Alexander Catchings

 "I am a specialist in 20th and 21st century American Literature. I earned my Ph.D. in English from UC Berkeley in 2021 and was a 2022-23 Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow in English. My research asks questions about how (and why) we read novels and printed literature in an age of digital distraction and informatic anxiety.

I work primarily with American literature and contemporary multiethnic literature. I have taught courses on topics ranging from slavery and humor to cosmopolitan reading practices in our smartphone moment. Currently, I have an article, ""Ishmael Reed Online,""  under revise and resubmission for the journal Studies in the Novel. My book project is titled Hashtag Reading: Race in Web 2.0 Literature "

Courses Typically Taught:

Writing 60

Themes Typically Taught:

Fairy Tales

Course Description:

We will explore what fairy tales are, how they work, and why they are so durably meaningful across different cultures.  Fairy tales (or “wonder tales”) make up an ubiquitous genre—every society on earth tells fairy tales to adults and children alike.  Unlike myths, fairy tales do not narrate the creation and ending of the world, nor the capricious deeds of the gods; and unlike legends, they do not focus on culture heroes like Robin Hood or the Monkey King.  Instead they are stories of strange marvels that distill our primal fears and desires into hope that virtue can triumph over evil and that clever people can achieve the good life.  Fairy tales center on anonymous character types who endure extraordinary ordeals reflecting the realities of life in specific times and places.  They are versatile stories that play with us, creep us out, and enlighten us all at once.  Our exploration of the fairy tale genre will center on a few of the most popular tale types:  Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Bluebeard. 

Textbooks Needed:

"The Classic Fairy Tales, ed. Maria Tatar (Norton Critical Edition)

Anteater's Guide to Writing, 9th ed. (digital, available on Perusal)"