This Week in English | November 29 – December 5, 2021

English Major Molly Glueck Awarded CUGR Fellowship

Second-year English Major Molly Glueck was awarded a Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR) fellowship earlier this fall for research she’ll be conducting under the mentorship of Elizabeth Neiman. Here is how Glueck describes the project:

“Black Annotation” is a method forged by Christina Sharpe in her search to revise common representations (in media but also history) of Black lives. I use Sharpe’s method of annotation in my project to study how Black female authors create space for otherwise unexplored complexities within Romanticism’s legacy through their scholarship and lived experience. My main objective is to explore a broader definition of the sublime than that of our Romantic legacy—one that allows for the acknowledgment of limitations and yet still, the creative space to transcend them. I will also suggest that an annotated depiction of sublimity and freedom through acknowledged limitations doesn’t merely distance Black authors from the work of white Romantic authors. Rather, it allows us to recomplexify our Romantic legacy and align it more closely with the original intention of Romantic authors, which is only possible through the illuminating work of Black scholars.

In completing this project, I hope to make a compelling argument that studying British Romanticism requires the unique insight of Black authors. I believe that the two fields are inextricably linked and that one cannot hope to understand the full depth of Romanticism’s rich history without considering how its legacy is shaped, modernized, and reinvigorated by those often erased from the Romantic canon.

As reported in an earlier bulletin, Glueck and Neiman will participate in a roundtable at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies’s next annual conference in Baltimore in the spring.

Northwords Recognized as Journal of Excellence

Ryan Dippre is enjoying a well-earned sabbatical this semester, after having earned promotion to Associate Professor of English with tenure last year. He breaks his “sabbatical silence” this week to share some good news:

The Maine Council of English Language Arts (MCELA) is our state NCTE affiliate. Their journal, Northwords, has earned the 2021 NCTE Affiliate Journal of Excellence Award (scroll down).

Northwords has an interesting history tied up with our English department (as has MCELA more generally, although that’s a story for another time). The first iteration of the journal was in the 1990s, and our department has a considerable presence throughout the issues I’ve run across, such as Judy Hakola, Virginia Nees-Hatlen, John Wilson, and Bonnie Woellner. Judy Hakola served as editor for most of the issues I’ve found. There are probably even more connections than that, but the author bios are a bit absent in some issues, and my current collection of those older volumes are incomplete.

In 2016-2017, MCELA tried to use a blog approach to Northwords. During this time, Pat Burnes served as a capable reviewer.

A number of executive board members serve as reviewers, though I’m not sure how many passed through Neville hall. I know for sure John Emerson did, and I’m pretty sure so did Rene Doucette.

In its current form, you can find publications from a number of our alumni and current teachers: Benjamin Markey, Keaton Studebaker, Katelyn Parsons, Morgan Talty, Adam Crowley, and Ryan Roderick have writing in there, and our colleagues from other UMS campuses, such as Elizabeth Powers of UMA and Jessica Winck of UMA-Bangor, can also be found in those pages. I’m sure that I’m missing people, as many secondary English teachers in the state go through our department, and some likely went through our department before my time.

Anyway, I thought you (and the rest of the department) would like to know about this well-earned award to a group of hardworking people with deep ties to our department.

Michael Swacha on Virginia Woolf’s The Waves This Friday

This Friday, December 3, at 3:00 pm in the Maples room 116 (Weisz Room), the Department of Philosophy Colloquium Series presents a talk by Dr. Michael Swacha, part-time lecturer in English and Philosophy, titled “Reconciling the One and the Many: On the Possibility of Fragmentation and Perception in Virginia Woolf and the New Physics.” In this talk, Swacha explores the epistemological affinities between Virginia Woolf’s 1931 novel The Waves and new discoveries in physics during the early twentieth century, all in order to posit the potential that modernist notions of fragmentation and perception hold for opening and imagining new ways of knowing, existing, and relating to one another. Swacha is teaching The Waves to first-semester undergraduates this fall as part of his course on “Existentialism and Literature” (Philosophy 104).

Heather Falconer on the Impact of Inequity on STEM Writing Instruction

On Monday afternoon, December 6, the Rise Center colloquia series will host Dr. Heather Falconer for a presentation on “Rethinking the Impact of Inequality on Stem Writing Instruction.”

In this presentation, Dr. Falconer will examine the impact of systemic bias and discourse expectations on underrepresented college students in science as a factor that can push students from, or pull them toward, the discipline. Drawing on the experiences of four female undergraduate research students, she’ll examine how performativity expectations and microaggressions relating to scientific practice and discourse disrupted the students’ sense of competency as they participated in a college undergraduate research program. The presentation includes a discussion of implications for persistence, and applications for classroom and undergraduate research settings. The event takes place in Barrows 119 on Monday, December 6, between 3:00-4:00 and can also be accessed remotely via Zoom.

Heather Falconer joined our department this fall as an Assistant Professor of Professional and Technical Writing. In addition to this role, Dr. Falconer is a Co-Editor for the Perspectives on Writing book series, Co-Chair of the Research and Publications Committee of the Association for Writing Across the Curriculum, and serves on multiple editorial and regional boards. As a Writing Studies scholar, her research focuses on the intersections of culture, discipline, and pedagogy, with a special emphasis on creating inclusive educational spaces. Dr. Falconer’s research has appeared in journals such as Written Communication, The WAC Journal, and the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, as well as multiple edited collections.

Celebrate Emily Dickinson on December 7

The fifteenth annual Dickinson Birthday Poetry Reading, organized by Kathleen Ellis, will be held at 4:30 on December 7, 2021. This year’s event is sponsored by the Honors College, and will be held on Zoom rather than in person in the University Bookstore as in years past (look for a link in the next newsletter). Ellis invites you to join UMaine faculty, students, staff, poets, and friends reading a Dickinson poem or an original poem in Dickinson’s style. Email her here if you’d like to sign up.

Class of 1965 Alum Remembers Shakespeare’s 400th Birthday

Joe Sala earned his BA in English 1965 and an MA in 1969. He writes in with this welcome reminiscence sparked by last week’s bulletin:

When you mentioned the birthday party for Emily Dickinson in your newsletter, it reminded me of the 400th birthday party the UMO English Department once had for Shakespeare.

Appropriately enough, it was held in April 1964 at the coffeehouse once located at the southern end of campus. Several English professors, now sadly long gone, read passages and acted out comical scenes from the Bard’s works. We English majors constituted the audience. Although not allowed, I’m sure some alcohol was also present with our light refreshments.

It’s great to see this English Department continuing to honor the great writers of the past.

This Week in English 115 was sent to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the department on Monday, November 29, 2021. If you would rather not receive these weekly bulletins, please reply with <unsubscribe> in your subject line. Earlier installments are archived on our website. If you’re on Facebook, please consider joining the newly formed English Department Group.

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