after American Reconstruction. This project led me into looking at the construction of region and race in a contemporary popular novel, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and recently I have continued to explore contemporary culture by working on two essays that examine the workings of ideology in two recent television miniseries: Mildred Pierce and Downton Abbey. My PhD minor was in Rhetoric/Composition, and I have also published two essays on pedagogy and composition theory.
“Domesticating Desire: Fantasy and Social Change in Downton Abbey and Upstairs,Downstairs.” Exploring Downton Abbey. Ed. Scott Stoddart. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Publishing, forthcoming.
"'The lamp in Mildred’s living room': James M. Cain's Mildred Pierce and Veblen’s Conspicuous Consumption.” PLL 52.3 (2016): 255-290.
Writing Reconstruction: Racial Fluidity and National Reunion in the Romance of the Republic.” ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance, 61.4, 2015: 599-634.
"Charles Chesnutt's 'The Dumb Witness' and the Culture of Segregation." (co-authored with Eric A. Wolfe). African American Review, 42.1 (spring 2008): 61-73.
Reprinted in Representing Segregation: Toward an Aesthetics of Living Jim Crow. Eds. Brian Norman and Piper Kendrix Williams. SUNY Press, 2010: 57-72.
"Bodies, Southern Nostalgia, and the Construction of Whiteness in Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya
Sisterhood." The Journal of Popular Culture. 42.6 (2009): 1115-1133.
"Writing on Boundaries: A Cultural Studies Approach to Literature and Writing Instruction" (co-authored with Eric A. Wolfe). Integrating Literature and Writing Instruction: First-year English, Humanities Core Courses, Seminars. Eds. Judith H. Anderson and Christine Farris. New York: Modern Language Association, 2007. 195-210.
"An 'imperceptible infusion' of Blood: Iola Leroy, Racial Identity and Sentimental Discourse." Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture 37 (2004): 433-460.
"Region and Race: National Identity and the Southern Past." A Companion to The Regional Literatures of America. Ed. Charles L. Crow. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003. 57-73. (Invited Essay).
"Writing Reconstruction: Race and 'Visualist Ideology' in Whitelaw Reid's After the War." Journal of Narrative Theory. 29.1 (1999): 85-109.
"'Why, why do we not write our side?': Gender and Southern Self-Representation in Grace King's Balcony Stories." Breaking Boundaries: New Perspectives on Regional Writing. Ed. Sherrie A. Inness and Diana Royer. U of Iowa P, 1997. 54-71.
"'This Could Have Been Me': Composition and the Implications of Cultural Perspective." Cultural Studies in the English Classroom. Ed. James A. Berlin and Michael J. Vivion. Portsmouth: Boynton, 1992.
Recent Courses Taught
The Politics of Sympathy: Nineteenth-Century American Sentimental Literature, Teaching College English, Teaching College English Practicum.
Specialized Undergraduate Courses:
Introduction to Literature and Culture: "Romance in Fiction and Film."
Women Writers and Readers: "The Gaze and the Politics of Objectification" and "Representing Sexuality."
Black American Writers: "Revising Slavery."
Additional Undergraduate Courses:
Young Adult Literature, Introduction to Literary Criticism, Survey of American Literature, College Composition I, and Business and Technical Writing.
I met my husband, Eric Wolfe, in graduate school and we have been very lucky to both be able to teach and work in the same department. We have two children, a daughter currently studying theatre in college and a son in high school. To a certain extent, our children's hobbies have become our family's hobbies: our daughter has been very interested in musical theater and our son loves baseball. We, therefore, go to as many shows as we can and we end up watching a lot baseball! Our son plays soccer, basketball, and baseball so we are also pretty frequently at his games. I continue to be interested in politics. I studied ballet and, while in graduate school, danced with a community modern dance company, so I have been happy to have the opportunity to regularly take ballet classes here at UND.