The Tiny House that a Literature Student Built (with a whole lot of help)

With the help of many friends and family, in 2012 I built a tiny house out of mostly reclaimed material. I planned to live in the 120 sq. ft. space for the length of my PhD studies and perhaps beyond. In this way, I aimed to live a little smaller, leave a little lighter, and learn in what ways formal study can be acted in the every day.

Personal: Head over to my blog to find out more about my experience building and living in this 100 sq foot house on wheels, more photos here.

Public: Projects like this attract a lot of media attention. Check it out!

Scholarly: Visit my academia.edu site to read about how those experiences inform my scholarly thinking on the tiny house movement, 19th century literature, and issues like homelessness.

 

 

 

 

Awarded the 2015 Outstanding Teacher of Writing Composition, University of Oregon

The University of Oregon recognizes one teacher each year for their outstanding work in writing and composition. I am honored to have been recognized for my endeavors to center critical analysis in the classroom.

My teaching philosophy is driven by the objective of cultivating critical citizens. Critical citizenship is founded on the belief that teachers in a liberal arts setting have a responsibility not only to content but also to develop the skills necessary to critically examine the contexts that shaped, and are shaping, the text and readers. My core classroom practices are built upon this aim. I address that aim through four core strategies: historicism, modeling, rhetorical criticism, and skill-specific feedback.These strategies have guided my teaching to courses such as Introduction to the English Major; Introduction to Fiction; WRI 121 Sustainability; WRI 121 Poverty and Privilege; WRI 122 What Bodies Count; WRI 122 Social Protest; WRI 123 Research in Bodies of Protest; WRI 123 Research in The Anthropocene, as well as Rhetorical Grammar; European Art as Politics; Knowledge, Rationality and Understanding; and Middle East Studies.

Our contemporary moment is witness to a disorienting explosion of categories and labels – for genre, theory, and disciplines. The question of what is narrative or argument is an important one, but not an important one to rigidly answer. More urgent are the skills of critical analysis to assess the characteristics of a work – the rhetorical strategies, context, history, audience, and structure. Critical analysis and modeling equip us in critique of work and ultimately in examination of the ideologies buttressing assumptions.  Through transparency and a demand for critical engagement, students are empowered to do the risky work of becoming better thinkers, readers, writers, and, most importantly, more critical citizens in the many communities to which they belong.

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Some useful teaching resources can be found at:

Yale Climate Connections

Association for Literature and Environment

University of Oregon Sustainability and Composition

Great first day ideas here

 

Research Interests and Scholarly Activity

My work focuses on race, environment, and systems of power in nineteenth century America. I am interested in how these intersections are crucial to understanding and addressing current climate and justice issues. You can find a sampling of my work below, and a full and current CV can be found on my academia.edu site here.

I am also invested in the public sector work of the environmental humanities. As an important example of how the environmental humanities can be effective means of protest, Terry Tempest Williams, professor of environmental humanities at University of Utah along with students from that phd program, successfully bought rights to 1,750 acres of land in order to save it from fossil fuel extraction. Listen to her interview with Democracy Now here.

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I am currently working on two articles: “American Apocalypse: Whitewashing the Genre of Settler Colonialism” for Settler Colonial Studies and “Survivance Ecology: Unsettling the Apocalyptic Crisis in Climate Fiction” for Environmental Humanities

PUBLICATIONS, INVITED

“Framing Degrowth: The Radical Potential of Tiny House Mobility.” Housing for Degrowth: Principles, Models, Challenges and Opportunities. Anitra Nelson and François Schneider, Eds. Routledge, 2018. Forthcoming.

 ““The Patron Saint of Tiny Houses.” Henry David Thoreau in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2016. Literature in Context series. Forthcoming.

“Economies/EconomEase: Troubling Life in a Tiny House.” The Ecotone: Journal of Environmental Studies (2015): 16-18.

PUBLICATIONS, JURIED

“Survivance Ecology: Unsettling the Apocalyptic Crisis in Climate Fiction.” Transmotion 3.1 (2018). Special Issue on Genocide, Absence, and Erasure. Forthcoming.

““Silence Roars”: The Survivance Ecology of Comedy in John Joseph Matthews’ Bildungsroman.” MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States. Under Review.

“The World is My Backyard”: Romanticization, Thoreauvian Rhetoric, and Constructive Confrontations in the Tiny House Movement.” From Sustainable To Resilient Cities: Global Concerns/Urban Efforts. Research in Urban Studies. Bingley: Emerald P, 2014. 289-313.

“Mormonism, Biopolitics and the Refuge of Terry Tempest Williams’s Ecofeminist Resistance.” Transforming Feminisms: Religion, Women, and Ecology. Spec. issue of Journal for the Study of Religion 24.2 (2011): 65-74.

“The Paradox of Evil: A Study of Elevation Through Oppression.” The Evil Body. Ed. April Anson. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary P, 2011. 209-219.

“Introduction.” The Evil Body. Ed. April Anson. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary P, 2011. ix-xiv.

