Faculty Profile

Sarah Kersh

Visiting Assistant Professor of English (2014)

Contact Information

kershs@dickinson.edu

East College Room 310
717.245.2548952
http://sarahkersh.wordpress.com/

Bio

Kersh teaches courses on Victorian literature and culture, queer studies, and digital humanities. Her current research focuses on nineteenth-century sonnet sequences and queer temporalities.

Education

  • B.A., Muhlenberg College, 2003
  • M.A., Vanderbilt University, 2006
  • Ph.D., 2010

2014-2015 Academic Year

Fall 2014

FYSM 100 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: - Critically analyze information and ideas - Examine issues from multiple perspectives - Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason - Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and - Create clear academic writing The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

WRPG 211 Writing in & for Digital Env.
Cross-listed with ENGL 212-03. In this course, students will think about the stakes of writing in a range of digital environments—blogs, online forums, personal collections (pinterest, tumblr, twitter, facebook, etc), as well as the politics and history of publishing, copyright, and the public domain. In addition, students will examine archives and the responsibility of “holdings” within a library or other institution. Finally, students will learn the technical skills to create a class website as they consider writing across different environments.

ENGL 212 Writing in & for Digital Env.
Cross-listed with WRPG 211-03. In this course, students will think about the stakes of writing in a range of digital environments—blogs, online forums, personal collections (pinterest, tumblr, twitter, facebook, etc), as well as the politics and history of publishing, copyright, and the public domain. In addition, students will examine archives and the responsibility of “holdings” within a library or other institution. Finally, students will learn the technical skills to create a class website as they consider writing across different environments.

Spring 2015

WRPG 211 Writing, Identity, & Queer St
Cross-listed with ENGL 212-02. Kate Bornstein writes: "I know I'm not a man...and I've come to the conclusion that I'm probably not a woman either. The trouble is, we're living in a world that insists we be one or the other." In this reading and writing intensive course, students will investigate how we approach the space outside of “one or the other” through literature, film, and narrative more generally. Throughout the semester we will explore and engage critically with established and emerging arguments in queer theory, as well as read and watch texts dealing with issues of identity and identification. Although “queer” is a contested term, it describes—at least potentially—sexualities and genders that fall outside of normative constellations. Students will learn how to summarize and engage with arguments, and to craft and insert their own voice into the ongoing debates about the efficacy of queer theory and queer studies. Moreover, we’ll take on questions that relate “word” to “world” in order to ask: How might our theory productively intervene in LGBTQ civil rights discourse outside our classroom? How do we define queer and is it necessarily attached to sexual orientation? How do our own histories and narratives intersect with the works we analyze? Our course texts will pull from a range of genres including graphic novels, film, poetry, memoir, and fiction. Some texts may include Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Audre Lorde’s Zami, Jackie Kay's Trumpet, David Sedaris’ _Me Talk Pretty One Day_, and films such as _Paris is Burning_ and _Boys Don’t Cry_.

ENGL 212 Writing, Identity, & Queer St
Cross-listed with WRPG 211-02. Kate Bornstein writes: "I know I'm not a man...and I've come to the conclusion that I'm probably not a woman either. The trouble is, we're living in a world that insists we be one or the other." In this reading and writing intensive course, students will investigate how we approach the space outside of “one or the other” through literature, film, and narrative more generally. Throughout the semester we will explore and engage critically with established and emerging arguments in queer theory, as well as read and watch texts dealing with issues of identity and identification. Although “queer” is a contested term, it describes—at least potentially—sexualities and genders that fall outside of normative constellations. Students will learn how to summarize and engage with arguments, and to craft and insert their own voice into the ongoing debates about the efficacy of queer theory and queer studies. Moreover, we’ll take on questions that relate “word” to “world” in order to ask: How might our theory productively intervene in LGBTQ civil rights discourse outside our classroom? How do we define queer and is it necessarily attached to sexual orientation? How do our own histories and narratives intersect with the works we analyze? Our course texts will pull from a range of genres including graphic novels, film, poetry, memoir, and fiction. Some texts may include Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Audre Lorde’s Zami, Jackie Kay's Trumpet, David Sedaris’ _Me Talk Pretty One Day_, and films such as _Paris is Burning_ and _Boys Don’t Cry_.

ENGL 220 Crit Approaches & Lit Methods
An introduction to the basic questions that one may ask about a literary text, its author, and its audience. Study of a limited selection of literary texts using several critical approaches. The course will also offer instruction in the elements of critical writing.

ENGL 360 Victorian Sexualitites
Often the Victorian era (1832-1901) is depicted as a period rigid in its attitudes toward morality, gender, and sexuality. However, nineteenth-century literature saw an array of “dangerous” people inhabit its pages: effeminate men, political women (also known as the New Woman), prostitutes, and hysterics to name a few. Victorians lived during a time of new emphasis on democracy and equality, scrutiny of marriage and property law, and, at times, openness to diversity in gender and sexuality. While our course will pay special attention to changing conceptions of the individual, sexuality, and gender, we also will look at the ways in which gender and sexuality intersect with race, class, nationality, and other social factors. This course is an upper-level seminar in Victorian literature of many genres—poetry, drama, the novel, and non-fiction prose— by a variety of authors such as Lord Alfred Tennyson, George Eliot, Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Meredith, Charles Dickens, Sigmund Freud, Michael Field, and Mona Caird.