Alan C. Taylor
Lecturer in Writing
We all hope to make a difference in the intellectual lives of our students. We communicate our knowledge to them with the hopeful expectation that it will bear fruit. However, if we imagine learning as telling, we behave as if knowledge is merely a package that may be consumed. But knowledge is not a deposit or a gift; rather, it is something that must be discovered, experienced, and ultimately owned by each individual. Merely telling students information makes the them passive observers who become dependent on us. However, if we create opportunities for students to make discoveries and make active use of new knowledge, they take ownership over their own educations and gain confidence that they may become experts too. The fundamental principle that guides my course design is to empower my students—to guide, not to lead; to discourse, not to dictate; to challenge, not to tell.
"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"