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My Favorite Lecture Series

October 13, 2011

"My Favorite Lecture" series offers students the opportunity to learn from some of the University's most distinguished professors. University Distinguished Teaching Scholar and American Literature Professor Pattie Cowell will discuss how stories which describe everyday life in local settings can help communities discover common ground and a sense of renewal.

Professor Pattie Cowell is intrigued by short stories that reflect everyday life and how they contribute to a sense of interconnectedness in communities.

Thursday, October 20
4:15-5 p.m.
TILT Building, Room 221

"I’ve suspected for a long time that everyday stories, small stories inflected by local pasts and presents, have the power to sustain communities in a messy and unpredictable world," says Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and University Distinguished Teaching Scholar Pattie Cowell.

The stories I’m interested in are common, in both senses of the word: they are shared, a common ground, and they are the stuff of ordinary life, commonplace."

Stories create a sense of community

"They function as connective tissue, performing a local knowledge that allows individuals to place themselves in relation to others who share that knowledge. They become public tools for communities to renew themselves."

In Professor Cowell's favorite lecture, she'll explore these questions:

  • How do small stories accomplish such significant cultural work?
  • How do people actually use them?

About Pattie Cowell

Professor Cowell teaches American literature, American Studies, and Women's Studies. Her major research has been in early American studies, but she has also published articles on Melville, B. Traven, Leslie Silko, multiculturalism, gothic fiction, service learning, and feminist pedagogy.

In addition to extensive work on early American women poets culminating in Women Poets in Pre-Revolutionary America and Critical Essays on Anne Bradstreet, she has written on Cotton Mather, on the 18th-century magazine trade, and on the English letter-writer Polly Hewson.

Her work has appeared in such journals as Early American Literature, Signs, and American Literary History, and in several anthologies. A personal essay, “Deep Focus,” appeared in Prairie Schooner.

Contact: Christie Yeadon
Phone: (970) 491-2519