Dr. Anita Duneer

  • Professor

I have been teaching full time at Rhode Island College since 2009, but I have a longer history with the College. I first came to RIC in 1997 as an undergraduate through the National Student Exchange Program. A few years later, while completing my graduate work, I taught courses in RIC’s Gender and Women’s Studies and Africana Studies programs. I currently teach courses in Postcolonial Literature, Literary Theory, African American and Ethnic American Literatures, 19th- to early-20th-century American Literature, and Maritime Literature. 

My book Jack London and the Sea, forthcoming from the University of Alabama Press as part of the series Studies in American Realism and Naturalism, claims a central place for London in the maritime literary tradition. The book explores London’s immersion in the lore and literature of the sea, revealing the extent to which his writing is informed by travel narratives and sensational sea yarns, the history of exploration, and first-hand experiences as a sailor in the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean. Drawing on unpublished materials from London’s personal subject files and his notes for story “motifs,” the book’s interpretive analysis sheds light on London’s creative process, providing evidence of London’s broad knowledge of adventure literature and likely sources for the historical contexts and cultural details in his fiction. Through its exploration of the intersections of race, class and gender in London’s writing, Jack London and the Sea plumbs the often-troubled waters of his representations of the racial Other and positions of capitalist and colonial privilege. We can see the manifestation of these socio-economic hierarchies in London’s depiction of imperialist exploitation of labor and the environment, inequities that continue to reverberate in our current age of global capitalism.

Other recent research projects have led me to investigate trends in the study of literary modes and movements. My chapter in The Oxford Handbook of American Literary Realism, “Aesthetic Slippage in Realism and Naturalism,” considers the slippages in realist and naturalist aesthetics that transcend traditionally defined genres, terrains, and time periods. My most recent article in Studies in American Naturalism, “American Literary Naturalism’s Postcolonial Descendants,” considers consonances between the social and aesthetic concerns of literary naturalism and postcolonialism. At their core, I argue, the urgent matter for both American literary naturalism and postcolonial literature is the plight of characters trying to maintain humanity and dignity while subjected to a range of intersecting forces, from socio-economic inequity, labor exploitation, territorial expansion, and environmental threats that disproportionately affect marginalized individuals and communities. Since 2015, I have also served as book review editor for Studies in American Naturalism, a role that keeps me on top of cutting edge publications in the field.  

I co-chair Open Books – Open Minds, RIC’s common book program, which engages students with the broader RIC and Rhode Island communities in a variety of events inspired by each year’s common book selection. I also organize the annual Open Books – Open Minds Student Conference, which takes place in the spring and caps off each year of exciting programming. See what’s happening this year at www.ric.edu/obom!

Outside of school, some of my favorite things are my golden retrievers, Sylvie and Kaylee; yoga, biking, skiing, and sailing; strong coffee (with a good book) in the morning and dark chocolate in the afternoon.

Education

B.A., University of Alaska

M.A., University of Connecticut

Ph.D., University of Connecticut

Selected Publications

Book

Jack London and the Sea, forthcoming from the University of Alabama Press. 

Articles

“American Literary Naturalism’s Postcolonial Descendants,” Studies in American Naturalism 15.1 (Summer 2020): 49-74.

 “Aesthetic Slippage in Realism and Naturalism,” The Oxford Handbook of American Literary Realism. Ed. Keith Newlin. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2019. 119-137. 

“Last Stands and Frontier Justice in Jack London’s Pacific and Ernest Hemingway’s Key West,” Studies in American Naturalism 11.1 (Summer 2016): 23-42. 

“The Old Man and the City: Literary Naturalism and the Postcolonial Subject in Achy Obejas’s Ruins,” Studies in American Naturalism 10.2 (Winter 2015): 150-171.

“Androgyny and Sexuality in The Sea-Wolf.” The MLA Approaches to Teaching the Works of Jack London. Ed. Kenneth K. Brandt and Jeanne Campbell Reesman. New York: Modern Language Association, 2015. 93-101.

“Crafting the Sea: Bridging the Gulf Between Maritime Romance and Realism in Jack London’s Martin Eden.” American Literary Realism 47.3 (Spring 2015): 250-271.

The MLA Approaches to Teaching the Works of Jack London, edited by Kenneth K. Brandt and Jeanne Campbell Reesman. New York: Modern Language Association, 2015. 93-101.

“Jack London’s Seafaring Women: Desire, Risk, and Savagery,” Studies in American Naturalism 8.2 (Winter 2013): 186-213.

“Voyaging Captains’ Wives: Feminine Aesthetics and the Uses of Domesticity in the Travel Narratives of Abby Jane Morrell and Mary Wallis,” ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 56.2 (Spring 2010): 192-230.

“Margaret West: A ‘sea of contradictions’ in The Mutiny of the Elsinore,” The Call: The Magazine of the Jack London Society 20.2 (Fall/Winter 2009): 3-5.

“Brooklyn in the Making: Reading the Existential Utopian Vision in Paul Auster’s Smoke through The Wizard of Oz,” The Midwest Quarterly 50.1 (Autumn 2008): 57-73. 

“Critical Editions of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening: Literary and Theoretical Trends, Pedagogical Choices,” ALN: The American Literary Naturalism Newsletter 2.2 (Spring 2008): 21-28.

“Sarah Orne Jewett and (Maritime) Literary Tradition: Coastal and Narrative Navigations in The Country of the Pointed Firs,” American Literary Realism 39.3 (Spring 2007): 222-240. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism Vol. 138, Ed. Jelena Krstovic. Detroit: Gale/Cengage, 2010:79-88.  

“On the Verge of a Breakthrough: Projections of Escape from the Attic and the Thwarted Tower in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ and Susan Glaspell’s The Verge,” The Journal of American Drama and Theatre 18.1 (Winter 2006): 34-53.

“Postpositivist Realism and Mandala: Toward Reconciliation and Reunification of Vietnamese and American Identities in Andrew X. Pham’s Catfish and Mandala,” a/b: Auto/Biography Studies 17.2 (Winter 2002): 204-220.

Courses

Courses Recently Taught

English 121: Studies in Literature and Nation (Literatures of the Contact Zone)
English 202: Literary Studies: Theory and Criticism
English 209: American Literature
English 302: American Literature from 1860-1914
English 315: Literature, Environment, and Ecocriticism
English 326: Studies in African American Literature
English 327: Studies in Multicultural American Literature
English 336: Reading Globally
English 460: Seminar in Major Authors & Themes (Jack London: His Writing, His Life, His Time)
English 460: Seminar in Major Authors & Themes (Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in Maritime Literature)
English 523: Social Protest and American Literary Naturalism
English 524: Postcolonial Literatures and the Environment
English 524: Global Naturalisms
FYW 100-H: Introduction to Academic Writing (Honors)
COLL 202: Open Books – Open Minds (Mentor Program)