Debbie (DJ) Lee

Debbie (DJ) Lee



  • MFA, The Bennington Writing Seminars, 2012
  • PhD, University of Arizona, 1998
  • MA, Central Washington University, 1992
  • BEd University of Calgary, 1986

Research Interests

Creative Writing, Environmental Humanities, Oral History, Wilderness Studies, Arctic Studies, Literature of the American West, 18th and 19th-century British Literature, Lifewriting, History of Science, Paper and Printmaking

Current Research

My creative nonfiction book Remote: Finding Home in the Bitterrootsabout the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho and Montana, was released in 2020 from Oregon State University Press. The book blends personal narrative and environmental history.

The Land Speaks: New Voices at the Intersection of Oral and Environmental History was published by Oxford University Press in 2017, co-edited with my collaborator Dr. Kathy Newfont of the University of Kentucky.

I’m currently at work on a novel about the polar north, and a collection of essays called The Edge Is What We Have, about “edge effects,” places where changes in ecology, family, and community occur on the boundary of two or more habitats.

Sample of Courses Taught

Graduate Seminars

The Composed Life: A graduate writing seminar and workshop, with a focus on writing for publication and fellowships. Requirements include a grant application, a publishable academic piece, and a public intellectual piece.

Lifewriting: Lifewriting often brings to mind autobiographies, biographies, and oral history, and while we address these genres in this graduate course, we also challenge them at every turn. Students write on critical and one creative piece

The Age of Wonder: This graduate course provides an in-depth knowledge of literary and historical Romanticism, with a focus on the history of science and exploration.

Romantic Ecology: This graduate course provides an in-depth knowledge of literary and historical Romanticism, with a focus on concepts of nature and place.

Literature of Scientific Travel: This interdisciplinary, team-taught graduate course focuses on scientific travel literature from the eighteenth through the twenty-first centuries.

Undergraduate Courses

Creative Writing (Creative Nonfiction): I regularly teach and undergraduate creative nonfiction workshop, with an emphasis on generating material, structure, and revision stages.

Literature and Culture of the American West: Works of science, literature, biology, history in relation to major issues facing the American West.

British Romantic Literature: A tour through the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries looking at literature, history, science, aesthetics, urban planning, art, music, and pop culture.

Jane Austen: In this course, we read Austen’s six novels in their social and historical context as well as examine Austen’s importance in our own popular culture.

William Blake, Text and Image: In this course, we explore the ways in which Blake’s books challenge us as readers and political thinkers. We read Blake’s works, look at his engraving and etching processes, and make our own prints in a simulation of his technique in the Fine Arts Studio.

Introduction to Literature: A freshman course designed around reading and responding to various literary forms, from Romantic, Victorian, Modern, and Postmodern works.

Reading Now: A freshman course designed around reading and responding to various literary forms of Contemporary literature.

Selected Recent Publications

Essay Reviews:

Los Angeles Review of Books, “Scatterings

Los Angeles Review of Books, “The Longing of the Collector

Los Angeles Review of Books, “Restoration and Ritual

Creative Nonfiction:

Lunch Ticket, LIGO

Superstition Review, A Syntax of Splits and Ruptures

Terrain: A Journal of Natural and Built Environments (Finalist, 7th Annual Nonfiction Award), Life After Life

Tinge Magazine, “The Edge Is What We Have

Paper Darts Art + Lit, “Chiromancy

The Montreal Review, “Hurt Talk

Narrative Magazine, “A Human History in the Wilderness

Environmental and Oral History:

Oral History Review, “Listening to the Land: The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness as Oral History

British Romanticism:

“Romantic Recycling: The Global Economy and Secondhand Language in Equiano’s Interesting Narrative and the Letters of the Sierra Leone Settlers” (with Kirk McAuley) in Global Romanticism: Origins, Orientations, and Engagements, 1760-1820, ed. Evan Gottlieb, Bucknell University Press, 2015.

“Black Single Mothers in Romantic Literature and History” in Race, Romanticism, and the Atlantic, ed. Paul Youngquist. Ashgate Press, 2013.


Remote: Finding Home in the Bitterroots Oregon State University Press, 2020.

The Land Speaks: New Voices at the Intersection of Oral and Environmental History. Co-edited with Kathryn Newfont, Oxford University Press, 2017.

