Eric Gardner: About Me
My teaching and learning interests center on African American literature and culture, American literature and culture, and methods of literary study, with emphasis on the praxis of literary history.
I hold a PhD in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I’m a Professor of English at Saginaw Valley State University. At various times over the past two decades, I’ve also been Associate Dean of Arts and Behavioral Sciences, English Department Chair, First-Year Writing Coordinator, and Writing Center Coordinator.
My research focuses on nineteenth-century African American writers and activists. My work has been recognized with a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, SVSU's Warrick Award for Research Excellence, a Braun Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend. In April 2016, I gave the 33rd annual James Russell Wiggins Lecture in the History of the Book in American Culture at the American Antiquarian Society.
My first monograph, Unexpected Places: Relocating Nineteenth-Century African American Literature (2009), won the 2010 Research Society for American Periodicals Book Prize and was named a Choice “Outstanding Academic Title.” My second monograph, Black Print Unbound: The Christian Recorder, African American Literature, and Periodical Culture (2015), studies the weekly newspaper of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the Civil War era. I have also edited three books, and my shorter work has appeared in journals like PMLA, American Literary History, and Legacy. I’m proud of having been a founding convener of the Just Teach One: Early African American Print project. Among other work, I currently serve as the Book Review Editor of American Periodicals.
I remain devoted to the liberal arts as a mode for exploring, understanding, and improving our world--and to the sense that the best teaching is also learning. More specifically, I believe in the practice of remembering. I ask that, within an ethos of caring, we commit ourselves to actions flowing from accurate and just remembrance.