Kathryn Swanton, Ph.D
Learn more about Dr. Kathryn Swanton
- Office Location: Francis Hall 148
- Phone Number: 773.508.3186
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
As a comparatist, I bring diverse languages and cultures into conversation to lead my students to engage unfamiliar literature with curiosity and examine their views from multiple perspectives. Ideally, they will find beauty in the literature and art we study, and will also learn to confront the disquieting issues these texts raise, so as to better understand their own life experiences and empathize with others.
I emphasize diversity of perspectives in my focus on the spiritual component of learning. I apply meditation techniques and contemplative reading to prompt students to notice moments in a text that invite further investigation. For example, I lead students through guided visualizations of poems, and encourage them to practice different ways of reading poems and plays out loud in order to think about how performance adds meaning to written texts. In lectures and class discussions, I lead students to review the events of a chapter or scene, then identify a passage, image, or single word that stands out. We pause to contemplate what makes this moment in the text particularly affective, strange, or uncomfortable. This type of close reading often promotes continued inquiry. Some students take a question that arises in class discussion as the basis for an essay. Others might research the material outside of class. To cultivate alertness to moments in a text that animate a student’s imagination is in keeping with the practice of Ignatian contemplation and the Jesuit emphasis on cura personalis. Additionally, when students undertake textual analysis with attention to what sparks their imaginations, they often come up with surprising insights and write better essays.
I enjoy working closely with my students to cultivate their artistic expression and develop their writing skills in Honors 101 and 102, and Honors 203. In my Writing-Intensive U.S. Experience course, we examine the construction of the self through writing style and artistic choices in creative nonfiction essays and self-portraiture. Ultimately, my goal is to help my students gain confidence in their self-expression so they will be empowered to pursue creative endeavors and contribute their voices to dialogues in their local communities and their chosen professions.
I earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago. My research interests include forgiveness and ecocriticism in Shakespeare’s plays and Golden Age Spanish drama.