For the 2015-2016 school year, I served as a Fulbright Roving Scholar in American Studies in Norway under a grant from the US-Norway Fulbright Foundation. During the year, I visited 61 upper secondary schools (videregåendeskoler is the Norwegian word) throughout the country. I’m deeply grateful for this rare opportunity (and the opportunities that attended it to visit family and friends and deepen my Norwegian language competence along the way!). At that time, I was also a Humanities teacher at The Northwest School in Seattle, Washington, where I taught 10th and 12th grade courses in literature, history, and writing. For 2017-2018, I serve as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Scandinavian Studies in the Nordic Studies program at Luther College—my alma mater.
Prior to Northwest, I taught for over seven years as a Teaching Associate in the University of Washington‘s English Department and Program on the Environment and a post-doctoral Acting Instructor of English, teaching upper division literature courses in the English major. I earned a Ph.D. in English at the UW in December of 2010 with a dissertation entitled Occasions of Wildness: Literature, Simultaneity, and Habitation under the direction of the late Herbert Blau. The work examined our evolving (and troubling) conceptions of wilderness as they’re mobilized in literary, cultural, and political contexts. I also study nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature, Western American literature, and poetry and poetics.
At Luther, I teach intermediate and advanced Norwegian language courses, a Nordic literature course, as well as a section of the college’s first-year introduction to the liberal arts, Paideia. At The Northwest School, my courses explored global environmentalism, past and present, examining concepts and contraries like nature/culture, wilderness/civilization, human/non-human, indigenous/invasive, modern/primitive, etc. We also examined the complex relationships between the global North and the global South, Western and indigenous peoples, and skeptics and scientists in a world redefined by climate change. I also taught a 12th grade literature course called Poiesis, a year-long intensive study of poetry and science fiction, two unique ways to make and imagine worlds—skills I think are increasingly vital in the face of the vast global shifts certain to characterize the twenty-first century.
I come originally from a small farm and factory town in northern Iowa surrounded by corn fields and wind farms. I studied English and music (and Norwegian) at Luther in Decorah before moving west to Washington state in 2004, where I felt at home among the mountains and the sound. Still, it’s good to return to Decorah for a sojourn at the edge of the Driftless.