Steve Knepper

Associate Fellow

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Steve Knepper recently defended his dissertation in the University of Virginia’s English Department, where he studied American literature and social thought. He is currently the chair of the English department at the Miller School of Albemarle, an independent boarding school in Charlottesville, VA.

Building on the work of Raymond Williams and Christopher Lasch, Steve’s main research project focuses on narratives of progress and decline in U.S. culture. These narratives are often premised upon a vanishing countryside. As he shows in a forthcoming Telos essay, “Seeing the Countryside: Behind the Pastoral and Progressivist Veils,” such narratives deflect critical attention from the actual countryside and its problems. Steve's dissertation, “The Garden as Machine: The Plantation Myth, the Pastoral Veil, and the Great Depression,” examines how Depression-era literature and social thought interrogate one of the most problematic pastoral veils in U. S. cultural history—the one drawn by the plantation myth over the southern countryside and its past.

Steve is currently preparing his dissertation for publication, and he has started a second book project tentatively titled Mad Farmer: The Radicalism of Wendell Berry.

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The Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture is an interdisciplinary research center and intellectual community at the University of Virginia committed to understanding contemporary cultural change and its individual and social consequences, training young scholars, and providing intellectual leadership in service to the public good.

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