Danielle Richards is a current PhD candidate at Loyola University Chicago. Danielle received her MA in English Literature from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ, and her BA in English Writing from Dordt University in Sioux Center, IA. Her academic interests include Late Victorian, Edwardian & Georgian writers including Richard Jefferies, Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, and Vita Sackville-West. She is also interested in ways Modernity/Modernism modify the narratives of place and environment. Other academic interests include Feminist Theory, Queer Theory, Trans* Narratives, Environmental Science, and Digital Humanities.
Education and Environmentalism
In the last few decades, climatologists studying global climate systems have predicted that by 2030, the earth will break 1.5C—in other words, global warming will increase the earth’s average heat by 1.5°Celsius. This formidable prediction necessitates action in our politics and our personal decisions but even more-so in our pedagogy. As an educator, I use my position to help the next generation read various narratives about "nature" and to show the ways that we must read ecology to understand our own place in the biosphere.
Overview of Courses Taught
Literature and Writing
Human Values in Literature: Animal Values
A Bengal tiger, a poet's cocker spaniel, buttered lobster, and Derrida's cat. Animals in 20th and 21st century literature are portrayed as symbols, sidekicks, meals, and metaphors. In this section of Human Values in Literature, we will interrogate the human/animal distinction as well as discuss the ethical use and depiction of literary animals. Some of the questions we will ask will focus on real-world treatment of animals, while others will focus on the ways literature uses animals as metaphors for the human condition. Is there a correlation betweenanthropomorphic artistic tendencies to the ecological devastationoccurring in our world today? In what ways do we humanize and simplify animals in our texts, and what does this do to our perception of animals in the world?
By critically examining these questions, among others, we can begin to understand why "human" values are necessarily bound up with our perceived position as a species.
Introduction to Literature: The Country and The City
For some of us, “home” looks like an old farmhouse in a rolling cornfield. To others, a 3-story walkup over a 7-Eleven. Some see home as just a place to live, and others feel inextricably bound up to the people and place they come from. In this introductory class, we will investigate literature written by people from both rural and urban environments, questioning how their ideas about “city” and “country” affect their views of place, environment, and identity. Alongside Yeats, Cather, Baldwin, Cisneros and many other writers, we will contemplate how our homes have shaped us, and what assumptions we make about others. Through our journey in poetry, fiction, and drama, we will develop a critical lens for literature, but it will also help us think critically about our own identities and homes as well.
The Academic Writer's Workshop
The Academic Writer’s Workshop is a course for students who wish to improve their writing abilities in response to the academic tasks they encounter. Writing assignments will include creative writing and researched essays. Students will review principles of rhetoric, conduct research, utilize all aspects of the writing process, and practice their writing skills as they craft various writing assignments. In addition, students will use technological tools to enhance their writing. The course may be taught partially online or in person.
Critical Reading and Writing in the Academic Community
English 105 is a four-credit-hour survey course that introduces you to critical reading and writing in the academic community. Throughout the semester we practice the reading process: generating questions or deriving answers from texts; summarizing texts; identifying examples, drawing inferences, and making logical or comparative connections; organizing information in a variety of ways; seeing and learning rhetorical skills used by effective writers; and evaluating the merits of what we read. At the same time, we practice the writing process: identifying audience and purpose; gathering or finding ideas; organizing and interrelating those ideas for readers; drafting in order to develop, support, and illustrate ideas; revising from trial-and-error and in light of peer input; editing for clarity and accuracy.
Vital Environs: Ecologies of Modernism and the Nature Tradition
Expected Completion Date: May 2021
By investigating multiple texts that are specifically about the English countrysides, this chapter explores the ways authors write about human connection to the land. This chapter focuses on narratives about the British countryside that have overt ecological observations, including Richard Jefferies’ nature fiction, Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd, D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, and Vita Sackville-West’s The Land. These texts demonstrate important ecological ideas held at the time; I focus on them in my first chapter because, to many readers, "Nature" is associated with rurality, or "out there, over there," low culture environments. Additionally, this chapter will look at the ways rural ecology has been conflated (often with good reason) with “Englishness.”
Ecological Cities: London and Oxbridge
For decades, scholars have seen the fascination Modernist writers felt for the city and taken this to mean that nature and Modernism are ill-suited bedfellows. But to see the city as being outside of (or opposite) "Nature" is only half-hearted ecology. In fact, it might be said that the city is one of the most ecologically important spaces on the planet because the majority of the "anthropos" responsible for the Anthropocene live there. Despite this, some authors write without a tangible ecology for the city—it’s as if the city’s technologies, structures and crowds exist in a different plane from “nature” or the larger environment. In this chapter, I investigate the ways authors see themselves as being apart from their environment, or whether they see themselves as being a part of their environment. We can see this distinction clearly between poems like Harold Munro’s “Every Thing” and T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets.
River Gods, Briny Coasts
The sea rolls in and rolls back again, twice a day, on every coast. What is it about the coast that mesmerizes us? For many, the vitality of the coast is more overt than other landscapes because the coast itself operates as a source of entertainment, as a gathering place, and a travel destination. Unlike some urban texts, texts set near or on the ocean rarely forget about the sea’s power or impact on us physically or emotionally. In this chapter, I’ll examine authors who specifically situate their works near the oceans or coasts, investigating the ways seascapes or shorelines help us understand our relationship to (and as a part of) the environment. Works include Katherine Mansfield's At the Bay, Woolf's To the Lighthouse and The Waves, Lawrence's Women in Love and The Trespasser.
Vacation Spaces and Temporary Ecological Relationships
This chapter investigates spaces and places frequented by tourism, travelers, and vacationers. Tourists and passers-by have a unique orientation towards environment: they are both extraordinarily interested in the place, its history, and its features while at the same time seemingly unattached to the long-term health of the land. The vacationer has a particularly descriptive eye—the writer is writing about the land as a travelogue or memoir, often attempting to preserve the differences between the vacation-space and home. In Lawrence’s Twilight in Italy and first novel The Trespasser, we see particularly descriptive writing about space and place, yet the characterizations of these momentary habitations are unlike the colliery towns of Lawrence’s home. Other works investigated include Conrad's A Room with a View and several of his stories from The Celestial Omnibus.