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Rebecca Evans

Position: Assistant Professor Department: English

Contact Info

Office: Hall Patterson 223 Phone: 336-750-8276

Biography

I teach a range of courses across the field of American literature, but I have special interests in contemporary literature, speculative fiction, Afrofuturism and indigenous futurisms, Gothic literature, and the environmental humanities. In my classes, students explore how narratives—the literary ones they study, the critical ones they craft, and the cultural ones among which they live—not only reflect and comment on, but also actively produce social worlds.

My scholarship addresses the ways in which literature mediates between individual experience and systemic explanations of inequity. My current book project (developed from my dissertation), Structures of Violence: Contemporary American Fictions of the Plantationocene, explores how contemporary American narratives experiment with genre and form in order to incorporate long histories of environmental violence into readers' understanding of the present. The project identifies structural violence as a defining feature of contemporary life and argues that literature offers a kind of cultural "laboratory" in which techniques for narrating this representationally challenging phenomenon can be honed. Some of the writers whose work I engage in this project include Margaret Atwood, Octavia Butler, Ana Castillo, Tony Kushner, Helena María Viramontes, Gerald Vizenor, Colson Whitehead, and Jesmyn Ward.

My second project addresses the affective dimensions of contemporary discourses concerning environmental crisis. I'm especially interested in contrasting mainstream environmental rhetoric and academic writing from the environmental humanities with the forms of environmental imagination that Afrofuturism and indigenous futurism offer, and in examining the roles that grief, anger, and humor play in various projections of environmental futures.

Educational Background

  • PhD, 2016, Duke University
  • BA, 2010, Columbia University

Research and Project Interests

  • American literature and culture
  • Environmental and social justice
  • Speculative fiction (especially Afrofuturism and indigenous futurism)