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Dr. Christopher Rieger, Professor of English, joined the Southeast Missouri State University faculty in 2007. He has been the Director of the Center for Faulkner Studies since 2013.
He is the author of Clear-Cutting Eden: Ecology and the Pastoral in Southern Literature, published in 2009 by the University of Alabama Press. The book examines how four prominent Southern authors, Erskine Caldwell, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Zora Neale Hurston and William Faulkner, portray nature in view of the destabilizing effects of the Great Depression, the rise of Southern modernism, and the mechanization of agricultural jobs. He is also the coeditor of the essay collections Faulkner and Chopin (2010), Faulkner and Morrison (2013), Faulkner and Warren (2015) and Faulkner and Hurston (2016).
Rieger grew up in South Carolina and holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University and master’s and doctor's degrees from Louisiana State University. His doctoral dissertation, directed by noted Southern Studies scholar John Lowe, won the 2002 Lewis P. Simpson dissertation award, given annually for the best dissertation in the English department at Louisiana State University.
Rieger has published essays and presented conference papers on Ernest Gaines, Daniel Woodrell, Larry Brown, Mo Yan and Karen Russell, as well as the focal authors of his book. In his criticism, Rieger frequently examines the handling of ecological and environmental issues in literary texts.