York faculty member shares her thoughts on 'Downton Abbey'

Screen shot of the After Abbey show

Panelists on the television show "After Abbey" take a call from Ontario, Canada.

Credit: WPSU Television

Jennifer Nesbitt, an associate professor of English at Penn State York, isn’t just a fan of the popular PBS series “Downton Abbey,” she is considered an expert. Nesbitt, who has done numerous speaking engagements about the historical drama, is a regular guest on online podcasts recapping episodes every Monday with witf’s Fred Vigeant and Katie Lengyel.  Check out the podcasts here.

Coming up at 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1, Nesbitt will be the special guest on WPSU’s call-in show, “After Abbey,” with hosts Whitney Chirdon and Lindsey Whissel. Visit http://wpsx.psu.edu/tv/afterabbey/ to learn how to be a part of the conversations.

Nesbitt will give a talk on May 15 to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Penn State York.  During her presentation, Old Wives’ Tales? Hah! “Downton Abbey’s” Venerable Women, Nesbitt will review the events of season five and consider where the series creator, Julian Fellowes, took his characters, high and low in the year 1924.    Drawing on themes from literature and events in history, Nesbitt will consider plotlines and conflicts.  For more information on this engagement, contact OLLI at 717-771-4015 or visit their website.

A dedicated fan of “Downton Abbey,” Nesbitt calls the show” “Pride and Prejudice” meets “Dallas.”  She explains that “Downton” combines the soapy sexiness of “Dallas” with period drama, and further notes that people want to know what’s going to happen next to the characters wearing those gorgeous clothes.

As part of a statewide event, Speak Up for Libraries, Nesbitt spoke at the Quarryville Library, Quarryville, Pa., on Dec. 10, 2014, and shared “Old Wives’ Tales:  A Downton Abbey Season 5 Teaser.”  Her presentation revisited “Downton Abbey’s” early days and the estate’s role in World War I.  

Nesbitt has worked with witf in the past speaking about “Downton Abbey” and was a speaker at their preview, screening, and dinner on Dec. 17, 2014, at Cameron Inn & Estates in Mt. Joy, Pa.  She also spoke at their gala event in 2013.

A faculty member at Penn State York since 2003, Nesbitt teaches a variety of writing and literature courses, including first-year composition and rhetoric, introductory literature courses in the short story and women’s fiction, and upper level courses in literary theory, Caribbean literature, 20th century British literature, and women’s literature.  In 2005, Nesbitt published a book called “Narrative Settlements:  Geographies of British Women’s Fiction between Wars.”   She is also the adviser and the program coordinator for the bachelor of arts degree in English at Penn State York, and the discipline coordinator in English for the Penn State University College campuses.

In addition to her work on women writers, she is writing about rum as a symbol in Caribbean literature and James Cameron’s 2009 film “Avatar.”  In 2010-11, Nesbitt served as an Institute of Arts and Humanities (IAH) Resident Scholar at University Park.   This was the first time a faculty member from York has been named an IAH Resident Scholar since the program began in 2003-04.

She earned an undergraduate degree in history and literature in 1987 from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a doctorate in English with a certificate in women’s studies in 1999 from Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. She is originally from Winchester, Massachusetts.