Fall 2012

Faculty Updates

The Department of English is delighted to welcome Donette Francis, author of Fictions of Feminine Citizenship: Sexuality and the Nation in Contemporary Caribbean Literature (Palgrave 2010), who joins us this year as an associate professor. Dr. Francis specializes in Caribbean literary and intellectual histories, American immigrant literatures, African diaspora literary studies, globalization and transnational feminist studies, and theories of sexuality and citizenship. She is currently writing The Novel 1960s: Form and Sensibilities in Caribbean Literary Culture, an intellectual history of the 1960s. She is the co-editor with Belinda Edmondson of the “Special Forum: American Studies—Caribbean Edition” of the Journal of Transnational American Studies. Dr. Francis has been the recipient of Ford Foundation Summer Fellowships, the Dr. Nuala G. Drescher Award, and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities Faculty Fellowship at Binghamton University. She sits on the Editorial Board of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature and the Trotter Review. Her articles have appeared in Small Axe, Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noir, and Research in African Literature, among others. Before joining the faculty of the English Department at the University of Miami, Dr. Francis taught at Binghamton University and New York University.

This year we are conducting faculty searches in the fields of creative writing (poetry) and American literature since 1900 with a specialty in African American literature.

We are very pleased to announce that our department has recently joined the Dickens Project, a multi-university scholarly consortium based at the University of California, Santa Cruz and dedicated to advancing interdisciplinary research and pedagogy in nineteenth-century literature.  Our faculty and graduate students look forward to participating in the Dickens Project.

Jane Alison received a Provost Research Award for Summer 2012 and a Center for the Humanities Fellowship for this academic year to work on her book project, “Stories of Sexual Transformation in Ovid.” She has also been invited to talk about Ovid in contemporary fiction at the American Academy in Rome.

At the International James Joyce Symposium in Dublin this past June, Renée Fox gave a paper entitled “Thought-Tormented Music: Browning and Formal Innovation in ‘The Dead.’” In September 2012, Dr. Fox presented “A Disconcerting Pact With Gravity: Victorian Acrobats and the Failure of Transcendence” at the North American Victorian Studies Association Annual Meeting in Madison, Wisconsin.

In July 2012, Thomas Goodmann delivered “Interrogating Quodlibeta” for the panel, “Frequently Asked Questions,” at the Biennial Congress of the New Chaucer Society, Portland, Oregon.  As Director of Conference Programs for CARA (Committee on Centers and Regional Associations, Medieval Academy of America), Dr. Goodmann organized and presided at two sessions during the 47th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in May 2012: “Teaching Paleography & Codicology: A Workshop” and “Natura Nova: Ecocriticism and Medieval Studies.” After two terms of service, he has stepped down as Director of Conference Programs and has recently been elected to the Board of Directors for TEAMS: The Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages.

In August 2012, an interview with Lester Goran was published, along with the first chapter of his new novel, Unnatural Expectations, in the Australian literary journal, Contrapasso (edited by MacQuarie University Professor Matthew Asprey Gear, who completed his doctoral dissertation last year on Henry Roth, Saul Bellow, and Professor Goran).

Pat McCarthy’s “Two Briefs on Science Fiction,” a review essay on The Routledge Concise History of Science Fiction by Mark Routledge and Sherry Vint, and Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction by David Seed, appeared in Science Fiction Studies 39:2 (July 2012): 327-31.

Brenna Munro has published a book, South Africa and the Dream of Love To Come: Queer Sexuality and the Struggle for Freedom, with the University of Minnesota Press (2012)

Joel Nickels has published a book, The Poetry of the Possible: Spontaneity, Modernism and the Multitude, with the University of Minnesota Press (2012). In addition, Dr. Nickels gave an invited lecture, “Modernism and Nonstate Space: Claude McKay’s Dissident Internationalism,” to the Department of English and the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley in Fall 2012. On October 3, 2012, he gave a talk on The Poetry of the Possible at Books and Books in downtown Coral Gables as part of the BookTalk series organized by the University of Miami’s Center for the Humanities.

On May 18, 2012, Ranen Omer-Sherman gave a keynote address, “Jewish/Muslim Interpenetrations & Interdependencies,” at “Multiplicities” the Tenth Annual Graduate Student Conference held by Saint Louis University in Madrid, Spain. He has published reviews of new novels by Sayed Kashua and Mark Helprin (both for Forward) and reviews of Kinereth Meyer and Rachel Salmon Deshen’s Reading the Underthought: Jewish Hermeneutics and the Christian Poetry of Hopkins and Eliot (Style 45.4) and Miryam Segal’s A New Sound in Hebrew Poetry: Poetics, Politics, Accent (Hebrew Studies 53). Dr. Omer-Sherman has also been awarded a research fellowship from the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies on the theme of “Borders of Jewishness: Microhistories of Encounter.” He is currently in residence at the University of Michigan for Fall 2012; one of his research presentations is available online: view the presentation

John Paul Russo published a review essay of a new book on the Canadian poet Pier Giorgio Di Cicco; in September, at a conference in Rome, he was elected managing editor of RSA (Rivista di Studi Americani), the journal of the Italian Association of North American Studies. Dr. Russo has just completed his twenty-third year as book review editor of Italian Americana.

