Nicole Blair, Ph.D.
My academic career has spanned 34 years across four states and five universities, from the University of Southern Mississippi to the University of Washington, Tacoma. My interests in research and teaching are very broad, as I have an interdisciplinary background. I have an undergraduate degree in music and a Masters and Ph. D. in English. My interdisciplinary education has given me a unique perspective on the subjects I teach and an ability to look beyond the boundaries of any one discipline to see the ways all is connected. In addition to teaching courses on writing, British literature, literature and music, and literary theory, I have published two books, one about Virginia Woolf (McFarland, 2017) and the other about American poetry and Americana music (Lexington, 2021). I am also a singer-songwriter with my own label, Paden Street Music. I have recorded five CDs of original music: Little Queenie (2016), Songs for Unsung Women (2017), No Limits (2017), By Your Side (2021), and With Any Luck (2023) Four of these albums are on Bandcamp at https://lindanicole.bandcamp.com/.
I am interested in many subjects, primarily literature, but also in the intersections between literature and music, and literature and science. In 2017, McFarland published my book about Virginia Woolf, an interdisciplinary work that explores the evolutionary foundations of story-telling entitled Virginia Woolf and the Power of Story: A Literary Darwinist Reading of Six Novels (https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/virginia-woolf-and-the-power-of-story/). In 2021, my book entitled FemPoetiks of American Poetry and Americana Music: A Woman's Truth, was published by Rowman & Littlefield (https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781793621269/FemPoetiks-of-American-Poetry-and-...'s-Truth). In this book, I explain my theory of FemPoetiks, a feminist discourse that permeates the poems and songs of women in America, such as Anne Bradstreet and Brandi Carlile. The research I do, whether on literature, music, or pedagogy, has a significant impact on my teaching.
As an administrator in Undergraduate Education from 2012 - 2016, I researched subjects such as faculty development, best practices of faculty in pedagogy and theories of student success. Based on this kind of research, OUE created teaching and learning workshops for faculty and students.
In addition, as a teacher of first year students and as an administrator in undergraduate education, I am interested in the ways in which experiential learning impacts student success, and hoping to incorporate more service learning into my courses. Here at the University of Washington, Tacoma, we have the privilege of working with a variety of community partners. Community engagement and service learning are important areas of research for me as it directly impacts my teaching.
When I served as the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Education, I taught three courses per year, two of which were first year introductions to academic writing. Core courses were originally taught in teams, so for the first three years, I taught with Sam Parker. Our theme was the Nature-Nurture debate. This course inspired me, when I started teaching it on my own, to further explore this social science theme. In subsequent iterations, I have focused on the nature of identity and how we both shape and are influenced by the world around us: in media, entertainment, politics and the way we interact with the natural world. Prior to 2016, I became interested in having students become more actively engaged with the world outside of the classroom and beyond the text. The theme for this course was service learning. My teaching philosophy is fairly simple, based on my years of experience: I want my students to leave my class inspired to keep learning about the world they live in, and to make the world a better place than it was when they got here. I enjoy teaching Literature and the Arts, a course just recently added to the list of courses at UW Tacoma. As an interdisciplinary course, we will be exploring the connections between literature and music such as blues and jazz.
Here is a list of the courses I regularly teach now, as well as courses I taught at UW Tacoma previous to 2006:
- TCORE 101, First Year Academic Writing: The first year writing course is taught with a particular theme in mind, the theme being the choice of the faculty teaching the course.
- TLIT 101, Understanding Literature: This is a basic, yet essential course, for anyone wanting to study literature in depth, as we read various kinds of texts and discuss ways of reading.
- TLIT 240, Studies in English Literature: In TLIT240, we study prominent texts of British Literature. The time frame is up to each instructor. I teach the course with a Gothic focus, the texts for which include The Castle of Otranto, Dracula and Jane Eyre. I also teach it as a Modern British Literature course with a focus on authors from The Windrush Generation.
- TLIT 325, Medical and Ethical Issues in Literature: The focus of this course is interdisciplinary, an exploration of the ways in which medical and ethical issues associated with illness and the practice of medicine emerge in literature, such as in Frankenstein, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
- TLIT 390, Varieties of Literary Criticism: In this course we explore the various theories and ways of critiquing literary and cultural texts.
I also teach TLIT458, The Modern Novel in which students create digital archives of exhibits that show the development of the novel across history. Prior to 2006, I also regularly taught the following: Nineteenth Century European Literature, Victorian Literature, Romantic Prose and Poetry, Literature and the Arts, Southern Writers.
I am a member of the Academy of American Poets, the Americana Music Association, MLA, the Popular Culture Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the College English Association, Common Ground Scholars, BMI (Music Industry publisher), and the Threadhead Foundation (based in New Orleans, a foundation that supports roots musicians), and United by Music North America.
For a complete list of my service commitments and activities, please refer to my CV.
Honors and Awards
I have been incredibly honored by the students of the University of Washington as their choice for Outstanding Faculty from 2011, 2012, and 2013.
Blair, Linda Nicole. Virginia Woolf and the Power of Story: A Literary Darwinist Reading of Six Novels. McFarland, 2017.
Blair, Linda Nicole. FemPoetiks of American Poetry and Americana Music: A Woman's Truth. Lexington Books, 2021.