Assistant Professor, English
- Current disciplinary research interests
My own research focuses on contemporary African American and postcolonial literatures (for the latter, particularly in the Caribbean)—and the intersecting questions of space, place, and displacement. The authors I study—such as Michael Ondaatje, Randall Kenan, and Toni Morrison—remain deeply invested in the interchanges between people and their environments. For Caribbean writer Jamaica Kincaid, both the history of Antigua’s colonization by the British and its continued exploitation through the tourism industry are intensely personal. Writers such as Kincaid reveal contested natural resources and geographical spaces disastrously distilled into consumable goods and services. Through both this research on Caribbean tourism and my revision of a manuscript chapter that considers the place of New Orleans, Louisiana, along with the attendant matters of shifting topographies and the permeable boundaries between land and water, I’ve grown increasingly interested in issues of sustainability and urban renewal.
In terms of scholarly production, I’ve just had an article accepted (forthcoming in 2013) on taboo sexualities in the short fiction of William Faulkner and Randall Kenan. I will submit another (solicited) piece in early December on two female Caribbean novelists. Finally, drawing upon research I undertook this past summer (2012), I will complete my article on New Orleans poet Brenda Marie Osbey by mid-January; this piece will be published in the Southern Literary Journal. Once these essays are finished, I will continue revising my book manuscript.
- Interest in connecting sustainability to research
My interests in sustainability touch on all of these (related) matters: teaching, research, service, and collaboration. The urgency of developing more sustainable approaches resonates with the urgency evident in the literature I study. Certainly the field of eco-criticism is a burgeoning one, especially for someone working as comparativist scholar. Long(er) term, I would like to organize a cross-disciplinary, inter-institutional symposium on New Orleans and Sustainability. Despite my initial desire to invite a series of speakers to campus this spring (2013), logistics quickly revealed the necessity of pushing my plans by a year or two – perhaps in conjunction with a later permutation of the Black Cultures in the America senior capstone.
- Center-funded research projects
Tréme Ecologies: Land and Literature in New Orleans
Places and their identities, as cultural geographers have taught us, are characterized by remarkable fluidity. Perhaps nowhere is the fluid, interactive sense of place and its interchanges made more evident than in New Orleans, Louisiana. And it is precisely here, in this variable, flowing location that African American poet Brenda Marie Osbey insistently places herself and her poetry. For her fellowship, Dr. Kirkpatrick traveled to New Orleans to study the rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina, a topic on which Osbey has written and spoken widely. Dr. Kirkpatrick is using her work as to design the capstone for Black Cultures in the Americas, which is an interdisciplinary course focused on New Orleans and sustainability.
- Sustainability courses taught
- ENG-454: Caribbean Cosmopolitanisms
- ENG-111: American Passages
- FYW-1149: Art, Literature, and the Civil Rights Struggle
- ENG-323: The Global Novel
- ENG-453: Slave Narrative to Slave Novel
- ENG-475 capstone: Migrations