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Keli Masten completed her PhD in English at Western Michigan University, specializing in the study of American and British literature, particularly the gothic, the detective story, and the early United States through 1945. She also has a strong interest in Black American and New American/Immigrant literatures. She is a lifelong resident of the Grand Rapids area of Michigan and enjoys engaging with local history. She was awarded a 2019 King-Chavez-Parks fellowship due to her 10 years of excellence in university-level instruction and commitment to diversity in education. She also received the 2018 All-University Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Award at WMU after receiving the English Department's Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Award in 2017. The product of one of her pet lines of research, "Cherchez la Femme: A Good Woman’s Place in Hard-Boiled Detective Fiction” (2018), was published in Clues: A Journal of Detection and also won her the Edward Galligan Memorial Award in American Literary Scholarship. Her dissertation, entitled "'Called Forth by Imminent Dangers': The American Gothic in Mysteries of Detection and Detective Fiction (1799-1929)," argues that American detective fiction grows out of the gothic literary tradition. Her current research includes work on poet Angelina Weld Grimké and mystery/detective author Anna Katharine Green.

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