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Meet our Faculty: Tena L. Helton

Tena L. Helton

English Department Chair HeltonTina

Director of First-Year Writing

Ph.D. English, Louisiana State University

Email: thelt2@uis.edu
Phone: (217) 206-7441
Office: UHB 3070

Teaching Interests: American literature and film, writing, critical theory, genre theory.

Courses: American Gothic, Early American Literature, Introduction to Poetry, Introduction to Film, American Souths, Poe, Hitchcock, Graduate Colloquium, American Frontier Literature, Rhetoric and College Writing.

Biography:
Dr. Helton earned her Ph.D. in English, specializing in American literature and Women’s and Gender Studies, from Louisiana State University. She is a certified public school teacher who also holds a B.A. and M.A. from North Carolina State University in English with a concentration in secondary education. She has also been a trade journalist writing for agricultural publications. She joined the UIS faculty in 2005. Her primary areas of expertise are: American literature and culture, genre theory, film, American regional literatures and cultures, and American women’s literature.

Professor Helton has presented papers at the following:

  • North Carolina Symposium on Teaching Writing (2011)
  • American Association of Colleges and Universities (2010)
  • Sloan-C International Conference (2010)
  • Curriculum, Politics, and the Student/Teacher of English (2009)
  • The Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning (2009)
  • Illinois Association of Minorities in Government (2009)
  • The Symbolist Movement: Its Origins and Consequences (2009)
  • Southern Writers Symposium (2009)
  • College English Association (2008)
  • American Studies Association (2007)
  • Illinois Philological Association (2007)
  • South Central Modern Language Association (2003)
  • Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (2003)
  • Souths: Global and Local. University of Florida (2001)
  • Women and Gender Studies. Louisiana State University (2000)
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences. North Carolina State University (1999)
  • Blacks in the Diaspora. University of North Carolina (1997)

Her publications include:

  • “What the White ‘Squaws’ Want from Black Hawk: Gendering the Fan-Celebrity Relationship” in American Indian Quarterly (2010)
  • “Being Virtually Human: Teaching Early American Literature Online” in Teaching American Literature: A Journal of Theory and Practice (2007)
  • “Living in Process: Ivy Rowe’s Regional Identification in Fair and Tender Ladies” in South Atlantic Review (2004)
  • “Indians,” “Redneck,” “Tobacco,” and “Trail of Tears” in The Companion to Southern Literature: Themes, Genres, Places, People, Movements, and Motifs (2002)
  • “’What was said and what was left unsaid’: Black Boy as Survival Guide for Black Man and Artist” in College Language Association Journal (1998)
  • over 50 articles in agricultural trade magazines (1993-2004).

Her current project, Autobiography on America’s Frontier, is about the importance of pre-Civil War ethnography and auto/biography to American culture.

Research Interests: American literature, including African-American, American Indian, Southern, Appalachian and Women’s literatures; theories of region, identity, gender, and narrative; film; and composition.

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