Romantic Liars: Obscure Women Who Became Impostors and Challenged an Empire. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2006.

Literature, Science, and Exploration in the Romantic Era: Bodies of Knowledge. Co-authored with Tim Fulford and Peter J. Kitson, Cambridge University Press, 2004. Paperback, 2007.

Slavery and the Romantic Imagination . University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002. Paperback, 2004.

Black British Writing: From Sancho to Prince. Co-Edited with Alan Richardson, Houghton-Mifflin, 2003.

African Travels . Editor, Volume 5 in the series Travels, Explorations, and Empires: Writings from the Era of Imperial Expansion, 1770-1835. Routledge, 2002.

Slavery, Abolition, and Emancipation: Writings in the British Romantic Period . Co-General Editor with Peter J. Kitson (Dundee). 8 Volumes. Routledge, June 1999.

The Emancipation of Slaves in the Colonies. Editor. Volume 3 in the series Slavery, Abolition, and Emancipation: Writings in the British Romantic Period. Routledge, June 1999.

Selected Awards and Honors

Scholar-Fellow, Black Earth Institute, 2018-2021.

Arctic Circle Artists Residency, International Territory of Svalbard, 2017.

NEH We the People Collaborative Research Grant for the Cultural History of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, 2010-2014.

Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), 2002-2005. Idaho Humanities Council Research Grant , 2007.

Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship for Slavery and the Romantic Imagination, 2003.

Teaching Award: Best Graduate Seminar (“Lifewriting”) English Graduate Students’ Organization, Washington State University, 2014.

Teaching Award: Most Supportive Faculty Member, English Graduate Students’ Organization, Washington State University, 2014.

Teaching Award: Best Graduate Seminar (“The Age of Wonder: Romanticism, Exploration and Science”) English Graduate Students’ Organization, Washington State University, 2010-2011.

Teaching Award: Best Graduate Seminar (“Romanticism, Science, Exploration”) English Graduate Students’ Organization, Washington State University, 2001-2002.

Graduate Students

Jenna Leeds, Queer Cryptographers: Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and Sarah Orne Jewett. December 2017.

Gwen Sullivan, “Women and the Timber Industry of Pierce, Idaho: A Memoir” (Creative Thesis, Creative Nonfiction), May 2013.

Scott Offutt, “’Exemplars of Memory and of Intellect’: Science as Art Form and Imperative in William Blake,” May 2012.

Susan Duba, Portfolio. May 2012.

Jenna Leeds, “Jane Austen’s Open Secret: Same-Sex Love in Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion,” 2011.

Hillary Roberts, “The Human Element: Wordsworth’s Ecological View of the Lakes and Their Inhabitants,” 2009.

Marc Schumann, “Hunting Nature: Picturesque Travel in Canada’s Maritime Region” (Creative Thesis Poetry and Essay Collection), 2009.

Ray Hanby, “The Coho Poems” (Creative Thesis, Poetry Collection), 2007.

Richard Lassiter, “Coleridge’s Christabel and Geraldine: Desire with Loathing Strangely Mixed,” 2007.

Victoria Arthur, “Eliza Haywood’s Imagined Narratives: Subversion in the Eighteenth Century Women’s Novel,” 2006.

Keely Kuhlman, “Transatlantic Travel and Cultural Exchange in the Early Colonial Era: The Hybrid American Female and Her New World Colony,” 2006.

Dometa Weigand, “On All Sides of Infinity: Astronomy and Literature in the Nineteenth-Century,” 2005.

Jessica Schubert, “Host and Hostage: Exchanges with the Other in Shelvocke’s Voyage Around the World,” 2005.

Rhonda Dietrich, “Eighteenth-and Nineteenth-Century Feminine Identity Construction Through Commodification of the Other,” 2005.

Dallen Rose,” John Cam Hobhouse’s Journey Through Albania: Contextualizing, Confirming, and Complicating Orientalism in the Levant,” 2003.

Christina Wygant, “A Comparison of John Gabriel Stedman’s 1790 and 1796 Narratives:  A Study of his Time in Surinam while Suppressing the Slave Revolt through an Exploration on Theories of Hegemony and the Foreign Female Black Body,” 2001.

Other Activities:

Co-Director, Visiting Writers Series, Washington State University
University Ombudsman, Washington State University
Director, The Selway-Bitterroot History Project
Editorial Board, NINES
Advisory Board, Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation