Associate Professor of English Literature & Cultural Studies
Her research and teaching interests include 19th- and 20th-century British literature and culture, feminist theory, women's social history, film studies and early film history, and mass culture.
Her articles include "The Failures of the Romance" (Modern Fiction Studies, March 2001), "'Indecent Incentives to Vice': Regulating Films and Audience Behavior from the 1890s to the 1910s," in Andrew Higson, ed. Young and Innocent? Cinema and Britain, 1896-1930 (University of Exeter Press, 2002), and "'Feminists Love a Utopia': Collaboration, Conflict, and the Futures of Feminism," in Stacy Gillis, Gillian Howie, and Rebecca Munford, eds. Third Wave Feminism: A Critical Exploration (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). She has also contributed to Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture.
Lise is co-editor (with Amy Binagman and Rebecca Zorach) of Embodied Utopias: Gender, Social Change, and the Modern Metropolis (Routledge, 2002), and author of Consuming Fantasies: Labor, Leisure, and the London Shopgirl, 1880-1920 (Ohio State University Press, 2006).
She is presently at work on two projects: a biography of a family of Victorian feminists, and a study of sex, class, and modernity in 1920s England.
In A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf observed, "[The woman] born with a gift of poetry in the sixteenth century was an unhappy woman, a woman at strife against herself." What professional and personal challenges have female poets faced throughout history? How have women reconciled societal expectations of 'proper femininity' with the desire to write and publish? How has the marketplace influenced the development of poetry by women? How does the study of gender difference influence the process of reading and analyzing poems? These are some of the many questions this course will address. We will study the lives and works of poets ranging from Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Bronte and Emily Dickinson, to Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Anne Sexton, and Sylvia Plath.
In her 1924 essay "Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown," Virginia Woolf observed, "On or about December 1910, human character changed." Drawing inspiration from Woolf's famous phrase, this course focuses on modes of redescribing personhood in the work of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, placing their writings in the larger context of British culture between the First and Second World Wars. In addition to reading texts by these two foremost modernists to explore their experiments with form and voice, we will also read lesser-known writers whose work is in conversation with the modernist canon. Themes to be addressed include the disjointedness and fragmentation of modernity; war, violence, and trauma; gender, sexuality, and the nation. Frequent short responses and a substantial research paper will be required. This course is designed for students concentrating in literature, history, and cultural studies, and prior coursework in literary studies is strongly recommended.
This course is designed to introduce students to key issues in film studies, focusing on the history of American cinema from 1895 to 1960. We will pay particular attention to the "golden age" of Hollywood, with forays into other national cinemas by way of comparison and critique. Screenings will range from actualities and trick films, to the early narrative features of D. W. Griffith, to the development of genres including film noir (Double Indemnity), the woman's film of the 1940s (Now, Voyager), the western (Stagecoach) and the suspense film (Rear Window). Several short papers and in-class discussions will address how to interpret film on the formal/stylistic level (sequence analysis, close reading, visual language) as well as in the context of major trends and figures in film history.
Ghosts, vampires, madwomen, and typists: what do these figures have in common? In this course, we will investigate the characters and events that made the Victorian period the age of sensation, from the rise of popular fiction and the illustrated newspaper to the introduction of new methods for viewing and experiencing the world on a global scale. The course will focus on nineteenth-century Britain, exploring the ways in which Victorian fiction, poetry, print and visual media give voice to the period's obsession with sensory experience. We will read Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White, a tale of deception, mistaken identity and madness, alongside works by Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, Sheridan Le Fanu, and Arthur Conan Doyle, among others. Historians of "old" media - including telegraphy, photography, and early cinema - will assist us in exploring new technologies for communication in the nineteenth century; while media archaeologists and theorists of ephemerality, memory, and the archive will deepen our understanding of the relationship between past and present media cultures.
How did Victorians conceive of the body? In a culture associated in the popular imagination with modesty and propriety, even prudishness, discussions of sexuality and physicality flourished. This course explores both fictional and non-fictional texts from nineteenth-century Britain in conjunction with modern critical perspectives. We will discuss debates over corsetry and tight-lacing, dress reform, prostitution and the Contagious Diseases Acts, sexology, hysteria, and other topics relating to science and the body, alongside novels, poetry, and prose by major Victorian writers. The writings of Freud, Foucault, and other theorists will assist us in contextualizing nineteenth-century discourses of gender, sexuality, and embodiment. Several shorter papers and a longer research project will be required.
This course examines classical Hollywood cinema of the 1930s-1950s, focusing on the parallel genres of melodrama and film noir. These genres shared a production context (the Hollywood studio system at its height), an emphasis on gender (for melodrama in the form of the "weepie" or woman's film, and for film noir in its depiction of hard-boiled masculinity and the femme fatale), and an engagement with the pressing social and political issues of the era. In this course we will ask why these genres flourished during this period, how they resonated with contemporary audiences, and whether they transformed over time. We will also consider the genres' formal and stylistic attributes (narrative structure, cinematography, and mise-en-scene). Films to be screened will include All About Eve, Letter from an Unknown Woman, Mildred Pierce, Caught, The Maltese Falcon, Out of the Past, Kiss Me Deadly, and Sunset Boulevard, among others, accompanied by readings in film history, theory, and criticism. Several short essays and a longer research project will be required.