Deborah Evans earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan, an M. A. and Ph. D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has taught at Middlebury since 1996. Her regular course offerings include 19th century American literature, women's writing, and studies in American regionalism--particularly of the American South and West. Her current research interests revolve around intersections of gender and race in American literature and culture, with a focus on the captivity narrative. She served two terms as Faculty Curator of the Abernethy collection of American literature and for the past six years has worked in the Student Life division as co-head of Wonnacott Commons.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
AMST0231 - Tourism in American Culture ▹
See the U.S.A.: The History of Tourism in American Culture
In this course, we will explore the history and evolution of American tourism, beginning in the 1820s, when middle-class tourists first journeyed up the Hudson River valley, and ending with our contemporary and continuing obsession with iconic destinations such as Graceland, Gettysburg, and the Grand Canyon. We will explore how the growth of national transportation systems, the development of advertising, and the rise of a middle class with money and time to spend on leisure shaped the evolution of tourism. Along the way, we will study various types of tourism (such as historical, cultural, ethnic, eco-, and 'disaster' tourism) and look at the creative processes by which places are transformed into 'destinations'. Our texts will come from visual art, travel literature, material culture, and film and television. We will consider their cultural meaning and reflect on our own motivations and responses as tourists, and by so doing contemplate why tourism was-and still is-such an important part of American life. 3 hrs. lect. CW HIS NOR
Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2016
AMST0240 / ENAM0240 - Captivity Narratives ▹
Captivity narratives—first-person accounts of people's experiences of being forcibly taken and held against their will by an "other"—were immensely popular and important in early America; the captivity motif has been perpetuated and transformed throughout later American literature and film. In this course we will explore what these types of tales reveal about how Americans have handled the issues of race and racism, religion, gender, violence and sexuality that experiences of captivity entail. Beginning with classic Puritan narratives (Mary Rowlandson) and moving forward through the 19th and 20th centuries, we will consider the ways that novels (The Last of the Mohicans), autobiographies (Patty Hearst, Iraqi captivity of Pvt. Jessica Lynch) and films (The Searchers, Little Big Man, Dances with Wolves) do cultural work in shaping and challenging images of American national identity. 3 hrs. lect. ART LIT NOR
Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2016
AMST0251 - Monuments and Memorials
Constructing Memory: American Monuments and Memorials
“Democracy has no monuments,” John Quincy Adams once famously argued. “It strikes no medals; it bears the head of no man upon its coin; its very essence is iconoclastic.” Yet nearly 250 years after America’s founding, monuments and memorials surround us. In this course we will explore the memorializing impulse; the complexity and depth of emotion evoked by memorial acts; and the oftentimes heated controversies about modes, placement, and subject of representation. We will consider how and why America chooses to memorialize certain people and events, and what is gained—and sometimes erased—in the process. By choosing among a broad range of traditional and non-traditional modes of representation, we will consider how public memorials both reflect and shape Americans’ shared cultural values. The course will include site visits to local monuments and projects in which we propose designs or redesigns of memorials for a 21st century audience. ART NOR
AMST0500 - Independent Study ▹
Select project advisor prior to registration.
Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017
AMST0710 - Honors Thesis ▹
For students who have completed AMST 0705, and qualify to write two-credit interdisciplinary honors thesis. on some aspect of American culture. The thesis may be completed on a fall/winter schedule or a fall/spring schedule. (Select a thesis advisor prior to registration)
Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Spring 2017
AMST1012 - American West on Film
Hollywood’s West: The American West on Film
From its beginnings the Hollywood western has presented an imaginative geography, a powerful popular fantasy expressing deep truths, and perhaps still deeper desires about American identity. Initially the western reasserted 19th century America’s optimistic vision of manifest destiny; ultimately, many westerns challenged that optimism, often explicitly presenting racial, sexual, and political tensions. Over time, westerns have been re-defined, re-invented and expanded, dismissed, re-discovered, and spoofed. Working with a broad range of films, including Stagecoach, High Noon, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Unforgiven, Lone Star, Blazing Saddles—and perhaps even Cowboys vs. Aliens—we will explore the ways in which westerns have both shaped and reflected the dominant social and political desires and anxieties of their respective eras. ART NOR WTR
Winter 2013, Winter 2016
CRWR0560 - Special Project: Writing ▹
Special Project: Creative Writing
Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017
CRWR0701 - Senior Thesis:Creative Writing ▹
Senior Thesis: Creative Writing
Discussions, workshops, tutorials for those undertaking one-term projects in the writing of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017
CRWR0711 - Senior Thesis: Creative Writ.
Senior Thesis: Creative Writing
Discussions, workshops, tutorials for those undertaking two-term projects in the writing of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. (Formerly ENAM 0711)
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014
ENAM0206 / AMST0206 - 19th Century American Lit.
Nineteenth-Century American Literature (II, AL) (Pre-1900 AL)
This course will examine major developments in the literary world of 19th century America. Specific topics to be addressed might include the transition from Romanticism to Regionalism and Realism, the origins and evolution of the novel in the United States, and the tensions arising from the emergence of a commercial marketplace for literature. Attention will also be paid to the rise of women as literary professionals in America and the persistent problematizing of race and slavery. Among others, authors may include J. F. Cooper, Emerson, Melville, Douglass, Chopin, Whitman, Dickinson, Twain, Hawthorne, Stowe, Alcott, Wharton, and James. . 3 hrs. lect./disc. LIT NOR
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2016
ENAM0342 / AMST0342 - Literature of American South
Literature of the American South (AL)
In William Faulkner's Absolom, Absolom! Canadian Shreve McCannon commands his roommate, Mississippian Quentin Compson, "Tell about the South. What's it like there. What do they do there. Why do they live there. Why do they live at all?" Our course will take on writers who want to "tell about the South" in the post-Civil War era and beyond, as they seek to help re-define and revitalize their region. We will focus our regional exploration on the "Southern Renascence," when writers and theorists like the Agrarians re-examined Southern history and reconsidered their role in relation to their regional community. Authors including William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Robert Penn Warren, Eudora Welty, and Tennessee Williams developed a new awareness of the restrictions of racial and gender roles, an interest in literary experimentation, and an increasingly realistic presentation of social conditions in the south. We will consider the legacy of these writers in later 20th century texts by authors such as Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, Alice Walker, Cormac McCarthy, Ernest Gaines, Randall Kenan and even relative newcomers such as Jackson Tippett McCrea. (Not open to students who have taken FYSE 1336) 3 hrs. lect./disc. LIT NOR
ENAM0448 - Portraits of the Lady
Portraits of the Lady: American Literature at a Moment of Transition (II AL)
From the end of the Civil War to the close of WWI, America was obsessed with issues of national identity. Cultural changes abounded: accelerating immigration and urbanization, intensifying class conflict, and advances in the social and physical sciences. In this transitional era, Americans sought a lost cultural homogeneity, as illusory as that may have been. One way to satisfy that longing was to depict ideas and ideals about American women. Images of women—literary and pictorial—became a way to represent the values of the nation and codify the fears and desires of its citizens. In this seminar we will consider the works of writers contemplating the position of the American woman, including Edith Wharton, Henry James, William Dean Howells, Kate Chopin, and Willa Cather. In addition, in keeping with the era's interest in realism and its focus on the visual, we will examine representations of women in painting, portraiture, sculpture, photography, and popular media. 3 hrs. sem. ART LIT NOR
ENAM0500 - Special Project: Lit ▹
Special Project: Literature
Winter 2013, Winter 2014, Winter 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017
ENAM0700 - Senior Thesis:Critical Writing ▹
Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking one-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the Senior Thesis Workshop (ENAM 700Z) in either Fall or Spring Term.
Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017
ENAM0710 - Senior Thesis: Critical Writ.
Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking two-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the thesis workshop (ENAM 710z) in both Fall and Spring terms.
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014
FYSE1336 - Tell About the South
“Tell About the South”: Exploring Southern Cultures*
In William Faulkner's novel Absalom, Absalom!/, Southerner Quentin Compson's Harvard roommate says to him: "Tell about the South. What's it like there. What do they do there. Why do they live there. Why do they live at all?" These questions, posed by a Canadian, underpin our class study. In this seminar we will investigate the widespread perception of the South as a distinctive region that may—or may not—be in jeopardy of disappearing into a more homogenous national identity. By examining southern culture through a variety of disciplinary lenses, we will begin to explore why, how, and with what results this regional identity has evolved. Together we will explore the South’s social, economic, and cultural development, focusing on artistic representations of the region in literature, film, photography, music, and popular culture. CW NOR
FYSE1367 - Remembering the Civil War
Confederates in Our Attic: Remembering the Civil War
“The Civil War is our felt history—history lived in the national imagination,” wrote Robert Penn. Certainly, the Civil War occupies a prominent place in our national memory and has served to both unite and divide Americans for the past 150 years. In this seminar we will examine the cultural, social, and intellectual terrain of myth, manners, and historical memory of the American South. We will focus particularly on the ways in which Americans have chosen to remember their civil war through literature, (Gurganus’ The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Frazier’s Cold Mountain), film (Gone with the Wind, Glory, Ken Burns’ Civil War, Sherman’s March, C. S. A./), and other visual arts (including works by Kara Walker, and civil war photography from Brady to the present). We will also consider institutions, places, and objects associated with historical memory (Gettysburg, Richmond’s Monument Avenue, Stone Mountain, disputes over displays of the Confederate flag) with an eye toward exploring the war’s presence in the collective imagination of the nation. 3 hrs. sem. CW NOR SOC
INTD0210 / EDST0210 - Sophomore Seminar/Liberal Arts
Sophomore Seminar in the Liberal Arts
This course is designed for sophomores who are interested in exploring the meaning and the purpose of a liberal arts education. To frame this investigation, we will use the question "What is the good life and how shall I live it?" Through an interdisciplinary and multicultural array of readings and films we will engage our course question through intellectual discussion, written reflection, and personal practice. There will be significant opportunities for public speaking and oral presentation, as well as regular writing assignments, including a formal poster presentation. Readings will include reflections on a liberal arts education in the U.S. (Emerson, Brann, Nussbaum, Oakeshott, Ladsen-Billings, bell hooks); on "the good life" (excerpts from Aristotle, sacred texts of different traditions); on social science analyses of contemporary life; texts on the neuroscience of happiness; as well as literary and cinematic representations of lives well-lived. CMP (J. Miller-Lane; P. Zupan) CMP
Fall 2014, Fall 2015
INTD0500 - Independent Study