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Department of English

News and Events

Publicity Announcements:
April 2004


Awards and Honors

Assistant Professor Valerie Karno is this year’s recipient of the URI Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award. The extremely competitive university-wide award is granted each year to one faculty member at the university. Receipt of the award begins with nominations from students and/or other members of the university community and is followed by the identification of finalists from among the nominees. A grueling process follows in which previous recipients of the prize attend the finalist’s classes for observation and further evaluation. Congratulations to Valerie both for being nominated and for making it through this process to recognition! The award was announced in Valerie’s English 202 class on April 15 th by a personal visit from President Carothers. The award brings with it 1000 dollars, and the recipient delivers a presentation at the following year’s convocation. The award brings the department tremendous honor.

Theresa DeFrancis was awarded a URI Center for the Humanities Graduate Student Fellowship for fall 2004. The fellowship is given to an outstanding graduate student for work in the humanities. The fellowship will fund travel to Louisiana, specifically to Cloutierville, Louisiana’s Cane River region, The Chopin Home, The Bayou Folk Museum, the historic district of Natchitoches, and New Orleans’s French Quarter along with the archival libraries of Tulane University and Northwestern State University to research Kate Chopin for chapter 4—“Kate Chopin’s Answer to ‘The Woman Question’”—of DeFrancis's dissertation, The Eroticized Woman in American Women’s Literature at the Fin de Siecle: An Aftermath of “The Woman Question.


Book Publications: Rhetoric and Composition

In February 2004, Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric and the Director of the College Writing Program, Nedra Reynolds published, Geographies of Writing: Inhabiting Places and Encountering Difference with Southern Illinois University Press. John Trimbur, editor of PopularLiteracy: Studies in Cultural Practices and Poetics writes, “The scholarship is superb. It will bring into composition a new affiliated field and open new lines of inquiry. The field of rhetoric and composition has been waiting for what Reynolds will do next with geography, and Geographies of Writing provides it.” The book is described as follows: Twenty-first-century technological innovations have revolutionized the way we experience space, causing an increased sense of fragmentation, danger, and placelessness. In Geographies of Writing: Inhabiting Places and Encountering Difference, Nedra Reynolds addresses these problems in the context of higher education, arguing that theories of writing and rhetoric must engage the metaphorical implications of place without ignoring materiality.

This text marks a summit of work initiated in Reynolds’s well-received article, “Composition’s Imagined Geographies: The Politics in the Frontier, City, and Cyberspace.” In continuing this earlier work, Geographies of Writing multiplies its range of application and proposes a geographical rhetoric. Reynolds uses cultural geography, feminist theory, qualitative research, and service learning to link writing and spatial practices and to unpack the layers of the social production of space. Drawing largely from participant-observation research in a cultural geography class at Leeds University in England, she investigates questions ofdifference and identity and offers an alternative to the process paradigm.

Geographies of Writing makes three closely related contributions: one theoretical, to re-imagine composing as spatial, material, and visual; one political, to understand the sociospatial construction of difference; and one pedagogical, to teach writing as a set of spatial practices. Aided by seven maps and illustrations that reinforce the book’s visual rhetoric, Geographies of Writing shows how composing tasks and electronic space function as conduits for navigating reality.


Publications: Rhetoric and Composition

Carole Center, Ph.D. student specializing in Comp and Rhet, has published an article, “‘Explaining my Opinion by my Own Words’: Considerations for Teaching Linguistically Different Basic Writers,” in Teaching English in the Two Year Colleges March 2004.

Graduate Student Rebecca Romanow has been asked by Prentice Hall to write a review for them on a new text, Rhetorical Visions, this month.


Publications: Creative Writing

Professor Mary Cappello has had a piece of experimental prose accepted for the upcoming issue of American Letters and Commentary, a premier literary annual known for its commitment to “innovative and challenging writing” and edited by Anna Rabinowitz. Cappello’s piece, “The Trees are Aflame,” is the opening section of her manuscript on queer friendship, My Commie Sweetheart: Scenes from a Queer Friendship. Recent issues of American Letters and Commentary have featured writers such as Ann Lauterbach, Rosmarie Waldrop, Xue Di, Charles Bernstein, Lydia Davis, Forrest Gander, Barbara Guest, Timothy Liu, Michael Palmer, Mei Mei Berssenbrugge, and Donald Revell. The journal’s editor, Rabinowitz, has published a new book to wide acclaim: Darkling, a book length poem about the Holocaust which takes as its pretext Hardy’s poem, “The Darkling Thrush.”


Publications: Renaissance Studies

Associate Professor Katherine Scheil'sreview of Lukas Erne's book Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist(Cambridge, 2003) has been published in Shakespeare Bulletin: A Journal of Performance Criticism and Scholarship, 22 (2004): 111-116. Scheil described the book as "among the most important books on Shakespeare in the last ten years."

Katherine Scheil is also currently reviewing R.A. Foakes's book Shakespeare and Violence(Cambridge UP, 2003) for the journal Theatre Survey, and she recently completed a review of Trinity Repertory Company's production of Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor , to be published in Shakespeare Bulletin: A Journal of Performance Criticism and Scholarship.


Publications: Cultural Studies

Graduate Student Bruce G. Johnson has co-edited with Professor Amritjit Singh ( Rhode Island College) a collection of interviews with Edward Said for the University Press of Mississippi's "Public Intellectuals" series. The book, Interviews With Edward

W. Said, will appear in June.


Presentations: American Cultural Studies

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Nancy Cook, presented a talk in March entitled, "A Crowded Wilderness: Twentieth-Century Narratives

from the American Outback," a presentation sponsored by the Center for the Humanities. Cook also gave a paper at the Annual ACA/PCA meeting in San Antonio this year, on April 8, entitled, "Fast Food, Slow Food and the Edible West."

Graduate Student, Rebecca Romanow will be delivering a paper, "But...Can the Subaltern Sing?" at the Cultural Studies Conference at Northeastern University, Boston, Ma, on May 7th. In addition, Romanow has had a paper accepted for MLA 2004 in Philadelphia entitled "American Rock & Roll: Cultural Imperialism and the Entanglement of the Postcolonial in Language and Music" for the special session "American English as a Tool of Globalization."

Catherine Michna, MA student, will be presenting a paper on “Spatiality in

Kate Chopin's The Awakening at this year's SCMLA Conference in New Orleans. Please view her abstract of the project along with some images on the American Literature I panel of this conference.


Presentations: Literature and Law

Assistant Professor Valerie Karno presented a paper at the American Comparative Literature Association called "Legal Translation in Dictee." The paper looked at how operations of law, already themselves translations between ideal principles and material realities, get translated through memories during transnational movements of subjects and capital.