• Ph.D. English and American Literature, Brandeis University, 1994
  • M.A. Brandeis University, 1993
  • M.A. University of Massachusetts, Boston, 1988
  • B.A. Hampshire College, 1974

Before COA

I earned the B.A. in Literature and Philosophy from Hampshire College in 1974, an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts/Boston in 1988, a second M.A. in Women’s Studies from Brandeis University in 1993, and the Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Brandeis in 1994. From 1993 to 1995 I was an adjunct and then visiting faculty member at both Boston College and Brandeis University.  During the years between my undergraduate education and graduate school, I had a wide range of professional experiences, including as a technical writer and computer assistant.

Scholarly and Creative Interests

I see myself first and foremost as a teacher and mentor. I came to COA in 1995 and have served many years as one of the college’s academic deans. My research on 19th and 20th century American women’s and minority literature is highly interdisciplinary and I have a wide diversity of literary, historical, and scientific passions, particularly the exploration of otherness and consciousness in narrative form and the power of language to represent and transform.

More Information about my Courses

Students in my classes engage actively in literary studies and literary works, experiencing all of their component parts. My courses all involve reading, thinking, discussing, and writing.  Students are theorists and thinkers already; my goal and practice involves fanning the flames.  After all, books contain the world and provide a window onto and into that world. In my classes, we read.

More About Me

Besides reading, writing, and teaching, I garden when I can, tend the plants in my office, and spend time thinking about psychology, education, religions, social identities, ecology, and the meaning of life. I am married to a software architect and the mother of two intelligent and wonderful grown sons.

Community Engagement and Advocacy

I’ve spent many years as an academic dean of one sort or another.  I’ve also been a soccer mom and have run sections of professional organizations.  

Honors and Awards

Board of Trustees Resolution of Thanks for Ten Years of Academic                             2008

  Administrative Service

Board of Trustees Resolution of Thanks for Service as Academic Dean                        2006

Honorary Member of COA Graduating Class                                                               1999

University Mellon Dissertation Fellowship                                                        1992 – 1993

Departmental Prize, 1991–1992 Feminist Theory Essay                                               1992

Departmental Teaching Award (2 semesters)                                                   1991 – 1992

Grossbardt Fellowship, Brandeis University                                                    1990 – 1991

Faiglberger Assistantship, Brandeis University                                                1989 – 1990


Toward a Literary Ecology of Place in American Literature. Ed. Karen Waldron and

Robert Friedman. Scarecrow Press (2013).


“Death” and “History.”  Toni Morrison Encyclopedia.  Ed. Elizabeth Beaulieu. Westport,

CT:  Greenwood Press, 2002.


“The Land as Consciousness:  Ecological Being and the Movement of Words in the Works of Leslie Marmon Silko.”  Such News of the Land:  American Women Nature Writers.  Ed. Thomas S. Edwards and Elizabeth DeWolfe.  Hanover, NH:  University Press of New England, 2001.


 “No Separations in the City.”  Separate Spheres No MoreGender Convergence in American Literature 1830-1930.  Ed. Monika Elbert.  Birmingham:  Univ. of Alabama Press, 2000.


“Kim Chernin.”  Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia.  Ed. E. Paula Hyman, Deborah Dash Moore, and Paula Hyman.  New York:  Routledge, 1997.


“Kim Chernin.” American Women Writers: Supplement.  Ed. Carol Hurd Green and Mary G. Mason.  New York: Crossroads/Continuum (1994).


“Recovering Eve’s Consciousness from The Sound and the Fury,” Women’s Studies Special Issue on William Faulkner (Summer 1993).


“The ‘I’ in the Waiting Room: Sight and Insight in the Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop,” Worcester Review  XIII:1&2 (Spring 1992).


The long list below shows the diversity of my scholarly interests.  Conferences are a wonderful way to keep my scholarship alive.


“Twelve Strange Men:  Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Zora Neale                     May 2015

Hurston’s Trial.”Law and Legal Figures in Twentieth Century Ethnic

American Fiction.  American Literature Association Annual Conference.


Co-Chair, “Literary Landscapes:  Historical, Psychological, and                        April 2015

Ecological Reimaginings of Place.  Northeast Modern Language

Association (NeMLA) Annual Conference.


