At Southern Utah University, I teach courses in American literature, critical theory, and academic writing. I have also designed and taught lower and upper division courses as Instructor of Record in the English Department at UCSB, and I served as a Teaching Assistant for a range of classes including Southern U.S. Literature, Twentieth-Century Native American Novel and Narrative, British and American Literature from 1650-1789, and African American Literature from the 1930s to present.
Southern Utah University
English 4510: Off the Road: Contemporary American Travel Narratives and Literary Mobilities
The histories of aggrieved communities in the United States can be traced through a series of immobilizations that are often inversely linked to mobility. The 1619 arrival of a ship that carried Africans to the British Colony of Virginia is one such example: a mode of travel that created one of the most long-lasting histories of immobilization in the form of slavery and its afterlife. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 inscribed in the law what had already been the genocidal practice of forcing Native Americans out of their land. In this course, we will examine the legacy of these and other historical and political immobilizations of marginalized groups. We will study fiction largely by American writers subversively appropriate journey narratives and travel literature motifs. Trips by car, motorcycle, canoe, and magical door are among the literary mobilities that contemporary writers of different ethnic backgrounds employ in their critique of racialized injustices.
English 4110: Literary Genres: Speculative Fiction
This course dives into the world of speculative fiction, an umbrella term (that is sometimes contested) for a grouping of genres that includes science fiction, fantasy, and dystopic fiction. We will think about how fiction invites possibilities for imagining new worlds—both inviting and otherwise—and how literature has been a space to grapple with the ethical issues linked to technology, human and environmental relationships, life and death, racism, identity, and other topics. We will pay particular attention to the genre cues of speculative fiction, and together we will both define and negotiate the expectations for fiction that speculates on what is possible in our world and outside of it.
English 4510: Citizenship, Identity, and Belonging in Graphic Novels and Narratives
Graphic novels and narratives have been a space of visual and social transformation where notions of identity have been framed, contested, and imagined. This course traces the different ways that American (broadly defined) graphic narratives have depicted identity formation particularly along lines of citizenship, race, and gender. We will explore the formal and genre-based elements that are unique to the drawn-meets-written form of the graphic novel and graphic narrative, while also focusing on how artists and writers use this particular mode of storytelling to engage with political and social issues—ones often thought too serious for the visual storytelling formula.
English 3220: American Literature 1945-present
This course surveys American literature from 1945 to the present, and is structured chronologically as well as thematically. We will study representative works of American literature from culturally, socially, and ethnically diverse writers, with a focus on fiction and through a range of genres including novels, plays, comics, poems, and short stories. Together we will consider how literature reflects and shapes the experiences of Americans from the mid-twentieth-century to the present, and we will study the political and social movements of the times alongside the literature. We will also think about how different genres and styles of literature depict social struggles, and how fiction in particular has been a way to resist social inequities and imagine new ways of being in the world.
English 2700: Introduction to Critical Theory
English 2700 is an introductory course in the reading and application of literary theory, and it provides a survey of major theoretical and methodological approaches. Critical theory is a companion to literary studies; theory provides us with different lenses through which we can read literature. As scholars of literature, we study theory to learn about different approaches to reading, evaluating, analyzing, and teaching literature. In this class, we will study the major theories that apply to literary studies; these include Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Psychoanalysis, Marxism, New Historicism, Cultural Studies, Feminist Studies, Queer Studies, Ethnic Studies, Critical Race Studies, Postcolonial Studies, and Ecocriticism. By exploring the basic features and tenets of these theories, we will gain a wide range of frameworks through which we can study literature in future classes and beyond.
English 2210: African American Storytelling and Community Expression: Past, Present, and Future
This course focuses on African American oral traditions, storytelling, and other modes of community expression. Our trajectory begins in the late 19th century and moves into the 20th century and the contemporary moment, ending with an eye to Afrofuturism and Africanfuturism modes of storytelling. We will examine the nature and genre elements of oral tradition, and we will consider how the oral tradition has influenced and informed other storytelling traditions (including literature, film, and music). Additionally, we will think about the role that oral storytelling and community expression has played in African American identity formation, political expression, and resistance against social injustice
English 1010: Introduction to Academic Writing
In this course, we emphasize rhetorical skills and strategies for becoming successful academic writers. Through multiple drafts and different writing assignments, students learn to be confident, flexible, and resourceful writers. The writing skills and techniques we learn in 1010 are meant to make students comfortable with writing assignments in future courses in different disciplines as well. We will focus on constructing rhetorical arguments that demonstrate awareness of purpose, audience, and context, and organizing and using relevant and compelling content for specific rhetorical situations and audiences.
UC Santa Barbara
English 165AR: Not Your Father’s Road Trip: Writers on the Road in Contemporary U.S. Literature
This upper division course looks at works of contemporary American fiction that feature road trips, automobile aesthetics, and a preoccupation with mobility and movement. The writings we consider are each interested in conceptions of space, race, gender, and class within American society. Our study of these issues will center around an interest in mobility that we will trace back to the road trip genre as a point of departure for our class, as we work to redefine, explore, and problematize the genre itself and our expectations for it. As we read the novels, short stories, graphic narratives, and other works, we will develop our close reading skills and we will learn how to examine literary texts through theoretical lenses such as feminist theory, critical race theory, and affect theory. These theoretical perspectives will enhance our focus on mobility and will help us see how literature plays a role in socio-cultural and individual contexts. Texts include Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea, Flaming Iguanas by Erika Lopez, Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie, and The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith.
English 50: Introduction to U.S. Minority Literature
English 50 is a lower division survey course that covers United States minority literature written in the 20th- century. Our class will look at four novels, secondary sources, theory, and other literary works to develop an understanding of the literature that has helped shape, respond to, and critique race relations in the United States. In addition to engaging with US literature, the goal of this class is to help you become a better writer, reader, and thinker. Throughout the course, we will consider how the legacy of the United States’ complex racial dynamics has informed the experiences of minority subjects living in the United States and how writers have used literature as a vehicle for exploring these dynamics. Authors include Louise Erdrich, Lorraine Hansberry, John Okada, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Gloria Anzaldua.
English 10: Introduction to Literary Study
This lower division course is intended to acquaint students with the purposes and tools of literary interpretation. It will introduce techniques and vocabulary of analytic discussion and critical writing. For this class, we will study poetry, short stories, the graphic novel, drama, and the novel, with a special focus on developing the skills to read, discuss, and write about literature. Our readings will take us through the minds of authors, poets, and playwrights as we work together to deepen our understanding of why and how literature moves us, how literature and media are used to sway minds and influence decisions, and what particular aspects of the written (and sometimes drawn!) word contribute to a work’s power. Authors include Langston Hughes, Art Spiegelman, Louise Erdrich, Roald Dahl, and Flannery O’Connor.
Writing 2: Academic Writing
This lower division course introduces students to the foundations of academic writing and research. At every class meeting, we will study and practice writing in different contexts. Together we will meet our primary goal: creating awareness of how writers construct texts and how readers interpret those same texts. By studying writing genres and their conventions, we will learn how to see “good writing” as something that transcends the fixed rules of grammar, style, and citation. This course will invite you to think of “good writing,” rather, as the product of practice, revision, and a willingness to approach new writing situations with curiosity and attention to context.