Spotlight on English Alumni
Dean Swinford, PhD
Years at FIU
Assistant Professor of English, Fayetteville State University
I graduated with a BA in English from FIU in 1995 (Magna Cum Laude), spent a year more at FIU as a graduate teaching assistant, then pursued a Ph.D. in English at the University of Florida. In 2002, I received a Fulbright Fellowship which enabled me to study at Ghent University in Belgium. I currently teach at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.
My research interests include medieval literature, narrative theory, and the interconnections of science and mysticism. Through the Daemon’s Gate, my book exploring the influence of medieval dream narratives on Johannes Kepler’s Somnium, was recently re-released in paperback (Routledge, 2010). This summer, my essay on the allegorical representation of the insect body in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and David Fairchild’s The Book of Monsters appeared in Kafka’s Creatures: Animals, Hybrids, and Other Fantastic Beings (Rowman and Littlefield, 2010).
My wife, Alison, and I were married in 2005. Will, our son, was born in March, 2009. We live in Fayetteville, NC and enjoy bicycle commuting, distance running, and traveling.
Word that best describes you
Favorite TV Show
What is playing on your iPod?
I was the music director at the FIU radio station when I was an undergrad, and I like a wide variety of music. I’ve been listening to Ahab, Cocteau Twins, Ride, and Nile on the iPod and I like to listen to NPR in the car. I haven’t put these on my iPod, but I just bought some oldies on vinyl from fellow alum and close friend, Eric Sanders.
My son. In a more conventional sense, I’d have to say receiving the Fulbright because it allowed me to live and write in Belgium for a year.
Your fondest memory of being an English major at FIU?
Probably on our Study Abroad trip to London in 1996. I remember sitting on the top of a large hill overlooking Edinburgh, Scotland at the end of a long day of exploring. I was surrounded by friends and felt that life couldn’t get much better.
One thing you wish everyone knew about being an English major?
It’s probably the most versatile major. It teaches you how to think rather than what to think.