Dr. Keith Fynaardt Professor of English and Department Chair; Humanities Director; First-Year Seminar Coordinator


Ph.D., Northern Illinois University
M.A., Iowa State University
B.A., Dordt College

VPH 122

Dr. Fynaardt’s research—and life—explores the intersection of agriculture and the humanities. In addition to writing and teaching about modern agriculture’s impact on Midwestern croplands and communities, he also is restoring a historic Sioux County farm. His work has led to the development of courses like Literature of the Agricultural Imagination and Writing the Farm. His other scholarly interests are narrative nonfiction writing, contemporary American literature and film, and the agri-business industry. Fynaardt held the Northwestern College Endowed Professorship from 2001 to 2006.

ENG347 - American Literature II

A study of prose and poetry in the United States from the Civil War until the present. The course will study works by realists (including regionalists) and modernists, as well as contemporary writers. Prerequisite: ENG250LC. (4 credits, alternate years, consult department)

ENG380 - Special Topics in Writing

Specific subject matter of this course will vary from semester to semester, but will always focus on an issue in composition studies or a genre of writing. Courses will include both readings and student writing within the genre and will be designed to welcome both majors and non-majors. Note: The course may be taken more than once as long as the topic of study is different. Prerequisite: ENG290WI or ENG292 or permisson of the instructor. (2-4 credits)

ENG385 - Literature of Place

Some writers are especially interested in the ways people transform places and the ways places influence people. The elements of a place--the mountain ranges, shopping malls, grasslands, forests, migratory patterns of animals, rush of automobiles, or the portals of cyber-places-- shape the imagination. This course examines significant literary works, especially non-fiction, that explore the relationship between persons and places. In particular, we will examine the tension between the writer's need to construct definitions of "home places" and how the places themselves respond to human "home making." Prerequisite: ENG250LC (4 credits, alternate years, consult department)

“The Presence of Siouxland.” South Dakota Review. Vol. 38:3, Fall 2000. (Reprinted in Arete an on-line journal of Dordt College, May 2001).

“‘What I stand for is what I stand on’: Prepositions in Wendell Berry’s Poetry of Cultivation.” The Journal of Kentucky Studies. Vol. 12, 1995.

“The Spirit of Place as a Usable Past in William Cullen Bryant’s ‘The Prairies.’“ Midamerica: The Yearbook of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature. Vol. XXI, 1994.

Book Notice. Mapping the Farm by John Hildebrand. Annals of Iowa. Vol. 61:3, Summer 2002.

“The Farm and the Future.” Perspectives. September 2001.

“Troublesome Creek, A Midwestern.” Film review essay with Joey Earl Horstman. Perspectives. January 1998.

Letter to the Editor. PMLA Forum. Vol. 111.1, January 1996.

“Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres: A Snake in the Garden.” Modern Language Association of America, December 1995, Chicago, Illinois.

“Douglas Unger’s Leaving the Land: Elegy for a Family Farm.” 27th Annual Dakota History Conference, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 3 June 1995.

“Garrison Keillor’s Radio Days: The Electronic Christian Community.” Conference on Christianity and Literature, Greenville College, Greenville, Illinois, 31 March 1995.

Core competency testing team, Northern Illinois University, 1992-95

Graduate teaching assistant, Northern Illinois University, 1991-95

Graduate teaching assistant, Iowa State University, 1989-91.

Agriculture and Human Values Society

Practical Farmers of Iowa

Friends of the Land Institute

Endowed Professorship, Northwestern College, 2001-06

Dissertation Fellowship, Northern Illinois University, 1995-96