This Week in English | December 14-20, 2020

The Open Field Invites Submissions

The Open Field is a literary magazine devoted to publishing poetry, prose, mixed-genre writing, and visual art by the undergraduate community at the University of Maine. The editors are accepting submissions at through January 31, 2021. Please see the attached flyer for further details.

ENG 416 Service Learning Project with Welcome to Housing

The Maine Campus ran an article on Monday about the service-learning project that Dr. Katie Swacha’s ENG 416 students worked on this semester with Welcome to Housing, a furniture bank in Old Town.

The students used their budding document design skills to create a volunteer guide and newsletter template for WTH that the volunteer-run organization will use to recruit much needed volunteers and raise awareness about its mission to “help people in need succeed at transitioning to their own living space,” more specifically “to help individuals, including veterans and families, succeed as they transition from area shelters to permanent housing by providing basic household items donated through the local community.” The students also helped to design an ongoing IRB-approved study that seeks to understand volunteers’ motivations and the impact of WTH’s services for its clients. 

English major Jillian Ramsey also interned with WTH this semester, while taking 416 and 496, to much kudos from the director, Chris Olsen. She was instrumental in redesigning WTH’s website and developing a social media content strategy for the organization, work which included initiating and managing WTH’s Instagram presence. She also served as the project manager and liaison with WTH for the project conducted by ENG 416 students. 

English major Desiree Saucier recently completed an internship with Portland Monthly magazine as part of ENG 496. Saucier gained experience with editing, research and reporting, and writing content for the award-winning regional magazine.

Both Welcome to Housing and Portland Monthly continually seek interns with strong writing, research, and communication skills and encourage UMaine English majors to apply! Contact Dr. Swacha if you are interested in pursuing such internship opportunities.   

Humanities Majors in the Professions and Other Occupations

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences recently shared some interesting findings about the place of humanities majors in the American workforce.

  • In 2018, recipients of a bachelor’s degree in the humanities accounted for more than 10% of the people employed in every occupational category except those that are specifically STEM-related;  
  • Humanities graduates accounted for 20% or more of the employees in the arts/design/entertainment/media, postsecondary teaching, law, and museum/library sectors in 2018.

The full report can be consulted here. The findings are consistent with those reported by the New York Times in their 2019 article In the Salary Race, Engineers Sprint but English Majors Endure.

What Is a Subject? 

Michael Swacha, who teaches in English and Philosophy, calls our attention to an interesting course he’ll be offering this spring, PHI 214 under the title “What is a subject?” 

As a subject, how am I bound by the conditions of my existence—whether social, political, cultural, historical, or even linguistic? How does my context and situation structure the range of my possibilities, and limit the scope of my desires? One of the most significant problems in 20th century continental philosophy is the problem of subjectivity, which calls us to explore the ways in which our social relations determine much of our experience of life.

The course meets remotely on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. The attached flyer provides further information. English majors interested in counting the course toward their 300-level literature requirements should speak with their advisors. Though the numbering is different, the content is comparable to that of Eng 371

Covid Reminder

If you or people you know in the UMaine community have concerns about COVID-19 symptoms, close contact or a positive test, call the COVID-19 info line at 207-581-2681 or fill out the online self-reporting form or email


This Week in English 89 was sent to faculty, students, and friends of the department on Tuesday, December 15, 2020. 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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