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AB Harvard University 1998
PhD University of Virginia 2009

In research and in teaching, Jim Cocola focuses on intersections between geography and the humanities, primarily in the field of modern and contemporary American literature and culture. His most recent study examines place making in American poetry and poetics through a comparative, multiethnic, and transnational lens. His newest project reflects on cultural production by Americans and others of Mediterranean descent, looking mainly at literary and visual artifacts. He is also interested in experiential and experimental forms of writing. Professor Cocola's primary teaching opportunities have occurred in literary studies, but he also offers courses in American studies, creative writing, film studies, and media studies, and he has advised student projects sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society and the Worcester Art Museum. In all of these cases he has been drawn to discourses and methods in critical theory and digital humanities. Teaching allows Professor Cocola to be in thought with others; teaching at WPI allows him to be in thought with creative, dynamic, and innovative students who are eager to test their sense of the world.

Scholarly Work

"Poetry: The 1950s to the Present," in American Literary Scholarship 2013, ed. Gary Scharnhorst (Durham: Duke University Press, 2015): 373-401.
Places in the Making: A Cultural Geography of American Poetry (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2016).
"Regarding the 'Idle Gleam' of W.S. Merwin's 'Low Fields and Light.'" The Explicator 73.2 (Spring 2015): 51-54.
"Mediterranean Americans to Themselves," in Redirecting Ethnic Singularity: Italian Americans and Greek Americans in Conversation, ed. Yiorgos Anagnostou, Yiorgos Kalogeras, and Theodora Patrona (New York: Fordham University Press, 2022): 72-102.
"Stanley Kunitz's Cracked Vocation." Studies in American Jewish Literature 34.1 (Spring 2015): 134-153.
"Lifting the Color Curtain with the Clemente Course in the Humanities," in Public Scholarship in Literary Studies, ed. Rachel Arteaga and Rosemary Johnsen (Amherst: Amherst College Press, 2021): 90–111.
Professional Highlights & Honors
Binienda Center Community Engagement Award
Worcester State University
Romeo L. Moruzzi Young Faculty Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education
Helen Tartar First Book Subvention Prize
American Comparative Literature Association
Resident Fellow
Academic Fellow
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center