Assistant Professor of English
Director of In-Service Program
B.A. - Calvin College
M.A. & Ph.D. - University of Tennessee
Teaching at Williams since 2005
Why I enjoy teaching at Williams:
I enjoy getting to know students personally and being a part of their lives even after they leave Williams. I also appreciate being a part of the Williams Family. The people here are tolerant and loving, active and interesting. They help me be a better person.
Areas of scholarship or expertise:
James Fenimore Cooper, Early American Literature, The Middle Ages, Literary History
Hobbies and outside interests:
Running and cycling, collecting old books and guns, cooking, watching Bollywood movies
James Fenimore Cooper's novels, O. Henry's short stories, The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells, the Master and Commander series by Patrick O'Brian, The Twenty-One Ballons by William Pene du Bois
Why I chose to double major in History and English:
History was a natural choice for me since I have long held an interest in the past. English was more of a challenge for me since I'm not a gifted communicator by nature, but I love the way ideas and art come together in literature. I think the two disciplines go together very well--you can't be a very good scholar of literature without knowing history, and you can't be a very good historian if you don't interpret well.
Hardest class I took in college:
I decided to take Latin my senior year of college and never felt quite sure that I knew what I was doing. I suppose I could blame it on the fact that Latin isn't a language that is used conversationally, but it was probably just me. Unsurprisingly, I've forgotten much of my Latin.
Most enjoyable classes I took in college:
During my freshman year I took two courses on the Middle Ages that exposed me to all sorts of strange and interesting ways in which people looked at the world. Those classes affected me in lasting ways by raising my curiosity and illustrating how necessary it is to check our own assumptions at the door if we wish to understand the past (and other people in general).
Since 2006 I have been the editor of the James Fenimore Cooper Society Newsletter, which comes out three times a year. I regularly publish short articles and reviews there. Some of my other recent activities include:
A book chapter: "The Pathfinder and Cooper's Return to Popular Literature," in Leather-Stocking Redux; Or, Old Essays, New Tales, edited by Jeffrey Walker (New York: AMS Press, 2011).
A forthcoming article editing and introducing an unpublished manuscript by Cooper: "An Unfired Shot in the Literary Battle of Lake Erie: Cooper's Unpublished Reply to Alexander Slidell Mackenzie," in Literature in the Early American Republic 5 (2013).
A presentation at the biennial James Fenimore Cooper Conference and Seminar, SUNY Oneonta, July 2011: "Out-Coopering Cooper? [Charles Fenno] Hoffman's Greyslaer and the Reviewers." Publication forthcoming in James Fenimore Cooper: His Country and His Art, no. 18.
I am an active member of the James Fenimore Cooper Society and have served on its executive board since 2007 as Executive Director for Publications. In 2007 I was awarded the Cooper Society's James F. Beard Award for Young Scholars.
I also serve as one of the faculty sponsors for our Williams Alpha Delta Pi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, an international English honor society. I often accompany students to the annual Sigma Tau Delta International Convention and serve as a faculty moderator there.
Many of our faculty members incorporate service learning into their programs and courses. I help coordinate service learning placements for some of them and recruit students for extracurricular service learning activities. Our students serve in a number of local settings: school, hospital, nursing home, children's shelter, museum and others. They gain valuable hands-on experience while helping others.