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Faculty Profile

Sarah Kersh

(she/her/hers)Assistant Professor of English (2014)

Contact Information

kershs@dickinson.edu

East College Room 413
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

2021-2022 Academic Year

Fall 2021

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.

WGSS 301 Victorian Sexualities
Cross-listed with ENGL 321-01. The Victorian era (1832‐1901), so we are told, fostered rigid attitudes toward morality, gender, and sexuality. Yet an array of “dangerous” characters inhabit the pages of nineteenth-century literature, among them effeminate men, political women, prostitutes, and hysterics. This course puts Victorian writing about sexuality into conversation with the period’s debates about democracy and equality, scrutiny of marriage and property law, and surprising openness to diversity in gender and sexuality. We will concentrate on changing conceptions of the individual, sexuality, and gender, and explore how these conceptions intersect with race, class, nationality, and other identity categories. The syllabus includes a variety of genres (poetry, drama, novel, and non-fiction prose) and authors (including Lord Alfred Tennyson, George Eliot, Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Meredith, Charles Dickens, Sigmund Freud, and Michael Field).

ENGL 321 Victorian Sexualities
Cross-listed with WGSS 301-01. The Victorian era (1832‐1901), so we are told, fostered rigid attitudes toward morality, gender, and sexuality. Yet an array of “dangerous” characters inhabit the pages of nineteenth-century literature, among them effeminate men, political women, prostitutes, and hysterics. This course puts Victorian writing about sexuality into conversation with the period’s debates about democracy and equality, scrutiny of marriage and property law, and surprising openness to diversity in gender and sexuality. We will concentrate on changing conceptions of the individual, sexuality, and gender, and explore how these conceptions intersect with race, class, nationality, and other identity categories. The syllabus includes a variety of genres (poetry, drama, novel, and non-fiction prose) and authors (including Lord Alfred Tennyson, George Eliot, Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Meredith, Charles Dickens, Sigmund Freud, and Michael Field).

ENGL 403 Forms & Contexts of Lit Stud
This class will prepare students for writing a senior thesis. By exploring central questions of literary scholarship and by analyzing the process of framing a scholarly question, we will explore how research has been conceptualized at different periods in history and at different junctures in the evolution of literary studies. Throughout the term, our seminar meetings, workshops, and assignments will be geared toward engaging students with the critical skills, investigative methods, conceptual models, and writing practices that ground—and inspire—literary scholarship, including their own.