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Dr. Jonathan Pitts

Associate Professor of English
Department of English
Dukes Memorial 105
525 S. Main Street
Ada, OH 45810
419-772-2108
Biography: 

Born in the center of Cajun country in Louisiana, from there Dr. Jonathan Pitts has lived and worked on five continents. He teaches creative writing, professional writing and literature courses as well as the senior capstone sequence. He spends the majority of his time working with students and helping them succeed in their courses, internships, and post-graduate work (from Duke law school to Microsoft). His teaching and writing interests range from fiction and nonfiction writing to media literacy and the role of narrative traditions in intercultural conflict, much of this work based on his experiences living in the middle of the Arab-Israeli war (including Black September in Amman), with the Crow Indians in Montana, and, most recently, in the globalized multiculturalism of Turkey. He's swum in the Amazon River, worked on an archaeological excavation on Cyprus, been rescued by the Jordanian Desert Patrol in Wadi Rum, climbed Brunelleschi's dome in Florence, and helped hungry African women pack out the heavy heart of an elephant. He was once an EMT, and one Thanksgiving Day failed to revive an American soldier recently returned from Iraq.

A former construction supervisor with the Peace Corps in Gabon, West Africa (1986-88), where he lived and worked in villages on the Bateke plateau and in the Ivindo forest (see him if you're interested in the Peace Corps), in his spare time Pitts enjoys triathlon training and racing, running, tennis, and cooking and eating. A nationally ranked multisport athlete, he has competed in the U.S. national championships and at the international level, and he advises the ONU Endurance Multisport Club. He has three children: Jackson, Hayden and Madeleine.

Pitts spent 2010-11 with his family in Turkey, where he was the Fulbright senior lecturer in American Studies. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in American Studies and traveling around the country, he lectured at various universities and undertook service projects, including a book drive for Turkish students organized by Dr. Rob Scott and the students of Sigma Tau Delta. 

In summer 2013, as part of his research and teaching interest in narrative and pilgrimage, Pitts completed the Camino de Santiago, an ancient 550-mile pilgrimage walk across northern Spain from the Pyrenees to the Atlantic Ocean. He brings this experience into many of his courses, including his course on the world epic and his Extradisciplinary Seminar, Great Journeys. He hopes to lead students on future walks on the Camino.

Professional Experience: 
  • Fulbright Senior Lecturer in American Studies, Ankara, Turkey, 2010-11;
  • Associate Professor of English, Department of English, Ohio Northern University, 2003-10;
  • Assistant Professor of English, Department of English, Ohio Northern University, 2000-03.
Education: 
  • Ph.D. in English, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1999.
  • M.A. in Creative Writing, University of Idaho, 1993.
  • B.A. in English, University of Idaho, 1991.
     
Teaching Interests: 
  • American Studies, African Literature, African American Literature, American Indian Literature, Creative Writing (Fiction and Nonfiction), Professional Writing, Cultural Studies, The Civil War, World Literature, Digital Publishing, Media Studies,Turkish/Ottoman culture and history.
Awards: 
  • NEH Summer Institute, "Dante's Divine Comedy: Poetry, Philosophy, and the City of Florence," Florence, Italy, 2014.
  • Sara A. Ridenour Endowed Chair in the Humanities, 2012-13.
  • Fulbright Award, Senior Lecturer in American Studies, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, 2010-11.
  • University Favorite Professor, Mortar Board, 2009.
  • Alpha Xi Delta Professor of the Month, ONU, 2002.
  • Donald Murray Prize, National Council of Teachers of English, 2003.
  • Editors' Prize for Nonfiction, The Missouri Review, 2001.
  • J. Golden Taylor Prize, Western Literature Association, 1998.
  • Finalist, Quarterly West Novella Competition, 1997.
Research Interests: 
  • American Studies, African Literature, African American Literature, American Indian Literature, Creative Writing (Fiction and Nonfiction), Professional Writing, Cultural Studies, The Civil War, World Literature, Digital Publishing, Media Studies,Turkish/Ottoman culture and history.
Selected Publications: 
  • "Creating and Revising the Professional Writing Program at Ohio Northern University: A Case Study." Design Discourse. Eds. David Franke and Alex Reid, Parlor Press, 2010.
  • "Little People". Writing on the Edge and The Missouri Review, 2001 and 2003.
  • “’What community?’: A Service-Learning Writing Curriculum at the Edges of a Reservation.” Reflections On Community-Based Writing Instruction 1.2 (Winter 2001): 8-13.
  • "Writing On: Blood Meridian as Devisionary Western." Western American Literature, Spring 1998.
  • "In the Market: Bricolage in Gabon." The Journal of African Travel Writing, 1998.