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English (M.A.)

English (M.A.)

Karen Tolchin

Karen TolchinAssociate Professor
Contemporary American Literature & Film; Creative Nonfiction
Phone: (239) 590-7418
E-Mail: ktolchin@fgcu.edu
Office: RH 134

Ph.D., Brandeis University, 2000
M.A., Brandeis University, 1998
B.A., Bryn Mawr College, 1992 

Primary areas of teaching and scholarship: Contemporary Literature & Film and Creative Nonfiction

Other areas of teaching and scholarship: Film Adaptation, Creative Nonfiction, the Contemporary Short Story, and the Bildungsroman

Professor Tolchin recently put out a new book titled Stop Parenting: One Helicopter Mom’s Life-Changing Transformation (BookBaby 2017). A hybrid memoir/parenting guide written in conversation with corporate mentor Kyle Mercer, Stop Parenting… is dedicated to parents who want more clarity, peace, effectiveness, energy, and authenticity in their relationships with their children. The book outlines an alternative practice for everyone who craves peace in a multitude of relationships, beginning with this most fundamental of connections: the one between parent and child.

Professor Tolchin’s book, Part Blood, Part Ketchup: Coming of Age in American Literature and Film (Lexington 2007) was cited in William Safire’s On Language column. Her analysis of 20th century coming-of-age literature and film focuses on novels by Edith Wharton, J. D. Salinger, Philip Roth, John Irving, and Jamaica Kincaid. Part Blood… situates a century of narratives produced by Americans within national, historical, and global contexts. It traces 19th century allegations about a troubling narrowness in the American character to contemporary insights about the global superpower. Ultimately, the book argues that the American Bildungsroman has performed significant cultural work in the construction of our national mythology. It has transformed maturation into jeremiad.

When Professor Tolchin isn’t traversing genres, continents, and centuries in her scholarship, she is attempting to do just that in her teaching by embracing a generalist persona. She was recently named a trustee of Seacrest Country Day School in Naples, Florida; she has served as a board member for the Southern Humanities Council. As a civilian, she enjoys travel, boating, and spending time with her young son Charlie.

Selected Scholarly Presentations and Performances

  • “Mermaid Dreams.” Sanibel Island Writers Conference, November 2016.
  • “Listen to My Story: The Power of Listening as a Collaborative Revision Technique.” Presentation and Workshop with Dean A. Davis. March 11, 2016. The International Listening Association’s 37th Annual Convention. Tucson, Arizona.
  • “Mee-Mee Cry.” Invited Plenary Reading at the Southern Humanities Council Annual Conference. January 31, 2015. Athens, Georgia.
  • “William Safire & Me: A Cinderella Story.” November 6, 2014. Performance and
  • Panel on Creative Nonfiction Storytelling & Performance, with Dean Davis,
  • Megan Stielstra, and Parker Stockman. Sanibel Island Writers Conference.
  • BigArts, Sanibel Island.
  • “Picnic at the Runaway Truck Ramp.” February 1, 2014. Invited Plenary Reading at the Southern Humanities Council Annual Conference. Richmond, Virginia.
  • “Mother’s Milk.” November 19, 2013. Invited reading at the “Show Me Your Story” event for the FGCU First Year Residency Experience. Florida Gulf Coast University.
  • “The Disaster Piñata.” February 1, 2013. Invited Reading at the Southern Humanities Council Annual Conference. Savannah, Georgia.
  • Reading, “Mother’s Milk.” Panel Chair, FGCU CreativeWriting Panels. Friday
  • and Saturday, February 11 & 12, 2011.Southern Humanities Council Annual
  • Conference. Jacksonville, FL.
  • Chaque jour je t’attend”: Same Catastrophe, New Betrayal in Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2009). April 20, 2011. Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Annual Conference, San Antonio, Texas. Panel Chair,“Small Gaps, Large Yields: Moving Beyond Fidelity in 21st Century Film Adaptation Criticism.”
  • “Spank the Yank: Britain V. America in the Films of Richard Curtis.” March 20, 2008. Popular Culture Association/ American Culture Association Annual Conference, San Francisco, California. Panel Chair, Contemporary Film.
  • “Strange Bedfellows: Alexis de Tocqueville, John Irving, and the Role of the Contemporary Bildungsroman in America’s National Mythology” – May 25, 2007. The Tenth Nordic Conference on English Studies. Bergen, Norway.
  • “The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly in the Shtetl: From Fidelity Criticism to Transtextual Enunciation” – April 5, 2007. Presenter and panel chair. Popular Culture Association/ American Culture Association National Conference. Boston, Massachusetts.
  • “Special Literary Effects: Tracing their Proliferation in Film Adaptations from The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) to In the Bedroom (2001)” – April 12, 2006. Presenter and panel chair. Popular Culture Association/ American Culture Association National Conference. Atlanta, Georgia.
  • “Reading Nafisi in Lee County: Teaching Reading Lolita in Tehran in a Red State, and Other Risky Ventures” – February 3, 2006. Southern Humanities Council Annual Conference. Asheville, North Carolina.
  • “Solitary Visions on the Cutting Room Floor: The Effects of Collaboration on Narrative in Film Adaptation” – March 25, 2005. Presenter and panel chair. National Conference, Popular Culture Association/ American Culture Association. San Diego, California.
  • “Claim, Support, Warrant, and Lights, Camera, Action: Using Toulmin Logic to ‘Read’ Films in College Composition Courses” – October 22, 2004. Annual Conference, Florida College English Association. Lake Worth, Florida.
  • “Simulating and Stimulating Empathy: The Pedagogy of the Writings of Exile” – May 29, 2004. The 9th Nordic Conference on English Studies. University of Aarhus, Denmark.

Selected Publications

  • Stop Parenting: One Helicopter Mom’s Life-Changing Transformation. Pennsauken, New Jersey: BookBaby, 2017.
  • Part Blood, Part Ketchup: Coming of Age in American Literature and Film. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2006.
  • “How to Build a Luxe Home from Scratch.” Personal Essay. Gulfshore Life magazine. April 2017.
  • “Crybaby College Students and their Bogus Trophies.” The Rumpus, Dec 5, 2016.
  • “Diary of a New Home Build.” Personal Essay. Gulfshore Life magazine. April 2016.
  • “The Pot Thrower: Notes on the Death of a Brother.” The Rumpus Nov. 7, 2013.
  • “The Gods of Touch.” Inaugural issue of Belletrist Coterie Literary Magazine, peer-reviewed. Vol 1. 2012.
  • “Solitary Visions on the Cutting Room Floor: The effect of collaboration on narrative in Hitchcock’s film adaptation of Rebecca.” From Camera Lens to Critical Lens: A Collection of Best Essays on Film Adaptation. Ed. Rebecca Housel. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006.
  • “Escape of the Edible Woman: A Tale of Literary Lust.” The Tusculum Review. 2006: 50-59.
  • “American Literature.” The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge: A Desk Reference for the Curious Mind. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2004.
  • “‘Hey, Killer’: The construction of a ‘macho’ Latina, or, the perils and enticements of Girlfight.” From Bananas to Buttocks: The Latina Body in Popular Film & Culture. Ed. Myra Mendible. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007.