CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., July 8, 2013 — Dr. Christopher Rieger, associate professor of English at Southeast Missouri State University, has been named the director of the school’s Center for Faulkner Studies, effective Aug. 1.
The announcement was made by Dr. Carol Scates, chair of the Department of English.
Rieger will replace Dr. Robert Hamblin, the founding director of the Center, who is retiring.
Rieger joined the Southeast Missouri State University faculty in 2007, after teaching the previous four years at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. He has served as the assistant director of the Faulkner Center since 2008.
He is the author of “Clear-Cutting Eden: Ecology and the Pastoral in Southern Literature,” published in 2009 by the University of Alabama Press. The book examines how four prominent Southern authors–Erskine Caldwell, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Zora Neale Hurston and William Faulkner–portray nature in view of the destabilizing effects of the Great Depression, the rise of Southern modernism and the mechanization of agricultural jobs.
Rieger and Hamblin have co-edited two volumes of critical essays: “Faulkner and Chopin” and “Faulkner and Morrison,” both published by the Southeast Missouri State University Press. They are currently working on a third volume, “Faulkner and Warren.”
These volumes present selected presentations from the bi-annual conferences hosted by the Center for Faulkner Studies and co-directed by Hamblin and Rieger.
Rieger grew up in South Carolina and holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University and master’s and doctoral degrees from Louisiana State University. His doctoral dissertation, directed by noted Southern Studies scholar John Lowe, won the 2002 Lewis P. Simpson dissertation award, given annually for the best dissertation in the English Department at Louisiana State University.
Rieger has published essays and presented conference papers on Margaret Mitchell, Larry Brown and Daniel Woodrell, as well as the focal authors of his book. In his criticism, Rieger frequently examines the handling of ecological and environmental issues in literary texts.
Southeast’s Center for Faulkner Studies was established in 1989, following the University’s acquisition of the Louis Daniel Brodsky Collection of William Faulkner Materials, one of the world’s largest collections of Faulkner books and documents.
The Center hosts research scholars from around the world and sponsors programs focusing on Faulkner, the Mississippi writer who was the recipient of the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature.