This Week in English | December 16 – 22, 2019

End of Semester Projects in Three English Classes

Students in English 355: Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Satire, and Poetry with Deborah Rogers just wrapped up their “Wikipedia Editing Marathon.” According to Rogers, “This was the class’s chance to shine, and shine they did! Students worked on Wikipedia pages for many of the authors we’ve studied. They did everything from correcting mistakes to adding links, citations, and content (biographical and bibliographical details, historical information, critical responses, themes, characterization).  We were excited to contribute to the field!”

Students in English 490: Subversion & Transformation in Virginia Woolf and Rebecca West with Laura Cowan concluded their semester with discussions of West’s 1,200 page masterpiece, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941). Students examined the sources of violence in twentieth-century culture and explored art’s role in politics and culture. A scathing indictment of centuries of imperialism and colonization in the former-Yugoslavia, the book can be read as a feminist epic of Western culture in the twentieth century.  

In English 545 with Naomi Jacobs, students are bringing to completion seminar papers on a variety of topics, including:

  • The power of women’s friendships in Sarah Orne Jewett (Martin Conte)
  • Dialect and racism in Charles Chesnutt and Joel Chandler Harris (Kaitlyn Hanson)
  • Regional Instability in Cather’s My Antonia (Matt Hammond)
  • “Natured” Nurture and Gender in My Antonia (Stephen Krichels)
  • Isabel’s developing conception of travel in The Portrait of a Lady (Kyle Manning)
  • Epistemic Disobedience in Sarah Winnemucca and Zitkala-Sa (Ben Markey)
  • Conjure folk and medicine men in Charles Chesnutt and Zitkala-Sa (Jonah Parris)
  • The soldier and the seafarer: An analysis of masculinity in Howells’ “Editha” and London’s The Sea-Wolf (Tyler Tallmadge)  

Michael Swacha to Present at MLA in January

Michael Swacha recently joined our part-time faculty after earning his doctorate at Duke with a dissertation on Modernist Form: On the Problem of Fragmentation. On January 10, 2020, Swacha is slated to participate on a panel on “The Frankfurt School and Psychoanalysis” at the annual conference of the Modern Languages Association, held this year in Seattle. Swacha’s paper is titled: “Narrative Form and the Relations of Being: Exploring the Intersection of Lacan, Adorno, and Henry James.” Other panelists include Andrew Parker (Rutger) presenting on Walter Benjamin; Greg Forster (U of South Carolina) presenting on Herbert Marcuse, Benjamin, and Zoë Wicomb; and Dina Al-Kassim (U of British Columbia) on Wilhelm Reich, Theodor Adorno, and “inscriptions of indigeneity.”

Rezendes Ethics Essay Competition 

This year the Honors College is once again sponsoring the Rezendes Ethics Essay Competition which encourages any and all undergraduate students at UMaine to submit an eight to ten page essay on an ethics topic of their choice for consideration by a committee of faculty by February 14, 2019. The suggested theme is “Ethics + Food Systems,” but students may write on any topic. The first prize essayist receives $3,000 and two finalists will receive $500 each. Questions about the competition may be addressed to former English major and current Honors Associate Kim Crowley or Mimi Killinger.

Now Recruiting: Thieves and Liars

Editors Tori Hood and Martin Conte invite submissions of all works —creative, academic, visual, collage, and anywhere in between—for the second issue of the print journal Thieves and Liars. In their words: “lie, steal, borrow, bury, but send it to us—soon!” 


The bulletin will be on hiatus until mid-January (unless something really exciting happens). Here’s wishing everyone a smooth path to the finish line for the semester—and a very happy holiday!


This Week in English 73 was sent to faculty, students, and friends of the department on Monday, December 16, 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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