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, Comer co-edited with Susan Bernardin, “On the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary,” a special issue of Western American Literature featuring the many-stranded pasts and possible futures 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, U.S. 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 political education initiative in the Public Humanities. The Institute has conducted three trainings in California, two in Europe (Wales), and the Institute Oceania in Australia. An IWS International slated for San Diego in 2020 is being rescheduled in response to the global pandemic.
Professor Comer is currently working on two book projects. (a) Surfeminism in an Era of Trump is a public-facing work about surfeminism as a located global ecopolitics based in the knowledges and international relationship networks of the Institute for Women Surfers. (b) As of Yet Untitled. Making a case for feminist critical regionalism and concepts of place as interventions into some of the best known of white feminism's blind spots in contemporary culture, literature, and politics.
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 Literary Houston (undergraduate, public-facing research), The U.S. 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 courses include: 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