I’m a Ph.D. Candidate in the Literature Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
I teach and tutor students in literature and writing composition. I’m also a consultant for digital pedagogy and curricular design.
Tell me about your English.
I specialize in women’s autobiography of the Americas during the long Twentieth Century.
My dissertation, Documenting the Stars: Autotheory and the Language of Celebrity in the Americas, explores the possibilities and limits of autotheory as a feminist literary form by close-reading three films that feature, to borrow a phrase from Nathalie Léger, “a woman telling her own story through that of another woman.”
I examine Valérie Lemercier’s Aline (2020), in which Lemercier plays a fictional Québécoise character based on Céline Dion; Helena Solberg’s Carmen Miranda: Bananas Is My Business (1995), in which Solberg presents dramatic reenactments of her own dreams and historical artifacts from Miranda’s life as equally valid documentary sources; and Lourdes Portillo’s Corpus: A Home Movie About Selena (1999), in which Portillo questions how the life and death of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez informs the constellated identities of young women in Corpus Christi and beyond.
I argue that Aline, Bananas, and Corpus are each animated by what Lauren Fournier calls an “autotheoretical impulse,” or the author’s tendency to theorize the self in relation to the world using creative methods; however, what makes these films stand apart is that they leverage celebrity figures as a mode for theorizing the self. Although the films are based on the lives of real people—Dion, Miranda, Quintanilla-Pérez—the filmmakers understand that celebrity functions as a kind of transnational language, a shorthand through which fans can express aesthetics, ethical values, sexual desires, and more. Specifically, I’m interested in how the films use the language of celebrity to communicate and co-elaborate new stories about American women’s experiences with international audiences.
Teaching and Tutoring
British and American Literatures
In addition to American women’s literatures of the Twentieth Century, I’m familiar with British and American literatures in general, from the early modern to present-day. I teach a variety of literary forms and genres, including poetry, prose, plays, and new media. I coach students to read literary texts using different critical and theoretical approaches and offer tips for close reading.
Writing is hell for everyone, but it can be especially challenging for students who feel self-conscious about grammar or English language proficiency. For this reason, I privilege reading and the study of rhetoric (persuasive, evidence-based arguments) over grammar drills. Good readers become good writers, and good ideas are harder to develop than good grammar.