Teaching

Now in my ninth year as an educator, I am honored to have earned awards for excellence in teaching at each of the three universities where I have taught.

Here is a portfolio outlining my “Evidence of Effective Teaching.”

Recently, a former student of mine published an article spotlighting the efficacy of my pedagogy at Florida State.

Here is my “Rate My Professor” page for Florida State.

Here is my “Rate My Professor” page for Ohio State.

My teaching interests include modernism, postmodernism, and contemporary literature; international avant-garde and American experimental literature and film; horror literature; critical theory; creative writing fiction and nonfiction; composition and rhetoric.

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Florida State University
Graduate Teaching Associate, 2009 – current

Responsible for syllabus design and development, teaching and assessment in all courses listed.  Utilized enhanced technology classrooms, as well as both in-class and online coursework for all courses listed.

Summer/Fall 2013

Conceptualizing Conceptualism: An Introduction to Conceptual Literature (LIT 2081)

When, in 1917, Marcel Duchamp presented a porcelain urinal signed “R. Mutt” to the exhibition of The Society of Independent Artists as a work of art entitled “Fountain,” he irrevocably altered the course of both art history and literature. In one fell swoop, Duchamp shifted the focus of art away from its long history of engagement with issues of form and content toward a more fundamental question: “What is art?” By forcing audiences to think about the idea of art rather than the work of art itself, Duchamp ushered in a new era of artistic work and values focused on the concept of art. As Lucy R. Lippard put it, “Conceptual art, for me, means work in which the idea is paramount and the material form is secondary, lightweight, ephemeral, cheap, unpretentious and/or dematerialized.”

This course will introduce students to the effects of Duchamp’s provocation, specifically: Conceptual Literature, one of the most significant and controversial contemporary avant-garde tendencies being practiced today. Arising from a shared affinity with conceptual art, which reached its pinnacle between 1966-1972, conceptual literature radically challenges convention by calling into question the boundaries of art, writing, authorship, ownership and authenticity.

We will trace the movement of this artistic tendency from early examples to current examples. We will also engage with music, painting, video, performance art, and other forms of media. Students will write analytical responses to various texts, and will also produce conceptual writing of their own based on the models we will study.

Primary Texts:

  • Andy Warhol – The Philosophy of Andy Warhol
  • Yoko Ono – Grapefruit
  • Sophie Calle – The Address Book
  • Kenneth Goldsmith – Seven American Deaths And Disasters
  • Kate Durbin – Kept Women

Syllabus

Spring 2013

Global Perspectives on the Contemporary Novel (LIT 2081)

Experiencing alterity ranks chief among the multitude of challenges posed by contemporary globalization, because of its ability to either stifle or foster communication across cultural divides. Thus it would seem that in order to effectively participate in our ever-increasingly interconnected 21st century world, we must learn to expand our perspectives beyond the local. To not only hear unfamiliar voices, but actually listen attentively to them. To not only visualize unfamiliar situations, but to actually imagine them with our full presence. This requires an interrogation of our assumptions and preconceptions about people and places foreign to us. It also requires exposure.

This course will provide that exposure by introducing you to a wide range of contemporary novels written by authors from around the world. We will read these works as artistic documents produced in and by the historical context of their particular cultures. As well, we will pay special attention to the narrative technique each author utilizes—not only what is written, but also how it is written—in order to recognize the significance of form as a strategy for conveying both information and affect. Ultimately, we will use this opportunity to look for both connections and disconnections between the various texts, as a way to interrogate the novel as a genre by asking two fundamental questions: what is a novel and what can a novel do? By the end, our understanding of various approaches to the contemporary novel will hopefully shed light on the various approaches to living as citizens of a global society.

Primary Texts:

  • Haruki Murakami – After Dark (2008) JAPAN
  • Bhanu Kapil – Schizophrene (2011) INDIA/U.K.
  • Magdalena Tulli – Moving Parts (2003/2005) POLAND
  • Roberto Bolaño – Amulet (1999/2006) CHILE
  • Sony Labou Tansi – Life and a Half (1979/2011) CONGO
  • Reza Negarestani – Cyclonopedia (2008) IRAN

Syllabus

Fall 2012

21st Century Horror (LIT 2081)

