Alan C. Taylor
Lecturer in Writing and Institute Web Editor
My philosophy of teaching is rooted in a conviction that education is a process through which students learn to think for themselves and prepare to face a diverse world filled with communities and people whose views and values are often quite different than their own. Although education is a process where we frequently revise our opinions, values, and ideas in response to those we encounter, it also represents an opportunity to find ways to negotiate our differences in ways that are affirming, productive, and peaceful. Most significantly, I believe that education is the primary means through which we achieve freedom from all those conditions that would seek to constrain or curtail independent inquiry and thus afford us the opportunity to create a life of our own choosing on the basis of reasoned thought. I believe there is no better preparation for encountering the pluralism in society than a writing classroom dedicated to teaching students how to acquire knowledge, take responsibility for their arguments, and articulate ideas that are meaningful to them. The critical thinking, writing, and research skills students acquire under these circumstances not only prepares them for employment in the world but also furnishes them with the means to both imagine and construct the world anew.
"Redrawing the Color Line in Flannery O'Connor's `The Displaced Person.'" Mississippi Quarterly 65.1 (2012): 67-79.
"John Bradbury." Early American Nature Writers. Eds. Daniel Patterson and Scott Bryson. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2007.
Works in Progress
Paper Nation: American Literature and the Surveying of North America
The Open Handbook: A Brief Handbook for Student Writers
"Edgar Huntly, the Northwest Territory, and the Production of National Space"
"Lost in Translation: Ramona and the Reterritorialization of Alta California"