Teaching has helped me think about my research questions in transhistorical, global, and interdisciplinary ways. I've used my research on adaptation as a way to bring texts from different periods and genres into conversation with each other. For example, my class on Anglophone postcolonial literature has clarified the stakes of my work on eighteenth-century empire, and service learning has highlighted the immediacy of the study of language and narrative in our world at large. While I have taught traditional historicist surveys of Early Modern and eighteenth-century literature, I find these different modes of course design strengthens both my work in the classroom and in the archive by continually changing the perspective from which I view texts.
My teaching and training cover a wide range of courses and pedagogies, and I am constantly interrogating my teaching practices and the ways I can better support the different needs of students in my classroom. In addition to my field training, I completed a certificate in Writing Pedagogy, where I focused on writing instruction across the curriculum. My work for the certificate included a research project on feminist pedagogy and multimodal composition. Continuing with this emphasis on pedagogy alongside my colleagues across the university, I participated a working group on inclusive pedagogy in the Mellon-funded UCLA Humanities Division Excellence in Pedagogy and Innovative Classrooms (EPIC) program, and currently serve as co-coordinator for the Social Justice Pedagogy Graduate Working Group. I take my training into my community by volunteering with 826LA: A Non-Profit Writing and Tutoring Organization, working with high school students on writing creative nonfiction and college application essays.
Program in Cultures, Civilizations, and Ideas (CCI)
Humanities 111: Ancient and Classical Civilization
This course is the first in a two-semester sequence that considers the meaning of culture: what it is, how it functions, and how we participate in it. Here, we will read some of the foundational texts that have been used to define “Western civilization,” including some of the earliest extant writing, while simultaneously interrogating the assumptions in that definition. We will also read contemporary texts that have drawn inspiration from and have built on this literary tradition while critiquing the concept of a singular, coherent Western civilization. In doing so we will ask questions such as: How do these texts define a culture? A civilization? Who or what may these definitions exclude? In what ways do contemporary ideas about human nature, the supernatural, knowledge, war, etc., correspond to or deviate from these ideologies? We will grapple with these questions and others while developing skills in critical reading, analytical writing, and oral discussion.
Texts include The Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer’s Iliad, Sophocles’ Antigone, and Plato’s Republic, Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire and selections from Derek Walcott’s Omeros and Anne Carson’s Sappho translations.
Humanities 112: Medieval to Modern
This course is the second in a two-semester sequence that considers the meaning of culture: what it is, how it functions, and how we participate in it. Here, we will read texts from the European Middle Ages to the contemporary moment. The story of modernity is often described as the triumph of reason, from the Renaissance to through the Age of Enlightenment. Yet this period also contains the rise of global violence to unprecedented levels, often enabled and encouraged by the very same discourses. This course will look at the tensions between reason and emotion in the creation of our modern world. In doing so we will ask questions such as: How do these texts define reason? Who or what is capable of reason and who or what is not? What is the relationship between reason and emotion? How do we relate to the feelings of overs? Who is beyond the reach of sympathy? We will grapple with these questions and others while developing skills in critical reading, analytical writing, and oral discussion.
Texts include Shakespeare’s Othello, Toni Morrison’s Desdemona, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Ahmed Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad, and selections by Marcus Aurelius, Giovanni Boccaccio, John Milton, René Descartes, David Hume, Adam Smith, and James Baldwin.
University of California, Los Angeles
Courses Designed and Taught as Instructor
Introduction to Creative Writing
Writing is actually a three-part process—reading, writing, and rewriting. We will read to soak up different modes, styles, points of view in three genres: poetry, drama, and fiction. We will write to explore how to express ourselves using those techniques. We will revise based on the feedback of our peers and our own thoughts and instincts. Creative writing, like its academic counterpart, is still about communication, with the readers and writers of the past, present, and future. Along the way, perhaps most importantly, we will learn how to give constructive and respectful critiques, and also how to graciously receive, evaluate, and implement feedback.
Readings include David Starkey's Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief, Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art," Danez Smith's "Tonight, in Oakland," Elizabeth Alexander's "House Party Sonnet '66," Wallace Stevens's "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," Morgan Parker's "13 Ways of Looking at a Black Girl," Tommy Pico's "Junk," A. Rey Pamatmat's Some Other Kid, David Ives' Sure Thing, Anton Chekhov's The Bear, Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl," Dagoberto Gilb's "His Birthday," Raymond Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," and Carmen Maria Machaco's "The Husband Stitch."
Who Tells Your Story? British Imperialism and Adaptation
This course seeks to understand adaptation as a method of critical engagement, part of a series of conversations between texts, readers, and scholars. Postcolonial literature in particular has often used adaptation as a means of “writing back” to the colonizer, dramatizing the absences in the European canon. Yet this impulse to rewrite the past is not a new one: the long eighteenth century was a golden age of adaptation and translation. We will read eighteenth-century adaptations with their literary sources to think about questions of genre, language, and culture. In what ways do different genres interpret the same story, and to what effects? How does genre crossing relate to border crossings? As questions of race and migration continue to focus both political and cultural interest, we will also look at contemporary adaptations of eighteenth-century texts to think about the the period in our own cultural imagination. What makes a text canonical and how does that change our relationship to it? How does our contemporary understanding of adaptation relate to eighteenth-century adaptations? How do writers and artists use the eighteenth century to think through contemporary concerns?
Readings include Phillis Wheatley’s “On Being Brought from Africa to America,” Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko and Thomas Southerne’s stage adaptation, Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and Patricia Rozema’s 1999 film adaptation, The History of Mary Prince, M. Norbese Philip’s Zong!, Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, Delarivier Manley’s Almyna, or The Arabian Vow, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Book 2 “A Voyage to Brobdingnag,” Dunya Mikhail’s “Iraqi Nights,” and critical texts by Linda Hutcheon, Jean Marsden, Saidiya Hartman, and Edward Said.
