Kathryne Bevilacqua


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

bevilacq@umich.edu

@bevilacq

I am currently a Frederick Donald Sober Postdoctoral Fellow 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


Dissertation

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 (2016)

Making U.S. Readers in the Early Twentieth Century 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.

Full abstract (pdf)


Recent Presentations

  • [upcoming] “‘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

two articles currently under review

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 11 July 2017



Other documents

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