Degrees:Ph.D. Literature University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Victorian fiction), MFA Creative Writing University of Alaska, Fairbanks (Fiction), MA Creative Writing University of East Anglia (Fiction), BA (Hons) Humanities, Bristol Polytechnic (English and Art History)
I’m originally from south-west England but have lived abroad for many years. I first came to Alaska in 1991. After time away in Bangkok and Minneapolis, I moved back in 2004 to teach in the MFA programme. Fairbanks is a place dear to my heart—I met my husband here (Ian Cameron Esslemont—he’s a writer of fantasy novels) and have settled back in, this time with our three sons. I have master’s degrees in creative writing from the University of East Anglia (1989) and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (1994), plus a doctorate in literature from the University of Minnesota (2004).
I teach graduate writing courses (Forms of Fiction, Writers’ Workshop) plus undergraduate courses including creative writing, world literature, and women’s literature. Last year at my students’ request, I put together an intermediate-level workshop in sci-fi and fantasy writing, and it was a great success.
My short fiction and non-fiction has appeared in such venues as BBC Radio 4’s Opening Lines , BLIP Magazine, Camera Obscura and Redivider . I have two published novels:
- Cold Country (Duckworth, 2003) is set en route to and in Fairbanks. I wrote it in the dripping heat of Bangkok where I taught for four years—it was my homage to a place I didn’t think I’d ever be able to return to. It is also my take on the sort of strange friendships that parents force on their children. In the novel, Sandra’s mum and step-dad have not only pushed her into a friendship with a relative called Fleur, they have revived the friendship when it had petered out. Unfortunately for Sandra, this means that she is roped into driving Fleur home from Seattle to Fairbanks, and Fleur—supposedly upright and honest—has been less than truthful. She doesn’t have the money to fly Sandra home again, stranding her in a place she hates from the moment she sets foot in it.
- The Dark Lantern (Crown, 2008; Three Rivers Press, 2009). My dissertation work was on servants in nineteenth-century British crime fiction, and what wonderful material I found: the awful situation of servants (being required to do dirty work, then being blamed for being dirty), stories about maids falling from the windows they were cleaning onto the spiked railings beneath. Victorian households were microcosms of what I came to call “domestic colonization”—an attempt to civilize the uncivilisable people of the lower social orders by bringing them into the home to train them up . . . and paying them badly for the privilege! If ever there was a misguided and hypocritical mission, certainly the employment of servants to “improve” them is it. The Dark Lantern is my exploration of this complicated and claustrophobic world. It’s also a nod to the crime-ridden sensation novels of the Victorian era, but with an eye not just on the middle class but on the lower-class people who served them. Unlike in most Victorian fiction where servants are either good or bad (and punished accordingly), in The Dark Lantern the servants are just as complicated as their employers.
BA, University of Wisconsin; MA University of Iowa; PhD, University of Minnesota (Australian literature).
Teaching & Research Interests:
Literature of Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania; Scandinavian literature; Victorian & Edwardian literature; Modern & Post-modern European fiction.
My experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer provided me with a profession and a research focus when I later returned to school to pursue a doctorate. As a PCV, I taught English and math at St Jospeh's College, a Catholic boys high school in Western Samoa. Operated by Marist Brothers from New Zealand, the school was one of the best in the country, meaning that a fortunate few would receive scholarships for university study in New Zealand, Fiji, or Papua New Guinea. I began my teaching career in February 1976 and haven't stopped since.
Later, as a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, I thought back to that school and our curriculum, one borrowed from New Zealand with a largely British orientation. How odd it had felt to teach Dickens and Shaw to students who would probably never leave the island and certainly not the Pacific! And from a student perspective--how strange not to read about your world, about the Pacific and the Southern Hemisphere, but mostly of people and places and events on the other side of the globe. By this time, the late 1980s, I was aware of a burgeoning literary movement emanating from the Pacific region. I wrote my dissertation on Australian efforts to develop a confident literary identity, one free of the British shadow, and I have since moved on to teach and write about books and writers from Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania. I am dedicated to increasing international awareness of Pacific literature.
