Faye Halpern teaches nineteenth-century American literature, including courses on the slave narrative, American literary realism, the American literature survey, and literary theory. She encourages students to develop their own distinctive interpretations of what they read.
Her book, Sentimental Readers: The Rise, Fall, and Revival of a Disparaged Rhetoric (University of Iowa Press, 2013) puts nineteenth-century American sentimental women authors like Harriet Beecher Stowe and Louisa May Alcott in the context of the professional male orators of the time as a way to makes sense of the strange properties of sentimental rhetoric. The book then uses those strange properties to explore contemporary issues in writing pedagogy and literary criticism. She has also published articles in College English, Narrative, WPA: Writing Program Administration, and others.
Her current project, tentatively titled, "The Afterlife of Emotions: Frederick Douglass, The Rise of Realism, and the Problem of Narrating Emotion," explores, on one hand, what happens to sentimentality in later nineteenth-century America by examining how Douglass and the realists adapt sentimental rhetoric in their work. It also meditates on how contemporary literary critics can offer a fuller account of the emotional lives of nineteenth-century American literary texts.
She is also co-editor of ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature.