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Ursula McTaggart

Associate Professor,

I have been at Wilmington College since 2008, where I specialize in American and African American literature, especially in literature’s interaction with social movements. I received my PhD in English and American Studies from Indiana University and did my undergraduate work at the University of Michigan. At Wilmington, I teach American literature surveys, Contemporary American Literature, African American Literature, Literature of Rural Life and the Environment, and composition, among other courses.

My research focuses on the ways that activist rhetoric can be literary, relying on figurative meanings, dramatic performances, and aesthetically compelling language as well as the ways that literature can impact political movements. My 2012 book Guerrillas in the Industrial Jungle: .Radicalism’s Primitive and Industrial Rhetoric, published by SUNY Press, examines the rhetoric of four social movements, focusing on how they envision utopias by merging metaphors of industrial and “primitive” worlds: the Black Panther Party, the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, socialist organizations of the 1970s and 1980s, and twenty-first century anarcho-primitivists. My most recent publications include an article on representations of lynching in The Journal of Black Studies and an article on Occupy Wall Street’s rhetoric and tactics, especially as expressed by Occupy Cincinnati, which will appear in a collection titled What Comes After Occupy?: The Regional Politics of Resistance. I am also working on several new projects. One, with my colleague Laura Struve, is a collection of essays that analyze works of fiction that have led concretely to the development of social movements or to particular political changes. My own contribution to this work focuses on Edward Abbey’s novel The Monkey Wrench Gang and the formation of the environmentalist group Earth First! The other project focuses on literary and cultural representations of violence in social movements, centered on an analysis of James McBride’s recent novel The Good Lord Bird.

I am originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, and I now live in Lebanon, Ohio with my husband Steve and my two boys, Malcolm and Quentin. At home, I am an avid cook and runner. When I manage to find the time, I also love to play the piano.