Phone Number: 716-839-8577
Office Location: DS 138-office #4
My academic interests are not situated within a single national framework or period, as I focus on comparative and transnational approaches to literature. I enjoy teaching courses that place authors from around the world in dialogue with one another, creating the opportunity for the new and sometimes unexpected insights that emerge from these juxtapositions. Currently I am teaching or planning courses in German literature, the politics of food, exile/refugee literature, dystopian literature, and banned/censored books. In the past I’ve taught “Approaches to Literature,” “American Literature II,” “British Literature II,” “African American Literature,” and “Writing Composition.”
Recently I coedited a special edition of The Journal of Commonwealth Literature entitled “New Directions in Rushdie Studies” with Dr. Ana Christina Mendes (University of Lisbon). A recent article that demonstrates my postcolonial bent is entitled “Inscriptions of Resistance in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness” (Journal of Modern Literature, Spring 2015, 38.3). I’ve also published articles in The Geocritical Legacies of Edward W. Said, Modern Language Studies, Universitätsverlag WINTER Heidelberg, Indian Writers: Transnationalisms and Diasporas, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, with work forthcoming in Studies in the Novel. View several of my publications and CV.
At Daemen I strive to fuel students’ curiosity about and engagement with the larger world. When I’m not enjoying the many cultural delights of the Queen city, I’m usually somewhere in Europe.
Office Location: DS 138-7
Phone Number: 716-839-8416
Office Location: DS 138-8
I’ve always enjoyed reading, but my path into teaching World and English literature at Daemen College was a winding one. My first major when I started university as an undergraduate was in anthropology. I wanted to be an archaeologist; to dig things up; to touch history with my hands. That didn’t work out, largely because before the end of the first semester I’d been seduced by my introductory English survey: a crazy, freewheeling ride through the infinite variety of twentieth-century literature, from James Joyce to Gertrude Stein to Philip K. Dick to Alan Ginsburg to Art Spiegelman, and beyond. The ENG130 lecture theatre at the University of Otago in 2002 was dangerous – it was the kind of place I didn’t want to leave. Fortunately, I didn’t have to.
At Daemen, I try to pass on that excitement to my own students. I teach courses that explore literatures from all over the world, including Africa, South Asia, the Caribbean, and Japan. I try to open up unexpected connections and textual juxtapositions. For example, one of my favourite courses is “Myths and Modern Tales,” which starts with a selection of major works from the ancient Mediterranean (like The Odyssey and Sophocles’ Antigone), then skips forward two thousand years to see how modern writers have responded to the classical tradition: by mixing Latin mythology with Yoruba (Nigerian) religion with psychological science, say. Part of the excitement of literary studies lies in how it can challenge us with new perspectives, so I want my teaching to create associations we might not have considered before.
My research falls within the subfield usually called “postcolonial studies,” which focuses on the legacy of European imperialism in places like Australia, India, and West Africa. I have written about how authors use fiction to re-examine the colonial frontier and challenge myths of white superiority, and have done work on how literary realism is transformed when it is taken up by authors from outside the usual centres of global culture. My most recent work is about fiction that tries to encompass the world ‘as a whole’; I’m interested in what happens to the novel in the hands of authors who have the crazy ambition to include ‘everything.’ So far this project has led me to the work of Orhan Pamuk (from Turkey), V.S. Naipaul (from Trinidad), and Alexis Wright (from Australia). I don’t know where it’s going yet – but that’s what literature is all about.
Phone Number: 716-839-8296
Office Location: DS 138-1
Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing
Since my arrival at Daemen in fall 2008, I’ve been teaching a range of composition classes (basic, introductory, and advanced), as well as courses in Rhetoric, Professional Writing, and the English Language. I also serve as the Writing Coordinator, assisting students and faculty with composition placement, scheduling, and writing course instruction. Before coming to Daemen, I was an Assistant Professor of English at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. At UST, I taught a range of courses in rhetoric, composition, disciplinary history, and women’s literature for graduate and undergraduate students. Prior to my appointment at St. Thomas, I served as the Graduate Coordinator of Comp 101 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where I specialized in Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing and received my PhD in 2003.
