Teaching areas:

Postcolonial and global Anglophone literature, poetry and poetics, twenty- and twenty-first century literature, and digital humanities.

My classes integrates interdisciplinary methods and readings, encouraging students to think across discipline-specific approaches in order to ask innovative questions of important texts. This question-driven approach allows us to examine texts from across the Anglophone world from the ground-up, building up and out from textual worlds rather than reading their own expectations into them. In order to explore texts on their own terms, we expand the possibilities of the academic essay, using digital reading and writing practices to keep us linked between in-person classroom sessions, while in-class exercises train students in thinking through new perspectives. From reading selection to seminar discussions and final assignments, my courses are designed to develop critical empathy, a crucial skill when reading across the diverse terrain of global Anglophone literature.

Below I have included course descriptions and sample syllabuses for several of my classes, with the caveat that I believe every syllabus is best read as a draft, to be adapted to the needs of the living classroom setting. I am happy to discuss these further and share additional materials over e-mail.

Assistant Professor of English, The College of Wooster:

  • First Year Seminar. Singing Truth to Power: Songs, Chants, and Hashtag Activism (Fall 2019)

What do we say, when we speak together? What do we become? From protest poems that declared the sovereignty of colonized states to hashtags that join together dissenting groups, poetry is lauded as creating nations, giving a “voice to the voiceless,” and liberating expression. It has become especially powerful in the age of the hashtag, which enables marginalized communities to broadcast their concerns and form movements. But how do changing media paradigms affect who is able to speak, when, and how? In this class, we will examine contemporary protest poetry as a form of collective speech, interrogating how poetic forms—including sonnets, protest music, slam poems, hashtags, and Instagram poetry—have served political ends since the 1960s. Through case studies from the US, the Caribbean, and Africa, this class will investigate the relationship between literary form, politics, and media affordances in motivating social change.

  • ENGL21022. Global English(es), Local Identities: Global Anglophone Literature Since 1900 (Fall 2019)

Since the nineteenth century, an ever-wider range of people and cultures have used the English language to communicate, to tell their stories, and to participate in global politics. But to whom does English belong? Whose voices do we hear, when we read in English? As writers from Africa, South Asia, the Caribbean, Ireland, and Australia embrace a language associated with colonialism and oppression, they have asked: what happens when a language is put to work to colonize? To resist? To claim belonging? What work does English do in different spaces of the world and of society? In this class, we will explore the rise of English as a so-called “global language” following the decline of British colonialism and the rise of American influence. Engaging authors writing in English from across the globe, we will come to see the relationship between voice, identity and the politics of the word as ever-evolving and complicating.

  • ENGL12000. Writing Human Rights (Spring 2020)

This course asks how literature  has framed our discussion of contemporary human rights. Examining non-fiction creative writing from the US, Italy, and South Africa, we will consider how literary expressions of human sympathy influence our ideas about politics and rights today. What stories do we hear? And whose voices? These questions will guide our reading of both literary texts and news stories, questioning our ideas about language, law, and humanity through them. Students will work and write across media, engaging digital and traditional forms of writing to hone their expressive and analytic skills.

  • ENGL23000. Introduction to African Literature: Energy and Environment (Spring 2020)

Literature has famously been used to define a people’s collective identity, making it a key tool through which many African nations launched their claims to independence. How might the novel help us understand the issues of greatest importance to Africans today? What role does narrative and storytelling have in expressing grievances and mobilizing communities? And what responsibility does a writer have to his or her community? Focusing on the connection these novels draw between oppression, the environment, and individual agency, this course will explore the global position of the African writer today. By reading novels from across the continent, students will be introduced to the diverse issues facing African writers and to new ways of thinking about familiar topics like climate change, social media, and globalization.

  • ENGL23000. Postcolonial Poetics (Spring 2020)

In August 2016, the city of Harare, Zimbabwe, shut down for 36 hours. During a national “stay-away” day organized over WhatsApp and Twitter, citizens took to the streets to protest high unemployment, low growth, and a suppressive government. Together, they chanted a single phrase: “This Flag.” Popularized first in a poem and later as a hashtag, “This flag” became a protest movement that transformed Zimbabwean politics. In this class, we will consider poetic production as a political act. From protest poems that declared the sovereignty of colonized states, to hashtags that join together dissenting groups, poetry is lauded as creating nations, giving a “voice to the voiceless,” and liberating expression. Together, we will consider: what can poetry do? What about the form gives it so much meaning? Through the course, students will come to see how poets use the forms and allusivity of poetry to launch critiques of social ills.

Instructor of Record, Northwestern University:

This course asks how literature  has framed our discussion of contemporary human rights. Examining non-fiction creative writing from the US, Italy, and South Africa, we will consider how literary expressions of human sympathy influence our ideas about politics and rights today. What stories do we hear? And whose voices? These questions will guide our reading of both literary texts and news stories, questioning our ideas about language, law, and humanity through them. Students will work and write across media, engaging digital and traditional forms of writing to hone their expressive and analytic skills.

To whom does English belong? Whose voices do we hear, when we read in English?  By questioning our notions of “standard English” and “proper usage,” this course works to uncover the ways language operates within and against oppressive cultural and socioeconomic structures – and how individual authors have worked to reclaim the language in their own voices. Engaging authors writing in English from across the globe, students come to see the relationship between voice, identity and the politics of the word as ever-evolving and complicating.

Teaching Assistant, Northwestern University:

  • “Introduction to Fiction” (Winter 2015)
  • “American Literary Traditions I” (Fall 2014)

Tutoring & Mentorship: