Washington Signature
[ Search and Navigation ]   [ View Full Site ]


Crystal Kurzen

Visiting Assistant Professor of English

Crystal M. Kurzen earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Anderson University, a small liberal arts college in central Indiana, and went on from there to work in the publishing industry for Bantam Dell in New York City for a few years before returning to graduate school. She earned a M.A. from The Ohio State University in Comparative Studies where she taught introductory courses on literature and writing in the humanities and began her research on autobiography studies. She most recently earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in English and Mexican American Studies. Currently, she teaches courses in composition as well as contemporary ethnic American literatures. 


  • Ph.D. in English & Mexican American Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 2011
  • M.A. in Comparative Studies, The Ohio State University, 2004
  • B.A. in English & Spanish, summa cum laude, Anderson University, 1999

Honors and Affiliations

  • Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship, Department of English, Washington College, 2012-2015
  • Presidential Excellence Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of English, University of Texas at Austin, 2011-2012
  • Outstanding Graduate Assistant Instructor, Department of English, University of Texas at Austin, 2010
  • Florence Durrett Endowed Presidential Scholarship, University of Texas at Austin, 2009-2010
  • Annette Kolodny Award, The Women’s Caucus for the Modern Languages, Modern Language Association Conference, 2009
  • Modern Language Association
  • The Autobiography Society

Research and Teaching Areas

  • Chican@ Literature & Latin@ Literatures
  • 20th & 21st Century Ethnic American Literatures
  • Life Narrative & Autobiography Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Composition

Published Work (Peer-Reviewed)

“Towards a Native American Women’s Autobiographical Tradition: Genre as Political Practice.” The Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literatures. Eds. James H. Cox and Daniel Heath Justice. New York: Oxford UP, 2014. 202-14.

“Pat Mora’s Literary Nepantla: Blueprints for a Word-House Refuge.” a/b: Auto/Biography Studies 26.2 (Winter 2011): 342-63.

Work in Progress

Literary Nepantla: Genre and Method in Contemporary Chicana/o Life Narratives (A study that focuses on the ways in which contemporary Chicana/os, such as Sheila Ortiz Taylor, Sandra Ortiz Taylor, Pat Mora, Michele Serros, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Denise Chávez, relate self and community from the liminal spaces of nepantla through multi-textual, multigeneric modes based primarily in strategies of reconceptualizing conventional autobiography.)