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.
Gothic fictions are known for their ability to send shivers down the spine, evoking sensations of discomfort, fear, and horror. This interdisciplinary course will explore the genre of the Gothic from its roots in the late eighteenth century through the present, moving among literature, film, television, and digital media forms. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein will be a key text as we commemorate the novel's 200th anniversary; we will explore intermedial texts like Dracula and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; and the course will end with twenty-first century incarnations of the Gothic (True Blood, Penny Dreadful, and Stranger Things). Throughout, we will discuss the tangled relationship between sexuality, race, and power that characterizes the genre. Students will have the opportunity to develop a creative project in the course, whether a piece of short fiction or a visual/digital exploration of Gothic themes.
In her seminal essay "Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess," Linda Williams observed, "The repetitive formulas and spectacles of film genres are often defined by their differences from the classical realist style of narrative cinema." In this course, we will use the relationship between gender and genre as a lens through which to view these differences in American and global cinema of the 1950s and 1960s as we trace the evolution of film theory since the 1970s. Readings will draw on foundational texts in psychoanalysis, feminist and queer theory, postcolonial theory, and other trends in film criticism, accompanied by weekly screenings. This course is designed to meet the needs of students pursuing Division II concentrations in film and media studies and related fields, and will meet the film theory requirement for the Five College Major in Film 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.
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.