Laura Feitzinger Brown

Associate Professor of English, Director of Arts and Humanities, Chair of English Department; Co-director of the Nisbet Honors Program

Departments

A graduate of Williams College, Dr. Brown earned her MA in English from the University of Virginia and her PhD in English at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. In 2020 she also completed a low-residency MA in Theology through Saint Leo’s University. Her doctoral work focused on Renaissance British literature, with a minor focus on the medieval era. Her experience as an undergraduate at a small college led to so much intellectual and personal growth that she was (and still is) very excited to teach at a small place like Converse.

Dr. Brown enjoys teaching and has won several teaching awards, including Converse’s 2014 nomination for the SC Independent Colleges and Universities “Excellence in Teaching Award” and the college’s Katheryne Amelia Brown Teaching Award in 2005. She regularly teaches courses on Shakespeare, on early modern women, on adolescent literature, and on music and poetry. Other areas of instruction include English composition and introductory literature courses. She also teaches the junior honors seminar and team-teaches interdisciplinary honors seminars with other faculty in various fields.

Dr. Brown’s research interests include early modern English sermons and other religious writing, Catholic Englishwomen, the role of the aural in early modern religion, and Shakespeare and his contemporaries. She has published material on Mary Ward for Broadview Press’s website, as well as articles in Sixteenth Century Journal and in English Language Notes, and reviews in Sixteenth Century Journal, Christianity and Literature, Seventeenth-Century News, Ars Lyrica, and Spenser Newsletter.

She has presented numerous conference papers at national or international conferences on research related to Mary Ward, early modern English Catholics, drama, hearing, sermons, and early modern England. She has also presented on pedagogical topics at regional conferences. In February 2021 she helped coordinate a national discussion for the Renaissance Society of America on finding time for research when teaching a heavy course load. In 2013 she was invited to talk with graduate students at UNC-Chapel Hill about preparing for job searches at smaller institutions like Converse.

Dr. Brown also holds administrative responsibility and has helped to coordinate larger educational events at the university. She chairs the English Department. She also co-founded the Nisbet Honors Program, where she directs the Arts and Humanities half of the program. Larger educational events have included the Converse Shakespeare Festival (2003), which drew more than 1000 people to campus to see Shenandoah Shakespeare Express perform Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. She also coordinated the 2009 “Hymns in the South” Symposium, which brought over 400 people to campus. This interdisciplinary symposium raised awareness about one of South Carolina’s most important composers, Singin’ Billy Walker, and sparked discussion about the many roles that hymns play in the South. In 2013 she helped coordinate a conference called “Bringing History to Life: Writing, History, and Historical Fiction.” The conference brought together Converse faculty and students with middle- and high-school teachers of English and history to hear speakers including New York Times bestselling author Ruta Sepetys.

Married to Dr. Peter Brown, a professor of computer science, with whom she has four children, she enjoys talking with students about the challenges and joys that women experience as they attempt to balance family and work. Her interest in that balancing act led her to create a required course for honors students on planning for life after Converse, a seminar that explores graduate school culture and application processes, job market issues, and balancing family and career.

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