I developed my interest in the study, teaching, and craft of writing early in my educational development, when I was fortunate to enroll in rhetoric and composition course work as an undergraduate student at Nazareth College. While I was always a voracious reader, studying the connections between writing, language, and learning gave me a different way to think about texts -– and a new way of understanding how writing works in the world. After one of my professors took me to my first conference for rhetoric and composition scholars during my senior year in college, I was hooked. And for nearly 15 years, I’ve had the good fortune to teach writing, to help others to work with student writers, and, from time to time, to do a bit of writing myself.
My scholarly interests include the history and development of Rhetoric and Composition Studies and, more recently, the influence of technology on students’ research writing practices. For example, in two recent studies, I worked with specialists in Composition and Library & Information Science to examine the relationships between rhetorical knowledge, writing practice, and information literacy at two points of transition crucial to writing development: as first-year students encounter research writing in introductory composition course work; and as graduating students transition from academic writing to professional writing. My work has been published in Composition Studies, Innovative Higher Education, and The Changing of Knowledge in Composition: Contemporary Perspectives (Massey and Gebhardt, eds.).
Phone Number: 716-839-8541
Office Location: DS 138-3
British Literature, Shakespeare, Women Writers, the Novel, and Critical Theory
I like to teach British literature from a “time machine” or historical perspective by imagining and examining the culture that produced the texts we study. For instance, in my Shakespeare class, you’ll receive a weekly news pamphlet containing all the latest events in Shakespeare’s London, so we can talk about the news that emerges in his plays. I am keenly interested in the intersections between the visual arts, performance, and literary texts, so I regularly employ film and illustrations as they help us enjoy our reading and deepen our textual understanding. I offer survey courses as well as more advanced courses in Shakespeare, the gothic, 19 th century literature, and drama.
Most of my scholarly work investigates texts produced by nineteenth-century women novelists from England, Scotland, and Ireland. My recent publications include journal articles on material culture (Thackeray’s Vanity Fair), on Irish gothic novels (Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent and Bram Stoker’s The Snake’s Pass), and on embodiment and substance abuse in novels by George Eliot. In recent years, I have also contributed book chapters to Jane Austen and Philosophy, The Contemporary Irish Detective Novel, Biographical Misrepresentation of British Women Writers, and Guilt Rules All: Irish Mystery, Detective, and Crime Fiction. Right now, I’m working on a variety of projects dealing with illustration, medicine, and scandal in the 19 th century novel.
Some of my favorite experiences as a faculty member have taken place outside the classroom—my Literature of London course involves a Spring Break trip to visit literary sites in London. I have also arranged weekend trips with students to visit literary sites in Massachusetts and overseen three Think-Tank grant projects that supported my work with students to research the 1692 Salem Witch Trials in Salem, MA and to examine Renaissance manuscripts in The British Library, London. I hope to have these wonderful learning experiences repeated in years to come.
Phone Number: 716-839-8258
Office Location: DS 138-2
Contemporary Fiction, Scottish Fiction, American Literature, The Short Story, and Film
The first day of class, my tenth-grade English teacher, Mr. Lacopo, told me to wipe the smile off my face or he’d throw me through the wall. Although I didn’t know I had been smiling, I followed his suggestion, as well as another he made a few months later: that I should consider studying English in college. I have never stopped reading (as in reading voraciously, although I no longer read Tom Corbett Space Cadet books), and I have never stopped studying literature, trying to understand how it works and how it came to be written and received. I can’t really think of myself as a teacher without thinking of myself as a student, and just the way I ask my students to write about literature in order to understand it, I do the same: I wouldn’t know it, or know it well, if I didn’t write about it. Reading, teaching, writing: the golden triangle. To make a livelihood out of what I love to do, reading and passing on my knowledge and, even more, my enthusiasm for what I read to others: it doesn’t get any better than that. Doing all this at Daemen has helped. I originally came to Daemen to teach American literature. (Funnily enough, the subject of my PhD dissertation, Frank Norris, is the author of The Octopus, a novel I first read in Mr. Lacopo’s tenth-grade American Literature class.) But although I still do teach American Literature, the college and the English Department have been flexible enough to allow me to pursue other interests--contemporary British (especially Scottish) fiction and film—and then to share these interests with students. So, my thanks to them—and to Mr. Lacopo and indeed to all my English teachers.
