Dr. Jamie Carr
Professor and Chair of the English Department
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- Office Location:
- Dunleavy Hall, Room 320
I have long been intrigued by what Sven Birkerts, in his book The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age (1994), says about what we experience when we are immersed in a good story: that we "hand over our groundedness in the here and now in order to take up our new groundedness in the elsewhere of the book" (81). Literature, that is, creates a "sense of place," an "elsewhere" in our minds that we visit for a short while, and that leaves us changed in some way.
My most recent teaching and research interests explore the relation of literature to place, whether real or imagined, natural or built environment. What aspects of literature speak to the experiences of place? How do our own experiences of place differ from that of others due to historical, cultural, gender, race, socio-economic, or other factors? And how might our connections to place foster our responsibility to it?
I am fortunate to live and work in an environment that millions are drawn to each year, and that writers have "created" for centuries -- Niagara Falls.
I examine this cultural heritage in my manuscript, Niagaras of Ink: Famous Writers at the Falls (SUNY Press, 2020).
In my classes, students encounter opportunities to explore and encounter the relation between literature and place, whether through reading works that elicit such reflections; in writing; or through excursions to physical places in the city and landscape of Niagara Falls.