Associate Professor of Literature and Philosophy (2008-2012)

                ENG Writing on Film (Spring ’09 and ’11)

                ENG Images of Women in Literature (Spring ’11)

                ENG Moby-Dick, Honors (Fall ’10)

                ENG The Idea of Authorship in America (Fall ’10)

                ENG Freshman Honors Seminar (Fall ’09, ’10, ’11)

                ENG Gateway to Reading [required for all English majors] (Fall ’09)

                ENG Survey of American Literature I (Spring ’09)

                ENG Literature and Philosophy, Honors (Fall ’08)


Assistant Professor of English (2002–2008)

                PHIL 403 Literature and Philosophy (Spring ’08)

                ENG 403 Current Literary Theory (Spring ’04, Spring ’05)

                ENG 403 Ordinary Language Criticism (Spring ’07)

                PHIL 460 Wittgenstein! (Spring ’03, Spring ’07, Fall ’08)

                JNST 400 Soldiers, Sailors, Whalers & Spies  (Moby-Dick and Aesthetics)

                ENG 300 Travel course: Archival Research in Swansea (Rush Rhees Archives)

                ENG 360 Emerson at the Edges (Fall ’05)

                ENG 331 American Literature 1855-1912

                ENG 331 Authorizing America: Franklin to Melville (Spring ’05, Spring ’08)

                ENG 361 Studies in Literature: Darwin’s Plots

                ENG 320 Intermediate Composition

                ENG 308 Peer Tutor Training (Fall ’02, ’03, ’04, ’05)

                FYS 22   The Theater of Catastrophe

                FYS 23  Cowboys, Communists, and Queers (A. Miller, T. Williams, P. Roth)

                ENG 213 Images of Women in Literature

                ENG 250 Mutiny on the Bounty (May Term ’03)

                ENG 161 The Revenge Comedy (Melville & Dante)

                ENG 161 Introduction to Emerson

                ENG 119 Introduction to World Literature

                ENG 111 Introduction to Film (Spring ’04, Spring ’05)

                ENG 130 Introduction to American Literature (Fall ’02, Fall ’04, Fall ’07)

                Independent Studies:

                Fall ’02 (2) Spring ’03 (2) Spring ’03 (1) Fall ’04 (2)

                Fall ’05 (5) Fall ’07 (3) Spring ’08 (2)


Instructor (1995-2000)

                ENG 230 Early American Literature (Fall ‘99)

                ENG 101 and 201 Beginning and Advanced Writing (1995-1999)

Survey of American Literature I

Gateway to Reading

In this course, English majors and minors investigate the relation between language and meaning, words and the world. What is the relationship between a name and the thing it names, for instance, like the word ‘chair’ and the object chair? What kind of medium is language, and what should we say we are learning, when we learn how to use it? Such seemingly simple questions include the problem of the relation of language to reality, and so are not simple at all. And of course this investigation into the nature of language affects the way we read and write about texts. If we think of a ‘text’ as a cultural artifact that can be made intelligible by reading (e.g., books, films, political speeches, paintings, etc.) how do texts invite different kinds of readings? And upon what methods of interpretation have literary critics, in particular, come to rely? By taking up such questions, this course invites students to enter and participate in a complicated but important ongoing dialogue about the interrelations of language and social practice—about how meaning is made and what’s at stake when it’s made.

We’ll begin this course at its end, as it were. Or, moving back in time from the nineteenth century’s romantics and realists, we’ll look at the work of writers who do not yet know themselves to be romantic poets, singing their inspiration, or realist novelists, recording their accurate observations——writers who have not yet achieved an independent “I” from which to generate these insights and observations. The American writers this course is designed to introduce achieved their selfhood only in the context of other selves, the context of their community. As we might put it, the early American writer knew him or herself to be a “we,” not an “I.” And yet, as critic Ken Dauber notes, although it is perfectly true that “without a ‘we’ nothing we might call an ‘I’ can emerge...who ‘we’ are was the problem exactly, and it was to do something about it that the writers wrote in the first place.”

The Idea of Authorship in America



In this class we’re going to investigate the idea of authorship––the rhetorical situation in which writers and readers negotiate their relationship to one another–– and we’re going to concentrate our investigation on that moment in our history when writing is conceived of precisely as negotiation, when the idea of America and its literature are being quite openly constructed, at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th. This is the literature America produced before realism properly sets in, and since the trick of realism is to make us forget about reading and writing, we can think of this literature as one that calls attention to the mode of existence of readers and writers, that asks us to think about writing and reading as distinctive practices. This is not literature, in other words, for people who just want to “get lost in the story,” but for people who want to think about storytelling, about the ways in which author and audience determine responsibility for what, together, they create.

