Lauren Cameron earned her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013, after earning her MA from UNC-CH in 2009 and her BA from the College of William and Mary in 2007 (summa cum laude and with high honors in English). Her doctoral studies were in English Literature, with a specialty in British literature of the long nineteenth century (1789-1914). Lauren also has a subspecialty in Rhetoric, focusing specifically on the rhetoric of science and its intersection with gender issues. Her dissertation, “Renegotiating Science: British Women Novelists and Evolution Controversies, 1826-1876,” was written under the direction of Dr. Beverly Taylor, was successfully defended in April 2013, and is now under development as a book manuscript.
The insight that the study of Victorian literature and science is situated at a crucial interdisciplinary crossroads has directed Lauren’s research and career interests for the better part of a decade. It has also led her to examine how nineteenth-century literature is received and interpreted in our modern culture, which is so profoundly influenced by technology (as in her forthcoming article on the Kindle). Studying Victorian literature and science has brought Lauren to questions of the extent and downfalls of hermeneutic privilege in scientific inquiry (a key component of her dissertation); the place of embodied and individuated experience in an increasingly global and uniform medical culture (especially in Malthusian and psychological discourse); and the cultural consequences of powerful knowledge being condensed in a few select individuals in the physical sciences (her next book project). Lauren’s dissertation not only recovers and repositions women’s voices in scientific and literary endeavors but also facilitates recognition of the affective and embodied nature of scientific practice.
Lauren’s scholarly work mirrors her teaching philosophy in that she strives to provide her students with historical and cultural contexts for their readings and to challenge them to question how knowledge is produced and how texts convey ideologies. During her graduate studies at the University of North Carolina, she independently designed and taught a number of courses, including a literature section that focused on fiction and science and a range of composition courses for first-year students, such as writing across the disciplines and service learning. By emphasizing cooperative, active learning in the classroom, she supports the development of high performance learning teams like those common in the workplace and guides students to take an active role in their own educations. Given the importance of civic engagement at the University of Iowa, she also hopes to expand her students’ service learning opportunities, which connect the learning process with pressing issues in the community and provide concrete rhetorical situations for student writing assignments. Lauren is currently teaching honors sections of the required first-year general education Rhetoric courses at Iowa.