Director, Center for the Humanities
I teach mostly 18th and 19th century American Literature, but I like to roam a little, especially if given the opportunity to team teach or supervise MAPs. During any four-year cycle I am likely to offer a seminar on Whitman and Dickinson; an American poetry seminar titled “Beat, Black, and (Sometimes) Blue”; and a multi-genre seminar on literary theory and the culture wars. After many years of offering a different topic for each tutorial, I have recently settled on using Thoreau’s Walden — even down to planting beans! — as a foundation for advising first-year students as they adapt to academic and residential life at Grinnell. In addition to regular coursework, I enjoy supervising academic-year and summer MAPs, and I am proud to include mentorship of DC Posse X as one of my most richly rewarding teaching and learning experiences. My current research involves projects on Melville and baseball and on Bernard Malamud and adoption. Recent publications include articles on W.E.B. Du Bois and liberal education in The Souls of Black Folk (Expositions); on the intersection of eugenics and typography in Nella Larsen’s Passing (South Atlantic Review); and on creative and culturally sustainable responses pertaining to Native American sovereignty and oil extraction in MHA country (Transmotion).
Education and Degrees
Ph.D., University of Washington, 1998