- College Connections Stories
Get to know Ari Friedlander
Ari Friedlander, an Assistant Professor of English, is distinctly approachable and passionate about his work. His passion is infectiously enthusiastic, and every part of our conversation made me want to learn more about his research and teaching in Renaissance English literature and gender and sexuality studies. Ari had a desire to be a professor of literature from an early age. In high school, he thrived in the literature classroom’s emphasis on textual explication and interpretation.
"I found the intellectual challenge of literary analysis to be deeply satisfying." Ari tells me. This love of literature and scholarly discussion led him to Columbia University where he earned a B.A in English literature. At Columbia, Ari discovered the pleasure of engaging in the scholarly exchange of ideas, founding the undergraduate academic journal, "The Columbia Journal of Literary Criticism, which the undergraduates there continue to publish today." His commitment to scholarship brought him to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he earned his doctorate in English Language and Literature. Before joining the University of Dayton this year, Ari was a Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Davis.
Whether he is teaching or researching, Ari most enjoys discussing literature with other impassioned people. "I love debating with students, because it is in the exchange of ideas that students – and their teachers – can change and grow." Ari said.
When he isn't in the classroom stirring up discussions of literature and cultural studies, he can be found in the kitchen, stirring up a tasty new dish. He loves to roast, braise, and sauté, while his soups and pasta dishes are often inspired by his favorite celebrity chiefs, Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich. Though he enjoys cooking, he professes no knowledge of baking because, as he says, "Baking is a different kind of skill."
This taste for life is reflected in Ari's love of travel, since his favorite part of traveling is soaking up different foods and cultures. Ari tries to rent flats rather than to stay in hotels because he believes that experiencing life like the people that live there is vital to understanding a place more fully. Ari has been to London, Italy, France, Amsterdam, and has plans to visit Berlin in 2015. He would love to travel to Spain, India, Japan, Scotland and Ireland. At the same time, Ari loves exploring Dayton’s culinary scene; he can often be spotted at enjoying Columbian arepas at the Second Street Market, or an espresso at Press in the Oregon district.
No matter where he is, one of his favorite hobbies is reading murder mysteries, especially by foreign writers. If Ari had all the time in the world, his days would be filled with reading and studying, and his nights would be spent at various London theaters.
Ari is a passionate, loyal, patient, and open-minded person who finds teaching to be one of the greatest pursuits of his life. He encourages students to "trust their instincts when it comes to learning, because their instincts lead them to learn about things that excite them." He tells students, "My job is to help you develop your own insights, and to help you learn to help you find your intellectual voice." Ari Friedlander is an enthusiastic new voice in the Department of English here at the University of Dayton.