New Assistant Professor and Graduate Faculty member Christina Boyles joined WRAC in August 2018 and has loved every second of it. She earned her Ph.D. in English Literature from Baylor University and has a certification in Digital Humanities from the University of Victoria. Her published work has appeared in many journals such as The Southern Literary Journal and American Quarterly. She is the founder of the Hurricane Memorial project, is the co-founder of the Makers by Mail project, and teaches a couple of undergraduate classes.
Christina currently teaches WRA 291/325: Writing Across Media where students examine the value of digital media in the public sphere and launch clubs, partner with community organizations, and organize activist events and XA required class AL 444: Prototyping where students also examine the value of digital media in the public sphere and are currently developing creative and innovative solutions to water problems across Michigan, Mexico, and the Pacific islands.
Christina’s current research takes her to the Caribbean and beyond. She is currently developing the Maria Memory Bank, a digital archive that houses stories about Hurricane Maria and its effects in the Caribbean alongside many collaborators from universities across the country and the Caribbean. She says the purpose of this project is “to preserve the stories of those affected by the event, to demonstrate the short- and long-term outcomes of the storm, and to counter media narratives that downplayed the severity of the disaster.” She is also working on a book called (Eco)systems of Oppression that examines environmental injustice in Puerto Rico. This book reveals that the global disaster-response methods being used today tend to be underpinned by power, greed, and discrimination. Building upon the practices of the environmental justice movement, the book offers compelling solutions to these inequities, including the development of accessible mental health services, communally owned physical and digital infrastructure, and broad-reaching anti-violence campaigns.
Christina hopes to become more involved in the department, stating “I’m quite excited to mentor undergraduates and serve on graduate committees as well as help students develop innovative, engaging research projects.” She loves that she has received so much support from her colleagues, whether it be taking time to answer a question or collaborating with her on research. She also loves her students and their dedication which gives her hope for the future. Her one piece of advice for students is to “read as much as possible. Studies show that avid readers are more reflective and empathetic, and we could all use a bit more of that in the world.”
Written by Andrea Mackey
Photo provided by Christina Boyles