Professor and Chair, English
As a first-generation college student myself, I am particularly aware of the unexpected struggles that those students can face-and of the far-reaching benefits they can reap from their college educations. I am a native Midwestern, having spent most of my life in Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa, but higher education has also opened up the world to me. My international travels have included England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Amsterdam, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Greece, Turkey, Thailand, India, Bali, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Nepal, Bermuda, Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Belize, Canada, and Australia.
My intellectual interests are wide-ranging but they all connect around issues of cultural power. One of the texts that has had the most significant impact on my education, teaching, and world view is Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, which delineates a philosophy of how power dynamics become both institutionalized and internalized. My current research actually focuses on revolutionary possibilities of the carnivalesque within exercise culture.
At Monmouth College, I teach the plays of William Shakespeare and early English poetry and drama. My great passion as a professor is literary theory–basically, philosophy and psychology (and a bit of economics) that is used to interpret literature and to solidify and examine the connections between story-telling and lived experience. I also have a sub-specialty in, and great love for, the works of Toni Morrison, the late, great African American woman writer (while Beloved has won more awards, Paradise is her true masterpiece. I’ll argue it to the grave!).
I feel very strongly that a true liberal arts education is more important than ever as the world is changing so fast before our eyes. A single, career-focused education focused on professional training is simply not enough for the working life of the future. A thoughtful, logical, well-read citizen is also essential for a successful, diverse, and evolving democracy.
Ph.D. – Southern Illinois University, 2001
M.A. – Southern Illinois University, 1994
B.A. – St. Cloud State (Minnesota) University, 1991
ENGL 110: Composition & Argument
ENGL 200: Introduction to English Studies
ENGL 220: British Survey I
ENGL 361/2: Shakespeare
ENGL 350: Early Modern Women
ENGL 350: Early Modern Masculinity
ENGL 350: The Works of Toni Morrison
ENGL 350: Seventeenth Century Poetry
ENGL 400: Early Modern Drama