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.
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.
This course is designed to introduce students to the main trends and themes of British and United States women's history from 1820 through World War I and to trace the various "feminisms" that emerge as a result of capitalist development and responding labor movements in each county. We will discuss individual women leaders as well as the movements they led and the ways in which "the woman question" was hotly debated in the press, the university classroom, and the political arena; readings of literary texts such as Bronte's Jane Eyre will complement our analysis of primary historical sources. Throughout the course we will focus on the convergence of gender, sexuality, race, class and politics in Victorian feminist and socialist reform movements. In addition to making oral presentations and writing short papers, students will have the opportunity to conduct primary research on nineteenth-century women's history in local and online archives as a prelude to completing a final research paper.
This course provides an introduction to changing cultural conceptions of childhood in the nineteenth century. We will read novels (Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist and George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss) alongside poetry (William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience and Elizabeth Barrett Browning's The Cry of the Children) and children's literature by Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Rudyard Kipling, Frances Hodgson Burnett and J. M. Barrie. These texts will be studied in the context of sociological analyses of children's experience such as Henry Mayhew's London Labor and the London Poor and in light of changing legislation throughout the century. We will also address the construction of childhood and adolescence in popular culture through the study of boys' and girls' magazines, many of which increasingly depicted children as the future of the British empire. This writing-intensive project-based course is designed to appeal to students interested in literature and cultural studies, history, and child studies.
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.