Meet a Tiger: Walt Hunter
For many Clemson English students, this Tiger is thought of as not only an educator, but as a beloved lifelong friend. His office is home to deep, rich conversations that span from school-related topics, to those that pass beyond the confines of a classroom.
This Tiger believes that a thriving intellectual community is key to a university’s success and he’s proud to be a part of that community.
Meet Walt Hunter.
Title: Assistant professor of world literature and director of undergraduate studies for the English department
Years at Clemson: Five
What I do at Clemson: I teach classes in 20th-century and contemporary literature, global studies, and literary theory. I also direct the BA program for English, which means that I’m in daily contact with a lot of students. Universities are tough things to navigate right now, with complex demands that differ immensely from student to student. They can be especially difficult for first-generation college students, for women, for LGBTQ and trans students, for students with different abilities, and for students of color. I’m someone I hope all students can talk to about their ideas, their confusions and passions, their anxieties and hopes for the future. And I sign course substitution forms.
What I love about Clemson: I love the community I have here with my colleagues, students, and staff. My favorite memories tend to happen in the classroom, when a discussion makes me think about a novel or a poem in a new way. I’m teaching an elective on the topic of friendship next semester. We’ll read everything from Plato and Montaigne to Elena Ferrante’s amazing novel My Brilliant Friend. This course was really inspired by my students and colleagues here and at other places I’ve taught: I think of my classes as workshops in intellectual friendship. I guess those friendships—here; at UVA where I began teaching; and at Deep Springs College, where I sometimes teach in the summer—are my favorite and most enduring memories.
Accomplishment I’m most proud of: I’ve just finished a book, Forms of a World: Contemporary Poetry and the Making of Globalization. It comes out in print next fall. I’ve been working on it for about five years — it started as my dissertation. The book follows a bunch of contemporary poets who have been reclaiming certain older forms of poetry in order to think about large-scale, global processes like citizenship, climate change, and dispossessions of all sorts. I’ve also co-translated, with Lindsay Turner, a book by the French philosopher Frédéric Neyrat, Atopias: Manifesto for a Radical Existentialism. I was especially honored when students chose me as Faculty Member of the Year last year for the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.
Where I see myself in five years: I want to continue writing, traveling, and talking about books and ideas with friends. More broadly, I’d like to be able to work with students, faculty, administrators, and staff members to rediscover a vision for the public university that actively directs the resources of the university towards the public good and the community. In that context, I see myself advocating for and working with those who are in the most precarious positions in the university.
Last thing I watched on TV: Too many things. I love TV. Insecure, Big Little Lies (my favorite), Downward Dog, Superstore, Top of the Lake’s second season, Happy Valley, Atlanta. Stranger Things, of course. Any cooking show.
Guilty pleasure: Hanging out on the couch with my terrier, Sadie. Finding a new place to hike in the North Carolina mountains. Going to Asheville or Athens for music.
One thing people don’t know about you: I totally binge-watched Community, which I guess is impressive since it’s like six seasons long.
Want to nominate a colleague to be featured in Meet a Tiger? Contact Jackie Todd at email@example.com.