PUBLICATIONS, REVIEWS

Review of Aileen Moreton-Robinson, The White Possessive: Property, Power, and Indigenous Soveriegnty (2015). Resilience: A Journal of Environmental Humanities (Winter 2017): 57-60.

Review of Moving Environments: Affect, Emotion, Ecology, and Film. “Letters in Canada 2014.” University of Toronto Quarterly 85.2 (Winter 2015): 85-88.

“Notes on ‘Rethinking Race and the Anthropocene’.” EcoMedia Studies: Exploring Non-Print Media and Environment. 19 May 2015.

 PUBLICATIONS, EDITED VOLUMES

Anson, April, et. al., Eds. Sustainability: A Casebook For Writers. Eugene: U of Oregon Composition, 2014.

Anson, April, Ed. The Evil Body. Ed. April Anson. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary P, 2011. 

 

INVITED TALKS

Standing Rock and Environmental Protest, University of Oregon, 2017

Forum on Sustainability and Housing Justice, University of Oregon, 2015

Rethinking Race and the Anthropocene, University of Oregon, 2015

Environmental Humanities Conference, Oregon State University, 2015

Indigenous Philosophy Reading Group, University of Oregon, 2015

Foucault Reading Group, University of Oregon, 2015

Environmental Studies, University of Oregon, 2014

The Tiny House Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina, 2014

The Center for American Studies, Universität Trier, Germany, 2o11

University Studies Writing Committee, Portland State University, 2010

European Art as Politics, Portland State University, 2010

 

ACADEMIC PRESENTATIONS, selection

Association for Literature and the Environment, Detroit, 2017

Native American Literature Symposium, Prior Lake, Minnesota, 2017

3rd Energy and Society Conference: Transforming Energy. Leipzig, Germany, 2016

The Sitka Institute: Thinking on the Edge. Sitka, Alaska, 2016

Association for Literature and Environment, University of Idaho, Moscow, 2105

Climate Change Research Symposium, University of Oregon, 2015

Western Literature Association: Border Songs, University of Victoria, 2014

Fourth International Conference on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity, University of Leipzig, Germany, 2104

Alternative Sovereignties: Decolonization Through Indigenous Vision and Struggle, University of Oregon, 2014

Association for Literature and Environment, University of Kansas, 2013

Association for Literature and Environment, University of Alaska, Juneau, 2012

SWTXPCA: Food & Culture(s) in a Global Context, 2012

Association for Literature and Environment, Indiana University, Bloomington, 2011

Evil, Women, and the Feminine, Warsaw, Poland, 2011

University Studies Writing Committee, Portland State University, 2010

Oregon Rhetoric and Composition Conference, Portland State University, 2010

Martyred Bodies and Religious Communities in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, Medieval and Early Modern Institute, University of Alberta, 2010

 

AWARDS

Eric Englund Fellowship in American Studies, U of Oregon, 2017-2018

Modern Language Association Travel Grant, 12.2016    

Equity and Diversity Teaching Award, nominated, U of Oregon, 6.2016                                   

GSA Conference Travel Award, U of Oregon, 5.2016                                   

Sherwood Research Award, U of Oregon, 4.2016                                   

Outstanding Teacher of Composition Award, U of Oregon, 6.2015                                   

Sustainability Fund Grant, U of Oregon, 10.2015                                        

Distinction, Breadth Field Exam, U of Oregon, 10.2015                                   

Sherwood Research Award, U of Oregon, 6.2014                                   

Outstanding Teacher of Composition Award, nominated, U of Oregon, 5.2014                                   

Jane Campbell Krohn Graduate Fellowship, U of Oregon, 5. 2012

Phillip Ford Graduate Award, Portland State U, 4.2012

Student Sustainability Award, Portland State U, 3.2012

Student Sustainability Award, Portland State U, 6.2011

Marie Brown Award, Portland State U, 5.2011

Marilyn Folkenstadt Scholarship, Portland State U, 5.2010                                   

Phillip Ford Graduate Award Finalist, Portland State U, 5.2010                                   

Fulbright Teacher Exchange Recipient, 2007-2008

 

FELLOWSHIPS and RESIDENCES

The Sitka Institute: Thinking on the Edge, 2016 (Hosted by Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition)

Jane Campbell Krohn Fellow in Literature and Environment,  2012                                   

Tiny Circus Artist in Residence, Grinnell, Iowa, 2010                                    

Fulbright Fellow, Teacher Exchange, 2007                                   

National Writing Project Fellow, Lewis and Clark College, Oregon, 2006                                   

Oregon Extension, Green Springs, Oregon, 1999                                   

 

PROFESSIONAL POSITIONS

Graduate Teaching Fellow, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon. 2012-present. Courses: ENG 222 Introduction to the English Major; ENG 104 Introduction to Fiction; WRI 121 Sustainability; WRI 121 Poverty and Privilege; WRI 122 Social Protest; WRI 122 What Bodies Count; WRI 122 Social Protest; WRI 123 Research in Bodies of Protest; WRI 123 Research in The Anthropocene.

Modern Language Association Regional Delegate (nominated)

Graduate Writing Instructor, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon.  2011-2012.

