First-year English professor considers how the use young adult literature in gender studies can improve student learning.

Professor Jenny Howe argues that asking students to explore their own understandings of gender through texts that they see as accessible builds a strong foundation in analysis and argumentation.

UMass Dartmouth Professor Jenny Howe

Professor Jenny Howe’s latest article, “’I can’t always be Lois Lane…I want to be Superman too’: Twilight, Gender Studies, and Encouraging Analysis in the College Composition Classroom,” will be featured in Ideology and Identity in Young Adult Literature: Connections to the Composition Classroom, releasing in 2018 from McFarland Press.

Her chapter uses Stephenie Meyer’s popular novel Twilight to consider how the intersection of gender studies and young adult literature in a college composition course can bolster students’ critical thinking by tapping into the knowledge bases they bring to our classrooms.

In this chapter, she argues that asking students to explore their own understandings of gender through texts that they see as accessible (like Twilight and other young adult literature) will help them to build a strong foundation in analysis and argumentation crucial for effective academic writing.

Professor Jenny Howe received her Ph.D. in English Literature from Tufts University, where she studied representations of gender and monstrosity in medieval romance. After graduating, she channeled this interest in gender identity and monsters into her love of children’s literature. Her current research explores femininity in young adult fantasy novels and fairy tales.

When she’s not teaching first year writing or doing research, she can usually be found writing young adult fiction, scribbling her stories into old notebooks with brightly colored pens while her dog sleeps on her feet.  


Departments First-year english