The uncommon, unusual work at the center of this course is Melville’s Moby-Dick; or the Whale, and we are going to devote what little time fourteen weeks affords us to become acquainted with it. This is an honors course, but it is also an introductory course, which means that students of all levels are invited to participate. As on a whaling ship, the expectation will be that those with more experience will provide backing or assistance for those with less. Moreover real effort will be made on the part of the instructor to tailor every student’s research/writing project to her needs, interests and abilities. To begin our conversation we’ll look at the abridged edition of the novel Orion books published in 2007, Moby-Dick in Half the Time (“The great classics contain passionate romance, thrilling adventure, arresting characters and unforgettable scenes and situations,” the publishers suggest, “but finding time to read them can be a problem”) as well as contemporary writer/translator Damion Searls’ companion volume, ; or the Whale, an abridgment that preserves the elements missing from the Compact Edition—digression, texture, weirdness—by keeping every chapter, word, and punctuation mark removed from Orion’s edition.

Writing on Film

Writing on Film is not primarily an investigation of genre convention, film technique, or film history, but a course designed to help you write critically about films––which means learning to see the structure or composition of the films you watch (how they hold together or fall apart) and developing an ear and eye for the structure or composition of your writing on film (how your own critical examination holds together or falls apart). With the goal of providing a framework for serious analysis of a film’s textual nature, students taking this course will consider a small selection of contemporary films and produce two pieces of formal prose, including a researched essay.

Images of Women

in Literature

This introductory course for majors and non-majors will help students to a nuanced understanding of––you guessed it––images of women in American literature. We’ll read works that throw light on matters of moral, social and political concern, particularly for women, but we’ll ground our discussions in literary texts, and rely on our careful reading of these texts to guide and inform our conversation. There are no pre-requisites for this course, and anyone interested in an introduction to literature is welcome, but please feel warned: some of our readings will challenge or destabilize what we mean by “women,” or “American,” or “literature,” and a few of our chosen texts will challenge conventional representations of traditional concepts and practices. For this reason please come prepared to deal with some mature content in a responsible way.

Freshman Honors Seminar

This course is designed to foster an intellectual community for first year honors students that can provide ongoing support, familiarize students headed for a variety of majors with the practice of reading and writing about challenging texts, and help students develop and revise their own critical prose (so that they may join that happy group of people who seem able to interpret whatever they read and get pleasure and benefit whenever they write).


and Philosophy

“Without the pressure of philosophy on literary texts, or the reciprocal pressure of literary analysis on philosophical writing, each discipline becomes impoverished,” argued Geoffrey Hartman, in Deconstruction and Criticism. “If there is a danger of a confusion of realms, it is a danger worth experiencing.” In this class we will look at an eclectic collection of essays, lectures, books and films as we begin an investigation of one of the most stimulating interdisciplinary encounters in the humanities. We’ll begin with Deleuze’s idea that a literary work becomes philosophical when it exceeds closed, psychological or personal narratives, and opens itself up onto the endless conditions of its creation. Of course this is not the only way to initiate an encounter between the literary and the philosophical, but by looking at works that respond explicitly to the problem or condition of their own creation, we’ll engage issues of great interest to readers (such as the linguistic dimension of memory, or the problem of otherness) without bringing a sterile abstraction or theoretism to the study of literary texts––without, that is, doing the usual disservice to these texts by using them to illustrate philosophical concepts.

Authorship in


In this year-long module, we examine the self-conscious American writer—the author of books that are not merely copies of the world as it is experienced but are born of the tension between the world of the writer’s imagination and the world of his or her daily life. These authored books are not devices for describing empirical reality (for as Rebecca West says, “a copy of the universe is not what is required of art; one of the damned thing is ample”). But neither is it fair to think of them as knocked together by impulse and whim. Because the aim of these books is to present imagined events as if they were going on, as if they were happening before readers’ eyes, the fictional world dreamed up by the writer must feel palpable and concrete, and its inhabitants must act in ways typical of worldly beings. For it is only when characters have what Hawthorne calls “a propriety of their own” that these beings of the imagination are able to give off the appearance of vigorous life and freshness, and thus leave a strong impression on readers’ senses.

click to download PDFTeaching_files/Authorship%20in%20America%20module_K%20L%20Evans_2015.pdf