Spring 2007

Faculty Updates

Ranen Omer-Sherman has been appointed a Gabelli Senior Scholar in the College of Arts and Sciences in recognition of his outstanding scholarship. This spring, he has been invited to give a series of four seminars by the Fishman Faculty Development Seminar in Jewish Studies at Vassar College.

John Paul Russo gave a lecture on the humanities, “smart” classrooms, and postmodern technological society before the Academy of Scholars on the reception of the 2006 Thomas N. Bonner Award for the best book on the liberal arts (The Future without a Past, U of Missouri Press), at Wayne State University on 23 January 2007. At the conference on “Real Cities,” at the University of Torino in March, he spoke on Las Vegas as a postmodern city.

Pamela Hammons has been awarded an NEH Fellowship for 2007-8 for her project “His and Hers: Gender, Sexuality, and Material Objects in English Renaissance Verse.” At the International Margaret Cavendish Conference to be held in June at the University of Sheffield, she will discuss poetic representations of Cavendish properties.

Four of our faculty members were recipients of Max Orovitz Awards in the Arts and Humanities for summer research: Walter K. Lew, for “Cold Curtain: The Many Departures of Younghill Kang”; David Luis-Brown, for “Blazing at Midnight: Slave Rebellion and Social Identity in Cuban and US Culture”; Brenna Munro, for “Queer Constitutions: Sexuality, Literature, and Imagining Democracy in South Africa”; Tim Watson, for “The Sun Also Sets: Transatlantic Culture and the End of the British Empire.”

Robert Casillo’s Gangster Priest: The Italian American Cinema of Martin Scorsese appeared this spring from University of Toronto Press; The Empire of Stereotypes: Germaine de Staël and the Idea of Italy was published by Palgrave last spring. At the conference on postmodern cities at the University of Torino, he presented a paper on the urban and social theory of Terry Nichols Clark and Richard Florida.

Manette Ansay has been appointed Director of Creative Writing; her latest novel is Blue Water (2006). We welcome as Visiting Assistant Professor of poetry this semester Adrian Castro, author of Cantos of Blood and Honey (1997) and Wise Fish: Tales in 6/8 Time (2005).

In December, Walter K. Lew gave a paper at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the MLA on “Translation, Movietelling, and the New Cinepoem,” for the panel “Voicing Minority Poetries.”  In April, he will give a talk for the University of Minnesota's Institute for Advanced Study and Department of English on “Meaning's Patterned Movement: What the Long History of Korean Intermedia Texts Can Offer Us as New Artists,” and a poetry reading for the exhibit “Still Present Pasts: Korean Americans and the Forgotten War.” ‘A ‘A Arts (Oakland, CA) has awarded him a grant to develop multimedia pieces on the lives and work of Younghill Kang and Nam June Paik.

Sandra Pouchet Paquet was invited to present V.S. Naipaul and the Interior Expeditions: It is impossible to Make a Step Without the Indians" at the "V.S. Naipaul: Created in the West Indies" Symposium held at the University of the West Indies in April, “Transnationalism, Activism and Art: A Poetics of Permanent Questioning" at the conference on "Transnationalism, Translation, Transnation: A Dialogue on the Americas" at the University of Notre Dame, also in April, and “George Lamming: The Political Novelist and His Revolutionary Aesthetic" at  Seminario: El Caribe de George Lamming. Casa de las Américas, held in Havana in June.

At the 26th West Indian Literature Conference held March 8-10 at the College of the Bahamas, Sandra Pouchet Paquet presented “Derek Walcott’s The Prodigal: Politics of Figuration,” and Patricia Saunders spoke on “Space and Scapes as Metathetic Modes of Existence: Interpreting Marlene Norbese Philips’s Creative Non-Fiction.”

The Renaissance Society of America held its annual meeting in Miami on March 22-24, and our department was well represented. Jeffrey Shoulson gave a paper on “How Jewish was Alchemy?”; Pamela Hammons presented“Gifted English Renaissance Writers,” and Andy Strycharski spoke on “Ignoramus and Jacobean Politics.”  

At the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) meeting in Atlanta, March 22-25, Frank Palmeri presented “Animal-Human Hybridity and Slavery in Diderot’s D’Alembert’s Dream.” He has been invited to contribute to the Mellon Seminar at Vanderbilt University on “The Souls of Brute and Stupid Things,” organized by Jonathan Lamb. He will be leading seminars on La Mettrie, Darwin, and de Waal on May 29-31.

Margaret Marshall presented “Marginal Interruptions: Editors, Educators and the ‘Race Problem’ in Post-Reconstruction America” at Conference of College Composition and Communication (CCCC), New York, NY, 24 March. She has also just finished coediting (with Wendy Katkin): Conference Proceedings for the Third National Conference of the Reinvention Center, Transforming the Culture: Undergraduate Education and the Multiple Functions of the Research University (print edition forthcoming; available online at   

Tim Watson, who initiated University of Miami’s Atlantic Studies research initiative last fall with co-convener Ashli White in the History Department, has been invited to attend a 2-day symposium (May 21-22) on Atlantic Studies at Louisiana State University. The aim of this symposium is to bring together representatives from universities in North America (Iowa, LSU, Miami, Vanderbilt) and Europe (Bulgaria, Edinburgh, Padua).

