Caroline Hellman

Fulbright Scholar: Caroline Chamberlin Hellman, Ph.D.
Caroline Hellman 1
Dr. Hellman at the University of Antwerp,
Spring 2011

Caroline Chamberlin Hellman is an associate professor of English. She has a BA in English and Art History from Wellesley College and a PhD in English from the CUNY Graduate Center. Her first book, Domesticity and Design in American Women’s Literature: Stowe, Alcott, Cather, and Wharton Writing Home, was published by Routledge in 2011. Her teaching and research interests concern the connotations of place and constructions of the domestic in nineteenth through twenty-first-century American literature, as well as literary inheritance.  She is also interested in developmental education policy at the university level.

Dr. Hellman was a 2010-2011 Fulbright Scholar in American Literature at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Fulbright Scholar Research – Space and Place in American Literature

At the University of Antwerp, Hellman taught a graduate course, “Place, Memory” on geography, archive, and memory in the 20th– and 21st– Century ethnic American novel. Along with the readings in contemporary ethnic American literature for the course, her students were responsible for making presentations on local ethnic enclaves in Belgium or a neighboring country, comparing and contrasting them with the American counterparts in their readings. Hellman also taught an undergraduate course on alternative domestic constructions in 19th Century American literature, examining issues of race, class and gender. The course was entitled “Upstairs, Downstairs,” alluding to the British television series.

Teaching an upper-level undergraduate literature class entitled “Ernest Hemingway, Meet Junot Diaz: Vision and Revision in American Literature” at City Tech, an extremely diverse college, and a graduate course entitled “Place, Memory: Ethnic American Literary Geographies” at the University of Antwerp provoked her serious consideration of the ways in which contemporary ethnic American writers re-imagine and revise nineteenth- and early twentieth-century texts historically central to the American literary canon. Her current book project Constellations: Formation and Reformation in American Literature, speaks to thematic patterns and connections between texts, akin to constellations in the sky. The project’s mission is an attempt to map the stars of literary past and present and to identify patterns of thematic preservation and departure. Two chapters from the book have been published in article form.

Hellman explains, “Considering American literature in a foreign setting provided me with new perspectives, combating the insularity that can limit the field. I now have a greater understanding of American literature and American education, as well as the culture(s) that challenge and sustain them.”