About Nanette

Since 2018 Nanette has taught English Composition, World, and American Literature at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) where she is a doctoral candidate in English Literature. She holds a degree in Writing from Brigham Young University (BYU-Provo) and a Masters in Language and Composition from UNLV. Her research interests are at the intersections of rhetorics, nineteenth century American literature, and composition pedagogy.

Nanette’s PhD Dissertation is entitled “Genre and Gender: A Rhetoric of Irony in 19th Century American Women’s Writing” and focuses on how best-selling books, or their authors like Susan Warner, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Rebecca Harding Davis, Ida B. Wells, and Pauline Hopkins have been marginalized or forgotten over time. Nanette posits that this is due to a misreading of these authors’ ironic communication and a subsequent (mis)genrefication based on gender. Nanette invites what she calls a “restorative suspicious” re-reading–merging a Ricoeurian suspicion with a Felskian restoration– of these texts to recover their authors and their messages for social justice in ways that may liberate modern audiences.

Her scholarly writing has appeared in journals and essay collections including Studies in American Naturalism (Summer 2019), Popular Culture Review (Winter 2019), and Teaching American Literature: A Journal of Theory and Practice (Spring/Summer 2018). Her book chapter “Feminist Sisters: Margaret Fuller and Ida B. Wells and their Invitational Rhetoric,” is in Feminism: Critical Insights, edited by Robert C. Evans. Salem/Grey House, 2020.

Nanette has been an invited panelist at academic conferences around the globe, including at the Japanese Association for American Studies’ 53rd Annual Meeting and by invitation at Taisho University in Tokyo, Japan, June 2019. Most recently Nanette presented at the Society for the Study of American Women Writers (SSAWW) in Baltimore, MD, her paper “The Agential Irony of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” To learn more about Nanette’s academic work, click on “Academia” above.

Nanette’s artwork is found world wide on products including fabric, puzzles, balloons, posters, calendars, and holiday and home décor. Nanette’s unique nutcrackers and ornaments, manufactured and sold world-wide by Kurt Adler Co., are collector’s items. You can see samplings of Nanette’s artwork in her digital portfolio on this site.

Her public writing includes instructional books, trade publications, literary nonfiction and journalism as well as business marketing content. You can read samplings of Nanette’s public writing by clicking on the links in her digital writing portfolio on this site. Having traveled the country teaching decorative painting to students young and old at conventions, seminars, and in private studios, Nanette believes that everyone is an artist at heart.

Nanette calls the Mojave Desert home, where she enjoys cycling and creating memories with her husband and their five children.

Ask Nanette

Q. What distinguishes your Teaching?

A. Students are central to every lesson plan, as I ask them to find connections between the course material and their lives. To achieve this, I emphasize the power that writing has to drive thinking. In accordance with Janet Emig’s concept of “writing as a mode of learning,” I use writing as a generative learning and assessment tool by including low-stakes reading responses and reflective essays that help students excavate their ideas. These are springboards to discussions, where everyone has an opportunity to speak and listen. As part of this framework, I approach my students with three primary goals:

  1. to cultivate individual critical thinking through the practice of critical reading, writing, and listening;
  2. to foster an awareness of their place in the world and in the human family;
  3. to promote curiosity with responsible and applied education as a habit of mind.

Q. What distinguishes your Research?

A. My research is at the intersections of nineteenth century American literature, and rhetorical and pedagogical theory. By focusing a feminist rhetorical lens on nineteenth century texts, I mine them for knowledge(s) that may have been overlooked and/or undervalued by previous privileged assessors representing the dominant class. I’m interested in the rhetorical strategies these authors used to work for social justice, especially environmental and social justice including differences of gender and race. I believe such discoveries have currency in our modern moment as we strive for a more harmonious global society.

Additionally, as a scholar and as an artist, I believe that nothing happens in a vacuum but is instead an ongoing collaborative work. While someone may have a moment of genius, knowledge is more often gained in baby steps forward along the path of human progress. For this reason I am committed to careful citation and the acknowledgement of those people whose ideas have inspired and cultivated my own. I am also very interested in moving forward the genius of those who have not been properly acknowledged for their efforts in the past but by whose efforts I benefit; I work to include and commend these voices in my work.

Q. What distinguishes your Writing?

A.  Voice is key in any written work. All writing is a conversation between the author and the reader. Honing the voice of my writing to be authentic to the rhetorical situation and intent of the conversation is like the essential tuning of an instrument. Some people might call this a keen awareness for rhetorical elements, especially genre.  To these people, I say resoundingly, YES! My writing is also distinguished because of my  frequent hybridization of genre. I started my work as a writer in the public sector, moved into creative non-fiction writing, and today the bulk of my time is spent writing for scholarly and academic purposes. This website is an example where genres are blurred as my audience may visit for various reasons. My ability to speak to my reader is something I prize. It is also a huge responsibility that I’m always working to improve. 

Q. What distinguishes your Artwork?

A. My imagination is the root of what I create. I believe that my artwork is as unique as my fingerprint. Though we all have fingers, each is different and offers something special to the world. At first glance, a finger is a finger, right? But with closer study we see the unique prints of each finger and ultimately the personality of the person. Children are taught to copy or color inside the coloring book lines when, in fact, they’re really born to create and color on a blank page. I tell my children, “You’re the artist and there is no right or wrong. Whatever you do, if you like it, it’s perfect!” This kind of thinking is liberating for us all. An artist must be fearless!

As an artist my goal is to: first, elevate the viewer (generate positive feelings in the viewer), and second, to entertain them, and third, to communicate my point or to accomplish the purpose of the creation, i.e. am I designing a cycling jersey or a logo for an academic conference? The answer to this question again relates to rhetorical elements and is forefront in my mind as I create.

I enjoy using a rainbow palette, pretty much everything goes! I hope that my artwork is accessible to everyone, evoking a feeling or connection with its message–communicating across space and time.

Q. Who is your hero?

A. Oh, I have lots of them… my grandmothers, who were both artists and critical thinkers in their own right. My parents, who are both educators and authors, because they taught me to think independently, to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem, and because they’ve been good examples in many ways. When I die there are some people I’d like to go to lunch with: Ida B. Wells, Ayn Rand, Carl Bloch, Virginia Woolf, Frederick Douglass, Minerva Tichert, Margaret Fuller, C.S. Lewis, Anne Morrow Lundberg, and Toni Morrison are all names that come to mind. In the meantime, I’ll do lunch with anyone who’ll have me—people are so interesting and the best infusion of new ideas.

Q. What advice can you give aspiring writers, scholars,  and artists–students and teachers, too?

A. Have courage and believe in yourself. Go to bed early, wake up early, and take power naps to refresh your creative well. Live outside as much as possible. Live in the moment (habitually ignore your devices) and cogitate on your experience—like a blood infusion, it will invigorate your creative work.  In your waking hours always create, remembering that the greatest work of art is a work of heart. I also like to think on the words of Henry David Thoreau: “To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” 

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam ego.