Russell A. Potter, Ph.D.

Professor of English
Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island  

Education: Ph.D., Brown University; M.A., Syracuse University; B.A. The Evergreen State College.

Teaching areas: Victorian literature and visual culture, History of Arctic exploration, History of Media, Hip-hop culture, Linguistics, Literary theory.  For details, please see my online curriculum vitae.

Current Courses

ENGL 261: Arctic Encounters (Spring 2023) (blog)

ENGL 315: Literature, Evironment, and Ecocriticism (Spring 2023) (blog)

ENGL 460: The Ends of Exploration (blog)

ENGL 560: Visual Culture from the Victorians to the Moderns (blog)




1. Arctic History / Victorian Visual Culture

My website about Sir John Franklin's lost Arctic expedition of 1845 includes an on-line museum of images of Arctic exploration from the 1850's through the 1920's. You can also visit the websites for my books, Arctic Spectacles: The Frozen North in Visual Culture, 1818-1870, (University of Washington Press, 2007), Finding Franklin: The Untold Story of a 165-year Search (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2016), May We Be Spared to Meet on Earth: Letters of the Lost Franklin Arctic Expedition (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2022) or drop by my blog, Visions of the North, where I post current news and reviews on Arctic exploration in books, films, and other media.

Looking for reviews of current books on Polar topics?  Drop by the Arctic Book Review, which I edit.


2. Fiction

My novel, PYG: The Memoirs of a Learned Pig was published in 2011 in the UK by Canongate Books. The US edition came out in 2012 from Penguin. Learn more about the novel on my blog.


3. Victorian Popular Culture / Web Biographies

The preliminary version of my site about the history of that uncanny behemoth, the Crystal Palace (1851-1936) is now online; it also includes my research page on television pioneer John Logie Baird, whose test transmissions originated from the South Tower of the Palace.

I'm currently compiling a series of mini-sites about various odd Victorian characters, among them the writer Henry Morley and Inspector Charles Frederick Field, as well as other figures from the history of Scotland Yard. I also have pages with short web biographies of other figures of particular interest, among them the scholar-mountaineer (and RIC alumna) Annie Smith Peck (1850-1935), Rev. Thomas H. Cocroft (an early Rector of the Church of the Messiah in Olneyville, whose Rectory, built in 1886, is my present home), as well as Garrett Augustus Morgan, the African-American inventor widely credited with inventing the automatic traffic signal and the gas-mask.


Friends and Colleagues

My friend Mary Cappello's book Swallow details the curious career of Dr. Chevalier Jackson, a man who extracted (and saved) thousands of swallowed objects from his patients.

Michael Robinson's blog, Time to Eat The Dogs, covers exploration, Arctic and otherwise, with Úlan.

Jonathan Dore, whose superlative copyediting has saved me from many a gaffe, has a page about his professional editorial services.

My friends Huw Lewis-Jones and Kari Herbert's publishing venture Polarworld, offers some of the most gorgeous pictorial polar books to be found today.  


These Pages maintained by Russell A. Potter. The sites linked from individual faculty/staff pages are created and maintained by individual faculty/staff members at Rhode Island College.  It is the policy of this college to abide by and follow federal and state laws. RIC faculty/staff pages represent individual views and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or policies of the college. The college is not responsible for the content of these pages or any links that you may follow from any individual faculty/staff page.