For Undergraduate Students
Hello! I'm thrilled to be teaching at U of Oregon! I teach courses in environmental studies, literature, film, and theory, often with a focus on the intersections between ideas of nature and environment and social categories of race, class, gender, disability, and sexuality. I also teach courses in American literature, critical theory, and gender/sexuality studies. I'm currently interested in literature, film, visual art and theory about ocean creatures and ocean conservation and love to swim, free dive, and scuba dive. I also love hiking, camping, paddling, and gardening, especially for birds, bees, and butterflies. I haven't been in Oregon for very long, but I'm excited to see more of this beautiful state. And I look forward to "meeting" you--even if only virtually--in class.
Please use my official U of O email address for all inquiries regarding current courses or letters of recommendation:
Students of the past: send me an email or a FB message and let me know what and how you are doing!
Letters of recommendation (undergraduates):
Learning how to ask for letters of recommendation is an important skill to develop. Always give people at least two weeks to write a letter, and at least three weeks over holidays or the summer. It is important that you help people who agree to serve as one of your references or recommenders to do the best possible job that they can. That means that you need to provide clear, organized, and helpful information and give us more than enough time. So, if you would like to ask me for a letter of recommendation, you will need to provide the following: 1) copies of the best written work you did in my classes, with my comments 2) copies of your statement of purpose and resume or c.v. and 3) a clear list of deadlines and any pertinent information about what you are applying for. Send all material in *one* email, not scattered emails, and include the first deadline in the subject line. The more information you provide faculty, in an organized way, the more specific and convincing our letters will be.
If you are applying for graduate school or law school you will want to ask several faculty members to critique your statement of purpose and c.v., as many programs are extremely competitive. [Note that some students hear they should "get a letter" from faculty after graduating. But this doesn't make sense because letters are tailored for specific purposes; they are rarely so general. Also, most letters are submitted through confidential online systems--they are not submitted by the students themselves. So I prefer not to write a general letter for anyone.]
Good luck with your graduate applications and job search! Stay strong!
Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, 4-5, and by appointment on zoom.
Email me for appointment + zoom info or check Canvas for the link. (I may have conflicting exams or meetings on some days.)
ENG 392: American Novel
Although reading novels is generally a solitary activity, the novel as a genre has not only encompassed a multitude of voices but has promoted social visions. The diverse set of novels in this class begin with William Faulkner’s weird tale of modernist alienation and isolation, moving toward more collective and political modes, with a Harlem Renaissance (nearly lost) classic and a (recently found) political novel by a Chinese American author. The second half of the class features texts that intertwine cultures and environments, starting with Louise Erdrich’s account of environmental and cultural devastation wrought by settler colonialism, to Chicana feminist perspectives on land and culture, concluding with a SF novel that plunges the reader into a strange but vibrant rewilding. While it would be impossible to do justice to the 20thcentury American novel in one term, the works in this class are striking not only for their vital content but for their experimental and provocative structure, form, voice, and narrative perspective. We will discuss how the novels seek to perform “cultural work”—shifting the political realities they inhabit—and how their interpretive puzzles and offbeat humor pull readers into the process of understanding personal, social, and environmental realities and imagining alternatives. Readings will most likely consist of the following novels, along with excerpts of theory and criticism: William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying; Zora Neal Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; H.T. Tsiang, Hanging in Union Square; Louise Erdrich, Tracks; Ana Castillo, So Far from God; Jeff Vandermeer, Annihilation. Participation in zoom discussions, two exams, and a short paper/presentation.
ENG 469/569: Literature and the Environment: Ocean Life in Literature and Film
Although environmental studies has focused on terrestrial environments, the concern for ocean ecologies and the interest in ocean life—from jellyfish to octopus to whales—is rapidly expanding. This class will explore ocean life in literature, film, and theory, from monstrous figures in classical mythology, through Jules Verne’s 19thcentury novel, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, to the surrealist short films of Jean Painlevé, to Nnedi Okorofor’s Afrofuturist SF novel Lagoon, to contemporary poetry, film, and popular science. We will discuss the environmental implications of how marine species are depicted—for example, as monstrous, alien, aesthetically breathtaking, or extraordinarily intelligent—as we attempt to imagine and think with some of the most captivating creatures from the sea.
ENGL 407: Seminar: Theory: Animals, Ethics, Environment
ENG 230: Intro to Environmental Lit
What role can literature play in exposing environmentally harmful modes of thinking, being, and acting, while dramatizing appealing alternatives? How are environmental issues connected to social hierarchies such as race, class, sexuality and disability? How can literature and film inspire us to imagine and create more socially just and environmentally oriented futures? This course introduces important questions, concepts, concerns and texts in environmental literatures, organized into three sections: colonialism, wilderness, and indigenous cultures; toxins, environmental justice and the problem with the “natural;” and extinction, posthumanism, and future visions. We will read and discuss three novels, Louise Erdrich, Tracks; and Helena Viramontes, Under the Feet of Jesus, and Jeff Vandermeer, Annihilation. We will also read and discuss poetry, essays, and short films, such as the animated “Slurb” by Marina Zurkow, the SF film “Pumzi” by Wanuri Kahiu, and Maya Lin’s digital media work, “What is Missing.”