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Department of English

News and Events

Publicity Announcements: March 2004

Publications: International

Graduate Student Bruce Johnson’s essay, "Re-Orienting Macaulay’s Rhetoric in the

1835 'Minute'" has been accepted for publication in Re-Markings, a small postcolonial journal in India. Johnson is also currently finishing two encyclopedia entries for Greenwood Press's upcoming, Encyclopedia of Literature and Politics: one on "Gothic Literature" and one on "Chandra Mohanty."


Publications: Rhetoric and Composition

Graduate Students Renee Somers and Bruce Johnson have just signed a contract to produce a volume for Longman Publishers' “Longman Topics Reader" series tentatively titled Film, Television and Contemporary Culture -- it's a reader geared toward introductory writing courses, and is slated to appear next year.


Publications: Creative Writing

Professor Don Kunz has a poem entitled “Displacement Anxiety” in the most recent issue of The Iconoclast, 2004, no. 83.


Publications: Book Reviews

Associate Professor Katherine Scheil's review of Robert Thomas Fallon'sA Theatergoer's Guide to Shakespeare has been published in the latest issue of Shakespeare Bulletin, 21 (2003): 115-118.

Professor Mary Cappello’s review of Katherine Shonk’s Red Passport, a collection of fiction on Russian/American encounters, appears in the latest issue of The Women’s Review of Books, April 2004.


Gender Studies: Presentations (International)

Graduate Student Janet Hagen has been accepted to present a paper on how the performance of gender intersects with geographical spaces in Julia Alvarez's In the Time of the Butterflies and Edwidge Danticat's The Farming of Bones. The conference is the 9th Annual Conference of International Caribbean Women Writersand Scholars (ACWWS) and is being held in the Dominican Republic, April 26-30, 2004.


Sexuality Studies: Presentations (International)

Courtesy of the Italian Fulbright Commission and the University of Padova (Padua), Professor John Leo is giving a lecture at the annual "America Week" conference, May 11-14. The topic is: "'Human Rights,' 'Gay Rights,' and the 'Christological Subject': US and EU Debates on the Queer Body Politic." John writes: “Basically it's a take on the head-on collision between Catholic Europe (= the Vatican's version thereof) and the EU's ratified Declaration on Human Rights vis-a-vis "gay rights" (increasingly legislated by individual EU countries).” This same presentation (modified) will be the keynote address to the 4th Annual Polish (and now Central Eastern European) Gay Studies Conference, "Europe Without Homophobia," Wroclaw, May 24-26.


Critical Theory: Presentations

Graduate Student Bruce Johnson gave a paper at this year’s NEMLA Conference last month in Pittsburgh. Johnson made his presentation, "Empirical Approaches to Literary Studies" on the panel, "Bodies of Evidence: Critical Theory and Audience Response to American Gothic Narratives."


Rhetoric and Composition: Presentations

Four faculty and nine recent alumniand current graduate students presented their research at Rhetoric and Composition's largest event, the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). This year’s conference was held in San Antonio from March 24th to the 27th.

Faculty presentations included:

Nedra Reynolds, "Shaped by Writing Where? Issues of Place and the Harvard Video";

Bob Schwegler, "Creating Faculty: The Habitus of English and the Habitus of Composition"; and, "Current Archives Project: Collecting Composition Syllabi"

Linda Shamoon, "Composition and Peer Tutoring: WAC"; and, “Opportunities for Collaboration and Dialog among IEDP Instructors for Research and Teaching”

Libby Miles, "Overdetermination and Economies of Writing: Or, It's Which Economy, Stupid?"

Alumni presentations included:

Stevens Amidon (currently an Assistant Professor at Indiana-PurdueUniversity at Fort Wayne), “Making the Classroom Matter Again: The Learning History in the Professional Writing Curriculum”

Susan DeRosa (currently an Assistant Professor at EasternConnecticutStateUniversity), “Writing a Sustainable History: MappingWritingCenter Ethos that Matters

Tim Mayers, (currently an Assistant Professor at MillersvilleUniversity)“On a Poet’s Toes: Making Writing Matter”

Jim Ridolfo, (currently a Master’s student at MichiganStateUniversity)“Critical and Material Evaluation of Websites for Student Research”

Current Graduate Student presenters included:

Sonia Bernstein, “Actor, Agent, and Author: Engaging the Dramatic Text”

Theo Greenblatt, “Bending the Rules of Engagement: Negotiating Portfolios in a Military Classroom”

Elaine Hays, “Composition at/of the Center” (A Writing Centers Workshop)

Michael O’Hara, “Writing at Mach One: The Value of Composition in Classroom and in the Cockpit”

Valerie Vancza, “Writing Conferences Revisited: A Communication Exchange and Critique”

Graduate Student Valerie Vancza also presented a paper entitled, “Revealing Multiple Audiences in the Writing Class,” at the Stony Brook University Graduate Conference held in Manhattan on February 27-28, 2004.


Law and Literature: Presentations

Assistant Professor Valerie Karno chaired a panel on "Law and the Image," as well as presented a paper on "Using Deleuzian Film Theory to Understand the Legal Subject" at the Annual Law, Culture, and Humanities Conference this month.


Eighteenth Century Studies: Presentations

Katherine Scheil'spanel "Crossing Borders in Eighteenth-Century Theatre Studies" has been accepted for the 2004 Annual Meeting of the Northeast American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.


American Cultural Studies: Presentations

Graduate Student Kyle Hetrick is going to be taking part in this year's PCA/ACA Conference in San Antonio, Texas, April 7-10. He will be presenting a paper called "False Documents: The Search for Truth in E.L. Doctorow's The Book of Daniel" in the Metafiction: 1945 to the Present group.


Ecocriticism and American Studies: Presentations

Graduate Student Steve Mercier will be this year’s "guest speaker" at an event, called Slabsides Day, held at the John Burroughs Sanctuary in West Park, New York. Slabsides Day, May 15, 2004, is a day devoted to celebrating the life and nature writing of John Burroughs (1837-1921). Mercier’s talk shares the same title as his dissertation: "Revaluing the Literary Naturalist: John Burroughs's Environmental Aesthetics."

Additionally, Steve Mercier’s paper, "Reclaiming the Sentimental in US Nature Writing: John Burroughs and Susan Fennimore Cooper's Emotive Affiliations," has been accepted for inclusion on a panel for the 2004 Modern Language Association (MLA) meeting in Philadelphia, "Ecocritical Views of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century American Literature."


Awards and Honors

Graduate Student, Stephen M. Mercier was recently awarded a fellowship on behalf of URI's Center for the Humanities, the James Duffy Fellowshipin the Humanities for Spring 2004. The financial support from the Center for the Humanities Fellowship helped to fund Mercier’s research at Vassar College on Burroughs. Some of his archival findings, such as original journal entries and letters to Burroughs, will be included in his Slabsides talk, mentioned above. Steve’s major professor is Nancy Cook.

Professor Mary Cappello has just been informed that an encyclopedia entry is being composed on her and her work to appear in an upcoming Greenwood Press Multi-ethnic Encyclopedia.

The introduction that Mary Cappello composed and delivered to accompany renowned literary theorist and writer Mikhail Epstein’s presentation at URI last Spring will be appearing in a collection of Epstein’s essays that will be published in Moscow. The collection is titled AmeRussia: Biculturalism and Liberty, and is scheduled to appear this summer. (AmeRussia is a term derived from Nabokov’s Ada). The collection is a bilingual edition, in Russian original and English translation. Epstein has translated Cappello’s introduction into Russian for the volume. Epstein notes that, by coincidence, the publisher of the volume is the Gorky Literary Institute mentioned in the beginning of Cappello’s introduction, and where Professors Cappello and Walton taught on Fulbright Fellowships in Fall 2001. Cappello situated Epstein’s work against that of American collagist Joseph Cornell, poet Emily Dickinson, and theorist Roland Barthes.

Professor Don Kunz was featured in RI Poet Laureate Tom Chandler’s “Laureate’s Choice” column in the Providence Sunday Journal earlier this month. Chandler discusses the place of the American West in Kunz’ life and work, and features a poem by Professor Kunz’ on the subject of aging, inspired by a recent visit to his aging mother. The poem follows:

“Last Days”

by Don Kunz


The days were growing shorter

and so were we—

old men squinting into twilight,

finger the buttons,

of our loose and ragged skins,

shrinking toward a cold horizon.

So, we set out at dusk to walk the earth

and wear the puzzling shapes of clouds.


See how our five o’clock shadows

in this final season

hang along the edge of now and then?

Cut off from our last light,

we lie down in our bone houses

with faces stubbled gray as sky.

Listen to our beaten hearts

Trudge toward the night’s blind eye.



Professor Dan Pearlman will be teaching a course in the Honors Program this coming Fall devoted entirely to the subject of "Writing and Reading Science Fiction." A description of this exciting new course follows: Honors Course: HPR 312: Reading and Writing Science Fiction T 3:30-6:15 Fall 2004

Selected texts in science fiction, with an emphasis on the contemporary, will be studied for structure and meaning. We will explore the moral, social, political, and philosophical visions that a group of recent texts offer to the modern reader. In a workshop atmosphere, students will do “finger exercises” in world-building and other elements of science fiction and will learn that the elements of fiction in general apply also to science fiction. They will be expected to complete either two science fiction stories or one story and one critical/theoretical essay on some aspect of the genre.