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New Faculty 2015-16: Seth Blumenthal


Seth, congratulations on your full-time appointment in the department! How are you finding the change from part-time to full-time?

I have had a pretty soft landing since I was lucky enough to have worked in the WP as a GWF, part-timer and temporary full-timer for several years.  For me, after transitioning to a three course schedule, I’ve become more attentive to how different classes can be from one section to another–learning to anticipate that with different approaches has been a new wrinkle in teaching WR courses.

What have you found especially helpful during your transition?

People here have solutions for just about every problem; I always find things on the WPNet.  But, the strength of the program is the warm, helpful environment that makes it so easy to talk about “issues” during conversations in the hallways, meetings or while working in committees. 

Can you tell us a little about the course(s) you are teaching?

As a historian of the 1970s and 1980s, the “history of now,” I teach classes that have more obvious connections between contemporary and historical issues. I’ve taught a class on Vietnam since 2009, called Imagining Vietnam: The Big Muddy in American Culture.  This course explores different interpretations of the war, through television, films, literature, memorials and music. Another class I am teaching is Marijuana in American History, that’s been interesting, we’ll leave it there.  Last, I am teaching a WRX this spring, The Educated Electorate, a course that requires students to work in political campaigns for a service learning approach to teaching writing.  Should be fun!

Seth Blumenthal completed his PhD in American history at Boston University in 2013. His dissertation, “Children of the Silent Majority: Nixon, New Politics and the Youth Vote, 1968-1972”, examines Richard Nixon’s youth campaign, Young Voters for the President.  Seth has taught in the Writing Program since 2009 as a GWF and part-time lecturer.