Visiting Assistant Professor, English

Furman Hall

  • Current disciplinary research interests

      The main thrust of my disciplinary research is in Creative Writing, particularly fiction. That said, I am also interested in Environmental Literature, Eco-Criticism, and American Literature, much of which is concerned with a relationships to nature.

  • Interest in connecting sustainability to research

      My work, both critical and creative, often links ideas of place and relationships with the natural world to the condition of the characters I create or the works I examine. For example, the novel I am currently working on centers on the Wild Child of Avignon, a feral boy found in the woods of southern France in the late 1700's. who was taken in by a doctor and "re-civilized" into the world of humans. Issues I am working through in this draft is the child's life as an "animal," the meaning of civilization, and the disconnect between human-constructed living and the natural environment.

      As for work with other colleagues, I could imagine co-teaching a Environmental Reading class that combines environmental literature (for examples, see my description of Engaging Nature below) with more scientific texts on ecology, zoology, or biology.

      I could also imagine eco-teaching an Environmental Writing class wherein the students explored different modes of creative writing about natural subjects, bouncing those techniques off the discipline of field observations and field reports that biologists produce. This would be an opportunity to talk about the idea of audience and purpose in their written works, as well as the value of "non-scientific" reporting, such as the use of metaphor, personal connection, or the subjective gaze.

  • Sustainability courses taught
      • First Year Writing seminars
      • 200-level literature courses
      • Next semester, Studies in Short Fiction
      • Previously, Replicating Walden May-X

      In American Passages we spend a good deal of time discussing Emerson's Nature and Thoreau's Walden and the effect that Transcendentalism had on the American concept of Nature and how these works served as a foundation for the environmental movement of the 1970's.

      In a previous FYW, Engaging Nature, I taught Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire, Robert Sullivan's The Meadowlands, selections form Annie Dillard's Teaching A Stone to Talk, and Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild. Each of these texts examines our relationship to the natural world, to the idea of wilderness, and the value of conservation, preservation, and revitalization.

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