BA, University of California—San Diego; MA, Ph.D., University of California—Los Angeles
Dr. Laura Franey specializes in the literature of Victorian England, but she enjoys teaching a range of classes – from Sex Comedies of the 18th Century to Mysteries of Human Behavior (Freshman Seminar) to Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies.
Intrigued by questions of how literature both reflects and creates social values and hierarchies, she encourages students to ask questions about what they read and see, to form connections between the different classes they are taking, and to appreciate all genres (prose fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction) by learning how to analyze individual cultural texts. As students who have taken her classes know, she believes students learn best when engaged in creative, interactive activities; for that reason, she has students write dialogues between characters from different books or imagine how they would change a famous novel’s plot for a movie adaptation.
Franey earned her Ph.D. in English at UCLA in 1999 and began teaching at Millsaps immediately afterward. She is the author of Victorian Travel Writing and Imperial Violence: British Literature on Africa, 1855-1902, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2003. Four years later, working with Edward Marx of Ehime University, she brought out the first annotated, scholarly edition of the first novel ever published in the United States by someone of Japanese descent—Yone Noguchi’s The American Diary of a Japanese Girl (originally published in 1902). She is currently engaged in a book project in which she looks at how women are portrayed traveling by train, boat, and horseback in Victorian novels and narrative paintings.