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Department of English

News and Events

Publicity Announcements:
February 2006

Pedagogy and Community Outreach: Events Sponsored by the Rumowicz Literature and the Sea Program:

Assistant Professor Mathew Frankel announces this year’s Rumowicz Undergraduate Maritime Essay Contest and strongly encourages students from across the university to submit original work that addresses how interaction between disciplines in the sciences and the humanities has shaped and continues to define our still developing understanding of the sea and its complex meaning. “We are hoping to double the number of entries we received last year,” Frankel notes.

The Rumowicz Literature and the Sea Program will be putting on an afternoon-long colloquium on Monday April 24th, 2006. It will include an honorary luncheon at the URI Foundation ( 12:30-2:00 P.M.). All members of the English department are invited to attend (official announcements are on the way), as well as appropriate chairs and faculty from a variety of departments in the sciences and the humanities conducting research on the sea. In addition to publicizing the cross-disciplinary goals of the Rumowicz program, tthe lunch will award the winners of this year's essay contest and ask them to read from their work.

Following the luncheon, Mathew Frankel will be hosting a guest lecture by Dr. Helen Rozwadowski, an Historian from the University of Connecticut, Avery Point, who also coordinates their interdisciplinary Maritime Studies Program. Dr. Rozwadowski’s talk will take place at the University Club between 3:00-4:00 P.M. Rozwadowski's book, Fathoming the Ocean (Harvard Univ. Press, 2005) explores the concomitant development of maritime science and literary sea narrative in the 19th-century United States.

For this year's Rumowicz seminar, "Meditation by the Sea," (and in the spirit of Deleuze's essay "Literature and Life"), Mathew Frankel is taking the class on field trips to the New Bedford Whaling Museum and Research Library, Mystic Seaport and Aquarium, as well as a whale watching trip out of the New England Aquarium.

Publications: Books:

Associate Professor Naomi Mandel is delighted to announce that Novels of the Contemporary Extreme, a volume of critical essays which she co-edited with Professor Alain-Philippe Durand of the Department of Languages, is now forthcoming from Continuum Press. The book investigates a new form of fiction that is currently emerging in contemporary literature across the globe. ‘Novels of the Contemporary Extreme’-- from North and South America, from Europe, the Middle East and Asia -- are set in a world both similar to and different from our own: a hyper real, often apocalyptic world progressively invaded by popular culture, permeated with technology and dominated by destruction. This collection of essays identifies and describes this international phenomenon, investigating the appeal of these novels' styles and themes, the reasons behind their success, and the fierce debates they provoked.


Publications: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century American Literature and Culture

Assistant Professor Mathew Frankel’s essay "Tattoo Art: The Composition of Text, Voice, and Race in Moby-Dick," has been accepted for publication in ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance. This essay reflects some of Frankel’s most recent work on the concept of vitality in Melville, Deleuze, and Foucault. One reader commented: "The essay is extremely intelligent, making some really splendid points about a book it seems almost impossible we've more to say about."

Graduate Student Claire Reynolds has received word that her article entitled "Ruth McEnery Stuart: 'Featherbed Resistance’ and 'A Dozen Proofs of Woman's Superiority'" will be published in the next issue of CEA Critic.

Assistant Professor Martha Elena Rojas has had her essay, “Negotiating Gifts: Jefferson's Presents & Counter-Presents,” accepted for publication in  The Old World and the New: Exchanges Between America and Europe in the Age of Jefferson,  a forthcoming volume edited by Peter Onuf and published by the University of Virginia Press


Invitations/Creative Writing: Readings

Instructor Robert Leuci will be giving a reading and running a workshop on March 26th, Sunday, at the Central Congregational Church, 296 Angell Street, Providence. Side door entrance, look for Writers Circle Live sign. Parking is not too bad on Sundays. Come early to find parking on the street. Bob will read from his writing and take questions, and this will be followed by 3 or 4 writers from Writers Circle workshops reading about 10 minutes of their material. The audience and Bob will be invited to participate in a critique of these writers’ work. On March 29 th,Leuci will present an open-to-the-public reading from his memoir, All The Centurions and a lecture on police morality and ethics at Roger Williams University.