Maureen Seaton has published her tenth full-length poetry collection, Genetics (Jackleg Press, May 2012). She has also published nine poems in two anthologies, Lady Business: A Celebration of Lesbian Poetry,Bryan Borland, ed. (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2012) and Token Entry: New York City Subway Poems, Gerry LaFemina, ed. (Smalls Press, 2012).  Professor Seaton published seven solo poems in the following literary journals: Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, Green Mountains Review, and Prairie Schooner. She published two collaborative poems with Neil de la Flor in Fence and Verse Daily and one collaborative poem with Samuel Ace in The Collagist. Professor Seaton gave four public poetry readings at venues across the United States: Acequia Books, Albuquerque; Women and Children First Books, Chicago; Woman Made Gallery, Chicago; and The Art Center, Miami.

Mihoko Suzuki presented “Early Modern/Modern: Reading Seventeenth-Century Women Writers through Twentieth- and Twenty-first-Century Political Theory” at the University of Reading Early Modern Studies Conference in July, and “Representing the English Civil Wars during the Fronde: The Mazarinades and the Memoirs of Motteville and Nemours,” at the Sixteenth Century Society Conference held in Cincinnati in October. As Director of the Center for the Humanities, Dr. Suzuki testified at the Congressionally-appointed American Academy Commission on Humanities and Social Sciences meeting held in September at Miami Dade College (MDC) and chaired by Presidents Donna E. Shalala and Eduardo Padrón (MDC). The first issue of Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal edited by Anne J. Cruz (Modern Languages and Literatures), Mary Lindemann (History), and Suzuki at the Center for the Humanities was published in October. The volume includes articles, a forum on transculturalisms / transnationalisms, exhibition reviews, and book reviews.  

Graduate Students and Alumni

Several current and recent graduate students have won important prizes in the last six months. The English Department’s Bernard Benstock Prize for the best dissertation completed in 2011 has been awarded to Ann Marie Alfonso-Forero for “Translating Postcolonial Pasts: Immigration and Identity in the Fiction of Bharati Mukherjee, Elizabeth Nunez, and Jhumpa Lahiri.” Jennifer Slivka has received Honorable Mention for “Strangers at Home: Threshold Identities in Contemporary Irish Women’s Writing.” Lauren Petrino has been named the department’s Mary K. Parker Prize winner for academic year 2011-12 for her essay, “‘In amorous Pastoral Verse we did not Woo’: Monarchy and Marriage in The Convent of Pleasure. Ng’ang’a Muchiri’spaper, “‘A Nation of One’s Own’: Fictional Indictment of Cannibalistic States,” won the 2013 Graduate Student Best Essay Award of the African Literature Association (ALA). The $500 award will be handed out at the ALA’s 2013 conference in Charleston, South Carolina.

Eugene Arva has published a book, The Traumatic Imagination:  Histories of Violence in Magical Realist Fiction (Cambria Press, 2011).

Marta Fernández Campa presented a paper, “Archiving Counter-Memory in the Work of Chris Cozier and M. NourbeSe Philip,” at the Tenth Annual Graduate Student Conference, Saint Louis University, Madrid in May 2012. In August, she was an invited guest at the cultural space Alice Yard, Port of Spain (Trinidad) where she conducted research and gave an informal talk about visual arts and alternative archiving in her dissertation project. She also presented a paper on Christopher Cozier’s artwork at the 31st West Indian Literature Conference held at the University of Miami. 

Jennifer Garçon presented a paper, “Troping the Content of Black Sovereignty in Leonora Sansay’s Secret History,” at the Roots and Radicalism: Literature, Theory and Praxis Conference at the University of British Columbia. This fall, she presented “Literary Ruinate: Resisting Bildungsroman Structure in Michelle Cliff’s No Telephone to Heaven” at the 31st Annual West Indian Literature Conference. Jennifer is also currently serving as the copyeditor for a forthcoming e-publication, Setting the Agenda: Asia and Latin America in the 21st Century,funded by the University of Miami’s Center for Latin American Studies. 

On October 6, Lauren Petrino presented “‘In amorous Pastoral verse we did not Woo’”at the Tenth Annual Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies Graduate Student Conference held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Amanda Thibodeau has published an article, “Alien Bodies and a Queer Future: Sexual Revision in Octavia Butler’s ‘Bloodchild’ and James Tiptree, Jr.’s ‘With Delicate Mad Hands,’” in Science Fiction Studies 39:2 (July 2012): 262-82.