CV

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Alaina Kaus

Full-Time Instructor / The University of Alabama / Department of English
Box 870244 / Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 / aykaus@ua.edu

EDUCATION

Ph.D., English, University of Connecticut, 2018
M.A., English, University of Connecticut, 2012
B.A., English, summa cum laude, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, 2010

PROFESSIONAL HISTORY

Full-Time Renewable Instructor, The University of Alabama, 2018-present

BOOK PROJECT

Humanitarian Coercion: Literature of War, Violence, and Migration (manuscript in preparation)

RESEARCH AND TEACHING INTERESTS 

American literature, post-1945 American literature, multi-ethnic U.S. literature, Asian American literature, African American literature, immigrant and refugee narratives, transnational American studies, comparative ethnic studies, human rights, political economy

PUBLICATIONS 

Peer-Reviewed Articles

“Reimagining the Southern Gothic: The Two Souths in Monique Truong’s Bitter in the Mouth.” MELUS, vol. 42, no. 3, Sep. 2017, pp. 84-101.

“A View from the Vietnamese Diaspora: Memories of Warfare and Refuge in GB Tran’s Vietnamerica.” Mosaic, vol. 49, no. 4, Dec. 2016, pp. 1-19.

“Liberalities of Feeling: Free Market Subjectivities in Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, vol. 56, no. 4, Aug. 2015, pp. 369-82.

Peer-Reviewed Article in Progress

“Liberal Humanitarianism: Obscuring U.S. Culpability in Echoes of the Lost Boys of Sudan and What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng” (under review at Contemporary Literature)

CONFERENCE PARTICIPATION

“Intervention and Immigration: Reclaiming Sovereignty in Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying.” Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS), Cincinnati, OH, March 2019.

“Making Legible/Making Credible: Narrating ‘Lost Boys’ Experiences in Dave Eggers’s What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng.” American Literature Association (ALA), San Francisco, CA, May 2018.

“Redemptive Hospitality? Examining Revisionist Histories of the U.S. War in Vietnam in Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer.” Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS), Las Vegas, NV, May 2018.

“Capitalist Disposability and Complex Personhood in Lan Cao’s The Lotus and the Storm.” Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS), Miami, FL, April 2016.

“Literary Legacies of Cold War Violence in Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” Northeast Modern Language Association (NMLA), Hartford, CT, March 2016. [Panel Organizer: “The Language of American Warfare after World War II.”]

“Memorializing Brutalities in Edwidge Danticat’s The Farming of Bones.” British Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies (BCPS), Savannah, GA, February 2016.

“Remembering the American War in Vietnam: GB Tran’s Vietnamerica.” Northeast Modern Language Association (NMLA), Toronto, Canada, May 2015.

“‘I write the broken line’: Discursive Truth Telling in Antjie Krog’s Country of My Skull.” Modern Language Association (MLA), Chicago, IL, January 2014.

“How Ghostly Renderings Shatter: Challenging Southern Histories of Asian America in Monique Truong’s Bitter in the Mouth.” American Literature Association (ALA), Boston, MA, May 2013.

“Florens’s ‘Confession’: Reading Community in Toni Morrison’s A Mercy.” Society for the Study of American Women Writers (SSAWW), Denver, CO, October 2012.

“Questions of Art, Language, and Life in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!” Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association (RMMLA), Albuquerque, NM, October 2010.

COURSES TAUGHT

University of Alabama

English Composition II (4 sections). The second course in the University of Alabama’s first-year writing sequence, this class introduces students to the practice of ethical research and argumentation while furthering critical reading and thinking skills. The class emphasizes discussion, writing, revising, and responding to peer work. There is extensive one-on-one work with students to address specific concerns. Sections focus on a particular theme, such as “Engaging Southern Culture and Diversity” and “Cultural Memory and Identity.” Brief readings are introduced by James C. Cobb, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Marita Sturken.

American Literature to 1865 (2 sections). Providing an overview of American literature to 1865, this course examines how American literature responds to histories of colonialism, revolution, race-making, and reform that have shaped—and continue to shape—the U.S. nation and its literature. Authors include Bartolomé de las Casas, John Winthrop, Mary Rowlandson, Samson Occom, John and Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Olaudah Equiano, Hannah Webster Foster, William Apess, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Jacobs, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Rebecca Harding Davis.

