Another new Britt!
I’m excited to be here at Georgia Tech this fall, and looking forward to working with the group of students I have this semester. As promised, they are a great bunch (although we’re still in the honeymoon phase pre-grading!) Prior to arriving here I taught writing and literature at Colorado State University and women’s studies and literature at Bowling Green State University. The student demographic at Tech is both similar to and different from my other universities. I’ve always been at a mid-sized state university, with all the pleasures and hassles that this can potentially offer. (So much to do! Yet such a large campus that it’s easy to become alienated.) This is, of course, why classes like 1101/1102 are so important to our incoming students: they can both learn about all the opportunities on campus from us as well as make connections that can help stave off loneliness and feeling overly anonymous in a crowd of 20,000. The size and organization of Tech is then similar to my other experiences. However, the student body is much more international than anywhere else I’ve taught, and the interests of the students are, well, Tech-y! It’s a change from teaching all business or undecided students for sure. Both of these differences allow for lots of opportunities for me to learn from my students: about their cultures, their interests, and their passion for science and technology.
I have a PhD in American Culture Studies, which is an interdisciplinary field that focuses heavily on Cultural Studies (rather than the more historical or literary based American Studies programs out there). I also have minors or concentrations in Film and Media, Literature, and Women’s Studies. Sometimes this combination can make me look like a bit of a crazy person on paper, but it all comes together in an interest in studying systems of power and privilege in popular entertainment and fiction. I’ve published on the television show CSI, the films of director Wes Anderson, the work of the Guerrilla Girls, and I am currently working on an article on Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. These are the smaller projects I’ve done during my MA and PhD work dealing with American culture, race, gender, and sexuality.
My large project of the last few years (dissertation, now book proposal, hopefully soon a book!) is an interrogation of the concept of tolerance and how it is deployed in American culture. I use young adult Holocaust literature as a case study to complicate the notion of tolerance and advocate for more radical ways to discuss inequality and oppression with young adults. Instead of promoting tolerance, I suggest that a better goal is to pursue a cosmopolitan ethic, one that can be developed through reading fiction and memoirs such as Holocaust literature. These themes will be the basis of my spring 2012 course on the Cosmopolitan Imagination, although for the sake of everyone’s sanity we’ll be reading more than just Holocaust literature—I don’t want to completely depress my students!
I love Atlanta so far. Coming from a town of 30k to here is quite the change. There’s so much food to eat, so many things to do, and so many awesome people just in the LCC alone.