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The professor’s room: Elizabeth Kleinfeld

An occasional series that gets within the inner sanctums of academia – because clever people have interesting rooms.

By Cory Phare

September 27, 2017

Elizabeth Kleinfeld

What is an “edupunk”? Elizabeth Kleinfeld says it’s all about the do-it-yourself authorship ethic.

The professor of English and director of the Writing Center encourages students to cast off doubts, diving into their own agency as writers to figure things out as they go along.

And that empowered ethos is evident throughout her office environs. After all, isn’t that where the best stories come from?

  1. As you see, I’ve got birds all over. After seeing Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” I was simultaneously terrified and fascinated; I’ve been surrounding myself with them ever since.
  2. I didn’t plan to start collecting cows, but people began giving them to me. I just love them. They seem to me to be totally present wherever they are – you never see a cow who wishes they were somewhere else.
  3. I’ve had my red wagon for a long time and use it if I’m transporting a lot of props or teaching supplies for my class. I used to have a bike bell for it too, but that seems to have disappeared.
  4. My standing desk is a conversation piece – I started using it about four years ago because I’m kind of excitable and would bang my knees when I’d spring up from sitting.
  5. Back in the 1990s, I was teaching an introduction-to-literature class where we studied the Marge Piercy poem “The Secretary Chant.” The class eventually presented this papier-mâché creation, and I’ve been hauling it around with me ever since. It’s the very first and probably last secretary I’ll ever have.
  6. One of my students who worked here in the Writing Center got his dream job teaching English in Ecuador and moved there. So many of my tutors leave for other countries and send me gifts – like this Ecuadorian blanket, my music box from Russia and kerchief from France as well. It’s wonderful.

p.s. Calling all faculty and staff members…
Do you have an interesting office – and would you like to feature it in our series? Just email Cory Phare.

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