Natalie Mera Ford, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Office: Merion Hall 136
Natalie Mera Ford specializes in British literature and medicine of the long nineteenth century, with particular focus on the legacy of Romantic concepts in Victorian culture. Her other research and teaching interests include transatlantic literature and psychology, gender studies, cultural studies (especially the history of interiority), as well as composition and creative writing.
• B.A., Languages and Literature, Bard College
• M.A. English Renaissance Literature, University of York
• Ph.D., 19th-Century British Literature, University of York
General Fields of Professional Interest
Literature and Medicine, Literature and Psychology
19th-Century British and American Literature
Composition and Creative Writing, Contemplative Pedagogy
My classes are primarily interactive seminars that focus on developing skills in critical reading, thinking, and writing. I encourage and expect students to contribute actively by raising questions, sharing insights, conducting research, composing in-class reflections, and participating in group and pair work. Frequent informal writing assignments (creative and analytical) help students strengthen their voice, practice a range of rhetorical strategies, and generate material for formal papers. For the longer assignments, emphasis is placed on the process of writing, with whole-class discussion of student essays and peer feedback workshops providing opportunities to revise. The classroom atmosphere I cultivate is focused, respectful, and engaging. Come prepared, ready to be involved and challenged.
Member of Modern Language Association, Victorians Institute, British Women Writers Association, British Association for Victorian Studies, and Northeast Modern Language Association. Professional Tutor (Graduate/ESL Specialist) for SJU Writing Center, 2011-13. Also taught at Temple University (‘Dissent in America,’ ‘Introduction to Academic Discourse’), Grenoble École de Management, & University of York (‘Historical Approaches: Victorians,’ ‘Historical Approaches: American Literature to 1910,’ & Essay Composition). Have Cambridge CELTA from International House Barcelona & extensive ESL teaching/consulting experience in Europe.
- English 101 The Craft of Language
- English 102 Texts and Contexts
- ENG 208 Literature and Psychology
- English 208 Dreams, Drugs, and Visions in 19th-Century Transatlantic Literature
- English 306 Dreams, Drugs, and Visions: Trancelike States in Victorian Literature
Articles and Book Chapters
“Placing Literature in Nineteenth-Century British Psychology.” Critical Survey special issue on Victorian Science, ed. Peter Katz. 27.2 (2015): 4-20.
“‘The track of reverie’: Vision and Pathology in Shirley and Villette.” Brontë Studies 36.2 (2011): 141-51.
“The Interpretation of Daydreams: Reverie as Site of Conflict in Early Victorian Psychology.” Conflict and Difference in Nineteenth-Century Literature. Ed. Dinah Birch and Mark Llewellyn. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. 80-92.
“Beyond Opium: De Quincey’s Range of Reveries.” The Cambridge Quarterly 36.3 (2007): 229-49.
Co-edited Special Issue
“Motivating Millennials: How to Promote Active Student Reading in an Online Era.” Special issue accepted for The Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, ed. Christina Rieger and Natalie Mera Ford. Scheduled for publication in 2016.
Works under Review and in Progress
“Expanded Transparency and Enhanced Reading in the First-Year Literature Survey.” Accepted for “Motivating Millennials: How to Promote Active Student Reading in an Online Era” special issue of The Journal on Excellence in College Teaching (see above).
“Chronology in a Coma: Diagnosing Trancelike Reverie in Scenes of Clerical Life and Felix Holt, the Radical.” Under review with Victorians Institute Journal.
“Friday Freespace: Contemplative Pedagogy in the First-Year English Sequence.” Collaborative pedagogy article with Grace Wetzel. In progress for submission.
Poems published in US & UK literary journals, including Schuylkill Valley Journal, Philadelphia Stories, Agenda Broadsheet, Obsessed with Pipework, Aesthetica, & Dreamcatcher (2002-2013).
Invited Talk. “Madness Unbound: The Early Nineteenth-Century Non-Restraint Movement and Shelley’s Prometheus.” The Unbinding Prometheus Project, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (Sep. 2015)
“Haunting Infertility in Shirley, Felix Holt, and Mid-19th-Century Medicine.” British Women Writers 23rd Annual Conference. New York, NY. 2015.
“‘Turning into spectres’: Ghostly Infertility in Victorian Fiction and Medicine.” The Mysteries at Our Own Doors: Victorians Institute 43rd Annual Conference. Charlotte, NC. 2014.
“The Marriage of Gendered Minds in British Psychology and Literature, 1760-1860.” 44th Convention of Northeast Modern Language Association. Boston, MA. 2013.
“Placing Literature in 19th-Century British Psychiatry: Henry Holland’s Chapters of Mental Physiology.” Mid-Atlantic Conference on British Studies. Penn State University at Abington, PA. 2012.
“From Reverie to Nightmare: Mary Shelley’s Introduction to Frankenstein.” 38th Convention of Northeast Modern Language Association. Baltimore, MD. 2007.
“Birthing Ideas: The Generative Stage of Reverie in Bulwer Lytton’s Caxtoniana.” 19th-Century Reproduction. Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. 2007.
“The Interpretation of Daydreams: Reverie as Site of Conflict in Early Victorian Psychiatry.” Victorian Cultures in Conflict, British Association of Victorian Studies 7th Annual Conference. University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK. 2006.
“The Threat of Reverie: Emasculating the Regulated Mind.” Victorian Masculinities. University of Keele (with University of Birmingham), Keele, UK. 2006.
Grants and Awards
Contingent Faculty Travel Grant, British Women Writers Association (2015) Faculty Development Fund Award, Saint Joseph’s University (2013, 2014, 2015) Graduate Travel Award, Northeast Modern Language Association (2007) Annual Convention Travel Grant, Modern Language Association (2006) Postgraduate Bursary, British Association of Victorian Studies (2006) Overseas Research Students Award Scholarship, Universities UK (2003-2006) Short-listed for Keats-Shelley Essay Prize, Keats-Shelley Memorial Association (2006)
Bucks County Poet Laureate Contest first runner-up (2013) Glimmer Train Family Matters Finalist (2013); Glimmer Train Fiction Open Honorable Mention (2010)
General Fields of Professional Interest:
Literature and Medicine 19th-Century British and American Literature Gender Studies, Cultural Studies Composition and Creative Writing
“‘Turning into spectres’: Ghostly Infertility in Victorian Fiction and Medicine.” The Mysteries at Our Own Doors: Victorians Institute 43rd Annual Conference, Charlotte, NC. 2014.
“Why Read? Development, Discovery, Defiance.” ‘Beyond SparkNotes: Motivating Student Engagement’ roundtable, 45th Convention of NeMLA, Harrisburg, PA. 2014.
“The Marriage of Gendered Minds in British Psychology and Literature, 1760-1860.” 44th Convention of NeMLA, Boston, MA. 2013.