Dr. Leslie McAbee

Dr. Leslie McAbeeMarquette University

Marquette Hall, 226

MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America

Teaching Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow to the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences


In both my pedagogy and my research, I explore the cultural, philosophical, and environmental conditions that make possible understanding and collaboration across difference. In my courses, I approach composition and literary analysis as a communal process, developing students as adaptable communicators capable of sharing ideas strategically in academic and public settings. My aim is to connect students meaningfully to their classmates, campus, and city through community-engaged learning, real-world assignments, and peer review.

My research has similarly explored themes of uncommon connection and relationships, examining late nineteenth-century texts that question notions of exoticism and foreignness and posit a global sense of belonging. From explorer Paul du Chaillu’s discomfort in finding kinship in the gorillas he hunted to the mysterious yet complex consciousness of Emily Dickinson’s big cats, I suggest that some authors of the nineteenth century tentatively—sometimes playfully—investigate the surety of the human-animal divide that underpins categorical and hierarchical thinking.

Before joining the Marquette community, I served as the inaugural director of the Center for Community Engagement at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee. In this role, I connected student groups, courses, and faculty with community-based organizations, supporting all parties in growing mutually beneficial and sustainable relationships. After relocating to Milwaukee, I continued my community engagement work as the community outreach coordinator for the All of Us Research Program at the UW-Madison Center for Community Engagement and Health Partnerships in Milwaukee—work that has allowed me to be present in this city, to learn its social justice journey. I’m thrilled to join the Marquette community and its mission to contribute to a more just local and global community.


  • BA, English and Romance Languages, University of Georgia
  • PhD, English and Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Research Interests

  • American literature
  • Nineteenth-century Studies
  • Animal Studies
  • Transatlantic literature
  • Community Engaged Learning


  • “Through the Tiger’s Eye: Constructing Animal Exoticism in Emily Dickinson’s ‘Big Cat’ Poems.” The Emily Dickinson Journal. 26:1, 2017, pp. 1-26.

Additional Information

Office Hours

Spring 2024

  • MWF 3:00-4:30
  • Tues - Virtual via Teams and by appointment

Teaching Schedule

Spring 2024

  • 1955H/901 MWF 12:00-12:50 Lalumiere Hall 384
    • Honors First-Year Seminar
  • 1955H/902 MWF 2:00-2:50 Lalumiere Hall 384
    • Honors First-Year Seminar

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Department of English
Marquette Hall, 115
1217 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414) 288-7179

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