American Literature since 1865 (1 section). Providing an overview of American literature since 1865, this course examines how American literature informs competing visions of an “American people” across different periods of social change and literary history. Authors include Mark Twain, William Dean Howells, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Kate Chopin, Sui Sin Far, Zitkala-Ša, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Robert Frost, Marianne Moore, T.S. Eliot, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, William Faulkner, Ralph Ellison, Tennessee Williams, Thomas Pynchon, Gloria Anzaldúa, Toni Morrison, Monique Truong, Edwidge Danticat, and Gary Shteyngart.

African American Literature through the Harlem Renaissance (1 section). Examining the African American literary tradition through the 1930s, this course asks how the tradition variously informs, challenges, and revises core national principles through a focus on the intersections of freedom, citizenship, and writing. Authors include Olaudah Equiano, Phillis Wheatley, David Walker, Harriet E. Wilson, Maria W. Stewart, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Charles W. Chesnutt, Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, James Weldon Johnson, Alain Locke, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Jean Toomer, and Nella Larsen.

University of Connecticut

I served as the sole instructor of record for the following courses as a graduate teaching assistant:

 Seminar in Academic Writing (7 sections). This first-year writing course introduces students to academic writing. Students participate in critical inquiry through engagement with a variety of readings. The course emphasizes discussion, writing, revising, and responding to peer work. There is extensive one-on-one work with students to address specific concerns. Sections focus on a particular theme, such as “Language, Knowledge, and Power” or “War, Conflict, and Memory.” Authors include Jenny Edkins, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Marita Sturken. As part of a grant-funded program, one section is designed for students in the Pre-Pharmacy House.

Seminar in Writing through Literature (6 sections). This first-year writing course introduces students to academic writing. Regarding literature as a point of entry into critical conversations, the course emphasizes discussion, writing, revising, and responding to peer work. There is extensive one-on-one work with students to address specific concerns. Sections focus on a particular theme, such as “Trauma and the Politics of Memory” or “Stories of Movement and Migration.” Authors include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ariel Dorfman, Antjie Krog, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Primo Levi. As part of a grant-funded program, one section is designed for students in the Pre-Pharmacy House.

Literary Study through Reading and Research: Class in U.S. Culture (1 section). Through an intersectional approach, this honors-level course examines representations of social class alongside considerations of race and gender in U.S. culture. The course investigates the concept of class in U.S. origins narratives before exploring literary and critical depictions of class since World War II. The course fulfills the first-year writing requirement for honors students, and it devotes significant attention to writing and revising critical essays. Authors include Karl Marx, Henry Luce, Lizabeth Cohen, Grace Kyungwon Hong, David Harvey, Studs Terkel, Margaret Atwood, and Dave Eggers.

American Literature since 1880-W (1 section). This course provides an overview of literary production in the United States after Reconstruction. Emphasizing the relations between literature and nationhood, the course considers U.S. literature as a narrative that maps a nation’s unease over its own identity and history. Authors include William Dean Howells, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Kate Chopin, Zitkala-Ša, José Martí, Mark Twain, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Carl Sandburg, Wallace Stevens, T.S. Eliot, William Faulkner, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Edwidge Danticat, and Jhumpa Lahiri.

SERVICE

University of Alabama

ePortfolio Pilot Program, First-Year Writing Program, 2019
Instructor Committee, Department of English, 2018-19
Get On Board Day, Department of English, 2018

University of Connecticut

Diversity Committee, English Graduate Student Association, 2017-18
Outside Speaker Coordinator, English Graduate Student Association, 2015-16
Committee on Seminars, Symposia, and Scholarly Development, Department of English,  2015-16
Oversight Committee, First-Year Writing Introduction Week for New Instructors, 2015
Aetna Graduate Teaching Award Committee, 2015
Implementation Committee, First-Year Writing Introduction Week for New Instructors, 2014, 2015
Teaching Practicum Group Leader, 2013
Professional Development Committee, English Graduate Student Association, 2011, 2014

AWARDS

Pre-Doctoral Summer Fellowship Award, University of Connecticut College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 2016
Graduate Travel Award, University of Connecticut Graduate School, 2016
Graduate Travel Award, University of Connecticut English Department, 2016
Pre-Doctoral Summer Fellowship Award, University of Connecticut College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 2015
Spring Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship Award, University of Connecticut Graduate School, 2015
Graduate Travel Award, University of Connecticut English Department, 2014
Graduate Travel Award, University of Connecticut English Department, 2012

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

Modern Language Association (MLA)
American Studies Association (ASA)
Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS)
American Literature Society (ALS)

LANGUAGES

Italian, reading proficiency

REFERENCES 

[Available upon request]