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Dr. Wes Berry
Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor
Office: Cherry Hall 110B
ENG 100 Introduction to College Writing
ENG 200 Introduction to Literature
ENG 321 American Studies: Land, Nature, Wilderness
ENG 392 Survey of American Literature II
ENG 395 Contemporary Literature
ENG 394 Kentucky Literature
ENG 495/G Southern Literature
ENG 534 Studies in Genre: Environmental Literature and Ecocriticism
ENG 596 Seminar in American Writers: Regionalism vs. Cosmopolitanism in Modern American Literature
environmental literature / social justice / eco-literacy, Southern studies, regional foodways
Wes Berry, a Barren County native, earned his undergraduate degree here at WKU and his PhD at The University of Mississippi. Before returning to WKU as a faculty member, he taught at Rockford College in upstate Illinois. Born in Horse Cave and raised in Glasgow, Dr. Berry cherishes the small-scaled farms, rolling hills, abundant rivers, and diverse forests of cave country Kentucky that have shaped his work ethic and imagination. His major literary focus is 20th century American literature, with an emphasis on environmental writing. He also teaches courses in Southern and Kentucky literature, and has taught special topics such as Literature, Culture, and Environment, a multidisciplinary environmental humanities course. He coordinates the Robert Penn Warren Center and serves as the Graduate Advisor for the English Department at WKU. In 2008, he taught one semester in the Sichuan province of China—the region with the spiciest food (which he loves).
One of Dr. Berry’s long-term interests is foodways, especially unique regional cuisines and also the connections between eating and ecology. He often organizes courses—like English 100 and 200—around food-related themes. In spring 2013, he will publish his first book, The Kentucky Barbecue Book, through the University Press of Kentucky--the first comprehensive study of the rich barbecue traditions of the Commonwealth. The book is informed by Berry’s three years of intensive travels in Kentucky, during which he visited 160 barbecue shacks, joints, restaurants and festivals--eating, interviewing pitmasters, and taking photos along the way.
In addition to teaching, advising, and writing, Dr. Berry is currently working with Bowling Green’s television station, WBKO, on a show spotlighting regional food, tourism, farms, and businesses. As the host of the local segment, he travels around the region and samples great food from mom and pop restaurants, rides zip lines, and interviews family farmers.
In an effort to eat closer to home, Dr. Berry and his wife Elisa are cultivating a diverse homestead on land that lays between the beautiful Green and Barren Rivers.