This summer, Caribbean Literary Studies will host a symposium (June 22-23) and seminar (June 25-29) on “Archaeologies of Black Memory,” funded by the Ford Foundation and organized by Patricia Saunders with the assistance of Carmen Ruiz-Castaneda. The symposium, open to the public, will feature prominent scholars. The participants accepted into the seminar will engage in a curriculum development workshop focused on strategies for teaching New World Black Diaspora Studies.

Senior Lecturer Andy Strycharski will be joining the Florida International University’s English department this fall as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in early modern studies and rhetoric. He is working on a book on education, rhetoric, and technology in early modern England. 

Graduate Students and Alumni

The English Graduate Organization has initiated a theory reading group, organized by Terra Caputo and Amanda Tucker. This semester the group has been discussing Benedict Anderson, Gloria Andalzua, and Paul Gilroy. EGO will hold a spring symposium on April 14, with panels on “Religion and Literature,” “Explorations in Gender,” and “Nationalisms and Globalization.”A committee headed by Ann Marie Alfonso Forero and Kara Jacobi coordinated. In preparation for the conference, EGO organized a workshop on writing abstracts for conference papers, and invited David Luis-Brown to serve as faculty mentor.

Jessica Damian defended her dissertation, The Lucid Silver and the Blazing Ore: Romantic Writers Mine South America, 1740-1855, with distinction in December 2006. Starting spring 2007, she has been appointed as Assistant Professor and founding faculty member in English at Georgia Gwinnett College, the newest college in the University System of Georgia. In 2006, Jessica was awarded the Citizens Board Research and Creativity Forum Award for Best Graduate Essay in the Humanities, the Parker Prize for Best Graduate Essay in the Department of English, and Who's Who induction (1 of 7 graduate students university-wide). She also travelled to the Princeton University Archives to study the correspondence of Helen Maria Williams and her circle (funded by the Center for Latin American Studies Doctoral Research Grant).

Perri Giovannucci has been offered an assistant professorship in English at the University of Dubai (United Arab Emirates)—a great opportunity for Perri who works on Arab representations and now can perfect her Arabic. Her book, Literature and Development in North Africa: The Modernizing Missionis coming out from Routledge later in the summer.

Congratulations to Ann Marie Alfonso Forero, whowas awarded Blackwell’s Literature Compass best essay prize in the 20th century and Contemporary section for “Immigrant Motherhood and Transnationality in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Fiction.” She will present this paper at the Postcolonial Representations in the US to be held in May in Santa Barbara.

Our graduate students and alumnae were a notable presence at the 26th West Indian Literature Conference, which was coordinated by Ph.D. alumna Marjorie Brooks-Jones.  Brandi Kellett presented “Forgotten Memories: Depths of Resistance in Feeding the Ghosts” and Carmen Ruiz-Castaneda discussed “The Fuguing Fictions of Erna Brodber and Elizabeth Nunez: Responses to Trauma in Louisianaand Beyond the Limbo Silence.” Ph.D. alumnae Kezia Page, Andrea Shaw, and Kathryn Morris also presented papers. Lara Cahill, Sheri-Marie Harrison, and Nadia Johnson will present papers at the 32nd  Caribbean Studies Association annual conference to be held in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, May 28-June 1. Larawill speak on “Signifying the Site of the Caribbean Forest” (in the works of Alejo Carpentier, Wilson Harris, and V. S. Naipul); Sheri-Marieon “We will follow our redeemer till we die!: The Musical Consciousness of Sylvia Wynter’s The Hills of Hebron”; and Nadiaon “King of the Dancehall: Revisiting ‘Slackness’ in Dancehall Queen.” 

At the American Conference of Irish Studies to be held April 19-22 in New York, Lucas Harriman will present “Parnell and Lincoln: Haunting the Struggle for National Identity,” and Amanda Tucker will speak on “William Bulfin, An Irish Gaucho: Hybridity in Tales of the Pampas.” Amanda will travel to University College Dublin in July to deliver “Nationalism from an Immigrant Perspective: William Bulfin’s Rambles in Eirrinn” at the International Association for the Study of Irish Literature.

At the NEMLA (Northeast MLA) conference held March 2-4 in Baltimore, Richard Fantina presented “Queering the Queen: Elizabeth I and Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis,” and Katharine Westaway spoke on “Keeping it Real: The Open Border between Literature and Journalism.” Katharinealso gave a paper on “The Conflicted Genre: A Literary Nonfictional Response to Sociopolitical Conflict” at the Transnationalism conference held at the University of Toronto, March 8-11.

Kate Pilhuj presented “T’illumine the now obscured Palestine: Elizabeth Cary and the Mapping of Early Modern Marriage and Colonialism” at Questioning Colonialism, the 16th Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Interdisciplinary Symposium sponsored by the UM Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, February 22-24. At the International Cavendish Conference at Sheffield this summer, she will deliver “The Fort of her Chastity: Margaret Cavendish’s Maps of Virtue in Loves Adventures.” Deborah Searcy delivered two papers in February: “Lady Meed and the Pardon: Parentage and Patrimony” at the 13th Annual Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Conference, and “Piers Plowman and the Agency of Salvation,” at the Fifth Annual Conference for Medieval Studies at Purdue University. At the Southwest Texas Popular Culture and American Culture Associations annual meeting in Albuquerque, also in February, Kara Jacobi presented “Truth and Testimony in Butler’s Kindred.”