“. . . truth, nature, imagination, affection, love, hope, beauty, joy. Those words are hard to keep still within definitions; they make the dictionary hum like a beehive. But in such words, in their resonance within their histories and in their associations with one another, we find our indispensable humanity, without which we are lost and in danger.” –Wendell Berry
Teaching & Education
I teach general education courses in writing and literature, and upper-level English courses in nineteenth-century American literature and Southern literature.
- Ph.D. in English, The University of Tennessee
- MA in English, Literature concentration, North Carolina State University
- BA in English, Harding University
Before entering my doctoral program, I taught middle school English and high school Bible at a private Christian school for one year, then taught AP Literature and Composition at a public high school for two years.
- “‘Forest Christian,’ a Poet of the River Lands: Wendell Berry in Appalachia.” Forthcoming in collection of ecocritical essays on Appalachian literature, edited by Jessica Cory and Laura Wright.
- “The Wisdom of ‘The Farm’: Sabbath Theology and Wendell Berry’s Pastoralism.” Renascence 70.1 (Winter 2018): 3-22.
- “Agriculture and Biblical Tradition in Jewett’s ‘A Dunnet Shepherdess.’” Christianity and Literature 64.4 (Sept. 2015): 400-413.
- Forthcoming review of Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain, Volume 1 and 2: A Critical Edition, by Alexander von Humboldt, edited by Vera M. Kutzinski and Ottmar Ette. Early American Literature.
- Review of When I Came to Die: Process and Prophecy in Thoreau’s Vision of Dying, by Audrey Raden. Nineteenth-Century Prose 46.2 (Fall 2019): 241-246.
- Review of Approaching Jonathan Edwards: The Evolution of a Persona, by Carol Ball. Christianity and Literature 68.4 (Sept. 2019): 694-697.
- Review of Henry David Thoreau: A Life, by Laura Dassow Walls. Christianity and Literature 67.3 (June 2018): 583-586.
- Review of Loving God’s Wildness: The Christian Roots of Ecological Ethics in American Literature, by Jeffrey Bilbro. Christianity and Literature 65.3 (June 2016): 378-381.
- 2020-2021, The University of Tennessee Humanities Center, Resident Graduate Fellow
- 2020 Thoreau County Conservation Association Graduate Student Fellowship ($1000 awarded for Thoreau-related research in greater Boston area)
- 2019-2020, Percy Adams Research Assistantship, UTK English department
- 2016-2020, The University of Tennessee Chancellor’s Fellowship
I am involved with several literary studies societies, including Christianity and Literature, the Thoreau Society, and C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists.
My journey as a scholar and teacher began when I realized that reading literature is about more than just learning literary genres, analytical terms, and schools of interpretation. First at Harding, then at North Carolina State University, and most recently, at the University of Tennessee, I learned to explore American literature as an invaluable repository of ideas that is portable across space and time. I discovered that the Christian faith has deeply shaped literature in English. My writing and teaching center on Christian theological categories—creation and redemption, suffering and hope, time and eternity—and how these inform the reading and writing of literary art. I am a specialist in nineteenth-century American literature and Southern literature, but my interest in Christianity and literature sends me back to the medieval poet Dante and forward to the contemporary novelists Wendell Berry and Marilynne Robinson. I seek to invite my students into the Christian literary tradition, an always shifting stream of imagination that has Christ as its ultimate end.
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