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English Department

Faculty & Staff

Sarah Aleshire

Instructor of English
Office: 137 West Hartnett Hall
Phone: 858-3395

BA: Minot State University
MA: Washington State University

Courses Taught
English 110/111H – College Composition I
English 120/121H – College Composition II
GS 225 – Intro to Gender/Women’s Studies
English 225 - Intro to Film
English 270 - Intro to Literary Criticism

As someone born and raised in Minot, Sarah Aleshire has a vested interest in this and its surrounding communities. When she was growing up, her family emphasized a strong sense of place and the importance of involvement in and service to that place. Teaching runs in her family, especially in the humanities. The theater on campus is named after her paternal grandfather, and her dad’s side of the family is littered with English, theater, speech, and music teachers. Her mom’s side of the family tree is built on generations of North Dakotan farmers. Both sides inform her pedagogy and views of education: a mix of creativity, hard work, and discipline.

Though she focuses on literature as a scholar, one of her strengths is teaching composition and she thoroughly enjoys working with writers at the start of their college education. While her approaches and methods to writing and the teaching of writing change over time, her pedagogy remains grounded in the critical consideration of what surrounds us. As David Foster Wallace explained in a commencement speech at Kenyon College: “The capital-T Truth is about life before death. It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over: ‘This is water. This is water.’” It’s easy to think critically about a text in the context of a single class; it’s harder to think critically about the thousands of other texts and ideas and events that we encounter daily.

In her scholarship, Sarah has worked with a wide array of literary theories, genres, and periods before landing, in graduate school, on theories of space and place in contemporary subcultural texts, focusing on constitutive punk texts of 1970s Britain. She continues to do research and scholarship in that area, particularly in regards to more street-level writings rather than the big, “must read,” canonical texts. She appreciates the great works of literature and acknowledges the importance of foundational texts but firmly believes it is essential to explore other types of writing as well. Her other recent research interests deal with visual and popular culture and geographical/architectural texts, and she regularly presents at regional and national conferences on these topics.

Next on the books for Sarah is working, with others across the University, to restructure and revive the Gender/Women’s Studies program at MSU.