Gatepost Interview: Claudia Springer English Professor

(Photo by Erin Fitzmaurice)

What is your educational
background and resume?

I received my B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. The B.A. was in comparative literature. I read literature in English, French and German. … I learned English and German simultaneously, and then I learned French in school. The French and German are super rusty now. The M.A. and Ph.D. are in film studies.

What was your favorite
undergraduate experience?

It was really stretching and taking classes in areas that were entirely new for me. … I tried to learn some new languages. I studied Italian. … I took classes in the history of religion. I took physics, art history. Really just pushing myself and discovering new ways of thinking about the world.

What are your plans
for sabbatical this fall?

I’ll be finishing a book I’ve been writing.  It’s titled “Picturing the Abyss: Environmental Crisis and Visual Media.”  The topic is related to the English 325: Studies in Film class I’m teaching this term on “Film and the Environment.”

What classes are you currently teaching?

I am teaching two film studies classes. … The History of Film from 1960 to the Present. The second class is Studies in Film – that’s on film and the environment. It’s the first time I’ve taught that topic and I’m enjoying it a lot. … Teaching film studies is a pure pleasure. The other class I teach is expository writing on the theme of animal rights. I truly enjoy teaching that class.

What class should all students take?

They should all take a writing class because writing is crucial no matter what career you choose. Writing is a wonderful way to focus your ideas, to think critically and make sense of this chaotic world.

What hobbies do you have?

I like to travel, hike, read books, watch movies, cook and I play the accordion. … I’ve been playing for about three years.

If you could live in the world of any novel, which would it be?

I would say any novel by the author Michael Ondaatje because his language is so beautiful and evocative that I would like to immerse myself into his world.

What advice would you give to FSU students?

Embrace the job of being a student. Your years at FSU are a remarkable opportunity to be part of a community of learners. Don’t cut corners. Don’t look for the easy way. Accept the challenge to work hard and continue to learn throughout your life. Read new books. Travel to new places. Learn a new language and try new things.

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