60 Seconds With Peter Molin

The U.S. Studies Online 60 Seconds interview feature offers a short and informal introduction to a postgraduate, academic or non-academic specialist working in the American and Canadian Studies field or a related American and Canadian Studies association. 

In the past you may have spent 60 seconds with the Executive Committee of the British Association for American Studies (BAAS), the organisers of the 2014 postgraduate BAAS conference, our first contributors, and before that the lovely (ahem) U. S. Studies Online Editorial team. To usher in a new series of 60 seconds interviews for 2015 we have invited contemporary war literature experts Assistant Professor Aaron DeRosa (California State Polytechnic University), Assistant Professor Peter Molin (Rutgers University) and Associate Professor Patrick Deer (New York University) to tell us a little bit more about themselves and their expertise.

DeRosa, Molin and Deer will lead our January #Bookhour discussion on Phil Klay’s REDEPLOYMENT on the 27th January 2015, 9-10pm GMT. 


Where are you right now?

A coffee shop just off the Rutgers University campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.

If you could time-travel to observe one moment in the history of America, where would you go?

Baltimore, Maryland, October 1833, when Edgar Allan Poe was notified that he was the winner of a Saturday Morning Visiter prize for best short story, an event that brought Poe out of obscurity and yet still marked by mystery and questions.

Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?

Herman Melville, James Joyce, Walter Benjamin, Jack Kerouac, and Patti Smith. If they couldn’t make it, then their spouses, and if not their spouses, then the authors’ biographers.

You’re stranded on a desert island, but luckily you pre-empted it. Which book do you take with you?


What has been your most memorable career moment so far?

Besides being asked to participate in a U.S. Studies Online 60 Seconds Twitter chat??? In order: Completing my dissertation, first scholarly publication, hosting readings at the Strand Bookstore, New York City, and the Old Stone House, Brooklyn—two historical sites saturated with literary history.

What advice would you give to early career academics?

Trust that your program, teachers, and advisors are exposing you to ideas, books, authors, and writing projects that will prepare you well for future scholarship and professional success.

What is the most exciting thing you have planned in the next six months?

Teaching interesting classes this semester while continuing my post-Army search for employment and a permanent place to live.

How did you come to your current area of research?

My own military deployment to Afghanistan in 2008-2009 inspired me to begin reading contemporary war literature. I started my blog Time Now: The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars in Art, Film, and Literature to publicize great work and initiate conversations on the subject.

What profession other than academia would you like to attempt?

Veterans affairs, whether in the community, workplace, health system, or higher education.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

Be honest; how long has it been there?

Ouch, long time! My wife and I were reading it together but we’ve bogged down.

About Peter Molin

Peter Molin is a former US Army infantry officer who now teaches at Rutgers University in New Jersey. While in uniform, Molin taught English at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, for ten years, serving as first-year composition course director for four. In 2008-2009, he deployed to Afghanistan, where he served as an advisor to Afghan National Army units in Khost and Paktya provinces. Molin also served overseas in South Korea; the Sinai, Egypt; and Kosovo. The holder of degrees from Indiana University (PhD), the University of California-Berkeley (MA), and the University of Virginia (BA), he has published in academic journals and presented at conferences in the fields of contemporary war literature, American antebellum literature, and composition and rhetoric. Molin blogged about his Afghanistan deployment at 15-Month Adventure (petermolin.wordpress.com) and currently blogs about contemporary war literature, photography, art, and film at Time Now (acolytesofwar.com). You can follow him on Twitter at @TimeNowBlog (war art-and lit-related) and @PeteMolin (everything else).
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