While at Minnesota, I fell into another major part of my career. The Writing Lab Director resigned mid-year, and I was asked to replace her. For nearly three years, I served as Writing Lab Director; through that experience I became convinced of the benefits of the writing tutorial to the writing process. In my third year at UAF, I assumed the position of Writing Center Director and have since sought to channel our efforts toward serving the writing needs of the campus, the Fairbanks community, and the state.
Originally hired in 1995 to teach world literature at UAF, I have also taught courses in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British literature, American writing through the Civil War, multiethnic American literature, film, the modern European novel, composition and ESL at all levels, and--of course--writing from the Pacific region. When I entered my first classes at St Joseph's College in 1976 and found forty-five faces looking back at me, I wanted only to survive the two-year Peace Corps experience. Thirty-plus years later, I am still--happily--in the classr
English Department Chair; Professor
824 Gruening Building
Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Graduate Certificate in Gender Studies, University
of Southern California; M.A. in Comparative Literature, University of Southern California; B.A.
in Comparative Literature (Magna Cum Laude), Cornell University.
Areas of Expertise:
Modernist literary and visual culture, especially Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf,
James Joyce, and Franz Kafka; Theory; Women; Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Professor Coffman holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and a Graduate Certificate in Gender Studies from the University of Southern California (2001) as well as a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Cornell University (1994). Her research uses psychoanalytic, feminist, and queer theories to analyze twentieth and twenty-first century literature, visual art, and film from Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States. Her first book, Insane Passions: Lesbianism and Psychosis in Literature and Film, appeared in December 2006 from Wesleyan University Press; her second, Gertrude Stein's Transmasculinity, was published in June 2018 by Edinburgh University Press. She has also written articles on psychoanalytic queer and trans theory, Franz Kafka's The Trial, James Joyce's Ulysses, Gertrude Stein's experimental writings, Monique Truoug's The Book of Salt, and Virginia Woolf's Orlando. A Fulbright Scholar in Austria from March-June 2019 and a past participant in a 2006 National Endowment for the Humanities seminar on “Modernist Paris,” Professor Coffman is currently at work on a third book called Queer Traversals as well as new articles on Djuna Barnes' Nightwood and Woolf’s The Waves.
At UAF, Professor Coffman teaches courses about modernist literature, women’s literature, world literature, queer theory, literary theory, and writing; she served as Coordinator of UAF’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program from 2009-2011. Before moving to Fairbanks in 2005, she taught from 2001-2003 at the University of California, Santa Cruz and from 2003-2005 at California State University, Bakersfield.
For course descriptions and additional information about Professor Coffman, please see her personal webpage at https://sites.google.com/a/alaska.edu/chris-coffman/
Degrees:Ph.D. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, English (Creative Dissertation in Nonfiction), M.A. University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Creative Thesis in Short Fiction), B.A. Adams State College, Alamosa, Colorado, Secondary Education (Concentration in Physical Education).
Areas of concentration:Creative writing, fiction and nonfiction; travel and nature writing; environmental literature; contemporary literature of the U.S. West.
Daryl Farmer is the author of Bicycling beyond the Divide, which received a Barnes and Noble Discover Award and was a Colorado Book Award finalist
and Where We Land, a collection of short stories. His recent work has appeared in The Whitefish Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, and Gingerbread House. He is an associate professor at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, where he is the
director of the creative writing program.
Degrees:Ph.D. University of Toronto (Medieval Studies and Collaborative Ph.D. Program in Women and Gender Studies), M.A. University of Toronto (Medieval Studies), B.A. Boston College (Major: English Minor: Ancient Civilization)
Background:Eileen M. Harney received her B.A. in English with a minor in Ancient Civilizations from Boston College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto. She also completed the collaborative Ph.D. program in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto. Her research centers on the sacrificial woman in Western literature. A subsection of this interest was explored in her dissertation, which focused on the narratological developments and alterations of virgin martyrs' sex-specific or sex-emphasized tortures throughout the medieval period. Her current research areas include depictions of women's spirituality in the Middle Ages, gender motifs in the early and medieval Christian traditions, contemporary depictions of the tormented female body and heroic female character, and gender constructs in graphic novels and science fiction/fantasy television series and films. Other scholarly interests include Arthurian literature, the works of C. S. Lewis, and Old and Middle English heroic narratives.
