Abbie Ventura’s research and teaching interests include pictorial literatures, diversity and multiculturalism, and Transcendental thought/nature writings. She is currently in the research stage of a book-length study on Henry David Thoreau and E.B. White.
I'm a discussion-based instructor, and I rely on exploratory and disruptive thinking. That is, making what is familiar unfamiliar, and disrupting the known "truths" of our world view with new perspectives.
Why did you become an English professor?
It was the thing I was most passionate about throughout school. There were other subjects I was stronger in, and I actually began my undergraduate program at USC studying marine geology and plate tectonics. But the conversations literature generates always animated me, the way it shows us the human condition and helps us to understand ourselves and others. I eventually switched my major to my passion, and somehow I luckily turned that passion into a career.
Outside of being a professor, what do you do for fun and/or relaxation?
It's Chattanooga - so kayaking, hiking, yoga, gardening, farmers’ markets, etc. On the breaks you'll find me by salt water.
What are your expectations of students?
I expect students to grapple with new ideas, even if it’s uncomfortable or difficult material. With this, I expect respect for all people, other students, their viewpoints, and the literature and ideas expressed in our classroom. Finally, I expect students to be realistic in terms of their efforts, and really, in what they expect of themselves, to be gentle about their own expectations.
What's something about you that might surprise your students?
I used to be a roller derby girl, “Call Me Impale.”