Professor Dan teaches American literature concentrating on 19thn and 20th century literary works. He has always been interested in how writers construct stories. He was drawn to American literature because he wanted to understand its many cultures better. He chose to study post-civil American literature specifically because he believes that human understanding of literature is greatly enhance when we place it in historical context. He was inspired by one of Trinity’s own Paul Lauter. He has had a profound influence on him as an undergraduate, he was most interested in the rhetorical approaches of Kenneth Burke. A particular piece of Burke’s called “Literature as Equipment for living is a personal favorite of his.
Professor Dan has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students who have gone on to have successful careers pursuing research projects at University of Minnesota and Trinity. The senior capstone experience for the major is an intense one to two term thesis project that involves an extensive amount of research. He is currently writing a book on the rise of the corporation after the Civil War and its influence on American fiction and culture. Professor Dan loves the unforeseen discoveries that you make when you read with the dominant ideas of the project while it’s in your head. He is constantly surprised by the different connections you make when you are sifting through archives or reading primary sources with an eye towards the larger rubric of your own arguments. You realize how essential. Research questions and assumptions become as filters for your own reading.