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Current Courses

“How do I love thee,” Elizabeth Barret Browning asks in the beginning of her forty-third sonnet: “Let me count the ways.” Together, we “count the ways” in which Renaissance poets expressed love in their poems, with a particular focus on gender and sexuality. In order to account for the variety of perspective and positions, we will read selections from a wide array of authors from the 14th through 17th century.

Our course will ask questions about how both masculinity and femininity are constructed in love poetry, both in terms of authorship and poetic perspective. We will look especially carefully at the ways in which female poets subvert and perpetuate the conventions of their male contemporaries. We will also spend significant time reading love poems from men to and about men—and from women to and about women—in order to construct a full picture of the range of desires that were articulated during this time. We will also consider the nuances and tensions between friendship and erotic love, and the ways in which literature can go beyond history to capture the taboo and the illicit.

We will especially hone our skills at close reading and textual analysis and consider the most effective ways to express our insights in writing.

The writer’s strike. Working from home. The “great resignation.” Over the past three years, focus as intensified on who gets to work, who has to work, where work takes place, and what the value of labor is in our lives. This course looks back in time, to an earlier, also plague-ridden era, to see how the writers of the Renaissance grappled with many of these same issues. How did early modern writers conceive of work in their writing, and did they conceive of their writing as work?

Together we will read an array of genres, from poetry to drama to diary to manuals on gardening and housewifery in order to understand the various ways in which early modern people approached labor, idleness, occupation, professionalization, and activity through literature. We will also hold space for considerations of identity, especially gender and social class, as they relate to labors seen and unseen. We will pay close attention to who is imagined to perform work, and whose work receives attention, compensation, and value. We will also pay attention to moments when the expected relationships between work and literature break down.

Along the way, we will think about what brings the realms of work and writing together in the first place, as we reflect on our own practices as writers, readers, and scholars. As such, writing will be an integral part of the assignments for this course, although it will take many different forms. In fact, you will have the option to choose which forms of writing you want to select for your own customized assignment sequence.

Past Courses Taught

Other Teaching Experience

For many years, I regularly taught through the University of Michigan  Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which offers continuing education opportunities to the retirement community of Ann Arbor. Not only does this give me a chance to work with and teach a different demographic than the typical students at the University of Michigan, but it also allows me to carry the knowledge and practices of academia to the wider community. Past courses have included Richard III, King Lear: Shakespeare’s Apocalyptic Play, Medieval Poetry, The Plays of Margaret Cavendish,  Shakespeare’s Poetry, Reading the Merchant of Venice in 2019, Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Falling in Love with Love Poetry. 

From 2019-2022, I served as a practice teaching facilitator for Graduate Student Instructor Teaching Orientations, run through the Center for Research on Teaching and Learning at the  University of Michigan. These orientation programs offer new instructors the opportunity to run practice teaching sessions and receive feedback from a facilitator. I ran these sessions with students across Rackham Graduate School, as well as specific sessions with the School of Engineering that focus on active learning in the classroom.

During the 2021-2022 academic year I served as an academic advisor for the Honors Program at the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan. In addition to holding regular advising sessions and managing a cohort of 90 undergraduate students, I co-designed and led programming on DEI issues, application writing, and a book club.

I have also worked as a tutor for the Writing Center at Henry Ford College, in Dearborn, MI. This work is part on a Mellon-funded grant to support the Transfer Bridges Program between Henry Ford College and the University of Michigan and is geared toward creating equitable access to writing support between UM and local community colleges.