My primary research interest focuses on the material effects in culture of representations of race, gender, and identity. As well, I have for many years been deeply invested in Faulkner Studies and Southern Studies. Faulkner's searching analysis of race and gender issues--what Toni Morrison has called “his unflinching gaze, a refusal to look away”--led me to an interest in race, gender, and feminist psychoanalytic theory, and my second book, Faulkner: The Return of the Repressed (University of Virginia Press, paperback edition, 2000), is a psychoanalytic interpretation of Faulkner’s major novels. My most recent book publication, Drawing the Line: The Father Reimagined in Faulkner, Wright, O'Connor, and Morrison (University of Virginia Press, 2013), explores the role of liminal figures in boundary formation. Because boundaries both connect and divide, I argue that anyone who draws a boundary experiences a cross-identification with the other and occupies a borderline space that Julia Kristeva calls the abject. My work-in-progress, a book-length study, uses psychoanalytic, deconstructive, and critical race theory to interpret Flannery O'Connor's depiction of race as a signifier--or symbol--that is used in culture to mark and define a "white" identity.
Twentieth-Century American Literature, Literature of the American South, Faulkner Studies, Gender Theory, Critical Race Theory, Feminist Theory, and Psychoanalytic Theory.
Selected Publications —
Drawing the Line: The Father Reimagined in Faulkner, Wright, O'Connor, and Morrison (University of Virginia Press, 2013).
Faulkner: The Return of the Repressed (University Press of Virginia, 1997; paperback edition, 2000).
Faulkner's Changing Vision (UMI Research Press, 1983).
Co-editor of eleven collections of essays on Faulkner
Selected Articles and Book Chapters
"Aligning the Psychological with the Theological: Doubling and Race in Flannery O'Connor's Fiction." The Flannery O'Connor Review 13 (2015): 78-89.
“Reading Faulkner through Morrison.” Critical Insights: William Faulkner. Ed. Kathryn Stelmach Artuso. Ipswich, Mass.: Salem Press, 2013. 68-93.
“Flannery O’Connor’s Productive Violence,” Arizona Quarterly, 67.2 (Summer 2011): 127-54.
“‘Nobody Could Make It Alone’: Fathers and Boundaries in Toni Morrison’s Beloved,” MELUS 36.2 (Summer 2011): 13-33.
“Faulkner’s Return to the Freudian Father: Sanctuary Reconsidered,” Modern Fiction Studies, 50.2. Reprinted in Faulkner and His Critics. Ed. John N. Duvall. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010. 210-235.
Matricide and the Mother's Revenge: As I Lay Dying," Faulkner Journal, 4.1&2. Reprinted in William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Michael Gorra. New York: W. W. Norton, 2010. 315-28.
“Beyond Oedipus: Lucas Beauchamp, Ned Barnett, and Faulkner’s Intruder in the Dust,” Modern Fiction Studies 53.4 (2007): 789-820.
“Psychoanalytical Criticism of Faulkner,” A Companion to Faulkner Studies. Ed. Charles A. Peek and Robert W. Hamblin. Westport Ct.: Greenwood Press, 2004. 197-213.
“Writing and Rewriting Race: Flannery O’Connor’s ‘The Geranium’ and ‘Judgement Day,’” The Flannery O’Connor Review, 2 (2003-04): 31-39.
“Carson McCullers’ Primal Scenes: The Ballad of the Sad Café.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 43.3 (2002): 260-70.
“Revising The Sound and the Fury: Absalom, Absalom! and Faulkner’s Postmodern Turn.” Faulkner and Postmodernism. Ed. John Duvall and Ann J. Abadie. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2002. 95-108.
“Tracing Racial Assumptions: Teaching Faulkner’s ‘That Evening Sun.’” Teaching Faulkner. Methods and Approaches. Ed. Stephen Hahn and Robert W. Hamblin. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000. 47-52.
“Reading the Absences: Race and Narration in Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!” Faulkner at 100: Retrospect and Prospect. Ed. Donald M. Kartiganer and Ann J. Abadie. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2000. 132-139.
“Deconstructing Racial Difference: Flannery O'Connor's 'The Artificial Nigger,'" The Flannery O'Connor Bulletin, 24 (1995-96): 22-32.
“'You can't beat a woman': The Preoedipal Mother in Light in August," Faulkner Journal, 10.2 (1996): 55-64.
“'I am dying': Faulkner's Hightower and the Oedipal Moment," Faulkner Journal, 9.1&2 (1995): 139-48.
“The Nameless Women of Go Down, Moses," Women's Studies, 22.4 (1993): 525-32.
With Philip Cohen, "Faulkner's Introduction to The Sound and the Fury," American Literature, 62.2 (June 1990), 262-283; noted in "Research Notes," The Chronicle of Higher Education, 18 July 1990, p. A7.
“'In the Penal Colony': Kafka's Unorthodox Theology." College Literature, 6; reprinted in Franz Kafka: A Study of the Short Fiction. Ed. Allen Thiher. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1990. 136-40 and in Short Story Criticism, Vol. 5. Ed. Thomas Votteler. New York: Gale Research, 1990. 249-52.
“Answers and Ambiguity in Walker Percy's The Second Coming," Critique: Studies in Modern Fiction, 23. 2; reprinted in Walker Percy: Modern Critical Views. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1986. 115-23.
Awards & Honors —
Mabel Fry Award for Outstanding Teaching, Spring 2014
Friends of the Hall Center Book Publication Award, University of Kansas, Spring 2012.
Hall Center for the Humanities Research Fellowship, University of Kansas, Fall 2003.
Faculty Research Grant, The University of Mississippi, Summer 1990.
Faculty Research Grant, The University of Mississippi, Summer 1989.
Faculty Research Grant, The University of Mississippi, Summer 1988.
Faculty Research Grant, The University of Mississippi, Summer 1987.
Faculty Research Grant, The University of Mississippi, Summer 1985.