Saturday, August 31, 2013

About Me

I am a second-year Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Alaska Anchorage. I plan to get a PhD in Literature on the Neoclassical Period and become a college professor. My main passion in research is Jonathan Swift, and my Thesis work, tentatively titled “’My Horses Understand Me Tolerably Well’: World-Building and the Counterfactual Ending in Gulliver’s Travels,” is on the narratological boundaries and structures in Gulliver’s Travels. For this project, I am interested in the games authors play in texts and the theory of Claire Dannenberg in Coincidence and Counterfactuality. Beyond Swift, I like to look at the works of post WWII fictions of trauma. Novels like Karen Connelly’s The Lizard Cage or Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried take on the unthinkable tragedies of society in direct ways. The use of literature to overcome suffering, to understand it, or to simply step across a boundary and become another person for a time is what drives our field in my opinion, and these recent texts allow readers and critics to see the utter devastation taking place all around us in a way that is personal and meaningful beyond the soundbites and gifsets so popular in todays age.

Another growing interest I have relates more with both the reason this blog exists and its eventual content. Specifically, I am teaching Introduction to Composition (English 111) and Technical Writing (English 212) and I am intrigued by online pedagogy and digital literacy. I can’t help but wonder what we are losing by this shift to online zones for learning? But at the same time, what are we gaining, and where should our efforts be in presenting students with new challenges in the English classroom? These are difficult question to answer but hopefully we come to some better understanding of the problems inherent in exploring new literacies.

I am the Treasurer for Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society at UAA chapter and have been since 2010. I published an undergraduate paper in the Student Showcase Journal in 2011, and I presented my Undergraduate Thesis on Jonathan Swift’s connection to Utopianism at the 17th Annual Pacific Rim Conference on Literature and Rhetoric in 2011 as well as being a panel member for a discussion of online pedagogies at the 2012 Pac-Rim conference. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Zeb--Welcome to digital literacies! I remember reading Tim O'Brien as an undergraduate and thinking that I had made the right decision in becoming an English major :)