Airey's most recent book focuses on Mary Shelley. courtesy

See me after class

See Me After Class is a weekly column where a different professor reveals their variety favorites.

A tenured professor of English who received her Ph.D. from Boston University, Dr. Jennifer Airey is the self-proclaimed Queen of Trash Literature. From her position as editor-in-chief of “Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature” and the chair of interim provost, Dr. Airey takes the time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for TUs newest weekly column.

1. What’s your favorite book? What book would you say all undergrads need to read before they graduate?

I’m a huge fan of Matthew Lewis’s 1796 gothic novel, “The Monk.” When I assign it, I tell my students that they’re about to read the greatest novel ever written [Adam’s note: Can confirm Dr. Airey said that and it is a wonderfully insane novel]. It’s the complete trash of its day — murder, magic, bleeding ghost nuns, evil monks and Satan, himself — but it also offers a really fascinating take on contemporary gender roles, religious and political controversies and the dangers associated with being an author. More broadly, I hope all undergrads will have some exposure to early literature before they leave TU. I’m currently editing an edition of an 1811 novel called “The Passions” by Charlotte Dacre, an understudied female gothic novelist. It’s my aim to make these “trashy” works — novels that were popular in their own day but have since been forgotten (in some cases because they were written by women, in other cases because they were deemed unintellectual) — accessible to modern readers, both because they’re analytically interesting, and because they’re fun. “The Passions” is about a woman who sets out to destroy a man who rejected her, and it’s quite a ride.

2. What’s reading like for you? Is there a specific setting, mood, drink set-up?

If I’m reading for work, I prefer a coffee shop, where I can drink hot chocolate or chai. I’m a bathtub reader when I’m reading for fun.

3. Is there a movie/show that you always return to?

I have some comfort sitcoms that I’ll put on in the background while doing chores — “Friends,” “The Office,” “Schitt’s Creek,” “The Big Bang Theory.” From a teaching perspective, I like to stay current with the cultural zeitgeist of the moment. I’m not teaching this semester, but if I were, I’d probably be trying to work in an analysis of “Squid Game” and gender.

4. What was the last book/movie/show that you actually found funny?

I really enjoyed Grady Hendrix’s “The Final Girl Support Group,” which is a pretty spot-on satire of slasher films.

5. What’s your favorite Tulsa restaurant? Do you have any food/restaurant routines?

Hands down, Keo on Brookside. Go try the ginger garlic stir fry with white rice and chicken. I’m a creature of habit when it comes to restaurants. Friends have to drag me to new places.

6. Is there a media/pop culture/entertainment/music side to you that students wouldn’t expect?

I’m not sure this is so unexpected, given the classes I teach, but I am a big fan of video games, particularly survival horror and first-person shooters. Being mildly skilled at “Call of Duty” is my hidden talent.

7. If you had to pick three songs for a Playlist of Your Life, what would they be?

I’m not sure about individual songs, but I wrote my dissertation to the “Lord of the Rings” soundtrack, my first book to the “Battlestar Galactica” soundtrack and my second book to the “Game of Thrones” soundtrack, so I guess those count.

Post Author: Julianne Tran