About Me

Jennifer Nesbitt.  Photo credit:  Barb Dennis.I’m an associate professor of English at Penn State York, where I’ve been teaching since 2003.  We’re a small campus, so I get to know lots of students by teaching a variety of writing and literature classes, including first-year composition and rhetoric, introductory literature classes in the short story and women’s fiction, and upper-level courses in literary theory, Caribbean literature, twentieth-century British literature, and women’s literature.

I am also currently the adviser and the program coordinator for the English program at Penn State York, and the discipline coordinator in English for the Penn State University College campuses.

Most recently, I’ve been lecturing and podcasting about the hit PBS series Downton Abbey.  It’s been a pleasure to share my knowledge of and love for this period with larger audiences, and I hope to have many opportunities to continue.  During the broadcast of Season 5 (premiering January 4, 2015), you can catch me online on Mondays, speaking with witf’s Fred Vigeant and Katie Lengyel about each week’s episode.  Below are links to the 2014 podcasts and to an interview I did with Radio Times last year.

witf Downton Podcasts:  http://www.witf.org/talks/

Radio Times interview:  http://whyy.org/cms/radiotimes/2014/01/10/all-things-downton-abbey/

Season 5 scheduled appearances:


My current research project is called “Rum Histories,” a study of rum as a symbol in novels from the Caribbean Basin, the U.S., the U. K. and Canada.  In 2005, I published a book called Narrative Settlements:  Geographies of British Women’s Fiction between the Wars, in which I studied how women writers in Great Britain used iconic locations to investigate the changing role of women in England and the ways that change might reshape England’s territorial sovereignty.  I’ve also published on African and African-American fiction and detective fiction.  In spring 2015, The Journal of the Sylvia Townsend Warner Society will publish an essay about my use of Warner’s novel Lolly Willowes in the classroom.

When I’m not in the office, you can find me running or biking the rail trail, on the tennis courts . . . or reading, of course.