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Department of English

News and Events

Publicity Announcements: May 2006 - April 2007

Award: Film

English and Film alumnus Evangelos Giovanis won the Digital Alexander award at the International Thessaloniki Film Festival for his feature film, "Land of Nod." This is the top prize in the category, with a significant cash award.

Award: British literature

Assistant Professor J. Jennifer Jones was awarded an "Honorable Mention" for the INCS (Interdisciplinary Nineteenth Century Studies Association) best essay of the year 2006 award for her essay that has just come out in print in Studies in Romanticism.

Award: American literature

Graduate Student Claire E. Reynolds has been awarded the Center for the Humanities Eric F. Kumpf Memorial Fellowship for 2007. She will use the award for travel to Lexington and Berea, Kentucky, for dissertation research on Appalachian author Harriette Simpson Arnow. Reynolds' dissertation explores the nexus of race, class, and gender issues in early twentieth-century American women's literature during periods of national crisis.

Award: Advocacy

Professor Dorothy F. Donnelly, in her role as Chair of the URI/AAUP Part-Time Faculty Protections Committee,has received an award in the amount of $7,200 from the National AAUP office.  Professor Donnelly's work focuses on providing assistance to URI's part-time faculty in their effort to work collaboratively to gain the following important benefits that they currently do not have: health care insurance, participation in a retirement plan, equitable salary, job stability, seniority in course assignments, and recognition and acceptance as a vital component in working to achieve URI's state, regional, and national educational goals.  Professor Donnelly points out that almost ALL other groups at URI are represented by collective bargaining units.  This includes tenured and tenure-track faculty, middle management, secretaries, support staff, janitorial and maintenance personnel, and all graduate students in all disciplines across the University.

Publications: Poetry

Instructor Jen Tynes’ poem "Necessary Oversight," published in Coconut, was nominated for a 2006 Pushcart Prize.  This winter two of her chapbooks were published: a collection of poems called See Also Electric Light (Dancing Girl Press) and a collaboration with Erika Howsare, The Ohio System (Octopus Books). This spring she has poems forthcoming in The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel: Second Floor and The Hat and book reviews forthcoming in Aufgabe.

Graduate Student Brett Rutherford had six poems published in January in the 20th Anniversary issue of Sensations, a New-Jersey-based literary magazine. Brett's book, "The Gods As They Are, On Their Planets," was also reviewed in that issue. In November 2006, a symphonic poem based on one of Brett's poems, "Todesblumen," by composer William Alexander, was performed by The Erie (PA) Philharmonic. The Erie orchestra will perform  more works based on Rutherford's poems this April. Brett also had a poem in the Rhode Island Writers Circle Anthology 2007, published in January.

Ten of Assistant Professor Peter Covino’s translations of contemporary Italian poets were officially accepted for publication in the new European Poets Anthology to be published by Graywolf in 2008.  I recently had the poem "More Than a Verb, a Nation," accepted for publication in Gulf Coast, University of Houston, to be published this spring 2007. 

Instructor Talvi Ansel has poems forthcoming in Poetry and Orion.

Publications: Fiction

Instructor Jody Lisberger's short story collection, IN THE MERCY OF WATER, is forthcoming in 2007 from Fleur-de-Lis Press.

One of Instructor Rachel May’s stories is going to be published in The Georgetown Review and another was just nominated for a 2008 Pushcart Prize.

Instructor Kathryn Kulpa recently published fiction in Flashquake, Chick Flicks, Cezanne's Carrot, Menda City Review and Espresso Fiction, and has critical articles forthcoming in Magill's Critical Survey of Mystery and Detective Fiction.

Publications: British Literature

Assistant Professor J. Jennifer Jones’s essay "Absorbing Hesitation: Wordsworth and the Theory of the Panorama" was published in the Fall 2006 issue of Studies in Romanticism.

Publications: American Literature and Culture

An interview William Glass conducted with Professor John Leo came out in the 2006 issue of The Americanist:  Warsaw Journal for the Study of the United States (Vol. XXIII).

Publications: Contemporary Literature and Culture

Professor Jean Walton's essay "Modernity and the Peristaltic Subject" was accepted for publication in Neurology and Modernity, a collection of essays exploring how the philosophical and cultural discourse of modernity is related to the emergence and development of the medical discourse of neurology, edited by Laura Salisbury and Andrew Schail. Walton's essay is a meditation on the implications of what neurogastroenterologists have termed the "second brain" in the gut, which processes sensory data and "thinks" all by itself and thus raises questions about conscious will and autonomic processes in the modern human subject.

