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Department of English

News and Events


 

Publicity Announcements for the Beginning of
Academic Year, September 2005

 

Publications: 20th-Century American Literary and Cultural Studies

Assistant Professor Naomi Mandel is delighted to announce that her book, Against the Unspeakable: Complicity and the Spectre of Atrocity will be published by the University of Virginia Press and is forthcoming in Fall, 2006. Against the Unspeakable argues against the prevailing assumption found in studies of representations of atrocity, particularly in film and literature, that atrocity defies the cognitive and cultural categories marshalled to understand it. Focusing on representations of the Holocaust and slavery in America, Against the Unspeakable argues that the assumption of language's limits has strategically reinforced atrocity's inaccessibility and fosters a critical myopia that

concentrates on the object of representation rather than representation as cultural practice. Moving from the Holocaust and its representation in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, Elie Wiesel's Night, Art Spiegelman's Maus and Claude Lanzmann's Shoah, to representations of American Slavery in William Styron's Confessions of Nat Turner and Toni Morrison's Beloved, Against the Unspeakable moves to replace the privileged space of the unspeakable with an ethics of actively confronting the limits of language, the complicity of rhetoric, and the materiality of identity.

 

Publications: Rhetoric and Composition

Tim Mayers , who earned his Ph.D. in English at URI in 1998, writing his dissertation under the direction of Nedra Reynolds, has published a book with the University of Pittsburgh Press (2005): (Re)Writing Craft: Composition, Creative Writing, and the Future of English Studies. Please see the following link: http://www.pitt.edu/~press/books/rewritingcraft.html

Mayers is (now) an Associate Professor of English at Millersville University in Pennsylvania .

 

Publications and Performances: Creative Writing

Graduate Student Evan P Schneider's book Sincerely: A Collection of Letters I Once Wrote is forthcoming in October, 2005 from Wolverine Farm Publishing. He will be reading from and signing the uniquely bound publication Friday, October 7 at 7:00PM at The MATTER Bookstore in Fort Collins , Colorado .

Graduate Student Brett Rutherford's biographical play about H.P. Lovecraft, Night Gaunts, has been translated into German by Arne Zastrow and other members of a German theater company called "Expressis Verbis." The translation, titled Nachtmahre, will be performed at the University of Heidelberg in January 2006. The English version of the play was previously given two staged readings at The Providence Athenaeum and a radio production by students at New England Institute of Art (AI) in Brookline, Massachusetts. Brett's poetry is also featured in two recent books, On the Wing: American Poems of Air and Space Flight from University of Iowa Press; and Buried Alive: An Anthology of Underground Writing from Invisible Books. Brettwill perform his supernatural poetry at a special noontime Halloween reading at The Providence Athenaeum on Friday, October 28. Admission is free. The Athenaeum Library is at 251 Benefit Street, Providence.

Instructor Jody Lisberger’s short story,"Bush Beating" was accepted for a fiction anthology being published by Vermont College.

Instructor Brian A. Dixon's "This Petty Pace," a short story that explores the human preoccupation with the future by dramatizing elements of theoretical physics, has recently been published in the summer issue of Zahir, a tri-annual print journal dedicated to speculative fiction.

 

Publications: Feminist Literary Studies

Lecturer Donna Bickford’s article , “A Praxis of Parataxis: Epistemology and Dissonance in Lucha Corpi's Detective Fiction” has just appeared in Meridians[5.2, 2005]

 

Publications: Encyclopedia Articles

Two encyclopedia articles by Graduate Student Bruce Johnson just appeared in Greenwood Press's Encyclopedia of Literature and Politics: Censorship, Revolution, and Writing (2005), edited by M. Keith Booker. They are entries on "Gothic Literature" and "Chandra Talpade Mohanty."

 

Publications: Reviews

Associate Professor Katherine Scheil is reviewing a production of Macbeth at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, to be published in the journal Shakespeare Bulletin.

 

Presentations: Rhetoric and Composition

Graduate Students Susan Rashid Horn, Debbie DePiero, and Hillary Ormberg will be conducting a workshop entitled, "Insidious Disincentive: When Instructor Comments Unintentionally Impede Student Motivation,” at the International Writing Center Association Convention, Minneapolis, October 19-22.

Graduate Student Cathryn Molloy will be reading a paper at the IWCA conference in October on "Tutoring Writing Outside of the Center: Crossing Boundaries in Communities and Classrooms."

Graduate Student Theo Greenblatt presented at CCCCs this past March—she reports: “it was inspiring to see SO many URI people in the program!” Her paper was entitled “‘Who Let Those People into Our Military?’ Race, Gender, and Power in the Military Classroom” and was part of a panel with two former colleagues from the Naval Academy Preparatory School, entitled (Re)Composing Access: Reading War, Technology, and Difference at a MilitarySchool.

