Dr. Gary Totten, Department Chair
Office: Minard 318G
I received a BA in Humanities (1990) and an MA in English (1993) from Brigham Young University and a PhD in English from Ball State University (1998). My research area is late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American literature and culture. An important sub-specialty of my research is travel literature. My publications include Memorial Boxes and Guarded Interiors: Edith Wharton and Material Culture (editor, University of Alabama Press, 2007) and articles in journals such as African American Review, American Indian Quarterly, American Literary Realism, Dreiser Studies, Journal of the Short Story in English, MELUS, Pedagogy, Studies in American Naturalism, Studies in Travel Writing, and Twentieth Century Literature. I am president of the International Theodore Dreiser society and immediate past-president of the Edith Wharton Society and serve on the Steering Committee of the International Society for Travel Writing. My recent publications focus on Edith Wharton’s relationship to the writing market and the role of consumer culture in her fiction. I am currently working on two book manuscripts, one on Edith Wharton’s engagement with technological culture in the early twentieth century and another on issues of mobility and identity in African American travel writing, 1893-1938.
My critical approach blends new historicism, narrative theory, and cultural and critical race theory. I also enjoy archival research and research into the print and material culture of a period as found in periodicals, advertisements, and other textual and visual artifacts. In my teaching, I ask students to grapple with such artifacts as a way to better appreciate the complexities of texts and cultures. I routinely teach undergraduate and graduate courses in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature, travel literature, and critical theory.