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Dr. Barry Laga teaches Composition, Introduction to Film Studies, Literary Theory and a wide range of courses in American Literature and Cultural Studies.

Laga's courses focus on what Robert Scholes calls a "canon of methods." "I like the 'toolbox metaphor'," Laga said. "My students fill their intellectual toolbox with strategies that help them write, interpret, create, and critique. I'm less interested in what my students 'know' than what they can 'do' with what I teach them. I like to think that my classes empower students in that my methods provide more ways to read and write."

While seemingly eclectic, Laga's scholarly interests take a cultural studies approach, and he has published essays and presented papers at conferences on a range of topics and texts, from Gerald Vizenor's "Heirs of Columbus", Art Spiegelman's "Maus" and the Coen Brothers' "Barton Fink" to religious art, Holocaust monuments, cosmopolitanism and experimental literature.


Selected Publications

Using Key Passages to Understand Theory, Literature, and Criticism. Routledge, 2018.

“Aestheticizing Loss: Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes,” Modern Language Studies. [Forthcoming]

“In Lieu of History: Mormon Monuments and the Shaping of History.” Dialogue 43.4 (2010): 131-153.

“Making the Absent Visible: The Real, Ideal, and the Abstract in Religious Art.” Dialogue 40.2 (2007): 47-77.

“Maus, Holocaust, and History: Redrawing the Frame.” Arizona Quarterly 57.1 (2001): 61-90.

“Decapitated Spectators: Posthistory, Barton Fink, and Cinematic Pleasure.” Postmodernism in the Cinema. Ed. Cristina Degli-Esposti. Providence: Berghahan Books. 1998. 181-201.

“A Postmodern Quest for More Discourse: Gerald Vizenor’s Heirs of Columbus.” American Indian Quarterly 18.1 (Winter 1994): 71-86.

“Cultivating Identities: Reflections on Mormon Root Metaphors.” Sunstone. March/2004. 32-39.

“Weaving a Novel Nation: Metaphors of Belonging.”
Fulbright at Fifty. Ed. Rudiger Kunow. University of Potsdam. 2002.

“Swapping Memories” (nonfiction narrative) Weber: The Contemporary West (Fall 2015) 32.2: 48-52.

Review of Deconstruction: An American Institution. Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts, [Forthcoming]

Review of The Jewish Graphic Novel. Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies. 29.2 (2011): 169-71.

Review of Comics as Philosophy. MELUS 32.3 (2007): 308-309. 

Review of Kimberly M. Blaeser’s Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition. Mid-America Folklore. 25.1 (1997): 40-41.

Review of Gerald Vizenor’s Manifest Manners. 
American Indian Quarterly 20.1 (Winter 1996): 119-121.

Review of Gerald Vizenor’s Shadow Distance. American Indian Quarterly 20.1 (Winter 1996): 121-123.