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Department ofEnglish


Kirsten Leuner image

Kirsten Leuner image

New Faculty: Kirstyn Leuner

Tell us about your background as a scholar and teacher.

I am delighted to be joining the faculty as Assistant Professor of English specializing in British literature of the long 18th century and Digital Humanities (DH). (If you’re wondering what the Digital Humanities are, start here and feel free to email me your questions.) I recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Dartmouth College in the Neukom Institute. I received my MA and PhD in British Romantic Literature from the University of Colorado Boulder and my undergraduate degree from Davidson College in NC. British Romanticism and DH have been the foundations of my scholarship and teaching since I began my PhD. For example, teaching literary history with digital technologies enables students to learn about 18th-century writing in a collaborative hands-on manner as we manipulate the text, its critical apparatus, or code, all of which shape meaning.

What are you working on now?

As a favorite archivist says, “busy people get things done.” I am the director of a multi-institutional DH project called The Stainforth Library of Women’s Writing that studies the largest private library of women’s writing that was collected in the 19th century by Rev. Francis Stainforth. This summer, I have been writing two articles on the Stainforth library—one on its meaning for literary history and another on the practice of recovering understudied/unknown women writers. My book project is on the Diorama in the Romantic era. The dioramas I’m writing about are not those we’ve all made with shoeboxes. Rather, they were enormous 3-D animated paintings, many on gothic subjects, that were invented in the 1820s. They were shockingly realistic and influential in popular culture and artistic communities.

Why Santa Clara?

This is a dream job! I am over the moon to join an educational community that values working closely with brilliant students, experiential learning in the liberal arts, faculty support, and excellence all around. And we can all agree that the campus is simply gorgeous.

What do you do in your spare time?

I’m a work hard-play hard kind of gal. After work, you’ll most likely find me rock climbing, running, or doing yoga. I also recently started road biking and mountain biking. I’m excited to explore California’s cliffs and valleys!

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