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Office: Merrifield 1E
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B.A. Clemson University, English
M.A. Winthrop University, English
Ph.D. University of Kentucky , English
When I came to UND in 2004 from Michigan State, where I was a Visiting Assistant Professor, I had only stepped foot in North Dakota once before: for my on-campus interview. I wasn't sure how a South Carolina native like myself was going to adapt to the extreme climate, but I've surprised myself with how comfortable I feel in Grand Forks and at the University of North Dakota and how quickly this has become home for myself and my husband (also a professor here at UND, in Educational Foundations and Research).
I am a postcolonialist, meaning someone who studies colonialism and its aftermath, in my case in places that used to be British colonies. This work takes me away from my ND home for part of each year, traveling to work in archives and to learn more about the cultures of these other places about which I write and teach. I've been lucky to travel the world for my work, going to Australia, South Africa, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy, and China. My hope is to next find some project that will take me to New Zealand, and then maybe the Caribbean and South America.
This travel is important to my research, which typically compares literatures from different parts of the world in order to investigate the psychology of colonialism, especially how literature plays a role in colonization and postcolonization. My work investigates why people who are engaged in colonization read certain books and how particular repeated stories can help pave the way for empire by making it seem more palatable. For instance, my first book, Empire Islands: Castaways, Cannibals and Fantasies of Conquest (Minnesota UP, 2007), looks at how the archetypal story of the castaway stranded on an island—like Robinson Crusoe—helped to make colonization of non-island spaces seem natural by connecting control of the island space to the natural command of one's body. This book also explores how fears of losing control of colonies are mediated by stories of pirates, monsters, cannibals, and going native.
My current book, tentatively titled Frontier Fictions: Settler Stories and the Origins of White Guilt, builds on Empire Islands by also looking at how literature made way for colonization. Frontier Fictions, however, looks at another population involved in colonization: settlers who stayed in the colonized space after the end of colonization. Frontier Fictions looks at stories about what I call "contact settlement," meaning the first wave of settlers landing in the "new world," before they could ignore the presence of the indigenous people they were displacing, before the indigenous people were moved out of sight into reservations or killed off. This book looks at the stories these settlers told themselves/about themselves as functioning like defense mechanisms, which are, psychologists say, stories that individuals tell themselves to deny, distort, project, or process uncomfortable emotions. I have identified five types of stories (about settler heroes, indigenous Others, the landscape, animals, and children) running through 19th century contact settler literatures of Australia, South Africa, Canada, and the United States, stories that act as defense mechanisms for the larger culture, helping the larger colonizing society manage the guilt inherent in displacing indigenous people, enabling colonization to progress. This book is in progress with publication anticipated in 2014.
In the mean time, I am co-editing a collection with Peter Hulme of Essex University, Postcolonial Film: History, Empire, Resistance, and I am continuing my work with The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, moving from Book Reviews Editor to Associate Editor beginning in spring of 2013. In addition to several essays in progress, I have a solo-authored third book planned that would continue the work begun in Empire Islands and Frontier Fictions by analyzing stories told by indigenous people processing their own painful experience of colonization.
I also teach about the literature of these far flung places I write about in a range of courses on the undergraduate and graduate levels, including introductory postcolonial studies courses, courses on empire and film, and general education courses on literatures of global diversity. Though I especially value my work with English majors and English graduate students, I also very much appreciate the opportunity to work with undergraduates from departments across the University in my global diversity courses. It's wonderful that UND includes global diversity as one of its Essential Studies goals. Reading literature produced outside of the United States should be a part of the cultural education of every American, for by studying others we can not only better understand them and become more sensitive and responsible neighbors, but we also better ourselves through the comparison. I recommend international travel for my students, too, and am a big supporter of study abroad and student Fulbright programs. Though I am proud of the students I have converted into postcolonialists, I am as proud of those who went on to other careers who had their worldview changed by exposure to other cultures in my classes.
My other work on campus also tends to center on international issues, such as my work as a Board Member of the Center for Human Rights and Genocide Studies and a member of an interdisciplinary postcolonial research circle. My service work also tends to highly involve students, such as my position as co-advisor of the Adelphi Literary Society and the Sigma Tau Delta honor society.