Graduate Students Ellen Partridge, Sonia Bernstein and Daniela Ragusa will be presenting papers at the Michigan Tech Fem-Rhet Conference in early October.

 

Presentations: Literary Theory and Comparative Literatures

Graduate Student Agata Stepien presented a paper at the Carolina Conference for Romance Languages, entitled "The Love of Art and the Art of Love: Reading the Ethical and the Aesthetic in Roland Barthes's A Lover's Discourse: Fragments"

 

On October 18, Associate Professor StephenBarber is presenting work from his book on Woolf, Deleuze, and Foucault at a luncheon hosted by URI Research Week at the University Club, and on November 4 he is presenting a paper on Bergson and Proust at this year's Modernist Studies Association Convention in Chicago

 

Presentations: 20 th Century British Literary and Cultural Studies

Assistant Professor Ryan Trimm presented his essay "Playing the Line: Situating Metaculture in Notes towards the Definition of Culture" at the T.S. Eliot Society

Conference in St. Louis. He has also recently been interviewed by a reporter with the Times of India for a feature on the Booker Prize.

 

Presentations: Nineteenth Century American Literary and Cultural Studies

Assistant Professor Matthew Frankel delivered a paper entitled, "Becoming Art: Melville, Douglass, and the Aesthetic Figure" at the conference, Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville, A Sesquicentennial Celebration, New Bedford, Massachusetts, 22-26 June 2005. Held on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the publication of both Douglass's My Bondage and My Freedom and Melville's Benito Cereno, the fifth international conference held by the Melville Society, examined the works, lives, and contexts of these two prodigious, encyclopedic writers who spanned most of the nineteenth century. The conference took place in the historic town of New Bedford, Mass., where both young men spent time.

 

Presentations: American Studies/International

Professors Josie Campbell and John Leo have both been invited to present papers at the annual meeting of the Polish Association for American Studies, October 2005. They will present on topics in African American studies. In addition, they both have been invited to present lectures, conduct seminars on American cultural studies, and meet with students to discuss their work in American literature and culture at several Polish universities over a week period, including Maria Curie-Sklodowska University (where Prof. Leo was Fulbright Distinguished Chair of American Literature 1998-2000), Warsaw University, University of Lodz, and others (if possible!). They hope that this trip will continue to expand contacts and even more exchanges and partnerships between URI and one of the most active--and largest--American studies groups in the EU.

 

Presentations: Shakespeare Studies

Katherine Scheil has been invited to present a paper in the “Shakespeare Forums: Literary Societies, Reading Clubs, and Electronic Communities” seminar at the Shakespeare Association of America Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, March 2006.

In November 2005, she will present part of her current work on women and reading groups of Shakespeare at the Midwest Modern Language Association meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This year (2005-06) Katherine Scheil is a Visiting Associate Professor of English at the University of Minnesota. There she is teaching a course on Shakespeare and an honors class on “Shakespeare and After,” based on four Shakespeare plays and their later versions in film, on stage, and in imaginative prose texts.


Presentations: Medieval Studies

Professor Emeritus Richard Neuse delivered a paper entitled “Didactismo por el Terror”: The Infernal Education of the Ladies of Ravenna in Decameron, V, 8” at the 40 th International Congress on Medieval Studies, 5-8 May 2005, Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan

 

Presentations: Diversity Week Series

Associate Professor Stephen Barber presented a talk in this year’s Diversity Week program on antihomophobic pedagogy, and Graduate Student Piotr A. Skuza made a presentation entitled, “Born in the USA: Muslim Americans”

 

Awards and Honors

Graduate Students Claire Reynolds and Greta Methot were each selected as a Promising Scholar to present their research at the Graduate Student Symposium on Diversity on Monday, 26 September, in the Multicultural Center's Hardge Forum. The symposium's goals were to recognize students in various disciplines whose scholarly interests contribute to our knowledge of diversity and promote multicultural understanding; to encourage URI's graduate students to consider the importance of culture and diversity in research; and to promote interdisciplinary linkages between departments and programs around multicultural and diversity issues in ways that enhance the graduate student experience. Greta presented an excerpt from her dissertation in progress, and Claire’s presentation, entitled "From the Margins:Recovering Women's Voices," focused on the work of Ruth McEnery Stuart, a post-bellum American writer from Louisiana who not only spoke for and about African Americans during a time when their own voices were silenced, but also said a great deal about women's issues and class barriers.

 

Community Outreach

A recent article in The Narragansett Times, “Guests Raise $1,000 for Katrina’s Victims,” featured the volunteer work of Graduate Student Agata Stepien at the Welcome House soup kitchen of South County.

