Laura Westengard

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Laura Westengard, Assistant Professor

Professional Bio:

Laura Westengard earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Riverside, and she holds an M.A. from the University of California, Riverside and a B.A. from California State University, San Bernardino. Her research and teaching interests include American literature and culture after 1900, queer studies, minority discourses, feminist discourses, trauma studies, and composition studies. Her current project, Queer Monsters Within: Trauma and the Emergence of Gothic Queer Discourse in U.S. Cultural Production, 1945-2011, explores how gothic metaphors appear in American cultural productions concerned with non-normative gender and sexuality, claiming that there are particularly gothic periods in the cultural production that follows collective trauma—monstrosity in post-atomic LGBT pulp novels, haunting in historical fiction following the Watts riots of 1965, live burial in AIDS literature, and vampirism in popular culture following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. At the University of California, Riverside, Laura served as the Assistant Director of the University Writing Program, focusing on Freshman Composition, Developmental Writing, and Writing Across the Curriculum. She is also the co-author of Write It: Instructor’s Manual (Kendall Hunt, 2011), a companion to the Write It composition textbook that provides instructors with pedagogical support and ideas for incorporating technology into the writing classroom.

Courses Taught:

ENG 92W, ENG 1101


Ph.D., English, University of California, Riverside
M.A., English, University of California, Riverside
B.A., English, with highest honors, California State University San Bernardino

Academic Interests:

American Literature after 1900, Queer Studies, Feminist Discourses, Trauma Studies, Composition Studies


Write It: A Process Approach to College Essays with Readings (Third Edition), Instructor’s Manual. Co-authored with Kimberly Turner, Jim Condon, Joshua Fenton, Helen Lovejoy, and Megan MacAlystre. Dubuque: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 2011.

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