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Allison Speicher - Associate Professor, English

Ph.D., Indiana University


Allison Speicher

Allison Speicher started teaching at Eastern in 2014 after earning her Ph.D. in 19th-century American literature. She teaches American and children’s literature and also enjoys working with Women’s and Gender Studies students. Her first book, “Schooling Readers,” which explores the role fiction played in the evolution of public schooling, won the 2017 Country School Association of America Award for Scholarship and Artistry. She is vice president of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Society, as well as the faculty advisor of Eastern’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta.  She is also the proud recipient of the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Mentor Award for 2023.

How did you end up at Eastern?

“I completed my undergraduate degree at a small liberal arts college, where I earned teaching certification in secondary English. When I saw the advertisement for my job here, I was very excited to find a job where that background would be valued in addition to my Ph.D. in American literature. The English Department was looking for someone to work with our many English and Education double majors who had once walked in their shoes. As a liberal arts true believer, a trained teacher, and a first-generation college graduate, I knew Eastern’s students were the students I was meant to be teaching.”

Favorite Course to Teach

“I honestly enjoy everything I teach, but if I really had to choose, I’d say ENG 328: Children’s Literature. It’s the course I teach most often and it’s evolved so much over the years in response to changing trends in the field and my experiences with past classes. I love almost everything we read in the class, from Golden Age ‘classics’ like ‘Anne of Green Gables’ to contemporary fantasies like Grace Lin’s ‘When the Sea Turned to Silver,’ but perhaps the best part is that the class surprises people. Students generally imagine something quite different from what they get — a deep dive into the history of childhood, a crash course in reading pictures, constant prompting to face our unspoken assumptions about children and a keen ability to deduce a text’s ideological underpinnings. It also brings together all my favorite things: there’s an entire unit on the 19th century, we routinely use critical lenses drawn from women’s and gender studies, we discuss the history of schooling, and I get to work with future teachers.”

As a liberal arts true believer, a trained teacher and a first-generation college graduate, I knew Eastern’s students were the students I was meant to be teaching.

Allison Speicher posing for photo with students

Creative Interests

“I’m in the midst of writing my second book, ‘Fictions of Age: A Literary History of Age in Nineteenth-Century America,’ which will be published by the University Press of Mississippi in 2025. Drawing on more than 1,000 19th-century literary texts, the vast majority of which have never before been studied, “Fictions of Age” uncovers the role literature played in the development of age consciousness in 19th-century America. I write about everything from children’s birthday parties and time travel to Santa Claus and ‘old maids’ to figure out the diverse meanings assigned to age during the era when it first became a crucial part of personal identity and social status. My first book, ‘Schooling Readers: Reading Common Schools in Nineteenth-Century Fiction,’ focused on the role literature played in the formation of American public schools, and my third will focus on... well, check back in 2026!”

Teaching philosophy

“To quote my favorite Education professor, ‘Your students won’t remember everything you teach them, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.’”

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Dr. Speicher, you are a shining star in the English Department. You are so full of light, and you never fail to put a smile on everyone's face whenever you are around. Keep being innovative and sweet!
Student Quote
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