Professor Mary Cappello’s work in organizing this year’s Read/Write Series was featured in an article in The Newport Mercury (September 21 st -28 th) written by Lisa Utman Randall entitled, “An Alternative to Sound-Byte Culture.”

 

STUDY ABROAD

A report on URI in England 2005, submitted by Katherine Scheil

This summer, nineteen URI students experienced the best that Britain has to offer through the URI in England program. Led by URI professors Katherine Scheil (English) and Reva Greenburg (History) and based in Bath, the three-week program combined interdisciplinary courses in English and history, supplemented with excursions to historical, literary, and cultural sites.

The first week of the program focused mainly on the landscape, history, and literature of ancient and medieval Britain. Glastonbury and Wells were the heart of our first major excursion. After arriving in Glastonbury in the early morning, the group trekked uphill to the Tor, an ancient hill rumored to be the site of King Arthur’s Avalon. The view from the top of the Tor was breathtaking, and even those who found it quite a physical challenge were rewarded by the scenery, and greeted by the two dozen cattle who had earlier navigated the steep rocky hill. This experience initiated the students’ growing affection for the British landscape, and the connection with nature in particular. Glastonbury Abbey provided a much-needed respite for reflection and contemplation. The problems of the modern world seemed far away, as we listened to a monk explain the demands of medieval monastic life, and one of our students helped him make bread. Walking around the site of King Arthur’s grave and the ruins of the abbey gave everyone a refreshing perspective. Students picnicked on the grounds of the abbey, and the natural beauty and reverence of Glastonbury were appropriate for observing a few moments’ silence at noon for the victims of the London bombings the week before. Later that afternoon we traveled to the nearby town of Wells, visiting the Bishop’s Palace (where a nephew of Winston Churchill was to be married a few days later) and the beautiful cathedral in Wells. The majesty and sheer magnificence of Wells Cathedral were impressive reminders of the longevity and strength of the British people in times of celebration and strife.

After studying Jane Austen’s biography, historical background, and novels during the second week, students walked in Jane Austen’s footsteps through the city and visited the Jane Austen Centre in Bath. The importance of the natural landscape for eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England was unmistakable at Stourhead Garden and Prior Park, two landscape gardens. Students particularly enjoyed these two excursions for their stunning natural beauty, pastoral views, and meditative atmosphere. Stourhead’s role as a refuge for soldiers during the wars provided a more complex view of the “landscape of Britain,” not only as a pastoral setting, but one in which world affairs have left their mark. Excursions to the ancient remains of Avebury and Stonehenge further emphasized the vast historical sweep of Britain.

Our cultural readings, like our excursions, were exceedingly diverse and diverting. After studying Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing in class, this week we saw an inspiring production at the Theatre Royal, one of the oldest and most established theatres in Britain. Sir Peter Hall’s company has been in residence there for several summers, and their production of Shakespeare’s play gave many students a new appreciation for a writer whose works come alive in performance. The latest installment in the Harry Potter series was released during the URI in England program, and our students were there for the midnight festivities. Harry Potter fans also enjoyed the trip to the thirteenth-century rural village and abbey at Lacock, known for its historical significance, but also recognized as one of the locations for the Harry Potter films.

In the final week of our program, we concentrated mainly on modern and contemporary Britain. Students especially enjoyed the “Blitzed: Bath During the Second World War” exhibit at the Victoria Art Gallery. The paintings and films effectively conveyed the impact of the War on the civilian population and the massiveness of the destruction wrought by the incessant bombings. We compared artistic depictions of the war to current sites, and could clearly see the evolution of this ancient city as it has adapted to historical change. An excursion to South Wales supplemented our academic work. Industrial Britain, captured in the works of D.H. Lawrence and George Orwell, was brought to life on our trip to the Big Pit Coal Mine in Wales. Tours were conducted by actual Welsh miners, who embellished their narratives with personal details and anecdotes. After studying Wordsworth’s poem “Tintern Abbey,” a visit to the site in the Wye River valley inspired even the least poetic among us. Chepstow Castle, known for its sweeping views of the Welsh countryside and for its well-preserved medieval hall, served as a final reminder of the grandeur, majesty, and endurance of Great Britain.

Even with a demanding reading schedule and classes all week, URI students still found time for fun. Many traveled to the Welsh capital of Cardiff, some explored Paris, and a few tried to get their “beach fix” at Weymouth on the Dorset Coast. Everyone returned to the states with new friends, a fresh cache of memories, and an impressive wealth of new knowledge, but also with a touch of sadness for what we have left behind, and a deep appreciation of all things British. For photos of the URI in England program this year, see the English department website: www.uri.edu/artsci/eng/