BA, Pomona College; MA, PhD, University of Iowa
“I’m known to many students and faculty colleagues as simply “Griff,” and I’m chair of the English Department. Although I teach many kinds of classes, my specialty is Renaissance studies. So classic writers from this era—including English ones like Shakespeare, Spenser, and Milton, and even Italian or Spanish ones like Petrarch, Ariotso, and Cervantes—tend to make appearances in my syllabi. In fact, one of my most popular courses, The Romance, features all of these writers in order to trace a literary tradition that extends from medieval times, through the Renaissance, and on down to the present day via J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Monty Python, and even Game of Thrones. I love seeing what happens when students are turned loose to come up with their own romance-inspired projects while reading these authors. If I can help you unlock your own creative sensibilities, that’s when I’m really teaching.
“My Shakespeare classes have also been some of the most popular on campus. It may sound clichéd, but a college education is incomplete without a Shakespeare class. And I’m not talking just to English majors. I’ve had anthropology, education, classics, modern foreign language and psych majors take Shakespeare with me, and lots of pre-meds and business majors, too. Shakespeare permeates our culture; my students get intimate with him.
“And because my own research focuses on the English- and Spanish-speaking worlds, in 2009 I helped found the Millsaps Latin American Studies Program, which I currently direct. In this capacity I often lead study abroad trips to the college’s facilities in Yucatán. I hope you’ll join me there!”