Laura Feitzinger Brown
Associate Professor of English; Co-director of the Nisbet Honors Program
BA, Williams College
MA, University of Virginia
PhD, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
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. 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 won the college’s Katheryne Amelia Brown Teaching Award in 2005. She regularly teaches courses on Shakespeare, on women in the Renaissance, on adolescent literature, and on music and poetry. Other areas of instruction include English composition and introductory literature courses. Dr. Brown also co-founded and co-directs the Nisbet Honors Program, where she teaches the junior honors seminar and team-teaches interdisciplinary honors seminars with other faculty in various fields.
She enjoys helping coordinate larger educational events at the college. These have included the college-wide Shakespeare Festival (2003), which drew more than 1000 people to the campus see the 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 the legacy of one of South Carolina’s most important composers, Singin' Billy Walker, and sparked discussion about the many roles that hymns play in the South. Finally, in 2013 she helped coordinate a conference for teachers and students called “Bringing History to Life: Writing, History, and Historical Fiction.” The conference brings 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.
Dr. Brown’s research interests include early modern English sermons and other religious writing, the role of the aural in early modern religion, and Shakespeare and his contemporaries. She is working on a book on the aural in the English church in the Elizabethan and early Stuart periods. She has published 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 the Spenser Newsletter.
She has presented numerous conference papers at national or international conferences on research related to drama, hearing, sermons, and early modern England. She has also presented on pedagogical topics at regional conferences. In 2013 she was invited to talk with graduate students at UNC-Chapel Hill about preparing for job searches at smaller institutions like Converse.
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.