I am a Professor of English and Associate Dean at Centenary College of Louisiana. I teach courses in American Literature, gender studies and queer theory, science fiction, and cultural studies. I also direct Centenary’s First-Year Program, Trek.
As a member of our Communication program faculty, I teach courses in digital rhetoric and digital media studies. Most recently, I’ve been interested in “procedural rhetoric,” a term derived from game studies, as an approach to understanding our interactions with built environments, including the educational spaces such as the university classroom.
My research interests sit at the intersections of gender, new media, and the environment in American literature, film, and culture. My most recent preoccupation has been to seek a better understanding of manhood in the post-me too era. The “Me too” movement, along with ensuing cancellations—some warranted and some perhaps not—must certainly be considered a major cultural inflection point, for America and other nations. Whether or not this reckoning will lead to a reduction of violence, especially sexual violence, remains to be seen, but we can say for sure that new modes of gender discourse around “toxic masculinity” have impacted the popular stories we tell about American manhood. Some intriguing recent examples are television series like Chuck, Patriot, and Ted Lasso. In each of these texts, the main conflict is generational, as a new configuration of masculinity takes shape in response to crisis or challenge while older modes of masculinity are re-cast as out of date, out of touch, or damaging in their refusal to incorporate the next evolution in feminist challenge. My working title for this very latent project is “The Triumph of Clark Kent, Or, Post Me Too Man TV.”
Since assuming the role of Associate Dean in 2019, I have had the pleasure of strengthening relationships with faculty, our amazing athletics staff, and the dedicated individuals who support our students daily. Key highlights for me in the last couple of years have included guiding our library professionals through a strategic planning process, launching our Center for Teaching and Learning, and reactivating the second-level of our main library as a vibrant learning commons that co-locates academic support resources in one open-concept space.
“Nationalism, Masculinity, and the Politics of Climate Change in the Novels of Kim Stanley Robinson and Michael Crichton,” published in Extrapolation, was nominated for an SFRA Pioneer award.
I’m also fond of the article, “New Media in the Academy: Labor and the Production of Knowledge in Scholarly Multimedia.” in Digital Humanities Quarterly. 5.3 (Summer, 2011) which I co-authored with Helen Burgess. Click here to read full article
Helen and I also wrote Highways of the Mind, a work of multimedia scholarship that explores the history of the interstate highway system and its transformative impact on the physical and cultural landscapes of America. The project is full of critical analysis and original argument, vintage film clips, and retro-futuristic ephemera from yesteryear. It was published by University of Pennsylvania Press in 2014, but was recently rereleased as OER project, Futurama, Autogeddon in partnership with NC State University Libraries and UNC Press Office of Scholarly Publishing Services. 2021.) The OER version can be found here.
Here’s an example of vintage film, Design for Dreaming (1956), included in the project:
In May of each year (paused since COVID) a colleague and I take about 15 students to Chimp Haven National Wildlife Sanctuary near Shreveport. This intensive course allows students to explore the meaning of “culture” and “intercultural engagement” in the context of our relationship to non-human primates. Students explored key works in cultural primatology and animal studies, and applied that understanding during extensive observation of chimpanzee social groups at the sanctuary. Students also have the opportunity to hear from experts in Primatology on Chimpanzee culture and behavior. In their final days at Chimp Haven, students become teachers, presenting posters of what they have learned to sanctuary visitors during Chimp Haven’s monthly Discovery Day event. Students also spend a day giving back to the chimps by constructing enrichment toys and making treats.