Emily C. Bloom

Undergraduate Discipline

Literature

BA, Washington University in St Louis. MA, Boston College. PhD, University of Texas at Austin. Special interests include 20th-century British and Irish literature, media studies, the history of technology, and disability studies. Author of The Wireless Past: Anglo-Irish Writers and the BBC, 1931-1968 (Oxford University Press, 2016), which was awarded the First Book Prize by the Modernist Studies Association. Essays published in Public Books, The Irish Times, International Yeats Studies, and Éire-Ireland, among others. Currently at work on a book about motherhood and technology. SLC, 2021–

Undergraduate Courses 2021-2022

Literature

Care Work

Open, Seminar—Spring

What kind of work is care work? Is it a form of labor? Of love? Is caretaking a social or individual responsibility? And who pays for it? This course questions the role of caretaking in modern societies through a range of literary and sociological texts. We begin with the premise that caretaking is both fundamental to a functioning society and also grossly devalued. This devaluation is marked by the poor pay associated with caretaking professions, as well as the gendering and racializing of caretaking responsibilities. This course will draw on recent writing in disability studies, gender studies, political theory, and ethnic studies, as well as literary works such as Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, to consider the experience of both the individuals performing care work and those who require their care. We will discuss terms like self-care and prenatal care that have become commonplace but that we often encounter as marketing concepts that have been stripped of their origins. This course aims to situate the concept of caring into historical, political, and aesthetic contexts. Reading work by Audre Lorde, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Silvia Federici, and others, students are encouraged to imagine the future of care work in a changing society. As part of this course, you will partner with a senior at Wartburg to complete an oral history, podcast, and catalogue entry for a digital exhibition. This is a five-credit seminar that includes a community-based component working with an adult care community at Wartburg.

Faculty

Objects and Memory

Open, Small seminar—Fall

Why do we hold on to certain things and not others? Why do some objects have the power to evoke personal memories, while others leave us cold? Roland Barthes described certain objects as having “punctum,” and Marie Kondo tells us that a select few “spark joy.” In this course, we will learn firsthand about the relationship between objects and memory from residents and staff at the Wartburg Nursing Home by developing a multimedia project called “A History of Wartburg in 100 Objects.” Students will work to pilot this project, partnering with Wartburg to discover how objects can help unlock memories. Working together, students in this course will create a bibliography of relevant texts on the topic of objects and memory, produce an oral history of an object with a partner at Wartburg, and contribute to the infrastructure of the larger project. While developing the project, we will read a selection of literary and theoretical works by Roland Barthes, Alice Walker, Virginia Woolf, and others in order to understand the role of objects in preserving, accessing, and sharing memories. We will meet once a week to discuss course readings, connect with seniors and staff, and develop the multimedia project. The location of our meetings will alternate between our classroom on campus and meetings at Wartburg in Mount Vernon. This class will include a community-based component working with an adult care community at Wartburg.

Faculty

Psychology

Care Work

Open, Seminar—Spring

What kind of work is care work? Is it a form of labor? Of love? Is caretaking a social or individual responsibility? And who pays for it? This course questions the role of caretaking in modern societies through a range of literary and sociological texts. We begin with the premise that caretaking is both fundamental to a functioning society and also grossly devalued. This devaluation is marked by the poor pay associated with caretaking professions, as well as the gendering and racializing of caretaking responsibilities. This course will draw on recent writing in disability studies, gender studies, political theory, and ethnic studies, as well as literary works such as Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, to consider the experience of both the individuals performing care work and those who require their care. We will discuss terms, like self-care and prenatal care, that have become commonplace but that we often encounter as marketing concepts that have been stripped of their origins. This course aims to situate the concept of caring into historical, political, and aesthetic contexts. Reading work by Audre Lorde, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Silvia Federici, and others, students are encouraged to imagine the future of care work in a changing society. This is a five-credit seminar that includes a community-based component working with an adult care community at Wartburg Nursing Home in Mount Vernon. As part of the course, you will partner with a senior at Wartburg to complete an oral history, podcast, and catalogue entry for a digital exhibition.

Faculty

Objects and Memory

Open, Small seminar—Fall

Why do we hold on to certain things and not others? Why do some objects have the power to evoke personal memories, while others leave us cold? Roland Barthes described certain objects as having “punctum,” and Marie Kondo tells us that a select few “spark joy.” In this course, we will learn firsthand about the relationship between objects and memory from residents and staff at the Wartburg Nursing Home by developing a multimedia project called “A History of Wartburg in 100 Objects.” Students will work to pilot this project, partnering with Wartburg to discover how objects can help unlock memories. Working together, students in this course will create a bibliography of relevant texts on the topic of objects and memory, produce an oral history of an object with a partner at Wartburg, and contribute to the infrastructure of the larger project. While developing the project, we will read a selection of literary and theoretical works by Roland Barthes, Alice Walker, Virginia Woolf, and others to understand the role of objects in preserving, accessing, and sharing memories. We will meet once a week to discuss course readings, connect with seniors and staff, and develop the multimedia project. The location of our meetings will alternate between our classroom on campus and meetings at Wartburg in Mount Vernon. This class will include a community-based component working with an adult care community at Wartburg.

Faculty