Faculty Profile

Sarah Kersh

Assistant Professor of English (2014)

Contact Information

kershs@dickinson.edu

East College Room 404
717.254.8952
http://sarahkersh.com

Bio

Professor 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

2015-2016 Academic Year

Fall 2015

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 212-01.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 211-01.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 500 Independent Study

Spring 2016

ENGL 101 Monsters & Madness
Evil alter-egos, soul-sucking vampires, and detective thrillers—all have their roots in the literature of the nineteenth-century. From Dorian Grey to Dracula and the Hound of the Baskervilles, the sensational literature of the Victorian era sought to stimulate the mind and awaken emotion. This course will examine how monsters, mad scientists, and secret identities rose in the public imagination alongside of a rapidly-changing nation. The nineteenth century saw unprecedented growth of industry and leaps in scientific discovery; new and rapid global communication as well as transport; tenuous relationship of commodities, consumers, and economic stability; as well as changing conceptions of class, gender, and what it meant to be an individual. This course is intended to be an introduction to Victorian literature in a variety of genres, including poetry, the novel, and non-fiction prose by authors such as Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, Oscar Wilde, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

WGST 201 Writing, Identity, & Queer St
Cross-listed with ENGL 212-02 and WRPG 211-15. 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_.

WRPG 211 Writing, Identity, & Queer St
Cross-listed with ENGL 212-02 and WGST 201-02. 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 WGST 201-02 and 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 360 Late 19th C British Lit & Cult
The fin de siècle—French for ‘the end of the century’— is a period of literature and culture that has been portrayed as being “caught between two ages, the Victorian and the Modern” (Ledger and Luckhurst). This in between period is perhaps known best for its cry of “art for art’s sake” and the suggestion that morality is relative. Because it usually is characterized by decadence and questions of immorality, the end of the nineteenth century is too often overlooked as a period of enormous technological, political, social, and intellectual change in British literary and cultural life. In this course, we will examine literature, and art more broadly, in the context of discourses on urban problems, ‘The New Woman,’ imperialism and socialism, as well as place it in conversation with a number of developments in science, psychology, and sexology. We will read a range of different works of fiction, drama, and poetry by authors such as Oscar Wilde, Michael Field, Mona Caird, H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Bram Stoker, and William Morris.