Associate Professor Valerie Karno's article, “Law and Literature as Cultural and Aesthetic Products: The Beauty of Studying Interdisciplinary Texts in Tandem,” has been accepted and is forthcoming in the 1st volume of the MLA Approaches to Teaching Law and Literature.

Publications: Reviews

Professor Mary Cappello’s review of poet Robin Becker’s latest collection, In the Domain of Perfect Affection (U of Pittsburgh Press) will appear in the March/April issue of TheWomen’s Review of Books.

Instructor Jamie Carr’s review of Kathleen and Christopher: Christopher Isherwood’s Letters to His Mother, ed. Lisa Colletta, Univ. of Minn. Press, was recently published in Modernism/Modernity.

Readings and Presentations:  Poetry

This winter Instructor Jen Tynes gave a reading in Cambridge at the So and So Reading Series.  She also attended the AWP (Associated Writing Programs) Conference, where she gave readings for LIT and Switchback Books. She read as well at Ada Books in Providence. Later this spring she will be giving a reading and serving as Judge for the Davenport Poetry Prize at Knox College (Galesburg, Illinois).

On March 1, Assistant Professor Peter Covino presented a paper as part of a panel called "Intralingual and Interlingual Translation" at the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, in Atlanta,GA. 

Presentations:  British Literature

Assistant Professor J. Jennifer Jones was invited to give a guest lecture to the English Department at Colby College in Maine on November 3, 2006.  The title of the lecture was "Romanticism and Italy."  She was also invited to give a lecture for the Romantic Literature and Culture series at the Humanities Center at Harvard University entitled "Wordsworth, Coleridge, and the Perversity of Nature" on March 22.

Assistant Professor Travis D. Williams will deliver a paper entitled "Mathematical Enargeia: The Rhetoric of Early Modern Mathematical Notation" this July in Aberdeen, Scotland, at the conference "Varieties of Cultural History."

Presentations:  American Literature and Culture

Assistant Professor Matt Frankel spoke on an MLA panel on Spinoza and Literature in December. The paper was entitled "The Novel of Spinozism: Immanence, Transcendence, and the Case of Moby-Dick."

On April 5, AssistantProfessor Stephanie Dunson presented a paper ("Music Making Minstrels:  Blackface Melodies in the Parlor”) at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association 2007 Conference (Boston, MA).

Graduate Student James Patrick Gorham will present a paper entitled “Help Me?  Hell No!: Anti-Bolshevism in ‘May Day’” at the 9th Annual International F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference, to be held in London at the Institute of English Studies, University of London, from July 8-14.

Presentations:  Contemporary Literature and Culture

Associate Professor Naomi Mandel was invited to speak at two universities in Israel last December. Mandel presented work from her book Against the Unspeakable at Haifa University and Ben Gurion University (in the Negev). The title of the talk at Haifa University was “Between Reference and Resistance: Identity 'after Auschwitz,'” and the talk at Ben Gurion was entitled “Against the Unspeakable.”  She was also invited more recently to give the Talma Israeli Memorial Lecture at Tel Aviv University:  this talk was entitled “Fiction and Fidelity:  Windows on the World.”  As if this weren’t enough,  Mandel was asked to participate in the “Straight Talk” series at the Gamm Theatre after a staged reading of David Hare’s play “Via Dolorosa.”  This discussion is a chance to hear Israeli and Palestinian scholars discuss their personal knowledge and opinions, while detailing the historical foundations of the conflict.

Professor Jean Walton and Professor Mary Cappello will be presenting linked papers at the "Minds, Bodies, Machines" Conference to be hosted by University of London: Birkbeck, The University of Melbourne, and Constriant Technologies in London this July. The aim of this interdisciplinary conference is "to explore the continuities and discontinuities in the imagining of the human/machine interface in the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries." Walton and Cappello will present two "case studies" taken from the end of the long nineteenth century (1890s-1914), a period marked by an intensification of attention to the regularization of the peristaltic system, with emphasis on the body in its temporality—involving decision-making at both conscious and autonomic levels about when, where, and how ingestion and elimination will occur. Cappello's "Foreign Body Ingestion in the Age of Chevalier Jackson" will explore how the body-as-machine comes to figure in the earliest days of the science of endoscopy; and Walton's "Reverse Peristalsis" will interrogate the phenomenon of recalcitrant or "hysterical" patients in the same period who appear to reverse the peristaltic process.

Professor Karen Stein will attend the Hofstra Conference on Dress and Culture, and will read a paper on "Gender, Costume and Disguise in Margaret Atwood's Novels" on April 21.

In late February, graduate student Sarah Cassinelli presented on a panel for the NYU Critical Race Analysis and Literary Studies (CRALS) graduate conference. The title of her paper is "Choosing Invisibility: Affect and the Political Occupation of the Racialized Subject," which discusses the novel Native Speaker by Chang-Rae Lee.  In early April, she presented at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA) 2007 National conference in Boston. The focus of her paper is on the performance of ethnicity and identity within Margaret Cho's comedic work.

Graduate Student Evan P. Schneider presented a paper in February entitled "The Case of Raymond K. Hessle: Nietzsche, 9/11, and the Terrorism of Tyler Durden", at the 13th Annual Southwest Graduate English Symposium at Arizona State University, Tempe AZ.

Instructor Rebecca Fine Romanow delivered a paper entitled "Londonstani: Rudeboys, Race, and Retrosexuality" at the Queer Masculinities Panel at the 2007 Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference in Boston, MA on April 4, 2007.  The paper looks at the ways in which Gautam Malkani's 2006 novel, Londonstani, depicts a particular construction of masculinity which conflates race, nationality, and 21st century urban culture in its performance by second generation Desi "rudeboys" in London.

Publications: Creative Nonfiction

Graduate Student Evan P. Schneider's personal essay "The 8th Continent" recently appeared in Matter: A Journal of Literature, Art, and Movement.  His essay "The Bloom of Rust" will appear in issue 10 of the same journal, due out in April, 2007.

Professor Mary Cappello’s essay, “Losing Consciousness to a Lost Art,” has been accepted for publication at the Michigan Quarterly Review, forthcoming Spring 2007. The essay, a meditation on sleep, sound and silence, but, in the end, and unexpectedly, the place of violence in that triad, was the result of attendance at this year’s 25th Annual International Silent Film Festival (Le Giornate del Cinema Muto) in Sacile, Italy, held in mid-October. Cappello gratefully acknowledges support from the Beaupre Hope and Heritage Endowment and the URI Alumni Association Faculty Development Fund that made possible her attendance at the Festival and subsequent creative work.  The editor of MQR, Laurence Goldstein, describes the essay this way: “Mary Cappello, author of the well-received memoir Night Bloom and of a book-length essay to appear this season on "awkwardness," contributes a meditation on silent film, inspired by a trip to Italy for a silent film festival. First she considers the oddity of wanting to watch silent film in the first place, after almost eighty years of sound film's preeminence. Could it be that silent film allows us to escape sound, to nestle more quietly, even sleepily, in the cocoon of the theater, to actually "hear sound differently" because of the experience of protracted silence? And is there a relation between the belligerence of sound and the violence that throbs in our consciousness every day? The essay opens up daringly to consider connections neglected by the canonical critics of cinema.”

Part cultural criticism, part creative nonfiction, Professor Mary Cappello’s essay on Gunther von Hagen’s bodyworlds2 exhibit that she visited in December 2006 at Boston’s Museum of Science has been accepted for publication at Salmagundi. For a history of Salmagundi, “widely regarded as one of the most influential intellectual quarterlies in the United States,” go to Cappello’s critical account of bodyworlds, titled, “ ‘For Anyone Interested in Learning What Makes Us Human,’” will appear before the end of the year.

Professor Mary Cappello’s piece of experimental nonfiction entitled, “Heir to Ambiguity” has been accepted for publication at the literary journal, Interim, recently featured in Poets and WritersMagazine. Thematically, the piece treats of words, and their orphaned relationship to meaning; it explores the spaces between mistake and invention (e.g., slips of the tongue), accident and creativity, and, following Gertrude Stein, the potential for words to do other than definitional, or strictly referential work. Formally, it works on principles of resonance and echo rather than on linear causality, on the imperative to wander rather than prove.

Instructor Jody Lisberger's essay "DES and Diflucan:  Pharmaceutical Marketing Choices--Why Women Should Take Heed" is forthcoming in (Re) Interpretations:  The Shapes of Justice in Women's Experience.  

Professional and Community Service

Assistant Professor Stephanie Dunson been elected to the council of the New England American Studies Association.

Instructor Barbara Silliman is the Associate Chair of the Jewish Studies Area for the Popular Culture Association.

Professor Mary Cappello traveled to Washington, DC, in November to serve on the Central Eurasia Peer Review Committee for Fulbright Grants to Central Eurasia (Council for the International Exchange of Scholars).

Presentations: Rhetoric and Composition

Graduate Student Valerie A. Vancza presented a paper entitled “Our Values Evaluated: Growth, Effort and Error in Writing Assessment” at the College Composition and Communication Conference to be held in New York, NY, on March 21-24.  She also presented a paper entitled "Growth, Effort and Standards in Writing Assessment" at the College English Association Conference in New Orleans, LA, held on April 12-14.

Graduate Student Theo Greenblatt presented a paper entitled "'Trying to be the Knight': Reading and Writing Manliness in the Military", at the upcoming College Composition and Commuincation Conference to be held in New York, NY, on March 21-24.  This will be part of a panel comprised of colleagues from the Naval Academy Preparatory School and the University of Vermont, and entitled "Decisions and Revisions: Comp(osing/eting) Identities in Military Student Writing".  In addition, she will also sit with several colleagues from NAPS on a panel entitled "Comm Check: Communicating Composition in/to the Military", at the Johnson and Wales Cassola Conference on Teaching Communication, to be held in April in Providence, RI.

Presentation:  English as a Second Language

On November 8, 2006, Lecturer  Mary Jo Fletcher LaRocco gave a joint presentation with colleagues from Roger Williams University, Dr. Don Lee and Dr. Nancy Centers, at the NAFSA (Association of International Educators) Region XI
Conference in Newport, Rhode Island. The session was titled, "Tides and Anchors: Two Models for Supporting ESL Students in Times of Uncertainty" and focused on the programs and services available for international students at the presenters' respective universities.

Presentations:  Pedagogy

On March 23, AssistantProfessor Stephanie Dunson led a workshop for the Writing Across the Curriculum Committee at Queen's College (Flushing, NY) on using writing to improve student critical thinking skills in the interdisciplinary classroom.  She was also invited to lead a series of discussions February 16-17 for faculty at Front Range Community College (Fort Collins, CO) on the design and assessment of effective writing assignments.

Graduate Student Tina Bacci will present a paper entitled "Teaching the Disciplines, Imposing Values: How Teaching Ways of Knowing in the University Can Lead to an Imposition of Values” at the Intellectuals and the Academy in Public Life Conference, to be held at Brown University on May 5th.

Graduate Student Conference

Six graduate students (Claire Reynolds, Meredith Krall, Laurie Carlson, Brian Dixon, Bryna Siegel, and Scott Wade) organized and held a fabulously successful conference on March 31 on the theme of Identities. This event was a year in the planning, and  represented graduate work from thirty institutions (including several international) and about a dozen disciplines, including English, Film, Library Science, Nursing, Education, Business, History, Law, Journalism, Women's Studies, and Multicultural Studies.

In the News

The press that is publishing Professor Mary Cappello’s book, Awkward: A Detour this June, Bellevue Literary Press, was the subject of a feature article that appeared on the front page of The New York Times Arts Section.“Unexpected Brand Name for Books: Bellevue,” by Julie Bosman, March 1, 2007 is available on-line.

Instructor Barbara Silliman is on the Planning Committee for the annual memorial for Holocaust victims for Temple Emmanu-El, Providence, RI.  For this year's Yom Ha'Shoah -- commemorated this year on Sunday, April 15, at 3pm – she wrote a Reader's Theatre play about Sophie Scholl and the White Rose non-violent, anti-Nazi resistance movement in Munich, Germany. She, with her brother Hans and friend Christoph were arrested on Thursday, February 18; interrogated by the Gestapo for 17 straight hours; tried, convicted, and sentenced on Monday, February 22; and executed by guillotine that same night. This play will be read by members of the congregation and students from her Providence College class, HUM340: Studies in the Holocaust.

Editorial work

Instructor Barbara Silliman is co-editing a book on the political, sociological, religious, and psychological representations in the re-imagined television series BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. The book is expected to be published by McFarland by the end of 2007.


Instructor Jody Lisberger has joined the faculty of the MFA in Writing Brief Residency Program at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky.

Alumna Theresa DeFrancis has accepted a tenure-track position in English Education at Salem State College, where she will teach undergraduate and graduate courses in English and English Education as well as supervise preservice practitioners in area high schools in the North Shore region of Massachusetts. This position follows her appointment this year to a one-year visiting professorship at the same institution.

Instructor Kathryn Kulpa is taking over the editorship of the Newport Review, a journal of flash fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry, from poet Michele Cooper.  She’s planning to turn it into an e-zine.  The journal held a reading at the Providence Athenaeum on March 20.

Instructor Jamie Carr has happily accepted an Assistant Professor position at Niagara University in NY. She will be teaching courses in twentieth century literature, world literatures, and literary criticism.