What Hiking Taught Me About Writing the Dissertation

It's March and it's snowing on top of the springtime buds (because March) and I'm getting that familiar itch telling me that it's time to go for another very long walk outside. Over the past two summers, I've completed two long section hikes (400 and 500 miles) of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and I'm ready … Continue reading What Hiking Taught Me About Writing the Dissertation

What I Wish I Knew Before Starting my PhD

Now in my fifth year, writing my dissertation, I've had some time to reflect on my beginnings as a PhD student and the years preceding it when I was getting my Masters. I've attended the same institution for 7 years and watched it change for 9 (I took a 2-year break between degrees). I've realized … Continue reading What I Wish I Knew Before Starting my PhD

Reading Reflections vs. Midterm Papers

As you plan your syllabus for the next semester, consider assigning reading reflections instead of a midterm paper. A reflection is "a pause," as PALS contributor Corinna Cook writes, "it involves turning to look back, and to reconsider something thought or done in the past from the perspective of the present." In my experience, a … Continue reading Reading Reflections vs. Midterm Papers

Teaching LEMONADE in 19th-Century American Lit

I'm a 19th-century Americanist and my syllabi for courses taught in early American lit have covered a wide span of women's literature. I've always gone for non-canonical authors and approaches that critique a male-dominated, colonialist canon. But aside from teaching the usual suspects, slave narratives such as Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave … Continue reading Teaching LEMONADE in 19th-Century American Lit

How do we write at the intersection of race and gender?

My 8am class has turned into a hotbed of burning questions and research. How this happened since my last post about the grueling 8am time slot, I can barely tell... but I think it started when I canceled the reading for a day and assigned my students debate roles as "administrators" and "English faculty," tasking them with … Continue reading How do we write at the intersection of race and gender?

In Your Lecture, Research Together

As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, my 8 a.m. class this semester has been a challenge but by now (two months into the semester) my students have grown accustomed to me throwing questions like "Is feminism a privilege?" at them at 8:10 a.m. They talk in their listening dyad activity for two minutes each, … Continue reading In Your Lecture, Research Together

“A remaking of the mind itself”: Margaret Fuller’s Pedagogy & Mine

Teaching Margaret Fuller’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century is instructive in its challenge. The text contains numerous references that take students to task with additional research to understand the import of its anecdotes. The text’s oscillation between essentialism and radical gender fluidity can also perplex the student who expects a linear argument one would find … Continue reading “A remaking of the mind itself”: Margaret Fuller’s Pedagogy & Mine

Pros & Ants: An Exercise for 19C Lit

Teaching 19th-Century American Literature can be a challenge, especially at 8:10am. It's the time period that I am constantly immersed in for my own work, but for my students my class is often the first time they read a "feminist" text written before the 1960s. We easily get wrapped up in talking about a text … Continue reading Pros & Ants: An Exercise for 19C Lit

Teaching the Impossible Syllabus: “Women, Gender & U.S. Literature”

When I was assigned "Women, Gender, and U.S. Literature," a 5-week summer course that meets 4 days a week for 2 hours, I stared at my bookshelf ready to put 75% of its contents on the syllabus, then I went to Twitter and asked for suggestions, and then I went to colleagues for help who … Continue reading Teaching the Impossible Syllabus: “Women, Gender & U.S. Literature”