Amy Smith

Amy Smith

Room 125
Wendell Phillips Center
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PhD, English, Penn State, 1998

BA, Music, West Virginia University, 1986

Teaching Interests

I love to see students engaged in their learning - so we work together on projects and activities that move beyond the classroom. My "Professional Communications" helps students develop their writing skills and build their resumes by creating documents for real clients in the Stockton area, such as the Delta Blood Bank and the American Red Cross.  

Students in my "Arts and Community" course partner with Stockton arts organizations like the Haggin Museum, Sunflower Presents, and Harmony Stockton. Even my literature students get in on the action, with a well-attended public Jane Austen Night event that showcases their semester projects. I want education to come alive for Pacific students!  

Research Focus

I'm interested in how literature and culture intersect, and this is reflected in the courses I teach. There are, for instance, literally hundreds of fan fiction sequels, prequels, and modern adaptations of Jane Austen's works (including a Bollywood musical!), and if you Google "Austen," you'll see a flood of websites. Why do so many readers connect with a writer who's been dead for 200 years, and what might that tell us about our culture?  

As for war literature - this deeply important subject is approached by a range of writers from journalists and novelists to veterans themselves. How do authors use different forms and genres (novels, journals, letters, first-person narratives, screenplays) to reach out? What sorts of political or cultural goals might they have? I also teach a 'banned books' course that looks at why certain books are considered dangerous and examines what's at stake as people try to silence particular viewpoints, whether liberal or conservative. My interests challenge students to see the connection between what they read and the world around them.