As an instructor and a human being, I strongly believe that learning requires us to “get messy”: we experiment, we fail, and we try again. To that end, I aim to create a supportive classroom, where my students feel safe “messing up” the literary canon by exploring it in unexpected contexts. My teaching also reflects my interest in combining quantitative research with close reading techniques. I use a variety of digital tools to create accessible, engaging course material for students.
Travelers, missionaries, and immigrants in early English literature
Who wrote the earliest English literature? Today, if we encounter Old English, we typically encounter it through the lens of Beowulf and the Scandinavian north: heroes and monsters, blond, blue-eyed Vikings with long beards and wild eyes. But even when Beowulf was written, that world was a myth. In real life, the inhabitants of Britain between the years 450-1066 AD were culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse. And while the early inhabitants of Britain lived on an island, they certainly weren’t stuck there! The sea was a highway as much as a barrier in the early medieval world, and early English travelers, missionaries, and immigrants used it to connect with seemingly-distant shores.
The history of a form
Lists are everywhere. Grocery lists, bucket lists, hit lists, “10 Things I Hate About You”—the list, as it were, goes on! But while the OED describes the “listicle” as a combination of “list + article” invented in 2007, lists are one of the oldest and most enduring literary forms. Lists have been used to make political statements, tell stories, craft arguments, reveal injustices, even imagine heaven and hell! From early medieval catalog poems like Widsith and Deor to Biblical enumeration to Solmaz Sharif’s “Look,” this class will consider the history of the list as a literary genre. By comparing some of the oldest examples with current, contemporary poetry, we will consider the roots of a form we still use every day.
The Sword and the Screen:
New tricks with old texts
The difficulty with epics is that they're... well, epic. Beowulf goes hunting Grendel, and 3000 lines of poetry later he's still fighting; Arthur pulls Excalibur out of the stone, starts sending knights on quests, and keeps sending knights on quests until you start to wonder if they're ever coming back! (Hint: They're not.) So: what if we started counting things? This class combines the adventures of two epic heroes, Beowulf and King Arthur, with some basic Python text analysis. Close-reading and critical writing will be crucial components of the course, but we will use Python to expand our options for analysis. Ultimately, it may not be an easy journey -- but it will be an epic one!
Instructor, Department of English, Wake Forest University
English 165G: "Riddle Me This: Puzzles, Puns, and Palimpsests" (F. 2022)
English 302/402: "Beyond England: Travelers, Missionaries, and Immigrants in Early Medieval Literature" (F. 2022)
Instructor, Department of English, University of Michigan
English 407/502: "Pathless Places in Old English Literature" (S. 2022)
English 318: “Listicle Literature: The History of a Form” (F. 2021)
English 317: “Beyond England: Travelers, Missionaries, and Immigrants in Early Medieval Literature” (F. 2020)
Graduate Student Instructor, Department of English, UC Berkeley
English R1B/12: “Riddle Me This: Puzzles, Puns, and Palimpsests” (Su. 2019)
English R1B/2: “The Sword and the Screen: New Tricks with Old Texts” (S. 2019)
English R1B/12: “Riddle Me This: Puzzles, Puns, and Palimpsests” (F. 2018)
Teaching Assistant, Department of English, UC Berkeley
English 45A: “Literature through Milton,” with Prof. David Marno (S. 2018)
Graduate Course: “Digital Humanities for Medievalists,” with Prof. Maura Nolan (S. 2018)
English 45A: “Literature through Milton,” with Prof. Steve Justice (F. 2017)
Reader, Department of English, UC Berkeley
Language course: “Introduction to Old English,” with Prof. Emily Thornbury (F. 2015)
Medieval Africa and Africans (2021)
Online curriculum development course offered by the NHC and the Medieval Academy of America
The Art of Teaching Writing Summer Institute (2018)
Training seminar at the UC Berkeley Townsend Center, led by Joseph Harris