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Department of English

News and Events


Publicity Announcements:
November 2003

 

 Creative Writing: Publications

Professor Don Kunz has recently published a poem and a short story: "The Circus," a poem, appears in The Asheville Poetry Review 10.1 (2003): 88, and a short story, Guest Book," can be found in Words of Wisdom 22.1 (March 2003): 25-29.

 

Creative Writing: Reviews

The first review of Professor Dan Pearlman’s novel, Memini, appeared in Publishers Weekly for November 3rd. It's a hardcover, ergo the price. Dan has been lucky to have three of his four books of fiction reviewed in PW. They are very selective. Here is the review: MEMINI Daniel Pearlman. Prime, $29.95 (328p) ISBN 1-894815-69-6; Pearlman (The Final Dream & Other Fictions) goes for the satirical jugular in this often hilarious if ultimately wearying Swiftian exercise, full of Joycean wordplay. In the author's unrelenting cyberpunk dystopia, Memini and two other large corporations or "conglobulates," Mishugi and Occipet, control a world divided into two groups: brain-damaged "tekkies" and grumbling but mentally sound "oldfolks." Memini's in trouble because its president is convinced that he's a high school student confounded by a hostile board of education. Readers should be prepared for a whirlwind ride with no pause for breath. Fans of more conventional SF may be put off by the explicit sex and the absence of sympathetic characters. (Nov.)

 

Creative Writing: Exhibits

On Friday, November 14th, 2003, at the West Broadway Neighborhood Association, 1560 Westminster Street in Providence, an opening reception was held to celebrate a new exhibit, "Strange Flux: Tales of Immigrants and the Italian Scape," a collaborative project featuring the photographs ofPaola Ferrario and the prose poems of Professor Mary Cappello. In 2001, Ferrario and Cappello were recipients of the prestigious Lange-Taylor Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, awarded yearly to one writer and photographer in the early stages of a documentary project. The prize supported the fieldwork that the artists carried out in Italy, and a Rhode Island Foundation New Works Grant supported the installation of the exhibit in Rhode Island . The exhibit runs through December 30th, Mondays through Fridays, 9-5. Additional times and hours may be added.(Many thanks to those who attended the opening on a cold and blustery Friday night. We estimated that more than eighty people were in attendance).

The exhibit represents a portion of Cappello's and Ferrario's encounters with numerous new immigrants to Italy, immigrants from Syria and Ecuador, Senegal and Ukraine, India and Morocco who now work as tailors, clerks, nannies, dairy farmers, writers, and political activists. The keynote of the exhibit is dialogue: the conversations that the artists had with people in Italy; the dialogue that emerges in their collaborative record of those encounters in word and image; and the dialogue that they hope will happen between people who attend the exhibit. "Most of all," the artists said, "we hope to record and recover some of the different human destinies that are lost in the ocean of statistical data on immigration." Set in the West Broadway Neighborhood, the exhibit is hoping to draw together Italian/Americans, who are now third generation immigrants, with the new immigrant groups who also currently live in the neighborhood, people from Puerto Rico , the Dominican Republic, and Vietnam .

The word "Flux" in the exhibit's title is inspired by Senegalese immigrant, Pap Khouma, who gained national attention in Italy for his novel, I Am An Elephant Salesman. In an interview with the artists, Khouma explained that he didn't believe in the terms, second generation, third generation immigrant. "The descendants are citizens," he said, "and should not have to live with the stigma of immigration. Where immigration is concerned, there is only a 'first generation.' I prefer to talk about fluxes rather than generations."

The exhibit, in conjunction with the West Broadway Neighborhood Association's Mission Statement hopes to provide neighbors with resources (in this case, intellectual and artistic resources) to solve community problems, to strengthen relationships among neighbors to build community, and to reflect the diversity of the West Side .

 

Creative Writing: Invitations

Mary Cappello has been invited and has agreed to review a collection of stories about Russia by Katherine Shonk entitled The Red Passport for The Women’s Review of Books.

 

Cultural Studies: Publications

Graduate Student Jamie Carr’s article, “From Anti-fascism to Microfascism: Evolving a Political Theory of Art in Christopher Isherwood’s Prater Violet,” has been accepted at Precursors and Aftermaths, a special issue dedicated to the subject of the work of art in the space between the two World Wars. Carr’s article is slated to appear this Spring.

