Associate Professor of English Laura Thiemann Scales teaches courses on American literature and culture; narrative theory; race, gender, and reform movements; and space and place. She has published articles on U.S. religious culture and narrative voice in journals including American Literary History and Literature Compass. As of 2023, she is working on a book project examining the influence of prophets and spirit-mediums on ideas of narrative selfhood in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


  • B.A., Yale University
  • M.A. and Ph.D., Harvard University

Courses Taught

  • American Gothic
  • Living American Literature
  • Race, Gender and Reform in Nineteenth-Century American Literature
  • Reading & Pleasure
  • Space, Place & Landscape
  • Telling Tales: Theories of Narrative
  • The Great American Novel

Awards & Accomplishments

  • Outstanding Faculty Service Award, Stonehill College
  • Faculty Senate President, Stonehill College
  • Project Lead, Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Social Justice, Stonehill College
  • Student Government Appreciation Award, Stonehill College
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, American Academy of Arts & Sciences
  • Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship, Institute for Citizens & Scholars
  • Helen Choate Bell Dissertation Prize, Harvard University
  • Bowdoin Prize, Harvard University

Selected Publications & Presentations

  • “‘The writing of the fruit of thy loins’: Reading, writing, and prophecy in the Book of Mormon,” in The Book of Mormon: Americanist Approaches, ed. Jared Hickman and Elizabeth Fenton (Oxford University Press, 2019).
  • “A New ‘Mormon Moment’? The Book of Mormon in Literary Studies,” Literature Compass 13.11 (November 2016).
  • “Narrative Revolutions in Nat Turner and Joseph Smith,” American Literary History 24.2 (May 2012).
  • “American Literary Gaslighting,” American Literature Association Conference, Boston, MA, May 26-28, 2023.
  • “Proof Texts and Narrative Co-Creation in Jarena Lee’s Autobiography.” Society for the Study of American Women Writers, Baltimore, MD, November 4-7, 2021.
  • “Really faking: Séances, Sentiment, and Realism in Howells and James,” American Literature Association, Boston, MA, July 7-11, 2021.
  • “Playing with Death: Truth and Reliability in Spiritualist Performance.” Narrative: An International Conference, Pamplona, Spain, May 30-June 1 2019.
  • “Hospitable Bodies: Spiritualism and Domestic Intrusion.” Society for the Study of American Women Writers, Denver, CO, November 7-11, 2018. 
  • “Du Bois, Nineteenth-Century Prophetic Culture, and the Anti-Liberal Literary Tradition.” C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico, March 22-25, 2018.
  • Panel organizer, “Audience Refusals in Religious Narrative.” Paper presented: “Improvisation, Heckling, and Spiritualist Performance.” Narrative: An International Conference, Louisville, KY, March 23-26, 2017.