Professor of English
Professor Comer is a scholar of contemporary literature and cultural politics with interdisciplinary interests in problems of place, space and their theorization. Her books include Landscapes of the New West: Gender and Geography in Contemporary Women’s Writing (1999), and Surfer Girls in the New World Order (2010). She guest edited the 2013 Spring/Summer double special issue of Western American Literature, highlighting innovative conceptual work from junior scholars. In 2018, in collaboration across feminist and Indigenous epistemologies with Susan Bernardin, Comer co-edited “On the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary,” a special issue of Western American Literature featuring short and long pieces about the many-stranded pasts and future possibilities that make up the fields of western American literary and cultural studies. Professor Comer has published widely, including recent essays addressing Global Wests and settler colonialism, feminist place-based worlding projects, public scholarship and critical ethnography, and feminist critical regionalism. She has also written about questions of history in literature and critical theory, US Civil Rights literatures and post-Civil Rights spatial imaginations, feminist environmentalism, and issues of youth politics and girls’ communities under neoliberalism.
In 2014, Professor Comer co-founded the Institute for Women Surfers (IWS), a grassroots educational initiative in the Public Humanities. IWS brings together activist women surfers and their allies to create spaces of peer teaching, learning, and mutual aid. Her current book-in-progress, Feminist States of Critical Regionalism, synthesizes the IWS Public Humanities work in activist surfing with studies in contemporary literature and film to investigate new democratic geographies and state imaginaries of feminist storytelling.
Professor Comer teaches literature, culture, and theory courses with an emphasis in interdisciplinary approaches informed by critical race, indigenous, and feminist thought. Recent courses include the US West and its Others/Borders, Asian American Cultural Forms, Literatures of Diaspora in the Américas, Feminist Engaged Research Methodologies, and Matters of Space (thinking through place ethics under globalization). Upcoming: literatures of environmental justice (via Houston/Monterrey, Mexico/San Francisco), and a seminar entitled “How Do Literature Professors ‘do’ Public Humanities?” She works closely with the American Studies Association and the Western Literature Association (WLA), serving as WLA president in 2003.
Professor Comer served as Magister of Baker College from 2004-2010 and then as Magister of Brown College from 2013-2018.
Ph.D., American Studies, Brown University, 1996
M.A., American Studies, Brown University, 1990
B.A., Women's Studies, Wellesley College, 1988