Invitations/Editorships: British Romanticism

Assistant Professor Jennifer Jones has been asked by General Editor Laura Mandel to serve as Guest Editor of a special issue of the journal Romantic Circles Pedagogy Commons devoted to the sublime. The volume will be called "Immersive Sublimity: Teaching as/through sublime (dis)identification" and will appear in 2007. For more information, please see


Invitations/Editorships: American Studies

John Leo has been asked by the Co-Editors Prof. William Glass and Agnieszka Graff to join the Editorial/Advisory Board of the journal American Studies, published by UW's ASC. The invitation states, "We see the board serving several functions, but most important would be setting editorial policy. Here we mean reviewing and commenting on and helping us shape the specific themes for issues."

In addition Prof. Glass writes, "We've sent out a call for papers and one of the things we're doing for the issue about the politics of American Studies is conducting interviews about the state and future of American studies as a field. Agnieszka had interviewed Heinz Ickstadt [former president of the European Association of American Studies] of Berlin and will talk with Marek Wilczynski [ Adam Mickiewicz University and guest editing a special edition of ATQ]. I was wondering if you would be willing to participate. Could I interview you [Leo] with the intent of publishing it in our next issue?"


Invitations/Presentations: American Literature and Aesthetic Philosophy

Mathew Frankel has been invited by the journal English Literary History to participate in a colloquium being held in April at Johns Hopkins University. Frankel’s talk will be organized around his current research on American literature and contemporary aesthetic philosophy. He will circulate a draft of an essay he is currently composing, and then arrange a friendly colloquium comprising graduate students and faculty. The invitation includes a $500 honorarium and the coverage of all expenses.


Presentations/International: American Studies

Professor John Leo will be giving presentations at AdamMickiewiczUniversity in Poznan and at the American Studies Center (ASC), Warsaw University, over spring break. His topics are on American science fiction/fantasy films of the 1950s and the Cold War. Professor Josie Campbell will also be presenting papers on American-Canadian literary relations at the same schools. Together they are also exploring further exchange prospects between URI and three preeminent Polish universities, particularly for advanced undergraduates and graduate students in the concentrations of American literary and cultural studies. The exchanges would also involve faculty on both sides and collaborative curricular projects. Funding would be coming from the EU and possibly from the Polish-US Fulbright Commission.


Interviews: American Studies

Assistant Professor Stephanie Dunson was invited last month to do an interview on her research on blackface minstrelsy for the public radio program Commonwealth Journal. The interview was broadcast in February in Boston, Worcester, and Cape Cod on WUMB Radio, 91.9FM. The interview can also be heard over the Web through <>.


Presentations: Literature and Film

Graduate Student Greta Methot presented a paper in early February entitled "Lynching Photography and the Empathetic Eye," at the 31st Annual Film and Literature Conference, "Documenting Trauma, Documenting Terror," held at Florida State University. 


Presentations: Womens Studies

Professor Karen Stein is presenting a talk on Tuesday Feb 28 in the Galanti Lounge, co-sponsored by Hillel and the WMS Program, entitled, "I want you to know:" Tillie Olsen's Proletarian Poetry and Prose.” Karen will also participate in a panel about the WMS Introductory course at the NWSA (National Women's Studies Association) conference in June.


Presentations: British Romanticism

Jennifer Jones will be attending the INCS (Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies) Annual Conference at Rutgers in New Brunswick (March 30-April 1), giving a paper entitled "Passion to Compassion: From Agress to Immersion in the Wordsworthian Sublime."


Presentations: American Comparative Literature Association

This year’s ACLA conference scheduled for March 23-27 at Princeton University focused on the theme “The Human and Its Others” will feature the work of numerous faculty from our Department including Hillary Kelleher, Valerie Karno, Jennifer Jones, Mathew Frankel, and Jean Walton. Jennifer Jones’s paper, "The Nature of Perversity in Romanticism; or, Perverse Wordsworth," will be a part of the Seminar entitled "Literary Perversions: Reconfiguring the Limits of the Human." Valerie Karno will give a paper entitled, "Shame on the Human." Hillary Kelleher’s paper, "Repining Restlessness: Herbert's Human Différance," will be part of the seminar called "Renaissance Humanism and Critical Theory."


Awards and Honors: Nineteenth Century British Literature and Cultural Studies

Jennifer Jones was awarded a Subvention Grant from the Humanities Center at URI to cover the cost of reproduction/permissions for an image acquired from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, for her essay "Absorbing Hesitation: Wordsworth and the Theory of the Panorama," which goes to press at Studies in Romanticism sometime this year.


Alumni News

Alumna Donna Bickford (PhD., 2000) has accepted a position as Director of the Carolina Women's Center at University of North