“Using the Sidekick in the Feminist Cause?  Laurie King’s Mary Russell            April 2015

Remakes of Sherlock Holmes.”  Popular Culture Association (PCA)

Annual Conference.


Chair, “America’s Mythic Landscapes and Iconic Places: Human/Nature           April 2014

Intersections.” NeMLA Annual Conference.                     


“Claiming Nature: Sarah Orne Jewett’s Proto-Ecofeminist                                 April 2014

Argumentation.” Ecofeminist Readings of 19th Century American

Women’s Fiction.  NeMLA Annual Conference.


Chair, “Constructions of Landscape in American Literature I:  Human/             March 2013

Nature Intersections.”  NeMLA Annual Conference.                                                                        


“Contemporary Humans and Nature:  Barry Lopez’ ‘Winter Count’ and           March 2013

Remembering Places through Cognitive Dissonance. ” NeMLA

Annual Conference.                      


“The Limits of Biblical Self-Authorization:  Sarah Grimké’s Letters                  March 2013

on the Equality of the Sexes.”  Roundtable.  NeMLA Annual Conference.                            


Chair, “The Question of Voicing in Nineteenth-Century American                    March 2012

Women’s Literature.”  NeMLA Annual Conference.


A Country Doctor and Female Authority:  Sarah Orne Jewett’s (Anxious)        March 2012

Influences.”  Women and Medicine Session, NeMLA Annual Conference.


“Willa Cather’s Literary Ecology in O Pioneers!,” Literary Landscapes:              April 2011

Representation and Imagination Session, NeMLA Annual Conference.


Chair, “Contemporary Women’s Novels: The Changing Story?,”                       April 2011

NeMLA Annual Conference.


“The Christian Indians: Wrestling With Conversation in the Native                     April 2010

American Literature Classroom,” Native American Literature Session,

NeMLA Annual Conference.


Chair, “Urban Places: The Literary Ecology of American Cities,”                       April 2010

NeMLA Annual Conference.


“Agatha Christie and ‘The Purloined Letter’.” PCA Annual Conference.              April 2010


The Silent Partner and Deafness: A Story of Three Women,” Deafness            Feb. 2009

in American Literature Session, NeMLA Annual Conference.


Chair, “Methods of Literary Ecology in American Literature: The                       Feb. 2009

Constitution of Place,” NeMLA Annual Conference.


Chair, Mystery and Detective Area Hosted Discussion of James Lee                April 2009

Burke’s The Tin-Roof Blowdown.  PCA Annual Conference.


Chair, “Investigating New Orleans: The Work of James Lee Burke. PCA            April 2009

Annual Conference.


“Chandlerian Reprise or Revision: Gender and Romance in James Lee             April 2009

Burke‘s Dave Robicheaux Series,” PCA Annual Conference.


“The Complex Environment of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were               June 2008

Watching God as Complete Literary Ecology” Nature and Environmental

Writers (NEW-CUE) Biennial Conference.


Chair, Poetry Session, NEW-CUE Biennial Conference.                                   June 2008


“Traveling in Tibet with Eliot Pattison,” PCA Annual Conference.                    March 2008


“Desire and Danger:  Negotiating the Real Reader through Representations      April 2008

in Susanna Rowson’s Charlotte Temple,” NeMLA Annual Conference.


Chair, “”From the Country to the City:  Literary Ecology in                                April 2008

American Realism and Naturalism, NeMLA Annual Conference.


“Collaborating on the Scholarly Essay” with Julia Gregory.                            March 2007

NeMLA Annual Conference.


“Echoes of – or answers to – the lost Lenore?  Edgar Allen Poe’s Theory          April 2005

of Dead Women and Three Twenty-First Century Women’s Mysteries.”

PCA Annual Conference.


“Different Sexes, Different Series:  Dana Stabenow’s Male and Female            April 2003

Leads and Lives.”   PCA Annual Conference.


“Mongrels, Shadows, and Stories in Mirrors:  Cities as Sanctuaries  in           March 2003

Gerald Vizenor’s Dead Voices.”  “Imagining Native Americans Off the

Reservation” Panel.  NeMLA Annual Conference.


Chair,“Nineteenth-Century American Women:  The Short Fiction.”                  March 2003

Two panels.  NeMLA Annual Conference.                                                          


“Women Who Run with the Wolves:  Dana Stabenow’s (Re)Gendering              April 2001

Plots.” PCA Annual Conference.


