Marcia Nichols, Ph.D.
Ph.D., Literature, University of South Carolina, 2010
M.A., English, Missouri State University, 2002
B.A., English, Missouri State University, 2000
“I believe that teaching should strive to inculcate critical thinking skills to enable students to learn beyond the classroom. True learning is not the mastery of a set of facts or texts; it is the ability to generate new ideas, to perceive new connections in the interworking of the myriad factors that make up one’s reality.”
Marcia Nichols received a PhD in Literature, with an emphasis on 18th century American and British literature from the University of South Carolina. She has also been a Mellon Dissertation Fellow at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, a short-term Mellon Research Fellow at the Library Company of Philadelphia, and Presidential Doctoral Fellow at the University of South Carolina. She has taught literature and composition classes at the University of South Carolina and Midlands Technical College and composition classes at Missouri State University.
At UMR I am responsible for developing and delivering the literature portions of the Humanities component of the BSHS core, namely Introduction to Literature. Before arriving at UMR, I taught a variety of composition and literature courses, including, Introduction to Literature; the American Literature survey; Incest, Miscegenation and Adultery in American Literature; and Identity and Self in American Letters.
I believe that teaching should strive to inculcate critical thinking skills to enable students to learn beyond the classroom. True learning is not the mastery of a set of facts or texts; it is the ability to generate new ideas, to perceive new connections in the interworking of the myriad factors that make up one’s reality. I think that the humanities classroom is an ideal space to encourage students to be curious about their world and its values and assumptions. By giving students the tools to interrogate the images and words that surround them, they can become thinking agents and not simply passive recipients of ideas. My goal is to create self-aware, self-reliant thinkers both in and outside of the classroom.
My disciplinary research explores constructions of gender and sexuality in British and American literature, medicine and science in the long Eighteenth Century. In particular, I am interested in elucidating a nuanced history of the rhetorical constructions of masculinist self-hood and the sexed female body in midwifery manuals and other writings of the era by performing a comparative analysis of the extant material texts themselves in addition to textual analysis in order to enrich our current understanding of obstetrics, gender and sex. By comparing and contrasting multiple editions and iterations of the same titles across the long eighteenth century, my work sheds new light on the interactions of authors, publishers and readers and exposes the ways in which ideas about gender and sex were formed, transformed and entrenched over time.
Currently I have two major education research projects underway, both in conjunction with fellow UMR faculty members. In the data-gathering stage, the first project is intended to examine the efficacy of UMR’s Writing Integrated Curriculum in a student’s first two academic years. The second project, in collaboration with Dr. Robert Dunbar, explores the effects on empathy development in anatomy students who have been taught about the history and problems of scientific objectivity.
Future education research interests include group work dynamics and the use of metacognition in reading journal writing.
"Venus Dissected: The Visual Blazon of Mid-18th Century Medical Atlases," in Sex and Death in Eighteenth-Century Literature. Editor: Jolene Zigarovich. 2013. Rutgers UP.
Nichols, Marcia D. Chapter 7: A Colonial Man of Science: Imperial Fantasy in Merryland,” in Expanding Worlds: Travel Narratives, the New Science, and Literary Discourse, pp 143-160. Editor: Judy A. Hayden. 2012, Ashgate Publishing.
Nichols, Marcia D. "The Aristotle Texts, Sex, and the American Woman.” in Reproduction in the Eighteenth Century. Editors: Raymond Stephenson and Darren Wagner, Under contract/Forthcoming Toronto UP.
Nichols, Marcia D., Huq, A., Aryal, B., Prat-Resina, X. “Conversations on Ethnicity, Adaptation and Belonging: Auto-Ethnography at the Base of the Ivory Tower”, in Voices of Immigrant Professors: Historical and Contemporary Challenges & Triumphs, Editor: Charles B. Hutchison and Kwabena O. Akurang-Parry, Research in Higher Education Series, Publisher- Routledge, Accepted for publication.
Dunbar, Robert L. and Marcia D. Nichols. “Fostering Empathy in Undergraduate Health Science Majors through the Reconciliation of Objectivity and Subjectivity: An Integrated Approach.” Anatomical Sciences Education. Forthcoming.
Nichols, Marcia D. “Roger Phequewell, Colonial Man of Science: Re-Reading Imperial Fantasy in Merryland” in Expanding Worlds: Travel Narratives, the New Science, and Literary Discourse, ed. Judy A. Hayden. Ashgate,2012.
Nichols, Marcia D. “Obstetric Tables by George Spratt” in Hidden Treasure: The National Library of Medicine. Eds. Michael Sappol et al. Blast Books, 2012.
Nichols, Marcia D. “Cicero’s Pro Cluentio and the ‘Mazy’ Rhetorical Strategies of Wieland.” Law and Literature 20.1 (March 2008)
Nichols, Marcia D. “Bibliography of Jungian and Post-Jungian Literary Criticism, 1980-2000.” Post-Jungian Literary Criticism: New Essays in Theory and Practise. Eds. James Baumlin, Tita French Baumlin, and George Jenson. Forward by Andrew Samuels. Albany, NY: State U of NY P, 2004.