Postcolonial studies and comparative literature; nineteenth and twentieth-century British and Irish literature; Australian, South African and Canadian literatures; film
Empire Islands: Castaways, Cannibals, and Fantasies of Conquest in Post/Colonial Island Narratives, University of Minnesota Press, 2007.
Selected Poems of Robert Greacen. Edited by Jack Weaver and Rebecca Weaver-Hightower. Knockeven, Ireland: Salman Press, 2006.
Essays and Essay-Length Pieces:
"Teaching Kate Grenville's The Secret River" with Marguerite Nolan, Australian Catholic University. Teaching Australian and New Zealand Literature. Eds. Nicholas Birns, Nicole Moore, and Sarah Shieff. MLA Options for Teaching series. Modern Language Association. Forthcoming, 2014.
"Settlers and Their Literature." (5000 word essay) Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz eds. Walden MA: Wiley-Blackwell. In press, 2013.
"'Before God This Was Their Country': History and Guilt in Stuart Cloete's Turning Wheels and the Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria," English in Africa. In press, 40.3 (October 2013).
"Tomb Raider Archaeologists and the Exhumation of the U.S. Neoimperial Cinematic Fantasy" The Journal of Popular Culture. In press, 46.1 (2013).
"The Frontier Landscape and Guilty Settler in Nineteenth Century Colonial Literature," Geocritical Explorations: Space, Place, and Mapping in Literary and Cultural Studies. Ed. Robert Tally. New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2011: 123-138.
"Islands and the Narrating of Possession," (translated into Hebrew), essay for Islands exhibit catalogue, Museums of Bat Yam, Israel, 2010.
"The Sorry Novels: Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda, Greg Matthews' The Wisdom of Stones and Kate Grenville's The Secret River" in Postcolonial Issues in Australian Literature, ed. Nathanael O'Reilly, Cambria Press, 2010: 129-156.
"Children's Literature and African Studies," Invited essay-review of Elwyn Jenkins National Character in South African English Children's Literature (Routledge 2006) and Vivia Yenika-Agbaw's Representing Africa in Children's Literature: Old and New Ways of Seeing (Routledge 2007) for Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies, 9. 4 (2008): 469-474.
"Revising the Vanquish: Indigenous Perspectives of Colonial Encounter," in a special issue "Postcolonial Revisions" of Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, 6. 2 (2006): 84-102.
"Cast Away & Survivor: The Rebirth of the Castaway and the Rebirth of Empire," in Journal of Popular Culture, 39.2 (2006): 294-317.
"Islands Still 'In Between': Caribbean Liminal Space, Language, and Self-Definition," in Journal of Caribbean Studies, 19.3 (2005): 171-188.
"Interview with Robert Anderson, Gheebelum Ngugi." in Antipodes: An American Journal of Australian Studies, 18.2 (2004): 98-103.
"Voracious Cannibals, Rapacious Pirates, and the Empire Island" in Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, 8.1-2 (2002): 81-107.
(as "Rebecca Weaver") "Yeats's Imagined East and Ireland in the Postcolonial Context" in Yeats and Postcolonialism, ed. Deborah Flemming. Locust Hill Press, 2000: 301-329.
Book Reviews and Shorter Pieces:
Conrad's Trojan Horses: Imperialism, Hybridity and the Postcolonial Aesthetic. Tom Henthorne. North Dakota Quarterly, 75.3-4 (2008), 320-322.
For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook. Wilson, Angela Cavender and Michael Yellow Bird. North Dakota Quarterly, 74.2 (2007): 182-184.
Travelling Knowledges: Positioning the Im/Migrant Reader of Aboriginal Literatures in Canada. Renate Eigenbrod, North Dakota Quarterly, 73.1-2 (2006): 286-288.
Cultural Memory: Reconfiguring History and Identity in the Postcolonial Pacific, edited by Jeannette Marie Mageo; and Represented Communities: Fiji and World Decolonization, edited by John D. Kelly and Martha Kaplan. Journal of Asian Studies 61.3 (2002): 1112-1115.
"Jamaica Kincaid" entry for The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies. John C. Hawley, ed. Greenwood, 2001.
Impossible Purities: Blackness, Femininity and Victorian Culture, by Jennifer DeVere Brody. Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 2.3 (2001): 455-456.
Cannibalism and the Colonial World, edited by Francis Barker, Peter Hulme and Margaret Iverson. Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies 6.2 (1999): 144-148.
The Sign of the Cannibal: Melville and the Making of a Postcolonial Reader, by Geoffrey Sanborne. Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. 1.4 (1999): 631-632.
Beyond Postcolonial Theory, by E. San Juan. Journal of Caribbean Studies 14.1 (1999): 129-130.
Colonial Discourse/Postcolonial Theory, edited by Francis Barker, Peter Hulme and Margaret Iversen. Journal of Caribbean Studies 13.2 (1998): 140-143.
Journal Special Issue:
"Postcolonial Australia," co-editor of special issue of The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies with Nathanial O'Reilly. 17.1 (spring 2012).
Frontier Fictions: Settler Stories and the Origins of White Guilt, book manuscript comparing the settler literatures of Australia, Canada, South Africa and the US for how they cope with or deny imperial guilt. This book uses 20th and 21st century texts examining colonial psychology (like Kate Grenville's The Secret River) or post-colonial guilt (like JM Coetzee's Disgrace) as a springboard to trace the origins of settler guilt and ambivalence in 19th century novels and diaries.
Phases of the research accomplished to date include:
- Drafting of the book's introduction and four out of five chapters.
- Two grant-funded research trips to South Africa to do archival research at the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and to work in various South African libraries, including the National English Language Museum.
- Grant-funded research trip to Peterborough, Ontario, Canada to work with the archives of Susannah Moody and Catherine Parr Traill.
- Grant-funded research trip to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to work in the Library and Archives Canada.
- Three grant-funded research trips to Australia to work in libraries and with museums and monument sites.
- Richard Morrison at University of Minnesota Press has asked to see chapters.
Postcolonial Film: History, Empire, Resistance. Co-editor of collection on postcolonial film with Peter Hulme, University of Essex, England. Under consideration at three publishers, who expressed interest.
"The South African Postcolonial Hybrid in District 9," essay to be published in Postcolonial Film: History, Empire, Resistance.
Book Reviews & Essay Reviews Editor, Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies (2003-2013).
Associate Editor, Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies (2013+)
Assistant editor, American Literary History (1999-2000).
Managing editor, The Robert Frost Review (1994-1995).
Advisory Board, Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz eds. Walden MA: Wiley-Blackwell. In press, 2013.
Delegate to the Politics and the Profession Caucus for the Modern Language Association (2007-2013)
Chair, Faculty Development Committee, Undergraduate Learning Working Group (2010-2011) University committee appointed to redesign the undergraduate experience
University Graduate Committee (2009-2010)
Peer Reviewer for Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory, The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, Australian Literary Studies, Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, The Rocky Mountain MLA Review, and Island Studies
Manuscript reviewer for Broadview press
Interviewer, "A Great Conversation with Salman Rushdie"; UND 125th Anniversary Great Conversations Committee (UND 2008).
College of Arts and Sciences Interdisciplinary Speaker Series Director (UND 2005-present)
Faculty Advisor of Sigma Tau Delta, English Honor Society (UND 2006-present)
Faculty Advisor of Adelphi, the University of North Dakota English club. (UND 2004-present)
Board Member, Center for Human Rights and Genocide Studies (UND 2007-present)
University Graduate Committee (UND 2010)
JFK Conference Planning Committee, Fundraising and Grants Director (UND 2008)
College of Arts and Sciences Student Appeals Committee (UND 2008)
Guest lecturer, Graduate Chautauqua series (UND, 2008) As part of discussion on submitting manuscripts for publication in journals.
Maternity and Parental Leave Task Force (UND 2006-2009)
Member of the United States Association of Commonwealth Language and Literatures Studies (2007-2010)
University Graduation Commencement Address (August 2011). University of North Dakota.
Summer Scholar (2011). North Dakota State University. Invited as a nationally recognized scholar to teach a one-week seminar to graduate students at North Dakota State University. Previous scholars were Melea Powell and Anne Ruggles Gere.
Arts and Humanities Research Award (2012) Funded. $5,000. Funded. University of North Dakota. Funding to travel to South Africa for sabbatical.
Thomas J. Clifford Faculty Award for Graduate or Professional Teaching Excellence (2011). $2,000. University of North Dakota. Voted by faculty and graduate students as most outstanding graduate faculty member for the University of North Dakota for 2010-2011.
Elmer and Min West Faculty Award (2010). $1,000. University of North Dakota. Presented to a faculty member for excellence in teaching, service and research.
Arts and Humanities Research Award (2010) Funded. $5,000. Funded. University of North Dakota. Funding to travel to Australia for research and to hire a graduate assistant.
Summer Instructional Professorship (June 2010), $2,000. Funded. University of North Dakota. Funding to support development of course materials.
Nominee, Thomas J. Clifford Faculty Award for Graduate or Professional Teaching Excellence (2010). $2,000. University of North Dakota.
Summer Research Fellowship (2009). Funded. $12,000 University of North Dakota. Funding to support my summer research and to hire a full-time graduate student assistant.
American Psychoanalytic Association Fellowship (2008), though I did not receive a financial fellowship, I was assigned a mentor to help me with the psychological and cognitive theory for my next book.
Grand Forks Visitor's Center Grant (2008), Funded. $1.500. to support the University of North Dakota John F. Kennedy Conference.
UND Graduate School Recruitment and Research Award (2008). $4,000. Funded. Funding for travel to South Africa to work in libraries.
Grand Forks Visitor's Center Grant (2008), Funded. $2.500. to support the University of North Dakota Writer's Conference.
Arts, Humanities, and Social Science Grant (2007). Funded. $6,000. to perform research in Canada in summer of 2008 for next book, Sorry Dream, Guilty Deeds.
Finalist, Outstanding Faculty Scholar (2007), for all-round excellence in teaching, service and research among faculty at the University of North Dakota. One of three finalists.
Summer Instructional Professorship (August 2006), in conjunction with Kim Donehower-Weinstein, Lori Robison, and Eric Wolfe. University of North Dakota. Funded. $3,000 for revision of English department curriculum.
New Faculty Scholar Award (July 2005). Funded. University of North Dakota, $5,000 for a three-week research trip to South Africa to work in the archives and interview the staffs of The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation and funding to buy materials.
Summer Instructional Professorship (June 2005). Funded. University of North Dakota, $3,000 for development of multimedia, postcolonial history teaching materials.
Reinhoehl Travel Grant (April 2005), University of North Dakota. Funded. $1,000 for travel to Australia for research and to present a paper at the University of Queensland.
Visiting Distinguished Faculty Award (January 2002). Funded. University of Kentucky. $3,000 Funding to bring Anne McClintock to the University of Kentucky to participate in my dissertation defense.
Arts and Sciences Dissertation Travel Research Award (Summer 2001). Funded. University of Kentucky. $1,000 Funding to support research at the British Library.
Association of Emeriti Faculty Scholarship (2000-2001). Funded. University of Kentucky. $1,000 Funding to support research at the British Library.
University of Kentucky Arts and Sciences Dissertation-Year Fellowship (Fall 2000-Summer 2001). Funded. University of Kentucky. $10,000
Dissertation Enhancement Award (Summer 2000). Funded. University of Kentucky. $1,000 to support research at the British Library.
Commonwealth Research Award (Spring 1999). Funded. University of Kentucky. $2,000 to attend and present paper entitled "Imperial Islands: Colonial Microcosms, Male Bodies and the Narrating of Possession" at the international conference "Islands: Histories and Representations," University of Kent, Canterbury, England.
Most Outstanding Writing Program Teaching Assistant (1997-1998). $1,000
Dissertation Research Grant (1997). Funded. University of Kentucky Graduate School. $1,000 for summer study in Ireland.
Full scholarship, International Yeats Society (1997). Funded. $3,000 to attend the International Yeats Summer School in Sligo, Ireland.
Courses Recently Taught
• South African, Australian and Canadian Settler Colonial Literatures
• Reading and Writing about Texts
• Postcolonial Women Writers
• Salman Rushdie Seminar
• Business Writing
• Science Fiction Literature
• Introduction to Postcolonial Studies
• Introduction to Fiction
• African Diasporic Literatures
• Introductory Composition
• The Art of Nonfiction
• Empire and Film
• Science Fiction Film
• British Survey II
• Frontier Fiction
• British and Irish Literatures
• Literatures of Global Diversity
My husband and I are founding members of an infant bereavement support group in Grand Forks, and we serve on the infant bereavement board at Altru Hospital. I am also co-director of the Adelphi Literary Society.
In my spare time (which means "not often enough"), I run, knit afghans, read mystery novels, go to see bad movies, play with my two children (ages five and one), and travel.