Alicia Peaker is currently the CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellow in the Digital Liberal Arts at Middlebury College. She successfully defended her dissertation, 'Our English Ground': Women, Literature, and the Environment, 1900-1950, at Northeastern University in April 2014. During her tenure as a graduate student she organized six graduate conferences and served as the PhD representative and Vice-President of the English Graduate Student Association. She has also worked as the Project Co-Director for OurMarathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive, the Project Manager for The WomenWriters Project, and the Development Editor for GradHacker at Inside Higher Ed.
"As a McNair scholar, I had my first experiences with formal mentorship. The summer grant I received from McNair allowed me to focus on drafting a strong writing sample and preparing for the rigors of graduate education while working closely with a faculty mentor. For the first time in my life, I was getting deeply valuable feedback on my research and writing. Perhaps even more valuable to my development as a scholar were my experiences with my cohort. My colleagues came from similar backgrounds but also, like me, were determined to pursue higher education in spite of the barriers. We formed reading groups, writing groups, and general accountability groups to support each other through the grueling PhD application process.
My connection with McNair plugged me into a national network of support unlike any I had experienced before. Recognizing the importance of such networks, I became involved in other communities in graduate school such as the Graduate Consortium of Women's Studies, Occupy Boston, and the Digital Humanities community. My personal experiences with these diverse networks continually inform both my research and my pedagogy."
Abstract: Determining Degrees of Credulity: The Role of Readers in Flann O'Brien's At SwimTwoBirds
Mentor: Dr. Anthony Flinn, English
Flann O'Brien's metafictional novel At Swim-Two-Birds explores the active roles of readers in determining the level of their own belief and disbelief as they negotiate with the text. O'Brien's literary ideology is centered on the statement made by his narrator that a novel should be "a self-evident sham to which the reader could determine the degree of his credulity." But because O'Brien will not allow readers to settle permanently into either submission to or defiance of the text, it is evident that he wishes to draw attention to the motion between the two rather than make a final judgment in favor of one or the other. O'Brien's novel allows readers to come in with preformed opinions. He then exposes their preconceptions, ridicules their dependence on established traditions, and then forces them to become active in determining the levels of their credulity.
UW McNair Conference 4-29-04
8th Annual Research & CW Symposium, EWU, May 18, 2005
phone: 509.359.6200 (campus operator)
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