Degrees:B.A. University of Washington; M.A. Ohio State University: Ph.D. Ohio State University (Critical Theory and American Literature).
Eric Heyne has been teaching at UAF since 1986. He received his doctorate in critical theory and American literature from Ohio State University in 1984. He has served as Chair of the English Dept., President of the Faculty Senate, and Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. He has published essays on American literature, northern and Alaskan literature, and the theory of the fiction/nonfiction distinction, in Modern Fiction Studies, Narrative, Western American Literature, River Teeth, Extrapolation, The Northern Review, and elsewhere, and is the editor of Desert, Garden, Margin, Range: Literature on the American Frontier(Twayne 1992). He has published poetry in Platte Valley Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Ice-Floe, Scintilla, Eclectica, and elsewhere.
Ph.D. in English (Creative Writing, Fiction) – University of Southern Mississippi
M.A. in English – University of North Dakota
B.L.S. in Liberal Studies – University of South Dakota
Joseph Holt is a Term Assistant Professor of Creative and Technical Writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His fiction has appeared in Gulf Coast, New Ohio Review and Beloit Fiction Journal. His nonfiction and critical writing has appeared in The Sun, Colorado Review and Prairie Schooner. He studied in the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he received an AWP Intro Journals Award in fiction. His debut story collection, Golden Heart Parade, will be published in Fall 2021 by Santa Fe Writers Project. His personal website is holt.ink.
Sara Eliza Johnson
820 Gruening Building
Degrees:B.A., Cornell University (English), M.F.A. University of Oregon (Poetry).
Teaching and Research Interests:Poetry Writing, Nonfiction Writing, Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, Eco-poetics, Film, Apocalyptic Texts.
Degrees:B.A., International Studies & Russian, Dickinson College 1995
M.A., Russian Philology, Moscow State University 2002
M.A., Linguistics, University of Pittsburgh 2005
PhD, Applied Linguistics, University of Pittsburgh, 2011
Areas of Expertise:Second Language Acquisition, TESOL, English & Russian Linguistics, Individual Differences in Second Language Learning, L2 Acquisition of Tense-Aspect Morphology.
Background:Wendy Martelle is an assistant professor of English and Linguistics, and is coordinator of the ESL Program at UAF. She received her PhD in Applied Linguistics/Second Language Acquisition with TESOL Certification from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. She teaches courses relating to second language acquisition and teaching, and the English language for second language teaching. Her research and scholarly interests are in individual differences in second language acquisition and the acquisition of tense-aspect morphology.
Degrees:B.A. Colby College, MS Ed. Nova Southeastern University, M.A. University of Miami, Ph.D. University of Miami
Background:Early modern English literature and law, Shakespeare, Doris Lessing, Thomas Pynchon.
874 Gruening Building
Degrees:BA, Anthropology, Emory University; MA, English, University of Georgia; Ph.D, English/Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Pittsburgh.
Background:Jennifer Schell received her Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in the English Department’s Critical and Cultural Studies Program. Her specialties include American literature, Arctic writing, animal studies, and environmental humanities. Her book entitled, "A Bold and Hardy Race of Men": The Lives and Literature of American Whalemen was published in August of 2013 by the University of Massachusetts Press. She recently completed a series of articles on the ecogothic. Highlight include, ““Ecogothic Extinction Fiction: The Extermination of the Alaskan Mammoth” and “Polluting and Perverting Nature: The Vengeful Animals of Frogs.” She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled, Ghost Species: North American Extinction Writing and the Ecogothic, 1820-2017.
