American Literature

My research interests are in American literature of the late 19th century to modern works, specifically in southern literature. Most of my work leads me back to my love of New Orleans and its literary culture. In April, 2015, I successfully completed my primary doctoral exams in 20th Century American Literature, and I look forward to continuing my work in this area.

In my thesis, I explored Kate Chopin, Lafcadio Hearn, and Grace King through the lens of new historicism, and my King studies continue today. I have been lucky enough to travel to Wittenberg, Germany and Metz, France to present on King at intercontinental conferences. In my doctoral dissertation, I argue that King serves as a mentor to the American Modernist movement that begin in the latter decades of her life. In it, I explore numerous texts through the lens of Arnold van Gennep’s 1909 concept of liminality.

Additionally, I have invested time and research in Katrina literature, literature stemming from New Orleans in the post-Katrina years. I find the poetry, novels, memoirs, films, and music to represent that special passion for life found in New Orleans, as well as the blues narratives found throughout its traditional music scene.

The following list includes recent presentations or projects related to my studies in American Literature:

  • “Re-Constructing Womanhood: Grace King’s Liminality in a Transitioning New Orleans.” Society for Study of American Women Writers 2015 Conference. Philadelphia, PA. November 4-8, 2015. Conference.
  • “Between Grace and Grit: Grace King’s Literary Impact.” Speech/lecture given at Le Petit Salon in New Orleans, LA in November, 2014.
    • I am more than honored to have been invited to speak about Grace King, my dissertation topic, at the Salon in celebration of its 90th year. King served as the Salon’s first president in 1924, and I hope to represent her role in literature and a growing New Orleans.
  • “Between Grace and Grit: Modernity and Liminality in Grace King’s Fiction.” Grace King of New Orleans: Beyond Local Color International Conference in Metz, France. October, 2014. (Conference.)
  • “La Grande Etage.” Intercontinental Cross Currents hosted by Martin Luther University in Wittenberg, Germany. December, 2013. Conference.
  • “Replacing the Mask of Passivity with the Strength of Maternity in Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones.” SCMLA Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA. October, 2013. Conference.
  • “Here’s Lookin’ at You, Kid: All the King’s Men and the Film Noir.” Robert Penn Warren Circle Annual Meeting in Clarksville, TN. April, 2013. Conference.
  • “A Century of Female Bildungsromans: Schreiner’s The Story of an African Farm and Morrison’s Sula.” Interdisciplinary Conference of Women’s and Gender Studies MTSU. April, 2013. Conference.
  • “Slashing Up History: Retelling New Orleans to Fit a New Generation’s Obsession.” University of Georgia Graduate Student Organization in Athens, GA. March, 2013. Conference.
  • “One is the Loneliest Number: Individualism and Community in Percy’s The Moviegoer and Ford’s Independence Day.” Tennessee Philological Association in Knoxville, TN. February, 2013. Conference.
  • “I’ve Always Depended on the Kindness of Accurate Literary Portrayals: Rewriting 19th Century Southern Women.” Middle Tennessee State University English Graduate Student Organization. September, 2012. Conference.
  • “Cooking Up Change: Reconstructing the Creole Woman.” Tennessee Philological Association. February, 2012 in Martin, TN. Conference.

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