I am Jeri Kraver, and I am a Professor of English and Director of English Education at the University of Northern Colorado, which was Colorado's normal school. I arrived in "NoCo" (aka Northern Colorado or "the Front Range") with my husband, Peter Kratzke, and two basset hounds, Axle and the late Otto, in 2002 (Peter is also a professor but at CU-Boulder). Before arriving in NoCo, Pete and I spent our peripatetic youth together as junior faculty in Kentucky, Wisconsin, Texas1, Michigan, Texas2, and, finally, in Colorado, where Peter can ski in winter, and I can hibernate until Spring allows me to mount my bike and hit the roads.
I grew up in New York City, where the line between religion and culture is elided. Left to my own devices on both Sabbaths, I was raised without any formal religious training. Nonetheless, although I arrived as a freshman in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University here in Washington, D.C., I soon realized that I was not of a diplomatic temperament and declared a major in Theology. Although my senior thesis was a study of liberation theology and its roots in colonial Latin America, when I was recruited on graduation into a corporate training program by Merrill Lynch in New York City, I followed the money and accepted.
After six years in the corporate sector, the dissonance between the marketplace mentality and the notions of social justice I embraced at Georgetown grated, and I returned to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in English. My doctoral dissertation on expatriate writers in post-Revolution Mexico allowed me to consider the Mexican works of D.H. Lawrence as a modernist application of notions associated with liberation theology. Now, as a teacher-educator, my advocacy of an activist teaching agenda--one grounded in the critical ideologies and pedagogies of, among others, Antonio Gramsci, Paulo Freire, and Henry Giroux--recalls my undergraduate engagement with social action and social justice. In the best of all possible worlds, students who graduate from the English Education program that I direct will become agents for change in the classroom as they practice a pedagogy based on equity and justice and democracy and action.
My early scholarship in literary studies addressed issues of identity in the work of immigrants and expatriates, as well as others who felt disconnected from their homelands. Among my published works are studies of expatriates in post-revolution Mexico in The South Atlantic Review and The CEA Critic, studies of the tempestuous relationship between immigrant children and their parents in Studies in American Jewish Literature, and studies of Chicanas living between cultures on the la frontera in a/b: Auto/biography Studies. In two book-length studies of the early novels of Benjamin Disraeli, I considered the life and the writings of one who felt disconnected both from his faith and from the country he would serve so devotedly. My work in English education attends to progressive pedagogies focused on multimodal literacies, and articles have appeared in English Journal, Pedagogy, The CEA Forum, the Journal of Teaching American Literature, and SANE.
My current research focuses on Holocaust education. I have been a fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and the International School of Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel.