Dr. Mary Alice Kirkpatrick came to Furman in 2010 after teaching two years at Wake Forest University. With broad training as a comparativist, her interdisciplinary research and teaching reflect combined interests in African American literature and theory as well as black diasporic and Anglophone Caribbean studies. She graduated summa cum laude from Taylor University, where she majored in both English literature and psychology. Initially planning to pursue a PhD in child psychology, her foray into the classroom transpired amid somewhat unusual circumstances - while working as a summer intern at a psychiatric hospital. Instead, she completed her doctorate in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Dr. Kirkpatrick's recent funding includes an Associated Colleges of the South development grant for a collaborative project as well as a Shi Center Mellon Sustainability faculty fellowship that supported archival research in New Orleans. She has published in several peer-reviewed venues, including the South Atlantic Review, while her article, "'Far from Home across the Sea': William Faulkner, Randall Kenan, and Taboo Sexualities," appeared in the Critical Insights volume on William Faulkner (2013). She teaches in the African American and African Diaspora Cultures interdisciplinary minor and is an affiliate faculty member at the Shi Center for Sustainability.

Name Title Description


Texts and Meaning

An introduction to the study of the structures and methods by which texts create and convey meaning. Texts and approaches will be determined by individual instructors, but all emphasize reflective, critical reading, as well as text-centered discussions and written assignments.


Global Novel Since 1960

The contemporary novel from the British Isles, the Caribbean, Canada, Australia, South Asia, and Africa. Focus on postmodernism, postcolonialism, and transnationalism from 1960 to the present. The writers studied include: Naipaul, Rushdie, Ondaatje, Emecheta, Gordimer, McEwan, Atwood, Carey, and Kincaid. Readings will include theory and criticism.


Stds in Cntmp American Lit

Readings in American literature from 1950 to the present, with emphasis on what might make this recent writing different from what came before, or 147postmodern148 in terms of aesthetics and cultural context. May address fiction, drama and poetry or concentrate on a single genre.


Slave Narrative to Slave Novel

Consideration of the traditional Black Atlantic 18th, 19th, and 20th century slave narratives and novels, including authors such as Douglass, Equiano, and Butler, among others. Texts critique historiographies, ideologies, and models of interpretation that subjected African American cultural production and black identity to second-class citizenship. Examine the relationship between memory, writing, and historical representation and the production of hierarchical categories in the construction of racial, sexual, and gender differences. Texts engage the challenges of formal genre presented by the slave novel's reinvention of the traditional slave narrative.


Caribbean Cosmopolitianisms

Reading across Caribbean literatures, cultures, languages, and theories which organize the region,exploring the ways in which cosmopolitanisms shape the literary and cultural productions of the Caribbean. Attention paid to the ways cultural hybridity emerges against the persistence of a mythological cultural and national homogeneity. Authors might include William Shakespeare, Charlotte Bronte, Michelle Cliff, Junot Diaz, Christina Diaz, Jamaica Kincaid, Earl Lovelace, and Jean Rhys.


Senior Seminar in English

Course topic changes with each offering.


Art, Literature & Civil Rights

Exploration of the cultural, historical, and literary significance of the American civil rights movement. Course texts feature works of literature and history as well as the popular music, artistic productions, and public speeches that galvanized a national movement. We will extend our study to examine contemporary representations of this era as well.


Catapulted through Time

Whether pulled back into the past or projected into the future, time travelers appear throughout works of fiction and popular culture. Students will investigate representations in literature, television, film, and radio broadcasts, and will experience time travel" through weekly visits to historic house museums

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
B.A., English
Taylor University

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