Melanie Doherty

Melanie Doherty teaches American literature, writing, and digital humanities at Wesleyan College in Macon, GA, the first college chartered to grant degrees to women.  She holds a Ph.D. (2010) in English and American Literature from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.

Select Conference Events:

2013 Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts • Notre Dame •  Paper: “The Deviant Wombs of Margaret Atwood and Mattea Harvey” • Panel: PostNatural: Object-Oriented Feminism with Katherine Behar

2013 Modern Language Association National Meeting • Boston, MA • Paper: “Networks, Narratives, and Nature: Teaching Globally, Thinking Nodally”  Panel: Digital Technology, Environmental Aesthetics, Ecocritical Discourse with Lisa Swanstrom

2012 Global Studies, Peace, and Leadership Summer Seminar • Hiroshima, Japan •  Teamed with faculty from selected women’s colleges to lead an international group of undergraduates on a month-long study abroad seminar in global studies that included 10 days of sustainability fieldwork in Lucknow, India

2011 Leper Creativity: The Cyclonopedia Symposium, The New School • New York, NY • Paper: “Noise Fiction: Non-Oedipal Networks and the Inorganic Unconscious”

2010 Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, Albuquerque, NM • Paper: “Notes Toward an Object-Oriented Literary Criticism” • Panel: Strange Media and Textual Ecologies

2010 American Literature Association, San Francisco, CA • Paper: “Electrified Objects and Networked Subjects in Ben Marcus’s The Age of Wire and String” • Panel: New Approaches to Postmodernism

2009 Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Social Imagery, Colorado Springs, CO • Paper: “Machinic Stutterings: Flarf Collective and Codework Poetry” • Panel: Digital Ruins: Aesthetics, Technology, and History

2008 International Conference on Narrative, Austin, TX • Paper: “Aleatory Narratives: Alternate Reality Games and Post-capitalist Subjects” • Panel: Tell Me Who I Am and Then Sell Me to Myself: The Politics and Poetics of Late Capitalist Subjectivity

2007 Modernist Studies Association 9th Annual Conference, Long Beach, CA • Paper: “Televisual Tropes in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man” • Panel: Visions of Modernism: Rethinking Literary and Visual Culture

Select Upper-level Courses:

ENG 347: Seminar in World Literature and Globalization

Globalization does not have one easy definition, but instead includes a variety of approaches and disciplines. Although primarily borrowed from the social sciences, the theoretical readings in this course are drawn from a variety of fields, including anthropology, political science, technology studies, economics and literary theory.  They offer a way to discuss increasingly borderless nation-states and emerging transnational identities, and to critique remaining Western and first-world biases. We will ask what it means to study canonical “World Literature” when the discourse of globalization has radically altered how we approach even the most basic concepts of nationalism. Terms such as transnationalism, neoliberalism, hybridity, glocalization, creolization, McDonaldization and more will be complicated as we apply them to the literary readings.

Theorists include Fredric Jameson, Edward Said, George Ritzer, David Harvey, Jan Pieterse, Douglas Kellner, Aihwa Ong, Hardt & Negri and Benjamin Barber.  Topics such as post-Fordism, neoliberalism and postmodernism will illuminate select literary texts, including Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis, David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten, Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, Edwidge Danticat’s Krik? Krak!, J.M. Coetzee’s, Disgrace, and China Mièville’s The City & The City.

ENG 337: Seminar in Civil Rights and American Literature: Feminist Theory, Queer Theory, and Critical Race Theory

Do novels open up new political and social realities to readerships?  Is it possible to expand human experience through literature?  Can a so-called “subversive” novel enact real change in the world?  As we consider these questions, we’ll read selected works of 20th- and 21st-century American literature alongside a history of contemporaneous civil rights battles in the United States, including women’s suffrage, Brown v. Board of Education, Stonewall and Proposition 8.  Readings in queer theory, feminist theory, and critical race theory will enhance our understanding of literature created during pivotal moments of U.S. social and political change.  We will entertain a broad definition of the literary to include spoken word, experimental prose, film and comics.  Theoretical works by Marx, Lacan, Sartre, bell hooks, Judith Butler, Michael Warner, Lauren Berlant and others will illuminate literature by Djuna Barnes, Nella Larsen, Ralph Ellison, William Burroughs, Leslie Feinberg, Kathy Acker, Colson Whitehead and more.  Prerequisites: ENG 210, 211, 212 or WST 200.

ENG 235: Narratives of Nature: American Literature and Environmental Studies

The imagined divide between nature and civilization has inspired both Manifest Destiny dreams and anxious apocalyptic nightmares throughout the history of American literature.  This course examines the role of the environment in the American literary imagination and  includes not only fiction and poetry, but also science writing, nature journals, and ecocritical/ecofeminist philosophies.  In light of our current global ecological crisis, texts will help students consider how tensions between nature and technology play a foundational role in American culture, yet selected readings also work to complicate pat concepts of a nature/culture divide.  Readings ask students to contextualize a history of environmental debates in the U.S. through literary works and to re-examine the relationship between human society, technological development, and the environment.  As we engage in these debates, students will develop and strengthen writing, discussion and critical thinking skills.  Texts include works by Rachel Carson, Henry David Thoreau, Bruno Latour, John Muir, Leslie Marmon Silko, Margaret Atwood, Timothy Morton, and Donna Haraway.