In this course we will explore the concept of horror by looking at various texts that both comply and challenge conventional wisdom, thus requiring us to reexamine our understanding of the category. We will survey the ways in which horror is bound up in the shaping of cultural boundaries and identities, how it works as a phenomenon that marks out the limits where culture, representation and subjectivity are created and destroyed. Through a variety of critical approaches and theories we will chart how contemporary horror develops in aesthetic, cultural, and historical terms by discussing how various texts handle the production of objects, images and figures of horror (vampires, monsters, mad scientists, aliens, serial killers) and trace changes in their cultural-historical meanings; examine how horror works (pleasure, terror, enjoyment, sublimity, catharsis, affect) in specific contexts; consider what is at stake in the production and consumption of horror’s cultural forms and its broader significance as a screen for subjective and social anxieties (variously sexualised and racialised bodies, technology, otherness). Further, we will explore the changing geographies of horror (from wild nature to urban wastelands, from inner spaces and other countries to outer space and alien machines) and how horror is related to other forms, affects and concepts (taboo, disgust, otherness, laughter, the unconscious, the sacred and abjection).

Primary Texts:

  • Cyclonopedia by Reza Negarestani (2008)
  • Maximum Gaga by Lara Glenum (2009)
  • The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich (2010)
  • The Marbled Swarm by Dennis Cooper (2011)
  • Entrance to a colonial pageant… by Johannes Göransson (2011)
  • Anatomy Courses by Blake Butler & Sean Kilpatrick (2012)
  • Severed by Scott Snyder (2012)

Syllabus

American Modernism (AML 3041)

This course intends to be both an introduction to and an investigation of Modernist literature. Ross Murfin & Supryia M. Ray broadly define Modernism as “a revolutionary movement encompassing all of the creative arts that had its roots in the 1890s, a transitional period during which artist and writers sought to liberate themselves from constraints and polite conventions associated with Victorianism.” But as we will see, definitions can be inaccurate and limiting. Thus, we will begin with suspicion. What is Modernism? Through close readings of various creative and critical texts, we will endeavor to familiarize ourselves with this field in a way that highlights both its aesthetic and philosophic aspects, in order to provide a sense of social, historical, cultural and intellectual context. By doing this, we will hopefully come to a more comprehensive knowledge base, allowing us to define for ourselves this difficult field.

Primary Texts:

  • Gertrude Stein – Tender Buttons (1914)
  • T.S. Eliot – The Waste Land (1922)
  • William Carlos Williams – Spring and All (1923)
  • Henry Miller – Tropic of Cancer (1934)
  • William Falkner – As I lay Dying (1930)
  • Djuna Barnes – Nightwood (1936)
  • Jeffrey Brown Ferguson, ed. – The Harlem Renaissance: A Brief History with Documents

Syllabus

Summer 2012

Major Figures in American Literature: Gertrude Stein, The Mother of Invention (AML 3311)

Contemporary experimental poet Susan Howe opens her 1985 book My Emily Dickinson by claiming, “Emily Dickinson and Gertrude Stein are clearly among the most innovative precursors of modernist poetry and prose, yet to this day canonical criticism from Harold Bloom to Hugh Kenner persists in dropping their names and ignoring their work.” Despite the fact that we are now nearly thirty years beyond the publication of those words, Gertrude Stein’s work still remains underappreciated and understudied. This course will attempt to rectify this deficiency by focusing on Stein’s contribution to American literature as well as her legacy. Through a careful examination of Stein’s work and the work of other American writers indebted to the literary innovations introduced by Stein, students will have the opportunity to broaden their understanding of twentieth century American literature and culture.

Primary Texts:

  • Gertrude Stein, Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein
  • Gertrude Stein, Stanzas in Meditation: The Corrected Edition
  • Gertrude Stein, Ida: A Novel

Syllabus

Spring 2012

The Birth of Modernism’s Monstrosities (LIT 2010)

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” So begins H.P. Lovecraft’s essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature,” first published in 1927. This course is about exploring that old and strong emotion, through the representation of monsters in literature from the early 19th to the early 20th century.

What is a monster? Why do we create them? And what do they tell us about our history and our culture? Are monsters necessarily inhuman, or can humans become monsters? What demarcates the boundary zone between a human and a monster?

Through close readings of various creative and critical texts, we will endeavor to familiarize ourselves with the field of horror fiction in a way that highlights both its aesthetic and philosophic aspects, in order to provide a sense of social, cultural and intellectual context.

Primary Texts:

  • Mary Shelley – Frankenstein (1818)
  • Comte de Lautréamont – Les Chants de Maldoror (1869)
  • Robert Lewis Stevens – Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)
  • Bram Stoker – Dracula (1897)
  • Franz Kafka – The Metamorphosis (1915)
  • H.P. Lovecraft – At the Mountains of Madness (1931)

Syllabus

Invention & Innovation: A Course in Experimental Fiction (LIT 2010)

To ignite our inquiry, I offer two provocative quotes:

(i) From a 1965 interview published in the academic journal Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature, John Hawkes states, “I began to write fiction on the assumption that the true enemies of the novel were plot, character, setting, and theme, and having once abandoned these familiar ways of thinking about fiction, totality of vision or structure was really all that remained.”

