Catherine E. Saunders

Catherine E. Saunders

Catherine E. Saunders

Associate Professor

Composition: 19th-century American literature, with particular focus on works by women and African-Americans; the novel; the antislavery movement; digital humanities; open educational resources; writing in and about the disciplines.

Catherine E. Saunders teaches introductory and advanced composition and literature in face to face, hybrid, and online formats. Her research interests include 19th-century American literature, with particular focus on works by women and African-Americans; the antislavery movement; the novel, and digital humanities. Her current research projects include the life and work of Emily Clemens Pearson, a little-known antislavery novelist, and Harriet Jacobs' writings from Civil War Alexandria.  With GMU colleagues Jessica Matthews and Lisa Koch, Saunders is co-founder of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers Mid-Atlantic Study Group.  She is also the coordinator of the English 302 Open Educational Resources Working Group. 

Selected Publications

Poetic Representations of African-American Soldiers.”  Teaching the Literatures of the American Civil War, ed. Colleen Glenney Boggs.  New York: MLA, 2016. 

“Emily Clemens Pearson.”  Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 29.2 (Summer 2012): 300-317 (profile and reprint of Pearson’s sketch “Old Delia”).

Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” “Ramona,” “Declaration of Sentiments,” “American Slavery As It Is,” “Sojourner Truth’s Speech at the Woman’s Rights Convention at Akron, Ohio,” “The Negro Declaration of Independence,” “Army Life in a Black Regiment,” “Letter to the Rev. Samson Occom,” “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano,” and “The History of Mary Prince.” Entries for The Literature of Propaganda, The Manifesto in Literature, and The Literature of Autobiography, St. James (Gale/Cengage), 2013. 

“Lydia Maria Child.” Major Author Entry and Student Guide.  Encyclopedia of American Literature.  New York: Facts on File, 2007.

“Mulatto.” Writing African American Women: An Encyclopedia of Literature by and About Women of Color, ed. Elizabeth Ann Beaulieu.  Westport:Greenwood Press, 2006.

Expanded Publication List

“Marilynne Robinson’s Home.”  Invited review for Reformed Institute of Metropolitan Washington website, with accompanying study guide,, 2008. 

"Makers or Bearers of Meaning?  Sex and the Struggle for Self-Definition in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man." Critical Matrix, Fall/Winter 1989: 1-28. 

Writing the Margins: Edith Wharton, Ellen Glasgow, and the Literary Tradition of the Ruined Woman.  Harvard University Press, LeBaron Russell Briggs Prize series, 1987.  73 pp. 


Grants and Fellowships

Mason 4-VA OER grant, May 2016-May 2017

Term Faculty Development Fund Grant (for developing the English 302 OER collection), summer 2016

Term Faculty Teaching Development Fund Grant (for incorporating Omeka into an introductory literature class), spring semester 2014

Mellon Research Fellowship, Virginia Historical Society, 1 week, 2011-2012

Courses Taught

ENGH 101: Composition
ENGH 201: Reading & Writing About Texts
ENGH 202: Texts & Contexts: American Women's Bestsellers: Digital Humanities Perspectives; Remembering the American Civil War
ENGH 302H: Advanced Composition (Humanities)
ENGH 302M: Advanced Composition (Multidisciplinary)
ENGH 302N: Advanced Composition (Natural Sciences & Technology)
ENGH 302S: Advanced Composition (Social Sciences)


Ph.D, M.A., English, Princeton University, 2002
A.B., English, Harvard University, 1986

Recent Presentations

"Collaboration and Developing Open Educational Resources for Your Courses," Innovations in Teaching and Learning, Fairfax, VA, Sept. 2017.

Presented my approach to using Omeka-based projects in English 202 as part of roundtable, "Teaching American Women Writers with Digital Tools, Platforms, and Projects ," Society for the Study of American Women Writers conference, Philadelphia, November 2015.         

“Americans’ Debts to Each Other: Civilization and Citizenship in Harriet Jacobs’ Civil War Writings.”  American Studies Association, Washington, D.C., Nov. 2013. 

“Taking Inquiry-Based Learning Online: Possibilities and Challenges.” Innovations in Teaching and Learning Conference, Fairfax, Sept. 2013. 

“Emily Clemens Pearson.” Presenter on “What is New in the Old: Archival Discoveries” roundtable.  Society for the Study of American Women Writers conference, Denver, Oct. 2012.

In the Media

Review of SSAWW 2015 conference, including "Teaching American Women Writers with Digital Tools, Platforms, and Projects" roundtable:

“Emily Clemens Pearson: A Granby Abolitionist.”  Invited talk at Lost Acres Orchard, Granby CT (childhood home of Emily Clemens Pearson), July 2012. Covered by Granby-East Granby Patch, July 30, 2012