Degrees:B.A. Creighton University; M.S. University of Kansas; Ph.D. University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Teaching and research specialties:Pedagogy, Community Writing, and Metaphor.
My Motto: Write In Here to Write Out There
Thanks to my experience as a Writing Center tutor as an undergraduate at Creighton University, I knew my mission early: I found intellectual curiosity in observing and learning from people who are engaged in a process. I believe in affirmation, inclusivity, and openness--all of which can be translated into practices to bring about a more just world. My passion for writing as process mirrors my passion for food, community, and collaboration. In addition to being an Assistant Professor of English, I'm also a volunteer and board member for the Stone Soup Cafe.
Before I called Fairbanks home, I had lived and studied metaphor, genre, and feminist pedagogy at the University of Kansas for a Master's degree. I then moved to Western Massachusetts for a doctorate in Rhetoric and Composition where I furthered my knowledge about linguistic ideologies, focusing on ideological constructs between race and writing in classroom practices, curricular design, and program policy.
At the University of Massachusetts Amherst I taught Basic Writing for three years, and conducted teacher research in this setting for my dissertation. I revised and shaped this work in an article which bridges second language acquisition scholarship with translingual theory.
My favorite writing project is a shorter essay on John Dewey, which you can access here.
A sustained academic interest of mine has been the phenomena of "noticing" or how learning becomes conscious, and I thread this interest into my collaborative curricular design for multiple student and community audiences. including students enrolled in Academic Recovery, a women's writing workshop at Fairbanks Correctional Center, and at CoW events around Fairbanks. This Summer, I travelled with two undergraduate researchers to a national conference--there, my students presented a noticing analysis on their own writing processes based on multiple sessions with a Gazepoint Eyetracker.
Students: I see connections before I note differences. If you would like to know how to volunteer or get involved in Fairbanks outside the university campus, or if you would like to conduct your own research on the Gazepoint Eyetracker, send me an email.
In Memoriam: Burns Cooper
The English Department mourns the passing of G. Burns Cooper, Professor of English, after several weeks of hospice care at home surrounded by his family on October 17, 2020. Dr. Cooper arrived at UAF in 1990 as the English Department’s specialist in linguistics. The author of numerous articles and a book on poetry—Mysterious Music: Rhythm and Free Verse (Stanford University Press, 1998)—Dr. Cooper eventually moved into the field of Forensic Linguistics while continuing to teach a wide variety of courses in language and literature. His kind, thoughtful, and collegial presence made him an effective mentor for new faculty and a respected leader within the College of Liberal Arts, where he served as Chair of the English Department (2009-2010), Chair of the Linguistics Program, Interim Chair of Foreign Languages, and Interim Dean (2010-2011). The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner recently published Dr. Cooper's obituary.
|Name||Specialty and Degree|
19th and 20th Century British literature, Narrative Theory
Ph.D., University of Texas, 1983
Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century British Literature, Romantic-era British Literature
D. Phil., Oxford University, 1985
Comparative Literature, African Studies, Psychoanalytic Theory
PhD., The Graduate School of The City University of New York, 1984
Nineteenth-century British Literature, Literary Criticism
Ph.D., State University of New York Binghamton, 1975
Dramatic Writing; Filmmaking (Documentary and Ethnographic); former Curator of Film
at the University of Alaska Museum of the North
Shakespeare and 17th century British Literature
Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1983
Creative Writing, Poetry
MFA, University of Iowa, 1967
Native American Literature, Alaska Native Oral Narrative
M.A. (English), Purdue University, 1972
Ph.D. (English), U. of New Mexico, 1981
Early American Literature, Holocaust Literature
M. Phil., Cambridge University, 2000
Creative Writing, Poetry
MFA, Arizona, 1979
Creative Writing, Fiction
M.F.A., University of Arkansas, 1981
Medieval literature and Chaucer
Ph.D., The University of Southern Mississippi, 1979
20th-Century British Literature
Ph.D., Purdue University, 1974