Dalton Greene ’22
The English Department is excited to welcome five new Visiting Professors for the Spring 2020 semester: Annie Baxter, Curtis Gilbert, Rachel Gold, Elisabeth Alderks, and Zoë Rodine. We at The Words had an opportunity to sit down with three of them, and we wanted to take a moment to introduce them to the larger community!
Rachel Gold (they/them/theirs), a Macalester alum, was involved with the college’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Union (GLBU) in the early 1990s, so it is a particular delight for them to be back and teaching “LGBTQ Literature in America.” The class begins and ends with the story of Gilda, an African-American, bisexual vampire whose narrative stretches from 1850 to 2050. With Gilda, students travel across centuries and complex layers of queer and trans lives in America. Outside of the classroom, Rachel has written five young adult novels with queer and trans protagonists. They can be found around the department Tuesdays and Thursdays to talk about great queer/trans reads, give video game recommendations, have lively chats about comic book superheroes, and generally nerd out.
Elisabeth Alderks (she/her/hers) relishes the opportunity to make connections between literary analysis and our own perspectives on the world using various theoretical lenses. Her course, “Introduction to Literary Theory: Debates on Interpretation,” prompts students both to understand and apply theories to literary texts, and in her short time at Macalester, she’s been impressed with how they’ve fared. Although theory is often dense and difficult, she hopes to show students how it can empower us to make sense of both the text and the broader world. As students wrestle with specific theories’ big claims and close readings, she takes joy from seeing what “clicks” for each individual and feels proud when students confront long-held beliefs they feel they must reconsider in light of a particular reading.
Zoë Rodine (she/her/hers), another Macalester alum, is thrilled to be back in Old Main and in the best department once again. A current graduate student at the University of Minnesota, where she’s completing her dissertation, her work focuses on how people have written about embodiment over the past century. She is particularly interested in how reading literature through the lens of the body can illuminate new ways of understanding modernism and put unexpected authors in conversation with one another, like Virginia Woolf and Sun Ra (ask her about it). Her course this semester, “Studies in Literature: Writing the Body,” is in conversation with her research, and she’s enjoyed learning from her students and approaching the texts they’re reading in new ways. In her free time, you can find her cooking up small feasts, hiking, singing, or watching sheepdog trials to unwind.
What a lovely crew! The Words extends many thanks to Professors Gold, Alderks, and Rodine for taking the time to share, and we hope that everyone gives them a warm welcome throughout the semester.