Hello! Welcome to my blog. My name is Caroline Lowder. I am a scholar and student, who hopes this blog will become an academic journal of sorts as I work to document new discoveries and critical approaches to my chosen field of research. As for this initial post, however, let me tell you a bit more about myself and my scholarship.
I am a proud Virginian, born and raised right outside of Washington, DC. I have a profound love for the DMV area and it was with dragging feet that I moved alongside my family to a small town right outside of New York City in high school. I will admit – New England quickly captured my heart. And when the time came during my senior year to decide on a college, I found myself drawn to the idea of going even further north to Boston.
My Bostonian home was found in the community that is Northeastern University – though “Boston” was originally housed in Sydney, Australia where I was able to spend my first semester abroad with a cohort of other Northeastern freshman. Northeastern prides itself on the nontraditional experience, and it is this nontraditional experience that pushes students to think beyond the stereotypical academic path. When I applied, I selected English as my major of choice, but it only took a few weeks (and my first Media Theory class where I was achieved my first departmental publication) to come to the realization that a single academic mindset is no way to approach my studies. Instead, I needed broaden my interests and allow for exploration of thought. During my 4 years at Northeastern I made it my goal to do just that, and in the spring of 2021, I graduated with a BA in English and Media Studies and minors in Writing and Ethics.
My mouthful of a degree is one that formed very organically, often inspired by experiences I encountered throughout my Northeastern experience. Obviously, English was a passion I entered college with, having applied with the knowledge that this subject would be in some way be a component in my major of choice. Indeed, I credit the Media Studies aspect of my major as having emerged as the result of a transformative class taken while abroad, but also believe I was seeking an outlet to further complicate the ways in which we think about literature – though at the time, I had no clue how media studies might do this for English. It would take me only a few semesters to find out.
In my sophomore spring, I (somehow) gained approval to take the graduate course “Reading Machines” with the renowned Digital Humanities scholar, Ryan Cordell. My understanding of what makes for meaningful scholarship shifted completely as a result of this class. Our course was focused on form – tracing meaningful changes in written communication – and how these objects can speak in a variety of ways to the development of literacy, of media, of humanity. Never had I thought to look at a book from the angle of its most basic elements – the paper it is written on, the ways in which it is bound, the words that are frequently used, and coding programs that can express why the frequency of these words is meaningful. For the first time, I – an English major who thought she would never find a need for code – was learning how to utilize R, a skill I often use to this day to analyze texts. Written scholarship in this moment became something far beyond just a story arch. And I found myself with a way to merge my love for literature and media into one cohesive thought – through the study of digital humanities.
My time in undergrad was also heavily defined by an interest in feminist theory, a passion developed during my time as the Editorial Intern for Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society – the leading women’s, gender, and sexuality studies academic journal. Much of my own research revolves around understanding feminist takes on media and literature, specifically contemporary, modern, and post-modern lit. And, to top it all off, I stumbled upon a profound love for teaching during my final year in Boston. Writing pedagogy is something that I hope to continue to pursue in the future, as I work to demonstrate to other students that writing and research should be a place to explore their own understanding of the world and the narrative they would like to contribute to society – a perception I credit Professors Neal Lerner and Mya Poe with instilling in me through their assigned coursework.
I am now working towards my MA in English at Georgetown, where I continue to carry all of my aforementioned research interests and career goals discovered while at Northeastern with me. Working alongside an amazing cohort of professors and peers, I am eager to further explore the ways literature might transform for the digital age and, more abstractly, how the humanities fit into the public domain.
That is the “academic me” in a nutshell! I am glad that you are here and look forward to sharing more of myself and my research with you soon. In the meantime, be sure to check out my other, less academic publications in Interview Magazine and on Tank’s Good News.