Vice President and R. Michael Shanahan Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Literature
One of the things I most appreciate about teaching at Harvey Mudd College is that I can bring my developing interests into the classroom and explore them with creative and exceptionally able students. I teach courses on a wide range of topics: An Introduction to Middle English Literature; Shakespeare; The Land and American Literature; Print and American Culture. In recent years I’ve enjoyed team teaching with stimulating colleagues in Media and Democracy (with Professor Rachel Mayeri), Dickens, Hardy, and the Victorian Age (with Professor Jim Eckert), and Building Los Angeles (with Professor Dan Petersen).
My research examines nineteenth-century American printing and publishing history. I have co-edited and contributed to two volumes in this area: Perspectives on American Book History (2002; co-edited with Scott E. Casper and Joanne D. Chaison) and A History of the Book in America, Volume 3: The Industrial Book, 1840-1880 (2007; co-edited with Scott E. Casper, Stephen W. Nissenbaum, and Michael Winship). The latter was awarded the inaugural St. Louis Mercantile Library Prize in American Bibliography in 2008.
My interest in nineteenth-century printing history has led me to take up letterpress printing, and I currently offer a workshop in that topic every semester. Using four nineteenth-century iron hand presses housed in the Claremont Colleges Library, my students learn the basics of typesetting, printing, and binding, a process that allows them to think practically about the relationship between art and technology.