Kacie Wills

BFA in Creative Writing, Chapman University
MA in English, California State University, Long Beach

About/Research Areas

My goal is to employ writing and critical thinking as tools for student success both in and beyond the classroom. I believe in the power of academic research and in using the classroom as a place to both engage with scholarship and to develop professionally.

My strength is bringing together theory and creative practice. As a researcher and an educator, I appreciate individually the realms of theoretical literary analysis, historical research, scientific process, and practical business writing, and I seek to mix them, when appropriate, with creative, engaging, and critical learning experiences. I have a passion for real-world preparation with diverse populations, and I am dedicated to finding the practical relevance in research.

My dissertation engages with the popular culture surrounding late eighteenth century Pacific exploration. Working with the productions of material culture from this period — tattoos, scrapbooks, ephemera, and literary and theatrical productions — , I examine fancy as a material form of the imagination and as both a driving force and product of exploration and scientific progress. In doing this, I also consider the role of spectacle in popular culture and its critical function in depictions of gender and indigeneity. My project advocates a return to surface and attention to physicality and materiality in order to move away from dichotomies of fancy and reality, of ornament and interiority. Through digitization, my project will form a reading practice that will lay a foundation for engaging with the materiality of exploration’s cultural past and for bringing that past more materially and accessibly into the present. Ultimately, through this material reading of fancy in the popular culture surrounding late eighteenth century Pacific exploration, I will offer a way of reading fancy in the poetry of the late Romantics that complicates Coleridge’s definition of fancy as passive and reads, instead, fancy as actively engaging with experience.

Recent Activity/CV

University of California, Riverside, expected June, 2018.
Dissertation: Fancy, Spectacle, and the Materiality of the Romantic Imagination in Pacific Exploration Culture. My dissertation looks closely at the correspondence, narration, and collections surrounding Romantic exploration and spectacle. I aim to demonstrate the material nature of fancy and the relationship between the Romantic “fanciful imagination” and the scientific and masculinized goals of exploration. Through archive work dealing with the Cook voyages, the collections of Joseph and Sarah Sophia Banks, written and visual accounts of Omai, the mania for hot air ballooning, and the infamous Princess Caraboo, I demonstrate the ways individual voices and perspectives materially processed and shaped history in a manner that is still relevant today.

California State University, Long Beach, conferred September, 2013.
Thesis: “The Palate of my mind”: Eating, Drinking, and the Formation of a Negatively Capable Identity in the Poetry of John Keats. My thesis critically examines the role of metaphors of consumption in the formation of John Keats’s poetic identity and creative process.

Chapman University, conferred January, 2009, Magna cum Laude.

Professional Experience:
ADJUNCT ENGLISH INSTRUCTOR                                                                                                                                                                      Fall, 2013-present
Golden West College, Moreno Valley College, Linn-Benton Community College
Courses: English 099 (Composition I), English 100 (Composition II), English 110 (Critical Thinking through Literature), English 1B (Critical Thinking and Writing), English 1A (English Composition), WR 121 (Composition), WR 227 (Technical Writing), Writing and Reading Center course instructor

UC, Riverside
Fall, 2014-Spring, 2017
Course: Primary Instructor for University Writing Program, Composition series: English 1A, 1B, 1C; Writing Seminar Designer and Instructor for Writing Across the Curriculum, Business 100W; Discussion Section Instructor and Grader for the School of Business Administration, Business 100W (Management Writing and Communication); Discussion Section Instructor English 20A (Intro to British Literature)

California State University, Long Beach
Fall, 2012
Course: English 100 (Composition II)

Fall, 2013
California State University, Long Beach
Course: English 100S (Composition I)

READER and GUEST LECTURER                                                                                                                                                                
Fall, 2015- Spring, 2017
UC, Riverside
Course: English 166T—English Romanticism Studies
Instructor: Dr. Adriana Craciun
Guest Lecture: Physicality and Fancy in Charlotte Smith’s Beachy Head
Course: English 134—American Literature after 1945: the 1950’s
Instructor: Dr. Traise Yamamoto
Guest Lecture: Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar
Course: English 20A—Introduction to British Literature
Instructor: Dr. Stanley Stewart
Guest Lecture: Shelley and the Romantics
Course: English 128—Major Authors, Jane Austen
Instructor: Dr. George Haggerty
Guest Lecture: Northanger Abbey

June, 2017
Tampa, Florida

SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTOR/MULTIDISCIPLINARY TUTOR                                                                                                       
October 2012-August, 2013
Long Beach City College

BEHAVIORAL THERAPIST                                                                                                                                                                  
February, 2011-August, 2014
Quality Autism Services

“’An old maid on a journey’: The Collection of Sarah Sophia Banks.” RSAA, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. February, 2017.

“Oh Me Omai: Aesthetic Value, Polish, and the Tattooed Surface.” Paper presented at NAVSA, Phoenix, Arizona. November, 2016.

“The Permeable Body in Romantic and Victorian Literature.” Special Session Chair at PAMLA, Pasadena, California. November, 2016.

“’Figured more by fancy than by custom’: Omai’s Tattoos and the Performance of ‘Polish’.” Paper presented at NASSR, University of California, Berkeley. August, 2016.

“’Telescoping of the past through the present”: Understanding the Body, Measurement, and Experience in the Personal Narrative Alexander von Humboldt through the Lens of Walter Benjamin.” Paper presented at VISAWUS, the Sheraton Downtown Hotel, Denver, Colorado. October, 2015.

UC Council of Writing Programs Panel Chair: “Reflections on Writing in the Disciplines and Writing Across the Disciplines.” UC, Riverside. October, 2015.

“Framing the Logic of Elimination: Assimilation and the Native American Male Body in Early Photography.” Paper presented at the British Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies Conference at the Hilton Desoto, Savannah, Georgia. February, 2015.

“Re-Thinking ‘Melodramatic Simplification’: An Examination of the Deathbed Tableau Arrangements in Charles Dickens’s Bleak House.” Watermark 7 (2013): 21-39.

“Occupying the Third Space in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Finding a Fluid Identity in Otherworldliness, Ugliness, and the Grandeur of Monstrosity.” Watermark 6 (2012): 79-93.

“For My Uncle.” Rip Rap 33 (2011): 40-44.

“Re-Incarnation as Paper.” Elephant Tree (2009): 16-17.

Related Experience:
UC, Riverside (2015-2016)

UC, Riverside (2015)

Watermark VI (2012)

Watermark VII (2013)

CSU, Long Beach (2012-2013)

Awards and Honors:
UCR Alumni Graduate Research Award, UCR: 2017
Humanities Graduate Student Research Grant, Center for Ideas and Society, UCR: 2017
Outstanding Teaching Assistant, University Writing Program, UCR: 2015.
Department of English Graduate Essay Contest Award Winner, Third Place, UCR: 2015.
Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program Recipient, CSULB: 2014-2018.
Distinguished Graduate Student, CSULB: 2013.
Graduate Dean’s List Nominee, CSULB: 2013.
Chapman University’s Wilkinson College of Letters and Sciences Mel Watson Award for Creative and Scholarly Excellence:  2009.