(ii) From an essay first published in 1975 called “Surfiction,” Raymond Federman claims, “. . .the only fiction that still means something today is that kind of fiction that tries to explore the possibilities of fiction; the kind of fiction that challenges the tradition that governs it: the kind of fiction that constantly renews our faith in man’s imagination and not in man’s distorted vision of reality–that reveals man’s irrationality rather than man’s rationality….this new fiction will not attempt to be meaningful, truthful, or realistic; nor will it attempt to serve as the vehicle of a ready-made meaning. On the contrary, it will be seemingly devoid of any meaning, it will be deliberately illogical, irrational, unrealistic, non sequitur, and incoherent.”

Taking these ideas as our starting point, this course will introduce students to a broad spectrum of 20th & 21st-century texts that challenge literary conventions. Through close readings of various creative and critical materials, students will endeavor to familiarize themselves with the field of experimental literature in a way that highlights both its aesthetic and philosophic aspects, in order to provide a sense of social, cultural and intellectual context.

Primary Texts:

  • Gertrude Stein – Tender Buttons (1914)
  • Alain Robbe-Grillet – Jealousy (1957)
  • Samuel Beckett – How It Is (1961)
  • Kenneth Goldsmith – Fidget (2000)
  • David Markson – This is Not a Novel (2001)
  • Vanessa Place – Dies: A Sentence (2005)
  • Bhanu Kapil – Schizophrene (2011)

Syllabus

Fall 2011

American Postmodernism (LIT 2081)

This course in contemporary literature intends to be both an introduction to and an investigation of something called “Postmodern Literature.” We will begin with the assumption that this is a suspect category, rather than an accepted designation, which has been used in various ways to describe certain characteristics of post-WWII literature that tends to question the legitimacy and/or efficacy of both the Enlightenment ideas implicit in Modernist literature as well as the Realist elements of 19th century literature. Through close readings of various creative and critical texts, we will endeavor to familiarize ourselves with this field in a way that highlights both its aesthetic and philosophic aspects, in order to provide a sense of social, cultural and intellectual context.

Primary Texts:

  • John Barth – Lost in the Funhouse (1968)
  • Joanna Russ – The Female Man (1975)
  • Clarence Major – My Amputations (1986)
  • David Markson – Wittgenstein’s Mistress (1988)
  • Lara Glenum & Arielle Greenberg, eds. – Gurlesque: the new grrly, grotesque, burlesque poetics (2010)

Syllabus

Summer 2011

Reexamining the Body: Race & Gender in American Experimental Fiction (LIT 2010)

We have before us a complex nexus: race, gender, and experimental literature. To ignite our inquiry, I offer two provocative quotes:

(i) From a 1965 interview for the academic journal Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature, John Hawkes stated, “I began to write fiction on the assumption that the true enemies of the novel were plot, character, setting, and theme, and having once abandoned these familiar ways of thinking about fiction, totality of vision or structure was really all that remained.”

(ii) In a recent online essay entitled “Being Female” (published at The Awl), Eileen Myles stated, “Female reality (and this goes for all the “other” realities as well—queer, black, trans—everyone else) is more interesting because it is wider, more representative of humanity—it’s definitely more stylistically various because of all it has to carry and show. After all, style is practical. You do different things because you are different. Women are different.”

By creating an intersection between these two quotes and the ideas engendered by them, we implicate the two guiding concepts of this course: ethics and aesthetics. More specifically, this course will introduce you to a broad spectrum of 20th/21st-century texts written by members of historically marginalized groups, which challenge literary conventions.

Primary Texts:

  • Ishmael Reed – Mumbo Jumbo (1972)
  • Theresa Hak Kyung Cha – Dictee (1982)
  • Kathy Acker – Blood and Guts in High School (1984)
  • Salvador Plascencia – The People of Paper (2005)
  • Tao Lin – Eeeee Eee Eeee (2007)

Syllabus

Spring 2011

The European Avant-Garde 1900-1945 (LIT 2230)

In this course we will chronicle the development of the historical avant-garde from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. We will examine the major avant-garde movements, including: Pataphysics, Futurism, Dadaism, and Surrealism. We will also critically engage the theoretical underpinnings of the avant-garde as we consider its relation to modernism—including the semantic origins of “avant-garde” in French military terminology—and, subsequently, postmodernism. Taking note of simultaneous developments in visual art, dance, music, and cinema to reflect their impact on and by literature, we will also place artistic innovation within a broader sociopolitical and cultural context, including the Industrial Revolution, shifts in political and psychological ideologies, and the long-term effects of globalization on artistic production and reception. Throughout our study, we will ask ourselves: What comprises the “avant-garde”? What is our relationship to the historical avant-garde?; and How do the works of the historical avant-garde affect our engagement with contemporary literature today?

