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Julie McCown - Southern Utah University. Cedar City, UT, US

Julie McCown

Associate Professor of English | Southern Utah University


Specializing in early American natural history, post-humanism, and digital humanities theory


Dr. Julie McCown is an Associate Professor of English at Southern Utah University. She received her Ph.D. in English from University of Texas at Arlington in 2016 and her M.A in English from University of Texas of the Permian Basin in 2011. Her teaching and research interests are wide-ranging and include early American literature, women writers, queer literatures, and digital humanities/media theory. She also discovered a previously unknown poem by the 18th-century African American poet Jupiter Hammon, which introduced her to the wonders of archival research. Her recent publications have been about early African American literature, nineteenth-century American poetry, and nineteenth-century women’s periodicals. Her current research focuses generative artificial intelligence (AI) and how to critically and ethically incorporate AI into First-Year Composition.




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Julie McCown


Industry Expertise (6)


Writing and Editing

Media - Online


Print Media


Areas of Expertise (17)

Artifical Intelligence


Race and Nature in Early American Literature

Early American Novels


Early American Natural History



Literature and Environment

Animal studies

Digital Humanities

Critical Theory

Early American Literature

Identities and Voices in American Literature

Methods of Teaching Literature in Higher Education

Media Theory

Theory in Literature

Education (3)

University of Texas at Dallas: B.A., Literary Studies

University of Texas of the Permian Basin: M.A., English

University of Texas at Arlington: Ph.D., English

Accomplishments (7)

O’Neill GTA Award for Excellence in Teaching (professional)

University of Texas at Arlington, 2015

HSS Summer Research Grant (professional)

Southern Utah University, 2023

HSS Innovative Pedagogy Award (professional)

Southern Utah University, 2023

Distinguished Faculty for Diversity and Inclusion (professional)

Thunderbird Awards. Southern Utah University, 2023

HSS Outstanding Scholarship Award (professional)

Southern Utah University, 2022

O’Neill GTA Award for Academic Excellence (professional)

University of Texas at Arlington, 2013

Grace A. Tanner Distinguished Faculty Honor Lecture (professional)

Southern Utah University, 2022

Affiliations (6)

  • Modern Language Association
  • Charles Brockden Brown Society
  • Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts
  • Society for Early Americanists
  • American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
  • Popular Culture & American Culture Association

Media Appearances (4)

Books Written or Edited by SUU Faculty in 2022

T-Bird Nation  online


Go back in time to the 1870s and experience the life of one of the West’s forgotten female figures. The story of Martha Maxwell and her life as a natural historian and taxidermist is one that no one really knows about. Written by her half-sister, Mary Darrtt, in 1879 and edited by SUU’s own Julie McCown, this book gives a unique perspective on women’s role in the old West in a never-before-seen light.

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Should we be afraid of chatbots?

Deseret News  online


It doesn’t help that AI detection software is not fully reliable. Southern Utah University assistant English professor Julie McCown attested to the faultiness of GPTZero, a program meant to determine whether content was written by a human or AI. “I ran my AI essay that I spent five minutes on, ran it through GPTZero, and it said, ‘Oh, it was written by a human,’” McCown said, per SUU News.

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To Transcribe Them in a Fair and Legible Hand”: Hartford Female Seminary's Handwritten Newspapers

Scholarly Publishing Collective  online


The School Gazette (1824–26) and The Levee Gazette (1828), handwritten newspapers produced by students at Hartford Female Seminary, comprise a previously overlooked archive of texts worthy of serious scholarly consideration. The wide-ranging content of the gazettes, coupled with their insights into nineteenth-century women's education and early American periodical culture, suggests their broad appeal to scholars in multiple literary and historical fields. The gazettes, this article argues, represent a distinctive form of early nineteenth-century American authorship and literary production through their mixture of personal, academic, and public literacies. This article also highlights the potential value of the digital humanities, both as a tool for conducting research on the gazettes and as a way to make them accessible to a wider range of scholars, educators, and students by creating digital editions of all eighteen issues of The School Gazette and The Levee Gazette.

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Bodily Eyes: Vision and Perception in the Works of Jupiter Hammon

Taylor & Francis Online  online


Eighteenth-century poet and essayist Jupiter Hammon lived most of his life on Lloyd's Neck along with the northern shore of Long Island, New York.

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Articles (4)

Dissolving into Visibility: Early American Natural History and the Corporeality of Interspecies Encounters

Palsgrave Macmillan

Julie McCown

Published in "Encountering Animal Bodies"

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Crocodilian Transmission: Correspondence Networks in William Bartram and Thomas De Quincey


Julie McCown

This essay brings William Bartram’s 1791 Travels and Thomas De Quincey’s 1849 “The English Mail-Coach” into productive conversation with each other, focusing on crocodilians as a central point of connection. As both physical and semiotic specimens in correspondence networks, crocodilians become a medium of exchange through which Bartram and De Quincey confront the limits of personal identity and imperial expansion. By bringing together these two writers, the essay shows how crocodilians, as a medium of exchange, shift from physical, material specimens to abstract, imaginary symbols, and how natural history’s correspondence networks facilitate an abstraction and effacement of animals.

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"An Essay on Slavery": An Unpublished Poem by Jupiter Hammon


Julie McCown, Cedrick May

A previously unknown poem written by Jupiter Hammon of Long Island is one of the most important discoveries related to this eighteenth-century poet and slave in nearly a century.1 The poem, entitled “An Essay on Slavery, with Submission to Divine Providence, Knowing That God Rules over All Things,” directly addresses questions concerning slavery and is by far the most outspoken antislavery statement by this often-neglected eighteenth-century writer.

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Celebrating and Singing, Bleeding and Pining: Embodiment and Emotion in Walt Whitman and Adah Isaacs Menken

Project MUSE

Julie McCown

This essay conducts an extended analysis of Walt Whitman’s and Adah Isaacs Menken’s use of embodiment and emotion as part of a larger consideration of nineteenth-century American literary canon formation. Although the two writers make similar use of the body and emotions in their poetry, Whitman’s “Song of Myself” (1891–1892) and Menken’s Infelicia (1868) produce starkly different results, which rest on gender differences and offer insights into their disparate representation in the canon of American literature and the difficulty of incorporating marginalized voices into it. It is productive to view Menken’s work not as an echo of Whitman but as a variation and expansion of his work, one that further opens up Whitman’s mission to democratize the voice of the American poet, especially to include voices, like Menken’s, whose unhappiness, rage, and despair stand at odds with his often celebratory voice. Pairing Whitman and Menken throws into greater relief the gendered dimensions of nineteenth-century conceptions of the mind-body binary and emotional expression and raises questions about the universality of Whitman’s poetic persona.

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Courses (9)

ENGL 1010 Intro to Academic Writing

The first of the required GE writing courses introduces students to academic composition. Students will engage in writing as a process, pre-drafting strategies, multiple drafts, peer review, and large and small-scale revisions.

ENGL 2010 Writing about Animals

This course builds upon the skills learned in English 1010, reinforcing strategies that foster careful reasoning, argumentation, and rhetorical awareness of purpose, audience, and genre. The course emphasizes critically evaluating, effectively integrating, and properly documenting sources. The course involves several connected writing assignments that culminate in a major research project.

ENGL 2010 Writing About Disney

This course builds upon the skills learned in English 1010, reinforcing strategies that foster careful reasoning, argumentation, and rhetorical awareness of purpose, audience, and genre. The course emphasizes critically evaluating, effectively integrating, and properly documenting sources. The particular section examines and discusses all things Disney including films, parks, merchandise and fan culture.

ENGL 2130 Imaginative Literature: Aliens & First Contact

This course explores how writers imagine scenes of first contact between humans and aliens. What does first contact look like? Is it an opportunity for discovery, wonder, and understanding? Or a site of conflict and violence? What does it mean to be an alien? What parallels can be drawn between science fiction and the real world relationships between human cultures? As we consider these questions throughout the semester, we will read a variety of texts from genres including science fiction, speculative fiction, afrofuturism, and indigenous futurism.

ENGL 2600 Intro to Critical Theory

An introductory course in the reading and application of literary theory, which provides a survey of major critical and methodological approaches.

ENGL 3210 American Literature I

This course is a survey of American literature from its roots to the Civil War. We will be reading a variety of texts and literary genres that touch on many of the important themes, identities, voices, and styles that make up American literature as we know it today.

ENGL 4110 Early American Novels

This course will explore the genre of early American novels. We will read several early American novels, as well as other selected early American texts and literary criticism. This is a discussion-based and writing-intensive course in which students will help generate and facilitate discussion points and complete both short-weekly writings and a larger research paper.

ENGL 4210 Literary History: American Renaissance

This class focuses on the American Renaissance - a period of literary history that runs roughly from 1830 to 1865. We will primarily be focusing on the 1850s, a decade that saw a significant output of American literary masterpieces including Moby Dick (1851), The Scarlet Letter (1850), Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), and Leaves of Grass (1855). In this class, we will be reading these texts and others from this prolific decade of American literature. To facilitate our examination and study of these texts, we will pay special attention to the role of bodies and corporeality: How are bodies (both human and nonhuman) created and constructed? How do those understandings of bodies affect people’s identities as well as the various social and political institutions of the time period? How can posthumanist theory, and its questioning of the limits of the human, help illuminate the role bodies played in the literature of the American Renaissance?

ENGL 4510 Early American Experiments

An experimental project based course that re-thinks how we study early American literature and culture. The class explores different ways of “doing literary studies” and how these experiments promote rigorous and meaningful ways of reading and thinking about literature.