Deptartment of English
Kent State University


Patti Capel Swartz

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., English
Claremont Graduate University


KSU East Liverpool
Phone: 330-382-7450   
Photo by Jeff Glidden
  Featured links:
Curriculum Vitae

Links to papers: 

with Connie Hardesty. “Putting the Pieces Together: Teaching in Tandem about Race, Class, Gender, and Ethnicity at a Regional Appalachian University.”   Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Gender Online Research Database Marshall University.  Available at 

 “The Ideal Tarnished: From ‘The Happy Valley’ to Sulphrous Mines and Shipwrecked Souls,” Proceedings of Writing Across Time and Region, Western Reserve Symposium October 2000. Ed. Gladys Haddad.  Cleveland, Ohio: Case Western Reserve University Kelvin Smith Library, 2001. 

Kent State East Liverpool Online Writing Center:


Fields of interest:
Because I am a first generation college student, I am pleased to teach at the Kent State East Liverpool Campus where many of our students are also first generation students.  Although my brother, two cousins and I were the first to attend universities, we came from families that valued education.  Our family members, particularly our mothers, encouraged us to value our abilities and to achieve as much as we were able.  Because of my background, I am vitally interested in class issues and the ways that class intersects with race, gender, ability, and sexuality in culture.  These interests, and an interest in lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender theory, inspire my teaching and my research.  My classes are firmly grounded in feminist and cultural theory.  I help students to understand the ways that literature is reflective of the culture in which it is created and the ways in which social and political constructions affect the production of literature and art, providing the means for a rich reading experience.   

I have a fascination with narrative: with the power of narrative to help to make sense of the world and to transform people and institutions.  This fascination is reflected in our Oral History Project.  For the past several years, some of my students and I have been involved with the East Liverpool Historical Society collecting oral histories.  These histories are not only being prepared for archiving, but I have created plays that have been performed in schools and in community performance using excerpts from the histories.  This campus-community partnership has been of great benefit to all involved.  It has benefited students who learn much about history and the variations that including many peoples’ stories provide to interpretation of history.  Students learn first-hand about the politics of language and about making syntactical and mechanical choices in transcription.  The stories that they have collected and the preparation for the work they have done in oral history collection have enriched their lives and their understanding of our local area.  For many, conducting the oral history interview has been a favorite assignment.  In addition to creating a valuable community archive, the histories and the creative work that has risen from them has allowed community members to more fully understand and appreciate the rich heritage of our area.  

I learned tremendously from working in the Writing Center when I was a graduate student, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to direct the Writing Center on our campus.  I love teaching both composition and literature.  I enjoy reading and responding to papers because my students often offer me a window on their worlds and allow me to look at the material we are studying—and the world—in new ways.  Teaching allows me to continue learning, to interact with students, and to create partnerships with the community.  To me, teaching is not a job.  Teaching and learning are ways of being in the world.   

I am affiliate faculty in Women's Studies and for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Interdisciplinary Minor.