We welcome Dr. Allyson DeMaagd in a full-time contract faculty position. She received her PhD in English from West Virginia University. Her dissertation focused on the works of Modernist women writers, including H.D., Mina Loy, and Virginia Woolf, and she will be teaching first-year writing.
Where are you from and what led you to Ball State?
I’m originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, but I’ve lived in Monterey, California, San Antonio, Texas and, most recently, Morgantown, West Virginia. I was drawn to Ball State because of its commitment to community and its encouragement of collaboration between faculty and students. My partner is also a new English faculty member at Indiana Academy. We feel lucky to have great jobs on the same campus.
What are you currently reading, if anything?
I’m always reading something—usually several somethings—and I like to shift among genres and time periods. I just finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Next up are Virginia Woolf’s The Years, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, and Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo.”
Are you working on any projects?
I have several projects in the works that stem from my research interests in modernism, the senses, gender and sexuality studies, and disability studies. My current book project, Dissensual Women: Modernist Women Writers, the Senses, and Technology,
reveals subversive depictions of the senses in novels by H.D., Mina Loy, Virginia Woolf, and Elizabeth Bowen. I’m also collaborating with a colleague to start an edited collection on modernism and the so-called lower senses of touch, taste, and smell. As for upcoming projects, I’ve started researching Teresa Deevy, a deaf playwright and poet, for my second book project, which investigates the connections among Irish literature, Irish politics, and sensory experimentation.
What are some of your hobbies/interests?
I am happiest at the beach with sun on my face, sand in my toes, and a book in my hands. I am second happiest sitting on my mom’s front porch or by her flower garden. I enjoy yoga, biking, making up jingles while cleaning the house, and trying to communicate with my part-Calico, part-Siamese, part-human cat, York (whose name was inspired by one of my favorite singers, Bjork).
What piece of advice would you offer students?
Talk to your professors! I’m always thrilled when students visit me during office hours. It shows initiative on the student’s part, and it’s a chance to ask questions, discuss ideas, and just chat. Getting to know students is one of my favorite things about teaching.