Whether reading about the psychology of how ordinary people turn into human rights abusers, helping students make connections with those they find difficult to relate to, or listening to people on different sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I am passionate about promoting listening and ethical engagement across divides. While I see the seeds of this interest in my many interviews with my German Jewish grandfather about his life and viewpoints, this passion became obvious to me when I started studying listening, genocide, and human rights while working on my PhD in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. These interests quickly became my central focus. My human rights research was awarded the Human Rights/ Human Diversity Fellowship and Scholarship, while my human rights opinion writing won the Daily Nebraskan Publication Board Award for Best Column. My dissertation argued that the lessons of the psychology of genocide could illuminate various writing-and-rhetoric sites for their possibilities for promoting ethical treatment of the other.
Since then, I have infused these interests into my teaching of writing, rhetoric, and ethics at American University in Cairo, College of the Canyons, and, for nine years, at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan. Wanting to share these ideas with a wider audience, I now blog on the psychology of genocide, ethical treatment across divides, and race in the US today.
Engaging across divides also informs my poetry and other writing. Called a “new troubadour of witness” by Cyrus Cassells for my poetry chapbook, Where Are You From, Originally? (Finishing Line Press, 2016), I am also working on a collection of poems based on my experiences engaging with the other in Israel/Palestine. (For more detail, see Holy Land Poems under Poetry.) My poems have won the Academy of American Poets Award, the Mary Merritt Henry Poetry Contest, and the Phenomena of Place Poetry Prize and been published in various literary journals.
Originally from Los Angeles, California, I live in southeastern Michigan with my husband, son, three chickens, two ducks, and a cat.