We are most fortunate to have three extraordinary new faculty members who bring a rich variety of experiences and scholarly interests to the Institute.
- Major Steven E. Knepper
Major Steven Knepper is Assistant Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies at Virginia Military Institute. He previously taught at Erskine College and the Miller School of Albemarle and held an associate fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. He earned a Ph.D. in 2012 from the University of Virginia, where he studied American literature and social thought.
Major Knepper grew up on a small dairy farm in Pennsylvania, and much of his scholarship focuses on literary and political representations of rural life. Other interests include Romanticism, southern literature, ethics, political theory, drama, and the history of criticism. His writings have appeared in journals such as Telos, The Hedgehog Review, and Studies in American Culture. He is currently working on a book manuscript titled “The Garden as Machine: The Plantation Myth and the Great Depression.”
Major Knepper is committed to the development of student writers. He worked in the writing center at UVA; helped design the writing program at the Miller School; and helped develop new assessment procedures at Erskine.
Major Knepper first visited Lexington in 2005, when VMI hosted the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.
- Major Deidre A. Garriott
Major Deidre Anne Evans Garriott received her B.A. and M.A. in English from Florida Gulf Coast University. She completed her Ph.D. in English and specialized in rhetorical, writing, and linguistics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, under the direction of Michael Keene, Janet Atwill, Bill Hardwig, and James Stovall. She specializes in contemporary rhetorical theory, particularly intersection of the theories of space and place, material rhetoric, and public memory. She comes to VMI after serving as the Acting Director of the Writing Center at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, during her post-doctoral appointment.
Major Garriott researches the ways that communities remember the past, as well the kinds of performances and civic activities that are being endorsed and elicited through the public’s interactions with these memories. She is particularly interested in regionalized public memory. For her dissertation, she studied a park in Charleston, South Carolina, and the way that political and social systems impacted the park spatially and materially. She was interested in how the park was a strategy in rhetorical identification and examined the rhetorical strategies at work in the park’s construction and its material manifestation in Charleston.
In 2014, Major Garriott co-edited and contributed to a collection of critical essays with Dr. Julie Tyler and Dr. Whitney Jones, both from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The collection—Space and Place in The Hunger Games: New Readings of the Novels—provides an interdisciplinary examination of Suzanne Collins’s best-selling Hunger Games trilogy. In her chapter, Major Garriott analyzes the tweets, blog posts, and New York Times articles that respond to the casting choices for the first film. She argues that these digital writings construct a panoptic rhetoric, a rhetoric that Collins fears and explores in the trilogy, and posits that we are constructing Panem and its systems digitally.
Major Garriott is currently revising her dissertation manuscript to send for publication and has begun working on a book-length monograph on the rhetoric of World War II memorials in the South.
Major Garriott’s publications and presentations include:
- Space and Place in The Hunger Games: New Readings of the Novels. Eds. Deidre Anne Evans Garriott, Whitney Elaine Jones, and Julie Elizabeth Tyler. Jefferson, NC: McFarland P., 2014.
- “Misrepresenting the Dead: Politically-Correct Grave Markers as Veiled Racism and Identity Conflict in Charleston, South Carolina.” Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA) 2014 Annual Conference. Chicago, IL. April 18, 2014.
- “Performing the Capitol in Hunger Games-Fan Culture: An Analysis of Fandom as the Carnivalesque.” Popular Culture Association in the South/American Culture Association of the South (PCAS/ACAS) 2012 Annual Conference. Nashville, TN. October 28, 2012.
- “Re-Framing Southern Identity through the Landscape of Victimization: A Rhetorical Reading of Charles Town Landing.” 2012 Conference of the Rhetoric Society of America. Philadelphia, PA. May 25-28, 2012.
- “The Intersection of Tutoring Services, Curriculum Development, and Research.” With Dr. Kirsten Benson and Dr. Marcel Brouwers. 2012 CRLA Mid-South Region Conference--Many Voices, Many Paths: Sharing Student Success Approaches. Knoxville, TN. May 22, 2012.
- “The Elephant in the Room: Discussion of Religion at a Bible Belt University.” 2012 CCCC Annual Convention. St. Louis, MO. March 23, 2012.
- “Dolly Parton’s Invisible Women: Gendered Labor and Cultural Currency as a National Rhetoric in Dollywood." 2011 CCCC Annual Convention. Atlanta, Ga. April 8,
- Mr. Marcus T. Hamilton
Marcus Hamilton was pleased to join VMI as an instructor in the Department of English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies in 2014. Before coming to VMI, he taught courses in composition and American literature at James Madison University and served as a tutor in JMU’s First Year Involvement Writing Center. His research interests include interdisciplinary humanities (particularly the intersection of music and text in Renaissance sacred music and 20th-century folk music), first-year composition, and narrative ethics (primarily in the works of Kurt Vonnegut and Cormac McCarthy). In his spare time, he performs with central Virginia’s early music vocal ensemble, Zephyrus, and practices on the outstanding Taylor and Boody Opus 34, a historically-informed tracker organ built in the North German baroque style, which is housed at Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton, VA.
Marcus earned his M.A. in English from James Madison University in 2011.