Chair, “Ethnicities, Regions and Nature Writing:  Complicating the                  March 2001           

Landscapes of American Realism 1860-1920.”  NeMLA Annual



Teaching Cooke, Davis, Woolson, Freeman, Austin, Sin-Far                          March 2001

—and Jewett—in Maine: Regionalism and Women Authors

in Theory, Practice, and Pedagogy.” NeMLA Annual Conference.


“The Problem of Female Awakening in A Lost Lady:  Despair, Desire and          April 2000

Landscape as Interacting Spiritual Frontiers.” Women in the Spiritual West Conference. 


 “Historical Events in Contemporary International Women’s Novels:  A Case      April 2000

Study of the Intersection of Historical Vision and Women’s Plots,.” 

“Historical Events, Historical Figures, Contemporary Fictions:  The

Historical Vision of Contemporary Novelists” Session.  NeMLA Annual Conference.


Chair, Nineteenth-Century Periodical Literature and the Evolution of the             April 2000

American Novel:  Reading Proliferating Narrative Forms, Technologies, and Identities.  NeMLA Annual Conference.


“The Radical Work of Marketing Compromises, or:  Can Mainstream                 April 2000

Publishing be a (Lesbian) Feminist Act?  Examining the Case of Katherine

Forrest.” Popular Culture Association.


“Women in the City:  An Evolution of Realism through Women’s Plots               April 1999

from Fanny Fern to Stephen Crane.” American Realism Session,

NeMLA Annual Conference.


Chair, Roots, Regions, and Realisms:  Appalachian Literature and                    April 1999

American Community.  NeMLA Annual Conference.


“Women and Evil:  The Modern Female Detective.” Popular Culture                  April 1999



Chair, City/Country:  American Literary Landscapes, NeMLA                            April 1998

Annual Conference.                                                                                                                


“Illness, Rage, and the Question of Plot:  The Risks and Rewards of                April 1998

Heroine Survival.” Nineteenth-Century American Women:  Communicating

Through Illness Session, NeMLA Annual Conference.


“Environmental Literature:  The Literary Ecology of Team-Teaching.”                 Oct. 1997

Society for Literature and Science Annual Conference.


Chair, American Women Writers Section:  “Imagining Science.” NeMLA             April 1997

Annual Conference.                                                                                                                


“Indians, White Women, and Removals:  the Migration of Story in                     Oct. 1996

(Re)Publications of Mary Rowlandson’s Captivity Narrative.”

American Studies Association Annual Conference.


Chair, African American Women Writers Section, NeMLA Annual                       April 1996



“O My Frontier:  Willa Cather and the American Literary Landscape.”               April 1996

American Women Writers Section, NeMLA Annual Conference.


“Discovering or Creating the Shape of Time?  Reading The Time Machine          April 1995

through Einstein’s Dreams.” Literature and Science Section, NeMLA

Annual Conference.


“The Narrative and the Shape of Time”                                                           April 1995

Society for the Study of Narrative Literature Annual Conference.


Chair, Willa Cather Section, NeMLA Annual Conference.                                   April 1994


“The Masculine Rescue of the Feminine in Toni Morrison’s Song of                   April 1994

Solomon  and Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day.”

African American Women Writers Section, NeMLA Annual Conference.


“Problematic Novels of Female Awakening:  From Edna Pontellier                   March 1994

to Myra Henshawe,.” Willa Cather’s Women Panel

Philological Association of the Carolinas .


“Feminism, Religion and the Instruments of Women’s Voicing.”                        Oct. 1993

Antebellum America Panel

LeMoyne Forum on Religion and the Literary Imagination.


“Breaking the Bonds of Form:  The Sketch and the Emergence of the             March 1993

Mother’s Voice in Fanny Fern’s Ruth Hall.”

Nineteenth-Century American Literature Section, NeMLA Annual



“The Power of Feminine Consciousness: Authority, Voice and Myth in              Oct. 1992

Their  Eyes Were Watching God.”

Mid-Atlantic Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference.


“Awakening to Death and Life: Feminine Consciousness and the                      April 1992

 Problem of Desire in The Awakening and A Lost Lady.

Willa Cather Section,  NeMLA Annual Conference.