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Faculty Profile

Claire Seiler

Associate Professor of English (2010)

Contact Information

seilercl@dickinson.edu

East College Room 305
717.245.1921

Bio

Seiler's research and teaching focus on modern and contemporary US, British, and Irish literature, poetry and poetics, and the history of literacy. Her work has appeared in Contemporary Literature, Modernism/Modernity, Auden at Work (2015), Around 1945: Literature, Citizenship, Rights (2016), and elsewhere. Seiler's first book, Midcentury Suspension, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press. The project fuses extensive archival research in mid-twentieth-century print and public culture, theoretical accounts of modernity and modernisms, and analyses of key texts to offer a new account of the postwar imaginary. Recent courses include: Celtic Revival/Harlem Renaissance; War, Race, and US Literature since 1945; and Women Write War. At Dickinson, she contributes to the departments of American Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. In 2018-19, she is chair of American Studies.

Education

  • B.A., Middlebury College, 2002
  • M.Phil., Trinity College, Dublin, 2004
  • Ph.D., Stanford University, 2010

Awards

  • Ganoe Award for Inspirational Teaching, 2018-19

2019-2020 Academic Year

Fall 2019

WRPG 211 The Politics of Literacy
Cross-listed with ENGL 221-01. In his autobiographical Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845), Frederick Douglass describes learning to read as “the pathway from slavery to freedom.” In her memoir of Japanese internment during World War II (2007), Toyo Suyemoto describes running a library and teaching English as efforts of civic education and acts of resistance. In her recent book look (2016), poet Solmaz Sharif protests the “war on terror” in part by rewriting the United States Department of Defense’s Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Drawing on these and other works across genres, disciplines, and media, this writing-intensive seminar explores how literacy has historically enabled and delimited political agency in the United States. We will study and write about literacy in relation to struggles for human and civil rights, debates about public education, and the emergence of new communications technologies, among other contexts.This reading seminar examines the development of consumerism and nationalism in Europe and America beginning in the late 18th century and continuing on into the post-WWII era - from American Revolutionary boycotts to French fast food establishments. We will look for overlaps or polarities between the movements and the way gender interacted with both of them. Students may be surprised at the gendered aspects of both movements. We will consider, for example, the historical development of the image of women loving to shop, and we will study propaganda from the two world wars with men in uniform and women on the "home front." Our readings will include both promoters and critics of each movement.

ENGL 221 The Politics of Literacy
Cross-listed with WRPG 211-01. In his autobiographical Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845), Frederick Douglass describes learning to read as “the pathway from slavery to freedom.” In her memoir of Japanese internment during World War II (2007), Toyo Suyemoto describes running a library and teaching English as efforts of civic education and acts of resistance. In her recent book look (2016), poet Solmaz Sharif protests the “war on terror” in part by rewriting the United States Department of Defense’s Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Drawing on these and other works across genres, disciplines, and media, this writing-intensive seminar explores how literacy has historically enabled and delimited political agency in the United States. We will study and write about literacy in relation to struggles for human and civil rights, debates about public education, and the emergence of new communications technologies, among other contexts.

ENGL 321 The Generational
It has long been cliché to call a writer the “voice of a generation.” But this was not always the case, nor is the “generational” designation as neutral as it might seem in comparison to other markers or claims of identity. This course investigates the emergence of the category of the generation in modern and contemporary transatlantic literatures and cultures. Beginning with poetry of the First World War and concluding with “Millennial” TV, we will ask: how and why have writers in various forms (essay, novel, poetry) and contexts (national, cultural, historical, social, familial, and political) forged or resisted generational identities? What kinds of belonging do generational projects produce or complicate? For whom? What inclusions and exclusions are licensed by generational thinking? Primary readings will likely include works by: Willa Cather, Jennifer Egan, Ernest Hemingway, Kazuo Ishiguro, John Okada, Wilfred Owen, Ann Petry, Sylvia Plath, and Zadie Smith.