As an academic, I study how literature and other forms of media work as a space of pedagogical thinking and practice for human rights and social justice. I am fascinated with how students have been pivotal cultural figures of social change and the impetus for critical, feminist, and decolonial pedagogies across the Americas. (As the great Chilean folklorist and composer Violeta Parra wrote, “¡Que vivan los estudiantes, jardín de las alegrías!” or loosely translated, “Long live our students, nursery of our joys!”) I put these interests into practice by approaching the classroom as a collaborative pedagogical space between teachers and learners. To borrow from the words of Gloria Anzaldúa: learning occurs in our processes of crossing, in our travesías. The study of literature and culture helps us develop “a tolerance for contradictions, a tolerance for ambiguity.”

During my career as an educator, I have taught courses on composition, Video Games as Literature, Literature of Migration, Exploration, and Exile, Literature of the Americas, and creative writing for incarcerated women. I’ve also enjoyed supporting and training teachers with the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, Teach for America: Philadelphia, and at the Bronx Expeditionary Learning High School (Bronx Collegiate Academy).


Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a Minor in Latin American Studies, Penn State University (August 2018)

M.S.T. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Pace University (2009).

B.A. in Mythology and Folklore (Self-Determined), Skidmore College (2007)

Molly D. Appel

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