My teaching interests include American literature (especially C19-20), poetry and poetics, gender and feminist theory, history and philosophy of science, and modernism, among other things. For some reason I also particularly love teaching Hawthorne. I have taught a good deal of composition, and my courses always engage the craft of writing explicitly (on which more anon). I also seek to make explicit the ways that the technical skills proper to the discipline of literary studies (close reading, nuanced understanding of grammar and etymology, scansion, bibliography) connect with deep theoretical questions about literature and with interdisciplinary questions.

I am currently teaching one section of Readings in American Literature and a junior seminar titled Modernism and Childhood. During spring semester, 2013, I will teach another junior seminar, American Literary Realisms since 1880.

Students who wish to ask me for a letter of recommendation should consult this page.

Writing. I construe writing as the visible craft of thinking—a recursive, strenuous process. I believe that writing enables a kind of understanding that is accessible in no other way. I therefore aim for all of my students, including nonmajors, to become writers, not professionally (necessarily) so much as dispositionally. I believe very much in publication and public writing—in having not only readers with whom you're trying to communicate but also interlocutors who can talk back—and often assign a course blog for that reason.

It's obvious that this blog is part of my own writerly discipline, and I'm constantly thinking about my own writing process as I teach writing. On occasion I circulate my writing in progress for students to see. (In particular, I feel it's important to make the point that writing never stops being difficult, and that drafts never stop being crappy.)

Interlocutors. I believe that writing realizes itself as a public form, not only as a "product" (to be "consumed" by an audience) but also as it develops. If one is to write, one needs a number of skills that are rarely if ever taught: giving feedback, receiving and working with feedback, praising. In the spring of 2010 I wrote a short series of posts on some of these topics (with a more recent follow-up):
  1. Lofgeornost (on giving praise)
  2. How to respond to others' writing
  3. Receiving feedback on writing, part I
  4. Receiving feedback on writing, part II
  5. If wishes were hobbyhorses (on receiving wacky suggestions)
  6. You can't appreciate my genius (on feeling misunderstood)
  7. On bibliography-dumping (November 2011—on a kind of feedback that feels more helpful than it is)

While in grad school, I also wrote a short handout with tips for giving constructive feedback on writing, available here.