Kathryne Bevilacqua


  • PhD, 2016, University of Michigan
  • MA, 2009, University of Leeds
  • BA, 2007, Harvard University

bevilacq@umich.edu

@bevilacq

I am currently a Lecturer at the University of Michigan, where I earned my Ph.D. in English Language & Literature in 2016.

As a literary historian, I focus on early twentieth century American literary culture and questions about readers and reading, textual circulation and consumption, and literary taste.

In my research, I seek new ways to describe how people and institutions have invested reading practices with different social meanings. In my pedagogy, I likewise help students take stock of their own investments in different forms of reading and writing.

Research

Research Interests

20th century American literature; studies of readers and reading; literacy studies; book history and materiality; taste; popular literature; history of education; library history


Current Research Project

Painting of a woman reading a newspaper, called Newsreader (1945), Milton Avery

Newsreader (1945), Milton Avery

Making U.S. Readers in the Early Twentieth Century

Making U.S. Readers traces how definitions of “reading” and “being a reader” circulated through mundane, mass-mediated textual materials associated with three of the period’s increasingly influential institutions: the school, the newspaper, and the library. I argue that these materials represent the breadth of the period’s public thinking on reading, when technological innovations and societal realignments made it possible for reading to take on wide-spread, nationalized forms of meaning. By closely reading standardized reading tests for primary-school children, beginning reading primers for illiterate adults, newspaper book reviews, and library publicity materials, I distill a complex set of practices, attitudes, and behaviors—some textual, many not—that helped define “reading” and “being a reader” as a social performance to be calibrated to the demands of different audiences and communities. “Reading,” I argue, emerges in these materials not merely as an internalized, personal practice, but as a highly contingent form of sociality, a way of understanding one’s position in a world that was increasingly organized by print.

Description of Research Project (pdf)


Recent Presentations

  • “‘To march in the parade and see it too’: Fanny Butcher and the Paradoxes of the Celebrity Reader,” Reception Studies Society, St. Paul, MN, Sept. 21-23
  • “‘I wish I could learn to read but I guess I’m too dumb’: Early 20th-Century Reading Disability Research as an Archive of Non-Reading,” Technologies of the Book, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing, Victoria, Canada, June 9-12, 2017
  • “‘Read to Win the War’: The American Library Association’s Publicity Campaign for Books and Reading in World War I,” American Literature Association (Reception Studies Society panel), Boston, MA, May 25-28, 2017
  • “Battle Hymn of the Librarians: The American Library Association’s Campaign for Books and Reading in World War I,” American Comparative Literature Association, Cambridge, MA, 17-20 Mar. 2016
  • “Learning to be Literate: Adult Reading Primers and the Identity of Reading in the Early Twentieth Century U.S.,” Modern Language Association, Austin, TX, 7-10 Jan. 2016
  • “Pencils and e-books: Marginalia in the Digital Archive,” The Generation and Regeneration of Books, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing, Montreal, Canada, 7-10 July 2015

Publications

Cover of promotional pamphlet called 'Yes! Through Reading' (1928), American Library Association

"Yes! Through Reading" (1928), American Library Association

Peer-reviewed articles

"History Lessons from Gone with the Wind," Mississippi Quarterly 67.1 (Winter 2014): 99-125. | View online (requires ProQuest login)


Works in progress

one article currently under review; one manuscript in preparation

Teaching

Teaching interests

Twentieth Century American Literature, particularly 1880-1940; history of the book; history of reading and readers; American literary history; composition


Courses taught at the
University of Michigan

2017
fallAcademic Writing and Literature: Unreliable Narratives (English 124)
Writing and Academic Argumentation: Campus Genres (English 125) [2 sections]
winterThe American Novel: Classics and Controversies (English 362)
2016
winterAcademic Writing and Literature: Unreliable Narratives (English 124)
2015
fallAcademic Writing and Literature: Misfits, Losers, and Underdogs (English 124)
2014
winterAcademic Writing and Literature: Write Like a Reader (English 124)
2013
fallAcademic Writing and Literature: Write Like a Reader (English 124)
winterWriting and Academic Argumentation: Misfits, Losers, and Underdogs (English 125)
2012
fallWriting and Academic Argumentation: Misfits, Losers, and Underdogs (English 125)
winterJacobean Shakespeare (English 368) [discussion section leader]
2011
fallChildren’s Literature (English 313) [discussion section leader]

C.V.

last updated 13 October 2017



Other documents

Description of Research Project (pdf)
Statement of Teaching Philosophy (pdf)
Teaching Portfolio, including sample syllabi and student feedback (pdf)
Syllabus: American Novel: Classics and Controversies (pdf) (docx)
Syllabus: Academic Writing and Literature: Unreliable Narratives (pdf) (docx)
Syllabus: Writing and Academic Argumentation: Misfits, Losers, and Underdogs (pdf) (docx)


Other web projects

HowDoesGilroySmellToday.com
a loving homage to my hometown of Gilroy, CA, the Garlic Capital of the World