This Week in English | October 21 – 27, 2019

I’d like to begin today’s Bulletin with a note of gratitude to English major Katherine Reardon, who sacrificed the better part of a beautiful Saturday morning to meeting with prospective students and their parents at the Open House that took place over the weekend. Reardon’s nuanced account of her experiences as a first year student, a member of the Honors College, a major concentrating in Professional and Technical Writing, an advisee of Caroline Bicks, and a future student abroad (Ireland in the spring) was greatly appreciated both by our visitors—who hailed from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Maine—and by me: thanks, Katherine!

Hollie Adams in the New Writing Series on Thursday

Our new English Department colleague in Creative Writing, Hollie Adams, will read from her fiction in the New Writing Series this Thursday at 4:30 in the Fernald APPE Space (Stewart Commons 104). Adams is teaching the graduate workshop in fiction this fall along with a 300-level course on Canadian Literature. She is a faculty affiliate with the Canadian-American Center, which is one of the leading institutes for the study of Canada in the United States.   

Carla Billitteri Lecture on Black Poetics on Thursday 

Earlier in the day on Thursday, Carla Billitteri will share her current research on critical race theory and poetics, identity practices, ethical and affective structures of reading in her talk “Satire, Negation, and Conditional Futurity in Black Poetics.”  Billitteri will discuss the work of Claudia Rankine (NWS S’09), Douglas Kearny,  Dawn Lundy-Martin, and Simone White. The presentation, which is part of the Socialist and Marxist Studies Lecture Series, takes place at from 12:30-1:45 in the Bangor Room.

Caroline Bicks at Blackfriars Shakespeare Center

Caroline Bicks, now in her third year as the Stephen E. King Chair of English, is spending this week at the Blackfriars Conference, hosted by the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA. The conference brings together scholars and practitioners to explore Shakespeare on the page and the stage. Bicks will be working with ASC actors to present her talk: “#MarinaToo: Staging the Repressed in Pericles.” She hopes that she will not run over her allotted 13 minutes—an aberration punished by the presenter having to exit the stage pursued by a bear.

MA Candidate Keaton Studebaker at Lacan Conference

First-year Master’s degree candidate Keaton Studebaker was among the scholars who presented at the Lacan Conference and Book Launch hosted by the psychology department at Duquesne University in Pittsburg, October 11-13, 2019. The full program and draft abstracts are archived at the conference’s website. Studebaker presented on “Psychotic Landscapes” at the 2:15 panel on Saturday.

Brucher and Rotter-Weller at Arthur Miller Conference

Retired English professor Dick Brucher and first-year MA candidate Nicholas Rotter-Weller both presented at the 13th International Arthur Miller Conference (scroll down), sponsored by The Arthur Miller Society at Ashland University John C. Myers Convocation Center in Ashland, Ohio from October 18-20, 2019. Brucher’s paper was “Convicts on the Loose in Miller’s All My Sons and Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman.” Rotter-Weller’s paper was “Fascism and Miller’s A View from the Bridge.” 

Writing Center Update

 Our Writing Center tutors are busy tutoring across disciplines and coordinating workshops with Director, Paige Mitchell

 On October 7, peer-tutors Anna Kulinski and Nolan Altvater co-conducted a philosophy of education workshop for thirty students in Dr. Susan Bennett-Armistead and Dean Timothy Reagan’s Department of Education course. Altvater volunteered to have Mitchell read his work aloud to model how tutorials are conducted; Kulinski and Mitchell networked around the room helping students engage with critical questions and strategic reading aloud techniques. 

 On October 8, Dan Pullman’s graduate students in Human Development attended an APA workshop with their IRB research projects. 

 On October 16, peer tutors Brook Curtis and Anna Kulinski co-facilitated a workshop in transitioning thesis proposals into first drafts with twenty Honors 111 students in Dr. Rachel Snell’s preceptorials. Curtis volunteered to have Mitchell read her work aloud to model metacognitive commentary, and Kulinski and Curtis networked around the room helping students engage with critical questions and strategic reading aloud techniques. 

“Others, Othering, and Othello” on November 6

On November 6, the Stephen E. King Chair is sponsoring a community workshop on “Others, Othering, and Othello” from 5:30-7:30 in the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre. 

In this performance-based workshop, we will explore the characters of Othello, and the ways in which they “Other” one another. How do race, gender, religion, and class function in the play, and what can we learn by getting on our feet and exploring some scenes from one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies together? We will dig into the meaning of the text by considering its metrical and rhetorical components, and then move out to the broader context of performing Othello in today’s environs. No need to read anything in advance. Just come ready to play and to be played to by professional actor Cordell Cole and American Shakespeare Center education director, Sarah Enloe. Note: Due to the mature subject matter of the play, this workshop is not recommended  for children under the age of 14.

McGillicuddy Fellow Connor Ferguson Presents December 6

Senior English major Connor Ferguson will present his McGillicuddy Fellowship project, “Queering the Fin de Siecle,” on December 6th, 2019 from 2-4pm in the Writing Center. This project focuses on the importance of queer identities in the modernist era of literature, the way industrialization and globalization affected queer individuals, and also how the metaphorical “closet” is constructed both by society and by personal anxieties, particularly related to Virginia Woolf’s novels and Wilfred Owen’s poetry. 

Author and Alum Stephanie Mulligan Acknowledges Rogers

Children’s book author and UMaine alumna Stephanie Mulligan is the subject of a recent profile on UMaine News. In answer to the question, “Did any of your UMaine professors influence the writing of the book?” Mulliigan acknowledges the mentorship of our own Deborah Rogers:

Even though she didn’t set out to write a children’s book when she wrote the poem that would become “How to Catch a Keeper,” looking back, Mulligan says there were hints of what was to come during her time at UMaine. She remembers a creative writing class taught by English professor Deborah Rogers, who told her, “I think you’re going to write a book someday.” Mulligan also has a fond memory of meeting the late Passamaquoddy elder and children’s book author Allen Sockabasin in a class taught by Jane Wellman-Little, a lecturer in literacy education.


Best wishes as we embark on the second half of the semester, everyone.


This Week in English 65 was sent to faculty, students, and friends of the department on Monday, October 21, 2019. If you would rather not receive these weekly bulletins, please reply with <unsubscribe> in your subject line. Earlier installments are archived on our website.

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