Primary Texts:

  • Alfred Jarry – Exploits and Opinions of Dr Faustroll Pataphysician
  • Tristan Tzara – The Gas Heart
  • Penelope Rosemont (Editor) – Surrealist Women: An International Anthology
  • Max Ernst – Une Semaine De Bonte: A Surrealistic Novel in Collage
  • Vitezslav Nezval – Valerie and her Week of Wonders
  • Gherasim Luca – The Passive Vampire

Syllabus

Challenging Convention: 20th Century Experimental Short Stories (LIT 2020)

In a 1965 interview for the academic journal Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature, John Hawkes infamously stated, “I began to write fiction on the assumption that the true enemies of the novel were plot, character, setting, and theme, and having once abandoned these familiar ways of thinking about fiction, totality of vision or structure was really all that remained.”

This course will introduce you to a broad spectrum of 21st-century texts that challenge the literary conventions of the short story by utilizing Hawkes’s dictum as a starting point. We will concentrate on both the philosophical themes that permeate the stories as well as the artistic choices, literary devices, and literary structures employed by the various authors.

This investigation will necessarily yield discussions of race, class, gender, rebellion, resistance, chaos, anarchy, autonomy, subversion and transgression—all of which should reveal experimental short stories as texts that question, challenge, and undermine assumptions and dominate forces.

Primary Texts:

  • Anne Carson – The Beauty of the Husband (2001)
  • Blake Butler – Scorch Atlas (2009)
  • Russell Edson – The Tunnel (1994)
  • Renee Gladman – Juice (2000)
  • Thalia Field – Point and Line (2000)

Syllabus

Fall 2010

Nonfiction workshop: The Lyric Essay (ENC 3310)

With the recent publication of David Sheilds’s controversial genre-bender Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, there has been a rising interest in and proliferation of the lyric essay. Although this experimental literary form is not a new development, it has become more prominent in recent years. The literary journal Seneca Review, for example, devoted its 30th Anniversary issue to this form of nonfiction writing, in which the editors define the lyric essay as a form that “partakes of the poem in its density and shapeliness, its distillation of ideas and musicality of language. It partakes of the essay in its weight, in its overt desire to engage with facts, melding its allegiance to the actual with its passion for imaginative forms.” In other words, the lyric essay refuses precise categorization but rather relies on a spirit of playfulness that allows it to cross many different literary boundaries. In this course, we will analyze the lyric essay and then write our own, by reading various writers in the form, modeling our own writing efforts on their essays, and experimenting every step of the way. Our goal will be to come to an understanding of the form and then utilize the freedom of the lyric essay to explore topics and issues we find fascinating, in a way that will allow us to discover our own personal voices.

Primary Text:

  • The Next American Essay edited by John D’Agata

Syllabus

Against Aristotle: 20th Century Experimental Short Stories (LIT 2020)

In a 1965 interview for the academic journal Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature, John Hawkes infamously stated, “I began to write fiction on the assumption that the true enemies of the novel were plot, character, setting, and theme, and having once abandoned these familiar ways of thinking about fiction, totality of vision or structure was really all that remained.”

This course will introduce you to a broad spectrum of twentieth-century transatlantic short stories that challenge literary conventions by utilizing Hawkes’s dictum as a starting point. We will concentrate on both the philosophical themes that permeate the stories as well as the artistic choices, literary devices, and literary structures employed by various authors to create meaning in works of short fiction.

This investigation will necessarily yield discussions of race, class, gender, rebellion, resistance, chaos, anarchy, autonomy, subversion and transgression—all of which should reveal experimental short stories as texts that question, challenge, and undermine assumptions and dominate forces.

Primary Texts:

  • Julio Cortazar – Cronopios and Famas (1962/trans. 1969)
  • Italo Calvino – Cosmicomics (1965/trans. 1968)
  • John Barth – Lost in the Funhouse (1968)
  • Octavia Butler – Bloodchild (1996)

Syllabus

Summer 2010

Major Figures in American Experimental Literature: From Gertrude Stein to Ben Marcus (AML 3311)

The basic question “What is Experimental Literature” has proven to be contentious and ultimately unanswerable for American writers, critics and literary scholars. In her 2003 introduction to the anthology Ground Works: Avant-Garde for Thee, Margaret Atwood attempts to define experimental fiction as “fiction that sets up its own rules for itself [...] while subverting the conventions according to which readers have understood what constitutes a proper work of literature.” Although leaving herself open for debate on many levels (what exactly constitutes a proper work of literature? And how do we classify a work as fiction rather than poetry?) her definition seems to echo the now infamous statement made by John Hawkes, in a 1965 interview for the academic journal Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature, where he stated, “I began to write fiction on the assumption that the true enemies of the novel were plot, character, setting, and theme, and having once abandoned these familiar ways of thinking about fiction, totality of vision or structure was really all that remained.” In both of these utterances we see the seeds of rebellion, resistance, chaos, anarchy, autonomy, subversion and transgression—all of which will feed our investigation of experimental literature as texts that question, challenge, and undermine assumptions and dominate forces. Additionally, these initial attempts to define experimental literature work to engender further questions, such as: Why would an author produce experimental literature? And how does experimental literature allow a writer to criticize or critique? By examining the nature of transgression in these works we will explore how writers are more than storytellers—they are critics, philosophers, politicians, social scientists, and artists. My hope is that by cultivating an appreciation of experimental works we will reveal the complexity of literature, and the richness it can bring to our understanding of our world, our society, and ourselves.

Primary Texts:

  • Gertrude Stein – Tender Buttons (1914)
  • Djuna Barnes – Nightwood (1936)
  • William S. Burroughs – The Soft Machine (1961)
  • Ishmael Reed – Mumbo Jumbo (1972)
  • Ben Marcus – The Age of Wire and String (1995)

Syllabus

Spring 2010

Freshman Writing, Reading, and Research (ENC 1102)

Syllabus

Fall 2009

Freshman Composition and Rhetoric (ENC 1101)

Syllabus

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Ohio State University
Graduate Teaching Associate, 2006-2009

Responsible for syllabus design and development, teaching and assessment in all courses listed. Utilized enhanced technology classrooms, as well as both in-class and online coursework for all courses listed.

Winter 2009

Hypothetical America: An Excursion into the Future (ENG 367.02)

This is a second-level writing course that will focus on expository writing and revision, critical reading and analysis, diversity in the American experience, and oral delivery. Your goal is to become a better writer and a more critical thinker; my goal is to help you achieve your goal. Through a sequence of writing assignments, you will be asked to analyze texts with an eye toward developing an argument. In doing this, you will be asked to explore your own position and place yourself in conversation with the positions of others. The majority of our class time will consist of writing workshops, discussions of texts, small group activities, and reflections on the writing process.

In this particular section of 367 we will attempt to theorize the future of America. This will require equal parts critical thinking and imagination. You will be asked to make claims about the future, using contemporary evidence to support your hypothesis. To help us consider possible futures we will look to examples in literature, including: short stories, poems, novels, graphic novels, art, and cinema.

Syllabus

Fall 2008

From the Outside Looking In: New Perspectives on the American Experience (ENG 367.01)

In this particular section of 367 we will attempt to step outside our familiar bipartisan landscape in order to better understand and reframe our position within it. To do this we will need to approach The American Experience from various unorthodox positions: we will engage with religious texts on a critical level; we will look at contemporary politics from a scientific perspective, and then we will examine alternative political ideologies; we will think about our current war by looking at a French war film from the 1960s; and finally we will engage with our culture by thinking about it from the outsider perspective presented by French cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard. The entire process will take the shape of three major writing assignments, including a final project that will move us from the classroom to the community.

Syllabus

Spring 2008

Writing Fiction (ENG 265)

This is an introductory course in the craft of fiction writing, which will focus on reading, writing, and learning the fundamental elements of narrative construction. To this end, we will study Aristotelian structure, sense-based characterization, and the practice of phenomenological approaches to the physical world. We will also spend time conducting research and sharing our findings with each other. Most importantly, we will be writing, constantly, ceaselessly, until our fingers and minds are sore from it. The final project for this course will be a short story, which should utilize the elements and techniques we have studied.

Primary Texts:

  • Aristotle’s Poetics
  • Diane Ackerman’s The Natural History of the Senses
  • Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space

Syllabus

Fall 2006 – Winter 2008

First-Year English Composition

Syllabus

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Graduate Teaching Associate, 2005-2006

Responsible for syllabus design and development, teaching and assessment in all courses listed.

Spring 2006

Writing from Literature (ENG 101)

Syllabus

Fall 2005

Writing Rhetoric as Inquiry (ENG 150)

Syllabus

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