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 at present working on two projects: a biography of a family of Victorian feminists, and a study of sex, class, and modernity in 1920s England.
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.
Best known for her experiments with form and style in the modernist novel, Virginia Woolf was also deeply engaged with the literary and artistic currents of her time. This course addresses the lesser-known women writers and artists who worked alongside Woolf, both in the Bloomsbury Group and in overlapping activist circles. We will investigate how Woolf grapples with questions central to her contemporaries, including the psychic and social damage wrought by WWI; alternatives to conventional understandings of gender, sexuality, marriage, and domesticity; and the role of women in shaping new visions of a more equitable and just future. We will challenge notions of canonization in reading the work of Vanessa Bell, Vera Brittain, Radclyffe Hall, Winifred Holtby, Dorothy Sayers, and Rebecca West alongside Woolf's writings and those of the male modernists with whom she is often associated. Several shorter papers and a longer project will be required, and students will be encouraged to conduct research in local and digital archives.
What is the role of the literary text in making, calling for, or fomenting social change? How have poets and novelists used literature as both a creative mode and a political act? How did nineteenth- and early twentieth-century writers engage with the most pressing issues of their time, particularly with respect to race, class, gender and sexuality? In this tutorial, we will read the works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charles Dickens, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, among others; these texts will be examined against the backdrop of historical events and social reform efforts including the movement for the abolition of slavery, labor legislation, and voting rights. This course is designed to appeal to students interested in literature, history, and cultural studies, and will provide opportunities to develop proficiency in public speaking, analytical writing, and project-based work.
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.