John Miles has joined the LSU Libraries Special Collections as Professional-in-Residence with a joint appointment in the Department of English. Originally from Danville, Kentucky, Miles earned a PhD in American Literature from Duke. Prior to his arrival at LSU, he taught for a year at the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York and for the last six years he has been at the University of Memphis, where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in American literature. His research and teaching interests include American literature to 1900, literature and history, and early American print culture. Miles is also working on a book titled The Secular History of a Sacred Space: Narrating Community in Seventeenth-Century New England.
His work in Special Collections includes involvement in teaching duties and outreach to other LSU faculty. He collaborates with the curators of manuscripts, coordinates class visits, and contributes to the development of activities and resources for instructors interested in using special collections.
Miles said these two aspects of his job will come together in a class he is tentatively slated to teach in the spring, “The History of the Book in America,” which will draw upon the collections of Hill Memorial Library in an investigation of the book form from the first printing press in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, through Oprah’s influential book club, and the rise of the ebook.