Southwestern @ Georgetown
Volume 17 • Number 3
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Southwestern @ Georgetown
Assistant Professor of English

Bachelor of arts degree in English from Scripps College; master of arts degree and doctotate in English from Rice University

No one knows that I … had a mo-ped accident in the South of France in college and had a metal plate in my arm for 10 years.

If I was not an English professor, I would be … a history professor.

Since coming to Southwestern, I have learned … that I could like teaching romantic poetry and prose.

My favorite novel is … whatever I am currently teaching—right now Howards End by E.M. Forster.
Eileen Cleere

Growing up in Scottsdale, Ariz., Eileen Cleere loved to read. She recalls, “I was always reading. Reading provided an alternative universe and interest for me. This is probably why I now read for a career.” Attending Scripps College, a liberal arts college in Claremont, Calif., Cleere realized the empowering nature of novels. “The beauty of literature has the power to empower people’s ideas—both personally and socially—and change their lives,” Cleere says.

Working the desk at a limousine company following her graduation from Scripps, Cleere had a lot of time to read. “The novels I read that summer made me think about graduate school and continuing to learn,” she says. “I realized that teaching was a vehicle through which I could continue learning and growing.”

Her first teaching job was in Boston, Mass., at Simmons College. “After teaching in Boston, I realized that I needed a change, and Austin—and Southwestern University—were at the top of my list,” states Cleere. “Southwestern attracted me because of its goal to become a top liberal arts university, and that was something I wanted to take part in.” She also liked the freedom that would be allotted to her working in a small department. “With a small department, I am able to do many things and teach many subjects. I have the opportunities to teach along my interests and indulge in those interests,” Cleere says.

A Victorianist by training, Cleere teaches all of the 19th-century British literature courses and the British literature survey course. She also teaches a course devoted to the studying the works of Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë and, indulging in her interests, Feminist Film Studies. “On the best days, my classes are conversations,” Cleere says. “Most ideas with literature happen alone and the classroom allows students to express those ideas and connect them to so many other ideas.”

Additionally, Cleere spends a great deal of time doing research. She is working on her second book, tentatively titled Sanitary Arts, which is about the impact of sanitation on Victorian aesthetics. Cleere’s first book, Avuncularism, published in 2004, focuses on the shifts in the Victorian family pertaining to industrial capitalism. Cleere’s work has been recognized by several organizations, and she has been awarded multiple fellowships and grants.

When she is not teaching, Cleere enjoys spending time with her husband and their son, Max. While she doesn’t see many movies anymore, Cleere does indulge in watching TV serials. “My guilty pleasure is watching serials. I love watching Nip/Tuck, anything on HBO and any science fiction show.”