 

Cultural Studies: Invited Talks

Assistant Professor Valerie Karno gave an invited talk, "Remote Justice: Tuning in to Race and Citizenship in Small Claims Court Television Shows," at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts . The talk considered the ways shows like Judge Mathis reinvigorate legal legitimacy by newly infusing legal judgment with race. In an era otherwise marked by voter apathy, the lecture argued that these television shows enable citizen viewers to rehearse the virtues of participatory citizenship, in anticipation of more authentically democratic avenues being made available in the future.

 

Cultural Studies: Initiatives/Calls for Papers/New Projects

Associate Professor Alain-Philippe Durand and Assistant Professor Naomi Mandel are putting together a collection of essays on contemporary extreme literature. Submissions are invited for a collection of essays on the contemporary extreme. The volume will deal with novels whose styles or themes engage a hyper real, often apocalyptic, world progressively invaded by popular culture, permeated with technology, and dominated by destruction. In this world, violence – often the only stable element – operates as ethos. Entries may include, but are by no means limited to, novelists such as Cathy Acker, Nelly Arcan, Frédéric Beigbeder, Rafael Chaparro Madiedo, Marie Darrieussecq, Don DeLillo, Virginie Despentes, Bret Easton Ellis, Lucía Etxebarría, Alberto Fuguet, Michel Houllebecq, Orly Kastel-Bloom, Patrícia Melo, Mian Mian, Catherine Millet, Chuck Palahniuk, Viktor Pelevine, Jacinto Lucas Pires, José Edmundo Paz-Soldán, Weihui, Eimi Yamada. These authors are often classified as writers of ‘hip’ or ‘underground’ literature; paradoxically, their work has often been the center of public controversy and scandal and/or have become international best sellers. The objective of this volume is to investigate the appeal of these novels’ styles and themes, the reasons behind their success, and the fierce debates they provoked. Essays should be around 20 pages in length, MLA style, English only. Send proposals or complete manuscripts by 17 December 2004 to the editors: Alain-Philippe Durand or Naomi Mandel.

 

Cultural Studies: Awards

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies Nancy Cook was recently honored with The Willa Pilla Award--an award from the Western Literature Association, which used to be awarded annually, but the award itself went missing for several years. After a lengthy search, it was recovered and awarded for the first time in several years at the annual meeting in Houston this year. Since the organization has grown to over 1000 members with most conferences now drawing 350 or so participants, the award has been altered slightly. No longer for "funniest paper given at the conference," it is now award for "outstanding achievement in humor in a conference paper." Cook now has the "pilla" in her possession, and will keep it until next year's conference, in late September.

 

Shakespeare Studies: Invitations

Associate Professor Katherine Scheil has been invited to review Barbara A. Murray's book Restoration Shakespeare: Viewing the Voice for the journal Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatre Research.

 

Feminist Studies: Presentations

Professor Karen Stein presented a paper entitled, "Girls' Culture in Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye" at the conference of the Association for Canadian Studies in the US.

 

Eighteenth Century Studies: Presentations

Katherine Scheil presented a paper entitled "Family Politics: The Bullocks on the Eighteenth-Century Stage" at the 27th Annual Meeting of the Northeast American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies meeting in November.

 

Presentations: Donor Appreciations

Associate Professor Nancy Cook gave a short presentation to those assembled at the Donor Appreciation Brunch, held at the Ryan Center on Saturday, the 15th before the football game. Cook represented faculty who have received funding from the URI Foundation.

 

Pedagogy: New Courses

Associate Professor Celest Martin is currently preparing a course called Writing About Disability: The Experiential and the Representational.

 

Pedagogy: Student Achievements

As Chair of the British Fellowships Committee, a group of faculty who select and prepare students to compete for Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, and Gates Fellowships, Associate Professor Nancy Cook is pleased to say that we had TWO finalists for the Marshall this year and THREE students who received Rhodesinterviews. It's a pleasure to spend time with such outstanding students, including English department BA and current MA student, Michael Charles.

Graduate Student Scott St. Germain successfully completed his MA degree with us with a portfolio consisting of fiction, literary non-fiction, and a scholarly/theoretical essay, under the Direction of Mary Cappello, Celest Martin and Dan Pearlman. Scott is going on to apply to Ph.D. programs in Sociology.