Jennifer Smith, PhD
Assistant Professor of English
College of Arts and Sciences
College of Arts & Sciences
Dr. Smith teaches Twentieth-Century American Fiction; The American Renaissance; Early American Literature; Plague, Pox, Zombies: Contagion in Literature, Law and Film; Non-Western Literature; and Writing about Literature at Concordia University Chicago. Her area of expertise includes 19th and 20th century American literature and culture, gender, race and ethnicity, narrative theory and genre studies. Dr. Smith also teaches in the Women's and Gender Studies program.
Her current project, The Generative Fictions of the Short-Story Cycle, advances a new history of the short-story cycle, and, by extension, modern American literary production. The centrality of the cycle derives from the genre’s ability to comprehensively trouble expectations of unity and re-imagine narrative, like human identity itself, as contingent. As such seemingly firm supports of selfhood as place, time, group memory, ethnicity, and family progressively destabilize, they also become the fraught devices through which fictional narrative remakes its engagement with expectations of formal unity. Using these motifs as linking devices that only provisionally work but cannot ultimately hold, American authors have continually rejuvenated fictional narrative in general.
Dr. Smith serves as the University's English Club Advisor. She has been a member of Concordia’s faculty since 2010.
- PhD, Indiana University; Bloomington, Ind.
- MA, English literature, Indiana University; Bloomington, Ind.
- BA, English literature and German, Ball State University; Muncie, Ind.
Academic and Professional Highlights
- "Locating the Short-Story Cycle," The Journal of the Short Story in English, forthcoming
- “Latter-Day Winesburgs: Sherwood Anderson and the Contemporary Short-Story Cycle,” accepted for a new collection of essays on Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. Ed. Precious McKenzie Stearns. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
- "Born in the Workshop: The MFA and the Short-Story Cycle," Triquarterly Online, Jan. 2012
- "Dean Young's Fall Higher," Indiana Review, 33.2 (2012)
- “Birthed and Buried: Matrilineal History in Michelle Cliff’s No Telephone to Heaven,” Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalisim, 9.1, 2009: 141-162.