Swinging Sixties: British and Commonwealth Literature, 1954-1979
This course examines the cultural response to the tumultuous 1960s in Great Britain and its former colonies. As American youth culture rebelled against suburban complacency and military aggression abroad, the 1950s in Britain were marked by austerity as the nation tried to recover from the devastation of World War II and the steady loss of its empire. “Swinging London” embraced the new and the modern in pop culture, despite the rise in class struggles in the north and terrorism in Northern Ireland. Countries like Nigeria, Jamaica, and India celebrated their newly independent national cultures, while reckoning with the legacy of colonialism. We begin in 1954, the final end of wartime rationing, and finish in 1979 with the rise of Margaret Thatcher and Tory neoliberalism.
Readings include Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, Caryl Churchill’s Cloud 9, Shelagh Delany’s A Taste of Honey, V.S. Naipaul’s The Mimic Men, Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman, poetry by Philip Larkin, Louise Bennett, and Seamus Heaney, and songs by Lonnie Donegan, Desmond Dekker, the Who, Siouxie and the Banshees, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and U2. Films include Look Back in Anger, A Hard Day’s Night, Alfie, and The Long Good Friday.
Critical Reading and Writing: Adaptation
One way to approach the study of literature is as a series of conversations between texts, scholars, and readers. This course seeks to understand adaptation as a method of critical engagement. By looking at source texts with their adaptations, we consider the different ways that literature can be its own critic. We use adaptation to ask larger questions about literature, such as: What is the relationship between translation and adaptation? In what different ways do various genres interpret the same story? How do traditionally marginalized groups engage with a canonical text and to what effect?
Readings include selections from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and E.J. Bellocq’s “Storyville Portraits” with Natasha Trethewey’s Bellocq’s Ophelia, Shakespeare’s The Tempest with Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest and the film Forbidden Planet, and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with Jo Baker’s Longbourn and Victoria Chang’s “Mr. Darcy.”
Critical Reading and Writing: Odyssey and Adaptation
One way to approach the study of literature is as a series of conversations between texts, scholars, and readers. This course seeks to understand adaptation as a method of critical engagement. Our source is Homer’s Odyssey, an epic poem that has had a profound impact on many English-language works. We use it to ask larger questions about literature, such as: What is the relationship between translation and adaptation? In what different ways do various genres interpret the same story? How do works engage with a canonical text and to what effect?
Readings include Stanley Lombardo’s translation of Homer’s Odyssey, Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, Junot Díaz’s Drown, Louise Glück’s Meadowlands, Naomi Iizuka’s Anon(ymous), Njabulo Ndebele’s The Cry of Winnie Mandela, the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and poetry by Dorothy Parker, H.D., Derek Walcott, Carol Ann Duffy, John Keats, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Edmund Spenser, Samuel Daniel, W.S. Merwin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Anne Killigrew.
Critical Reading and Writing with Service Learning: The Body
This course considers the relationship between literature and the body. How do different genres of literature (poetry, drama, prose) represent bodies and spaces? How do different spaces welcome or discourage interactions between people with different kinds of bodies, in terms of race, gender, sexuality, ability, and/or age? In what ways can storytelling (and the arts/humanities more generally) reach spaces outside the university? We explore these questions while collaborating with community organizations that work to break down gender stereotypes and empower individuals and communities: the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, Santa Monica Boys and Girls Club, and YWCA Santa Monica/Westside. Assessment includes both academic presentations and papers as well as a service blog.
Readings include William Shakespeare’s Othello, David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly, Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Caryl Phillips’ Crossing the River, poetry by Jonathan Swift, Anna Swir, Gustavo Pérez Firmat, Patricia Lockwood, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Claude McKay, and essays by Natalia Cecire and Christopher Baswell.
Critical Reading and Writing: Desire
As Tina Turner has asked, what’s love got to do with it? This course is concerned with love’s carnal motivation: desire. From bawdy Renaissance sonnets to the modern postcolonial novel, we consider how desire is depicted across chronologies, genres, and forms. What is the difference between high literature, erotica, and pornography (or is there one)? When is erotic desire appropriate, and when is it deviant? What other kinds of desires can be read across literature? This is an introduction to literary analysis and is designed to help you develop your critical reading and writing skills. By concentrating on the conventions of the genres of poetry, drama, and prose, we work through specific strategies of close reading, and devote analytical attention to the writing process.
Readings include Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II, Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel, Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Eliza Haywood’s Fantomina, Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market, poetry by Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, John Donne, Langston Hughes, and selections from John Cleland’s Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure and E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey.
Courses Taught as Section Leader
Literatures in English to 1700
Survey course of English literature from the Anglo-Saxons to the Civl Wars. Authors and works studied include Deor, The Wanderer, Beowulf, Sir Orfeo, Marie de France, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Croxton Play of the Sacrament, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare, Katherine Phillips, John Donne, and John Milton.
Literature and Photography
Upper-division course on the history of photography and its intersections with American, British, and European literature. Readings include Henry Fox Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature, Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida, André Breton’s Nadja, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, James Agee and Walker Evans’ Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, and W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn. Films include La Jetée and Sans Soleil.
Literatures in English, 1700-1850
Survey course of British and American literature from the Restoration through American Romanticism. Authors studied include John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, Aphra Behn, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Eliza Haywood, Olaudah Equiano, Phillis Wheatley, Jonathan Edwards, Mary Rowlandson, Benjamin Franklin, John Keats, William Wordsworth, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Washington Irving, and William Blake.
Shakespeare's Later Plays
Upper-division course covering Shakespeare’s writing during the Jacobean period. Plays studied include Measure for Measure, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Coriolanus, and The Tempest.