David Hanauer

David Hanauer is Professor of Applied Linguistics/English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the Lead Assessment Coordinator for the SEA-PHAGES program at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the editor of the Scientific Study of Literature journal, the official publication of IGEL. An applied linguist, specializing in assessment and literacy practices in the sciences and poetic inquiry, Professor Hanauer’s research agenda is typified by a deep commitment to interdisciplinarity, inquiry teaching, and the development of literacy-based research methods (with a particular focus on poetry).

Which topics will you address at the IGEL Conference 2020?

Over the last decade I have been interested in the processes and the functions of writing poetry in a first and second language. In particular I have been interested in the ways in which poetry writing can be used as a research method for exploring subjective, emotional experience. This work has led to the development of three basic forms of poetry writing research: poetic inquiry, poetic ethnography and poetic autoethnography. In my presentation I will discuss current understanding of the processes of research poetry writing and responses to this type of writing. 

What brought you to this topic?

My early work including, my dissertation, dealt with the cognitive and psycholinguistic aspects of reading poetry. When I moved to the US and joined a doctoral writing program, I began to think far more seriously about the cognitive and psycholinguistic aspects of writing poetry. In parallel, I began to work on ways in which poetry writing could be used as a research method to elicit information in cases of deep personal trauma. In several studies I explored my own and my family’s legacy of the Holocaust using the methodologies of poetic autoethnography and poetic ethnography. Following this I conducted a study of US soldier war experiences in the Second Iraq War once again using a poetic ethnographic method. Once this was complete, I looked at participants responses to the types of poems that emerge from these types of research interaction.

What, in your view, is the main value of IGEL?

IGEL is a unique organization that has for many years been my preferred context to discuss literary text processing. It many ways it is my home from a disciplinary perspective. When I started my work on the psycholinguistics of poetry, I was told by many in the fields of education, English, linguistics and literary studies, that the type of integration of methodologies that I was interested in was a union of opposites and not possible. When I found the IGEL organization and went to my first conference, I knew that I had a found a context that was aligned with my approach to the study of literary texts. Now twenty-five years later, many other scientifically orientated fields have started to explore literary texts each for their own interests and using their own methodologies. This is a valuable widening of the options for publication and research. But I would still say that IGEL offers the broadest and deepest set of approaches to the empirical study of literature and that is its value.  

What are your expectations for the IGEL Conference 2020?

The IGEL 2020 conference has a special orientation to it – the possibility of exploring what I consider to be applied literary studies. These are points at which the use of literary reading or writing interact with broader psychological and societal aims. My expectation from IGEL 2020 is to have a deeper appreciation and understanding of the different approaches currently being used for helping individuals and societies to better understand themselves, their emotions and internal constructions of the world.

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