Teaching

At UNC, I have taught courses on topics ranging from rhetoric and composition to film analysis and mystery fiction. In 2017, my teaching was recognized with the Student Undergraduate Teaching Award–UNC’s only recognition for teaching decided exclusively by student input and recommendations.

Most often, I teach a course called Writing Across the Disciplines (English 105). This workshop class teaches students to research, write, persuade, and analyze–in short, to argue. Through a series of projects spanning written, oral, and digital communication, the class hones understanding and command of three disciplinary fields: the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. (Syllabus)

More recently I have taught an Introduction to Mystery Fiction, which offers an intensive survey of mystery fiction across multiple media—novels, short stories, films, and television. The course introduces students to significant literary works, movements, publishing trends, and debates that stimulated the development and popularity of 19thcentury mystery fiction and have carried the genre through its postmodern/contemporary iterations. 

The course work revolves around one central question: What explains the enduring popularity, aesthetic malleability and commercial success of modern mystery fiction? In order to explore this question, students gain and demonstrate proficiency in the analysis and discussion of primary sources (the narrative content of the books and visual media we will encounter, as well as commodity form of the book). Proficiency also extends to related secondary sources and topics, including select scholarly works and adaptations. The study of the mystery will also include the context of the genre, a forum that includes topics that have recently appeared at the interface between traditional print and emergent digital media cultures; these include the history of mystery-specific periodicals and mass-market publishing, how literary works circulate in a digital marketplace, and how New Media afford new opportunities for digital literary scholarship (blogs, digital curation, digital research methods and digital archives). Instruction methods will vary combining discussion, student presentations of applied research, and limited lectures by the instructor. I have designed the course to include also a brief oral presentation, work in small groups inside and outside the class, a visit to the Special Collections of UNC’s Wilson Library, and a research component that allows students to apply methods and arguments to primary sources. (Syllabus)

Sherilyn Fenn, Kyle Maclaughlin, Twin Peaks (1990)

Additionally, I also lead a discussion section for Film Analysis (English 142), which introduces undergraduates to the history of cinema, its major movements, and the practice of film criticism. (Syllabus)

James Stewart in Rear Window (1954)