My Story

Literature, language, and the animal turn.

 
 

Early Days

For many years, my reading was a secret act. Kept from peers in part, but mostly from restrictive readings, dogmatic interpretations that I was not permitted to question, challenge, or complicate.

College, and University

I discovered my love for literature, language, and the question of the animal during some of my first courses at Green River College. I am grateful to professors like Hank Galmish, Sandra Johanson, and Marcie Sims.  I followed my passion for study and creative writing to work with Bruce Beasley and Suzanne Paola at Western Washington University. Over the undergraduate years I took extended trips to Egypt and Italy where I studied and wrote.

Graduate Studies

After my baccalaureate, I traveled from the West Coast to the East, studying poetry at the University of Maryland. I completed my thesis work with Stanley Plumly, Elizabeth Arnold, and Michael Collier. I moved on to my PhD studies at the George Washington University before taking a hiatus from studies and career.

Family, India, then Back to the West Coast and to STudies

When my son was born in 2009, I took a few years off from studies and career. We were fortunate to take many extended trips to Mysore, India before settling in San Diego, CA. With my family settled and healthy, I returned to career and study, teaching English in the San Diego Unified School District and completing my doctoral dissertation with the George Washington University under the guidance of professors Robert McRuer and David Mitchel .

My family is a constant source of inspiration.

My family is a constant source of inspiration.

Current Scholarly work—Doctoral Dissertation

The dissertation, tentatively titled “Expendable Bodies: Literature of the Animal Turn," will explore select literature written during what has now come to be called, "the animal turn." The animal turn brackets a range of nearly five decades commencing in the early 1970s, marked particularly by Peter Singer’s publication of his influential but deeply problematic, Animal Liberation, and continuing on through our current day with a tentacular proliferation of the question of the non-human animal that has served as a foundational division against which the Post-Enlightenment rational human animal is defined. The animal turn in philosophy and literature has complicated nearly every theoretical discourse across Cultural Studies and beyond. A review and consideration of theory by Jacques Derrida, Donna Haraway, Cary Wolfe, Judith Butler, and many others aids in the critical reading of key works of fiction. Reading novels by authors such as Gregory Maguire, Margaret Atwood, Octavia E. Butler, Randall Kenan, Leslie Marmon Silko, J. M. Coetzee, and Art Spiegelman I will attempt to draw out the haunting logic of the holocaust and genocide that accompanies the question of the animal throughout these narratives — something that Michel Foucault referred to as "the Post-Apocalyptic mindset" of the latter 20th century. Theory and literature written during the animal turn works to explore the latent and overt violences accompanying the question of the animal in a manner artists, activists, and philosophers are still struggling to consider. The now semi-permeable boundary of human and non-human animal has proven to complicate our understanding of otherness and of the self.

Future Work

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After completing my dissertation, I plan on continuing my research in Critical Animal Studies and Posthumanism, particularly with an eye toward elated concerns about literary representations of pain and violence.