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):
- Lofgeornost (on giving praise)
- How to respond to others' writing
- Receiving feedback on writing, part I
- Receiving feedback on writing, part II
- If wishes were hobbyhorses (on receiving wacky suggestions)
- You can't appreciate my genius (on feeling misunderstood)
- 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.