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Dr. Douglas Dowland

Associate Professor of English
Department of English
Dukes Memorial 118
525 S. Main Street
Ada, OH 45810


Dr. Douglas Dowland joined the department in 2010 after completing his Ph.D. in American literature from the University of Iowa, where he taught in the English and rhetoric departments, and in the Sexuality Studies (now Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies) program. He also completed an interdisciplinary graduate certificate in Iowa’s Project on the Rhetorics of Inquiry program, which encourages the crossing of conceptual and institutional boundaries to seek connections between the arts, humanities and professions. While at Iowa, he received an Outstanding Teaching Award from its Council on Teaching.

Dowland’s teaching and research foci include American literature and literary criticism, particularly emerging modes of criticism such as affect theory and ecocriticism. His current project, “Weak Nationalisms,” is a study of the centrality of affect in nonfiction narratives of the United States, ranging from established authors such as John Steinbeck and philosophers such as Simone de Beauvoir, to television and media personalities such as Charles Kuralt and Sarah Vowell.

At ONU, Dowland developed and coordinates ONU’s interdisciplinary medical humanities minor, which connects issues in the humanities and medicine to better equip pre-professionals with the interpersonal and cultural literacies valued in contemporary health care. He teaches a wide range of courses, including general education surveys and introductory and upper-level courses for majors. He frequently teaches in the Honors Program. He serves as the advisor of the department’s chapter of the International English Honors Society, Sigma Tau Delta.


Ph.D., English, The University of Iowa, 2010

         Dissertation: “Fictionable America”

     Brooks Landon (chair), Claire F. Fox, Loren Glass, David Wittenberg, Naomi Greyser

    MA, English, The University of Iowa, 2005

         Fields: Twentieth-Century American Literature, Narrative Theory, Cultural Studies

         Brooks Landon (chair), Garrett Stewart, Rob Latham, Harry Stecopoulos

BA, History and English (dual major), Michigan State University, 2001

  •      Honors College


Department Service:

  • Ohio Northern University:
  • Sigma Tau Delta, advisor
  • English/Pre-Law 3+3 Program, advisor
  • English Department Curriculum Committee, 2014-present
  • English Department Workload Committee, 2013-present

The University of Iowa:

  • Executive Editor, Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies, 2003-07
  • Chair, General Education Literature Textbook Committee, 2004-06

University Service:

  • Chair, Medical Humanities Minor, 2014-present
  • Pre-Medical Science Advisory Committee
  • Member, Honors Program Committee, 2014-present
  • Member, College of Art & Sciences Course Reassignment Committee, 2016-present
  • Member, Committee on Environmental Studies Minor, 2013-16
  • Faculty Ally, ONU Open Doors, 2014-present

Works in Progress:

  • “Weak Nationalisms: Affect, Nonfiction and America since 1945.” Manuscript under contract with University of Nebraska Press.
  • “Violent Feelings.” A special double-issue of Literature Interpretation Theory.
  • “Anxiety and its Pedagogies.” Roundtable discussion at 2018 Modern Language Association Conference, New York City, January 2018.

Selected Presentations:

  • “Steinbeck and Vietnam.” American Literature Association, Boston MA, May 2017.
  • “Homebrewing the Medical Humanities Minor.” Health Humanities Consortium, Houston TX, March 2017.
  • “The Promiscuous Affects of Nella Larsen’s Passing.” Modern Language Association, Austin TX, January 2016.
  • “Reading Environments: Ecocriticism for Interdisciplinary Inquiry.” Modern Language Association, Chicago, January 2014.
  • “‘The Whole Thing is Crazy’: Discontent, Doubt and the American Dream in Steinbeck’s America and Americans.” American Literature Association, San Francisco, May 2012.
  • “The Fields of Cultural Production in Truman Capote’s Answered Prayers.” Midwest Modern Language Association, Minneapolis, November 2008.
  • “The Life and ‘Half-Life’ of Charles Kuralt’s On the Road.” Film and History Biennial Conference. Fort Worth, April 2006.
  • “Other People’s Entitlements: The Resentments of J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy.” Northeast Modern Language Association, Pittsburgh, 2018.
  • “Anxiety Can Bring Us Together.” Modern Language Association, New York, 2018.
  • “The Incredulous American: Reading Sarah Vowell.” Futures of American Studies Institute, Dartmouth College, 2011.
  • “Rapport and Reportage: the Emotions in American Nonfiction.” Futures of American Studies Institute, Dartmouth College, 2007.
  • “The Obscenities of the Fake Memoir: The Trouble with Nasdijj.” Obermann Advanced Studies Humanities Symposium, Center for Advanced Studies, Iowa City, 2007.
  • “Roundtable on Excellence in Teaching.” Jakobsen Annual Conference, Center for Teaching, Iowa City, 2006.
  • “Biography and the Death Drive.” Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society, New Brunswick, NJ., 2005.
  • “Steinbeck’s Literary Executioners.” Midwest Modern Language Association, St. Louis, 2004.


  • “How Disgust Works: Truman Capote's ‘La Côte Basque.’” jml: Journal of Modern Literature 39.4 (2016): 67-84.
  • “The Discontents of America and Americans.Steinbeck Review 13.1 (2016): 36-49.
  • “‘Macrocosm of Microcosm Me’: Steinbeck's Travels with Charley.” LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory 16.3 (2005): 311-332.


  • Our Aesthetic Categories by Sianne Ngai. Reviewed for American Studies 53.3 (2014): 96-97.
  • Depression: A Public Feeling by Ann Cvetkovich. Reviewed for American Studies 53.2 (2014): 177-178.
  • The Sentimental Touch: The Language of Feeling in the Age of Managerialism by Aaron Ritzenberg. Reviewed for American Studies 53.1 (2014): 211-213.
  • Unlimited Intimacy by Tim Dean. Reviewed for GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies 17.1 (2011): 208-210.
  • Mourning Modernity: Literary Modernism and the Injuries of American Capitalism by Seth Moglen. Reviewed for PCS: Psychoanalysis Culture & Society 13.3 (2008): 335-337.

Teaching Experience:

Ohio Northern University:

         ENGL 4901:    Topics in Literature: Law, Literature and Culture
         ENGL 4461:    English Capstone
         ENGL 3351:    Post-1865 American Literature
         ENGL 3271:    Literature and Medicine
         ENGL 3151:    Literature and the Environment
         ENGL 2321:    Everyday Life
         ENGL 2101:    Proseminar: English Studies
         ENGL 2071:    Topics in Fiction: The Short Story
         ENGL 2041:    Great Works
         ENGL 1221:    Writing Seminar
         ENGL 1001:    Introduction to Literature
         HONR 2041:    Honors Literature Seminar: Authority and Resistance
         HONR 2041:    Honors Literature Seminar: Literature and Sexuality
         MEDH 4011:    Integrative Portfolio in Medical Humanities
         MEDH 2011:    Perspectives in Medical Humanities

University of Iowa:

         RHET 3600:     Topics in Rhetoric: The Rhetoric of Romance
         ENGL 2010:     Introduction to the English Major: Theory and Practice
         ENGL 1355:     Literature of Native American Peoples
         ENGL 1350:    Literature and Sexualities
         ENGL 1345:     American Lives
         ENGL 1340:     Drama
         ENGL 1330:     Narrative Literature
         ENGL 1200:     The Interpretation of Literature
         GWSS 1069:     Sexualities of the American Midwest
         GWSS 1069:     American Bisexualities
         GWSS 1069:     Sexualities and their Pleasures


Ohio Northern University
         Professor of the Year, 2018
         Faculty Course Release for Research, Spring 2018, Fall 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2014
         Faculty Development Grant, Summer 2013
         Supplemental Travel Grant to Morgan Library and Museum, 2012

    The University of Iowa
         Graduate College Dissertation Fellowship, Summer 2008
         Travel Grant to New York Public Library Archives, 2008
         Scholarship to Futures of American Studies Institute, 2007
         Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, Council on Teaching, 2005
         Travel Grant to Univ. of North Carolina Archives, 2004

    Cornell University
     Scholarship, School of Criticism and Theory, 2005

Professional Development:

  • Dartmouth College, Futures of American Studies Institute, 2007 and 2011
  • The University of Iowa, Graduate Certificate in Rhetorics of Inquiry, 2006
  • Cornell University, School of Criticism and Theory, 2005

Professional Service: 

  • Reviewer for The Oxford Anthology of American Literature (Oxford UP), 2015—
  • Reviewer for Academic Writing: Concepts and Connections (Oxford UP), 2012—2014
  • Reviewer for Writing about Literature (3rd ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s), 2011—present
  • Panel Organizer and Chair, “Faulkner and Morrison.” Midwest Modern Language Association, 2008.
  • Panel Organizer and Chair, “Truman Capote: New Perspectives.” Midwest Modern Language Association, 2008.
  • Member, Convention Committee, Sigma Tau Delta, 2016—2017
  • Member, Scholarship and Awards Committee, Sigma Tau Delta, 2015—2016


Department of English

Torie Gray-Wright

Dukes Memorial 100
525 South Main Street
Ada, Ohio 45810
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.