Graduate Assistant, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon. 2010-2012. Courses: English 323; Writing 121; Rhetorical Grammar; European Art as Politics; Knowledge, Rationality and Understanding; Middle East Studies

Instructor, Universität Trier, Trier, Germany. 2010-2011. Courses: Lang 101, Lang 201

Writing Intensive Course Assistant, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon. 2009. Courses: Understanding the International Experience

English Department Chair, Forest Grove High School, Forest Grove, Oregon. 2006-2008.

Secondary English, Forest Grove High School, Forest Grove, Oregon. 2002-2008. Courses: Honors American and World Literatures, Writing Workshop, SAT Prep.

 

PROFESSIONAL and SERVICE ACTIVITIES

Graduate Student Liaison, Association for the Study of Literature and Environment

Peer Reviewer, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Study of Literature and Environment, Oxford Journals

Peer Reviewer, Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal, Wiley

Interdisciplinary Environmental Humanities Committee,  University of Oregon

Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation Union Steward, University of Oregon

Coordinator, Critical Theory Reading Group, University of Oregon

Coordinator, Mesa Verde Reading Group, University of Oregon

Indigenous Philosophy Reading Group, University of Oregon

Foucault Reading Group,  University of Oregon

Portland State Literary Society Chair, Portland State University

English Department Chair, Forest Grove High School

 

CERTIFICATIONS

Politics, Culture, Identity Graduate Specialization, University of Oregon

Oregon Writing Project Workshop Certification

Intel Teach to the Future Certification

Oregon State Secondary Certification

LANGUAGES

 German, intermediate

French, reading

Spanish, working proficiency

Ichiskiin, beginner

 

Inaugural Forum on Sustainability and Housing Justice

With the support of University of Oregon’s Philosophy department and a generous grant awarded by the UO Sustainability Center, the University of Oregon held its first Forum on Sustainability and Housing Justice. This event explored the intersections of housing justice and sustainability and was truly an interdisciplinary and community event. Planned by myself and two other PhD candidates – one in Philosophy and one in Theatre Arts – this forum consisted of a fair and a speaking panel. The fair portion hosted groups from the university, organizations from the local and state community and represented a variety of sustainability initiatives such as habitat restoration, transportation justice, and exciting projects like Opportunity Village. The panel brought together five speakers: Erin Moore, a professor in the school of Architecture and Allied Arts; Paul Catino, the Learnscape and Restoration Coordinator at Nearby Nature; Michael Withley from Portland-Based Micro Community Concepts; Andrew Heben of the tiny house building nonprofit organization SquareOne Villages; and Donita Sue Fry, the Youth and Elders Council Coordinator for the Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland. The entire event was aimed at bringing community organizations, activists, volunteers, and scholars together to talk about how to build a more just and sustainable home. The event featured a Conestoga Hut, built on-site and open for the public to learn more about the simple and transformative solutions for the unhoused.

Standing Rock – The Syllabus and Resources

To honor some of what I witnessed in my too-short time at Standing Rock, I want to share some important resources on the movement.

  • The StandingRockSyllabus offers a thorough compilation of historical and contemporary materials.
  • Also, Cultural Anthropology has an incredible series on Standing Rock, #NoDAPL, and Mni Wiconi
  • A comprehensive list of resources can be found on Timnick Chair in the Humanities and Associate Professor of Philosophy and Community Sustainability at Michigan State University, Kyle Powys Whyte’s academia.edu page here
  • Lastly, the Zinn Education project has some great teaching ideas!
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As photography is very strictly, and rightfully, regulated, this is the only photo I have of Oceti Sakowin (I have many of direct actions). What I witnessed in all the camps was an incredibly organized, non centralized movement of people refusing spiritual surrender, insisting on prayer, survival, and the protection of the water for future generations. It was an honor and a privilege, the memory of which I will always carry with me, in the water in my body.                                                             #NoDAPL #MniWiconi #WaterisLife

UO’s Initiative for Environmental Futures

I am pleased to be a part of the dynamic interdisciplinary work in environmental issues at the University of Oregon. The most exciting recent development is the launching of the Initiative for Environmental Futures–Environmental Humanities, Justice, and Culture at the University of Oregon by my advisor, the Barbara and Carlisle Moore Professor of English and Environmental Studies Stephanie LeMenager along with the Julie and Rocky Dixon Chair of U.S. Western History, Marsha Weisiger.

I am proud to be involved with this effort and excited about the diverse events on the horizon. Right now, we are in the process of developing a center, creating a variety of programs to bring graduate students and faculty in the environmental humanities from across the UO campus together, and meeting twice a month for work-in-progress talks and event planning. Find out more in the newsletter! The latest presentation was from Carla Bengston, the head of the Art department at UO, whose work centers around nonhuman actors to perform an intervention into the nature/culture divide. My current favorite is S.C.O.L.D.: Species Calling Out Climate Change Deniers – a project that trains crows to recognize and scold climate change deniers, and communicate to other crows to do the same!

If you are in the Boston area, go see my advisor – this year’s Radcliff Fellow at Harvard University – Professor Stephanie LeMenager’s talk at Harvard, “Weathering: Toward a Sustainable Humanities.” More information here.