I am the author of four books--Irvine Welsh (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), Irvine Welsh’s ‘Trainspotting’ (Continuum,2001), The Dialogic Novels of Malcolm Bradbury and David Lodge (Southern Illinois University Press, 1989) and John Gardner: An Annotated Secondary Bibliography (Garland, 1984)--and editor of two others--John Cheever: Critical Insights (Salem/EBSCO, 2011) and (with Kathryn VanSpanckeren) of John Gardner: Critical Perspectives (Southern Illinois University Press, 1982). In addition to my many book reviews and articles in standard reference series such as Dictionary of Literary Biography and Contemporary Novelists, I have published numerous essays in scholarly journals as well as in books on John Cheever, Louise Erdrich, Stanley Elkin, John Edgar Wideman, John Gardner, postmodernism, contemporary Scottish literature, film and American Puritanism. I have taught in Warsaw, Poland (as Senior Fulbright Lecturer), and in Beijing, China (Fall 2010, Fall 2012, Summer 2015) and have lectured in India. I have long served as Consulting Editor for the journal Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction and recently have become an advisory editor to Symbiosis: A Journal of Transatlantic Literature and Culture. In 1996 I was awarded the University of Wyoming's Burger Prize for best theater essay, on the Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman's play, Death and the Maiden. In addition to the collection of Cheever essays mentioned above, my recent publications include “Kurt Vonnegut Jr: Sermons on the Mount” (Critique, 2010), “James Robertson and Contemporary Scottish Gothic” (Gothic Studies, 2011), “The Devolutionary Jekyll and Post-devolutionary Hyde of the Two Morvern Callars” (Critique 2012), essays on Scotland and China in Generation X Goes Global (Routledge, 2013) and (with Intisar Hibschweiler) a case study of Daemen’s core curriculum (Using the VALUE Rubrics for Improvement of Learning and Authentic Assessment, AAC&U, 2013). I am currently completing a book on post-devolutionary Scottish fiction.
Phone Number: 716-839-8305
Office Location: DS 147
I grew up in a rather remote location in the panhandle of Idaho where the only college-educated adults I knew personally were teachers, doctors or nurses. My Auntie Jo, the nurse, was the smarty pants in my family. Girls with writing skills were generally tracked into secretarial work, so after drifting through a few different majors in college, I worked for several years in that capacity, while devouring historical romance novels in my off time. When I discovered (admittedly a bit late) that not only were there more compelling things to read but that one could actually make a living teaching how to do just that, I signed on and never looked back. I have been a faculty member in the Daemen College English Department since 1990, arriving as a fresh Ph.D from the University of Delaware. In addition to introductory writing and literature courses, I’ve come to focus my teaching on Irish Literature, Gender and Literature, Fiction Writing, Detective Fiction, and Trauma and Literature—oh, and the occasional romance novel.
My major research interests have been in the areas of gender studies, film studies, Irish studies and crime fiction. I am co-editor of a collection entitled Unmanning Modernism: Gendered Re-Readings (University of Tennessee Press, 1997) and have published separate articles on film, women's suffrage literature, popular culture, and Irish crime fiction, particularly novelists Edna O'Brien, Patrick McCabe and Tana French. I am currently fascinated with fiction of The Celtic Tiger, the term for Ireland’s recent economic boom and bust. My interest in this topic stems from my own Irish heritage, which is part of Ireland's long and traumatic history of colonialism, famine, and deprivation. My research and writing examines Irish fiction within that historical context from the perspective of contemporary trauma theory. With the support of Daemen College, I have had the privilege of traveling to Ireland several times to attend conferences and to conduct research, a particularly enjoyable part of my job.
In collaboration with Dr. Cantwell, I have participated in several student trips abroad to England and Ireland. These trips have typically involved around a dozen students who traveled over spring break as part of a course on English/Irish literature or, if they were not part of the class, just for a fun cultural experience. Each trip has been uniquely rewarding and has helped broaden the students' horizons both culturally and academically. Another area of teaching I especially enjoy is the Creative Writing Workshop. As an extension of that course, I also oversee the department’s literary magazine, Writer’s Block, a venue for students of all majors to showcase their creative talents in fiction, poetry, prose, art and photography.
I am currently serving as Dean of Arts and Sciences, a commitment that limits my time for teaching in the English Department. As dean, I get the most satisfaction from helping students, especially first generation students, find their path through the college experience. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing those students walk across the stage at Commencement.
Phone Number: 716-839-7685
Office Location: DS 138-6