University Relations and Communications

MSUB English professor to discuss narrative geographies at the next Town and Gown event

November 19, 2015 



Tom Nurmi, 657-2951
Carmen Price, University Relations and Communications, 657-2266


The Town and Gown event will be held Tuesday, Dec. 1, 6 p.m., at Rocky Mountain College in Prescott Hall.


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The next Town and Gown program will focus on literature and geography in the digital age.


Tom NurmiTom Nurmi, assistant professor of English at Montana State University Billings, will discuss “Narrative Geographies” at the Town and Gown event Tuesday, Dec. 1, at Rocky Mountain College in Prescott Hall. Reservation must be made by Monday, Nov. 23.


The event begins at 6 p.m. with a social and reception and continues with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the program at 7:15 p.m.  The cost is $25.


Teaching literature in the digital age is challenging, Nurmi says. “While society is networked and visual—increasingly catering to immediate desires and instant answers—reading literature takes time and focus with a stubborn resistance to prevailing values and trends.”


Nurmi, joined by Jerry Mount, assistant professor of geography, will discuss ways in which traditional humanities study can be supplemented in the 21st century by re-imagining how literature is taught through its spatial and temporal complexities—its relationship to physical geographies and lived histories.


Nurmi and Mount are developing a project called "Narrative Geographies"—an online, interactive space where students chart the geographic dimensions of literary works through archival and user-generated maps, historical images and other primary resources. The site visualizes and spatializes historical and literary content, allowing students to navigate geo-narrative linkages of their choosing.


“Narrative Geographies empowers students to discover new textual clues that lead to previously unseen, innovative forms of mapping, thus illuminating classic works across space and time,” Nurmi said.


An assistant professor of English at Montana State University Billings, Nurmi teaches American literature and interdisciplinary courses for the Honors and Environmental Studies Programs. His research explores how physical and social geographies shaped early American literature, and he is currently at work on his first book, "The Inverted Compass: Geography and the Ethics of Authorship in Nineteenth-Century America." He joined the Department of English, Philosophy, and Modern Languages in the fall of 2014, and his teaching integrates digital projects into the undergraduate classroom to generate new insights into U.S. literary history.


To RSVP for the Town and Gown event, call Thompson Painter Law Firm at 294-4320 or email by Monday, Nov. 23.


PHOTO ABOVE:Assistant Professor of English Tom Nurmi will present discussion focused on literature and geography at Town and Gown event Dec. 1.