Associate Professor

About

Biography

A native of Massachusetts, Professor Hutchins took a BA in English from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. After a four year stint at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned his MA and PhD, Hutchins returned to BYU for a three-year postdoc before making his way to Fort Collins and Colorado State, where he teaches courses in transatlantic and early American literature and culture. His eclectic interests are well-represented in his first book, Inventing Eden: Primitivism, Millennialism, and the Making of New England (Oxford 2014), which discusses public nudity, environmentalism, the founding of Harvard, Freemasonry, psalters, slavery, Quaker grammar, and many other topics not obviously related to Genesis or colonial New England. Hutchins is the editor of Community without Consent: New Perspectives on the Stamp Act (Dartmouth 2016) and founded TEAMS, a digital repository of early American manuscript sermons. He has published a number of essays in journals such as Early American Literature, ShakespeareNineteenth-Century Literature, and ELH. Most recently, he has edited two collections for the classroom. The first, prepared with Rachel Cope, is The Writings of Elizabeth Webb: A Quaker Missionary in America, 1697-1726 (Pennsylvania State 2019). The second, produced in collaboration with Cassander Smith, is The Earliest African American Literatures: A Critical Reader (University of North Carolina 2021). His second monograph, Before Equiano: A Prehistory of the North American Slave Narrative, is under contract with the University of North Carolina Press.

When he is not working or serving as a lay minister for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dr. Hutchins enjoys playing basketball, board games, and the piano; wrestling with his eight children; and walking the streets or trails of Fort Collins with his wife, Alana. You can learn more about his sartorial vision--alternately described as vintage Big Bird and avant garde barbershop--in this interview.

Courses

  • E630-D: Witchcraft

    This course will examine gendered stereotypes undergirding the theorization and historical persecution of witches as well as the rich archive of artistic responses to these stereotypes, in works that perpetuated, complicated and, eventually, subverted conventions of the tradition. The figure of the witch is grounded in theological history, scientific discourse, and sexual politics, so students will approach the wide range of texts, images, and films we study from various disciplinary perspectives, including women’s studies, history, psychology, sociology, queer studies, literature, and religious studies. This diversity of approaches and the class’s sweeping chronological scope will require students to consider the synergies and discordances of works from radically different contexts in order to formulate persuasive arguments that explain how the idea of witchcraft has shaped and continues to influence Western understandings of gender and sexuality.

  • E370: American Love Letters

    In a world where audiovisual forms of interpersonal communication (telephone and videoconferencing) are in the ascendancy and where dominant textual modes privilege brevity (email, Facebook posts, texts, and tweets), the letter—and particularly the handwritten letter—is increasingly an historical artifact rather than an object of current concern. This course will ask students to rediscover the value and unique power of epistolary writing by examining the letters that, quite literally, shaped our nation. During the formative period of United States history, no genre had a greater effect on the course of public affairs. Letters to the editor entertained and mobilized the masses; private letters between powerful men and women swung votes and swayed policy; while epistolary novels advocated for social or political interests beneath a veneer of fiction. In stark contrast to this public sphere of letters, private epistles articulated the concerns and domestic struggles of citizens learning to cope with the new-found freedoms of the republic. We will read the love letters of John and Abigail Adams alongside novels of seduction by Sukey Vickery and Hannah Webster Foster; we will read letters written for love of the United States (Peter Markoe and William Hill Brown) alongside letters written for love of a colonial North America lost during the Revolution (John Dickinson and J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur). By the end of this course students will be able to articulate the role that public and private letters played in shaping American history; describe the development of epistolary culture and the genre’s distinguishing characteristics; and compose thoughtful, moving letters of their own.

  • E465: The Story of Poverty in America

    This course will ask students to trace the social origins and impacts of poverty in colonial North America and the United States across four centuries. As students read literary representations of both historical and contemporary experiences of poverty, they will also engage in service learning, working with community initiatives to provide aid to impoverished individuals here in Fort Collins. Students will be asked to reflect on both the literature they read and the service experiences they engage in, drawing connections between their studies and opportunities for social activism available locally.

  • E475: Singing Revolution

    The American War of Independence was spurred on by popular songs and poems celebrating ideals such as freedom, patriotism, and courage. This course will examine the verse that motivated citizens to become soldiers, as well as poems written in anticipation or (later) celebration of the Revolutionary War. Students will read the work of Phillis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, then conclude the semester with a reading/listening of Lin Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway hit Hamilton. Learn about the most important event in American history in the same way that colonists-turned-citizens did: through broadsides and ballads.

  • E232: Introduction to the Humanities

    This course will consider shifts in epistemology (how we come to know things) and ideology (dominant belief systems) over the course of more than two millennia, through an examination of the humanities (a catchall term that refers to cultural and artistic products of various types), with a particular attention paid to text-based works of art. From Greek and Norse gods to ceramics and needlework, students will come to see how our sense of identity, culture, and morality have been shaped by the stories we tell and the material works of art that reflect upon those stories. Divided into three sections, the course begins with “fathers”: narrative histories and sacred texts reflecting the patriarchal viewpoints of men who have shaped history, from Jesus to Benjamin Franklin. The second section of the class is an investigation of “mothers”: narratives and works of art that restore women and women’s contributions to historical and cultural records from which they were frequently excluded. The third and final section of the course considers how we impart value systems and knowledge to children through the fairy tale and related cultural phenomena.

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