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“I am fascinated by stories,” says Carol Dickson. “The house in which I grew up—in which my grandparents lived—resonated with stories. From my father’s anecdote of the pony in the bedroom prank gone awry, to weather details noted in the guest book started in 1902, to the antique spinning wheel and muskets in the attic, to the pock-marked wood trim made from chestnut trees felled by blight—all of these fired my imagination as a child, and made me curious about the past and its inhabitants.”
She continues, “I teach writing because I enjoy helping students realize and tell their own stories, and I teach literature because I enjoy seeing students make connections with others across time and culture.”
A product of traditional schooling, Dickson is drawn to alternative education settings, in which students can direct their own learning and benefit from a range of pedagogical approaches. She has taught in diverse settings—from Goddard College and The Putney School, to an outdoor education center, to a service-learning faculty consulting program, to student travel programs in Ghana, Nepal, Israel, New Zealand, and Kazakhstan.
She has lived most of her life in New England, and the last 15 in Vermont, and it is this place that has the biggest influence on her, as well as her own stories—in particular its farming heritage and its mix of cultures. Dickson’s hobbies seem to grow from a lifetime of living near the northern border: traditional Quebecois fiddle music, ice hockey, and cross-country skiing.
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1996
M.A. University of Vermont, 1990
A.B. Smith College, 1986
Selected Participant, Wildbranch Writing Workshop; Craftsbury Common, VT (2010)
Short-Term Fellowship in the History of Cartography, The Newberry Library; Chicago, IL (2006)
Selected Participant, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar, The Newberry Library; Chicago, IL (2005)
Kenneth E. and Dorothy V. Hill Fellowship, Huntington Library; San Marino, CA (1994)
“‘Recounting the Land’: The Nature of Narrative in Mary Austin’s Narratives of Nature.” Such News of the Land: U. S. Women Nature Writers. Ed. Thomas S. Edwards and Elizabeth A. DeWolfe. Hanover: University Press of New England, 2001.
“Sense, Nonsense, and Sensibility: Teaching the ‘Truth’ of Nature in John Burroughs and Mary Austin” Sharp Eyes: John Burroughs and American Nature Writing. Ed. Charlotte Z. Walker. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 2000.
“Mary Baker Eddy,” “Julia Ward Howe,” and “Mildred Didrikson Zaharias”—Entries in A Reader’s Guide to Women’s Studies. Ed. Eleanor Amico. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1998.
“‘Through the Teepee Door’: Lessons in and of the Native American Storytelling of Zitkala-Sa and Mary Austin.” Phoebe: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Feminist Scholarship, Theory, and Aesthetics 9.2 (Fall 1997).
“La Frontière/La Frontera”—Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (Bloomington, IN; June 2011).
“Maps and the Cultural Landscape of Vermont”—Rural Heritage Institute at Sterling College (Craftsbury Common, VT; June 2008).
“The Geography of Home: Proto-Feminist Visions of Nature in Nineteenth-Century Geography Textbooks”— Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (Spartanburg, SC; June 2007).
“Legacy: Stories from a New England Landscape”—Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (Eugene, OR; June 2005).
“‘No Picture Postcard’: The New Regionalism and David Budbill’s Vermont”—Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (Boston, MA; June 2003).
“A Path towards Engagement: Service-Learning and Environmental Literature”—Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (Flagstaff, AZ; June 2001).
“Cooking with Mrs. Appleyard: Food, Landscape, and the Domestication of Rural Vermont”—American Women Nature Writers Conference (Castleton, VT; June 2000).
“Mary Austin, John Muir, and Early Twentieth-Century Narratives of Nature”—Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (Kalamazoo, MI; June 1999).
“’Recounting’ the Land: Mary Austin and Early Twentieth-Century Narratives of Nature”—American Women Nature Writers Conference (Portland, ME; June 1998).
“Singing the American West: Mary Austin’s Early Poetry and Turn-of-the-Century Nationalism”—Western Literature Association Conference (Albuquerque, NM; October 1997).
“Collecting the Past, Creating the Present: Spanish-American Culture and Mary Austin’s Construction of the Southwest”—Western Literature Association Conference (Lincoln, NE; October 1996).
“’Through the Teepee Door’: Lessons in and of the Native American Storytelling of Zitkala-Sa and Mary Austin”—“Sharp Eyes” II: Multicultural Perspectives on Environmental Writing Conference (Oneonta, NY; June 1996).
“Deserting the Garden: Mary Austin’s Revision of the Construction of Western Women”—Western Literature Association Conference (Vancouver, BC; October 1995).
“Historicizing the Land: The Nature of Narrative in Mary Austin’s Narratives of Nature”—Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, Pacific Coast Branch (Maui, HI; August 1995).
“Losing Borders: Mary Austin and Female Space in the Myths of the American West”—Annual Convention of the Popular Culture Association in the South and the American Culture Association in the South (Charlotte, NC; October 1994).
“Mary Austin’s Isidro and Early Visions of a Multicultural West”—Western Literature Association Conference (Salt Lake City, UT; October 1994).
“The Bad Boy and His Influence: George W. Peck’s Politics of Humor”—Conference of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature (East Lansing, MI; May 1993).
“Contested Terrain: Women’s Nature Fiction amidst the Cult of True Manhood”—National Graduate Student Conference on English Studies (Columbus, OH; October 1991).
“’No Pulpit for Me’: Janie’s Acquisition of Voice in Their Eyes Were Watching God”—Midwest Feminist Graduate Student Conference (Evanston, IL; February 1991).
“Invisible Legacy: Naturalism in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man”—National Graduate Student Conference on English Studies (Lincoln, NE; November 1990).