Recent Faculty Activities
Neville Choonoo, Africana & Latino Studies/English, recently delivered the keynote address at an international conference, "Autobiography as a Writing Strategy in Post-Colonial Literatures," which was held at the University of Maine May 2&3, 2013.
Jonathan Sadow, presented a paper entitled "The Puppet Show Conundrum: Haywood and the 'Fittest Entertainment for the Present Age'" at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies' annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio on April 4, 2013. This talk discussed the ways that popular entertainment like puppet shows and joke books held a mirror up to 1740s London and served as a model for the state of contemporary culture. On April 6, 2013, at the same conference, he chaired a panel entitled "Unromantic Charlotte Smith". This panel focused on aspects of Charlotte Smith's poetry of the 1790s–usually viewed as Romantic–that were rooted in eighteenth-century ideas.
Susan Bernardin, served as Interdisciplinary Scholar-in-Residence at Utah State University, April 1-3. Hosted by the Departments of English, American Studies, History, Women's Studies, and Art, Bernardin gave several public lectures on Native American literature and art, visited classes, and met with groups of graduate students.
Kathryn Finin, recently presented her paper "Gendered Displays: Lady Macbeth, Politics, and American Culture" at the national Popular Culture Association Conference (March 25-28, 2013) in Washington D.C. Finin examines how American popular culture (mis)uses Lady Macbeth to render female power and ambition as always already problematic, even malevolent. Where powerful women are concerned, then, our supposedly "postfeminist" 21st century harnesses Shakespeare's iconic status to authorize our own gendered stereotypes, limit female subjectivities and circumscribe female agency.
Neville Choonoo, English/ALS, presented a paper at the annual meeting of the African Literature Association in Charleston, SC, on 20 March 2013. His paper was on Literature, Liberation and the Law in contemporary Africa.
Susan Bernardin, recently gave two talks at the Native American Literature Symposium in Minneapolis, held March 20-23. Her first presentation identified intergenerational influences of the work of late 19th-century Mohawk writer Pauline Johnson on contemporary Mohawk artist and filmmaker Shelley Niro. She also served as invited respondent to a panel on Onondaga writer Eric Gansworth, in which she addressed a range of issues including tribal governance, reservation communities, and Indian humor.
Amie Doughty, presented the paper "'Mud People Had a Lot to Answer For': Environmental Messages in Children's Fantasy" at the national Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference in Washington, DC, on March 28. The paper examines three children's fantasy series, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan, and Gaia Girls by Lee Welles. Doughty argues that environmental problems in the series are most effectively challenged through realistic rather than magical means and that the use of magic to solve environmental problems undermines the message that normal children can make a contribution to helping the environment.
Roger Hecht presented a paper at the Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association conference in Albuquerque, N.M., in February. "Mei and Satsuki's Excellent Adventure: The Hybrid Pastoral in Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro" examines the way the famed Japanese director fuses elements of western pastoral tradition with Japanese spiritual and folk traditions to create a hybrid aesthetic and narrative structure to construct his environmentalist ethos. Hecht also recently published an entry, "American Pastoral," in the just-issued Encyclopedia of the Environment in American Literature, Ed. Brian Jones and Geoff Hamilton (McFarland 2013).
Daniel G. Payne, presented a paper entitled "Finding a Place for the Humanities in an Environmental Sciences Program" at the 128th Annual Convention of the Modern Language Association (MLA), held in Boston, Massachusetts from January 3-6, 2013. His paper was presented as part of a panel on "English and the Humanities in an Age of Accountability: Notes from the Small College Department," chaired by Dr. Mark Long of Keene State College in New Hampshire.
Susan Bernardin, has a book chapter in the newly released collection, The Poetry and Poetics of Gerald Vizenor from University of New Mexico Press. Her essay, entitled, "Almost California: Returning to Elemental Vizenor," traces the Anishinaabe elements of selected poems by Vizenor, a foundational intellectual and artistic figure in Native American Studies.
Susan Bernardin gave a presentation and chaired two panels at the Western Literature Association conference held in Lubbock, Texas, from November 7-10, 2012. Her presentation, "No Girls Allowed": Gendering Indigenous Futures in New Navajo Film," addressed how Navajo filmmaker Ramona Emerson strategically recasts the western to provide alternate narratives for girls both on and off the reservation. She also chaired the panel on Indigenous Westerns, on which she presented, as well as a panel on early 20th-century western women's popular narratives.
Amie Doughty, presented the paper "Itchy Witch and Big Al: Kim Harrison's Demonic Mythology" at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference in Durham, NC, on November 11. The paper examines Kim Harrison's urban fantasy series The Hollows and argues that the protagonist Rachel Morgan, like many female-centered urban fantasy main characters, represents a merging of the innocent heroine and monstrous Other from the Gothic literary tradition.
Mark Ferrara, presented the paper "'Distinguishing Truth and Fiction: Jia Bao-yu and Zhen Bao-yu in Dream of the Red Chamber" at the Society of Utopian Studies Conference held in Toronto, Canada. In it, Ferrara argues that the protagonist Bao-yu's encounter with his second self is decidedly utopian in terms of his drive toward Daoist-Buddhist salvation over Confucian social obligation. Jia Bao-yu and Zhen Bao-yu therefore represent competing indigenous worldviews with very different ways of imagining a better way of being.
Roger W. Hecht, published an article, "'Rouse, Ye Anti-Renters:' Poetry and Politics in the Anti-Rent Press," in the Spring 2012 issue of the Hudson River Valley Review. The article discusses how tenant-farmers engaged in the Anti-Rent War of the 1840s employed poetry and song to make sense of their relationship to the landlords and their own economic positions, and to persuade others to join their cause.
Richard Lee, moderated a panel and presented a paper at the 12th International Conference on the Short Story in English, held in North Little Rock, Arkansas, June 26th-30th, 2012. Participants at the conference hailed from twenty-six countries and almost thirty states. The panel, "Anglophone African Currents in Contemporary Short Fiction," included panelists' presentations and an open-forum discussion on current practitioners of the short-story form in, especially, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria. Lee's paper, "East African Short Fiction in English: Implications for Short-Story Genre Theory," focuses on several exemplary writers who are working/publishing within changing market dynamics in Uganda and Kenya. In particular, he noted several interesting recent opportunities for "new" writers, especially women writers, as they attempt to break into local, regional and international markets. His paper was solicited for inclusion in a forthcoming anthology.
Amie Doughty, has published the article "Finding the Fit: The Minutiae of the Academic Job Search" in Attaining an Academic Appointment by Bill McHenry, S. Kent Butler, and Jim McHenry (Atwood Publishing, 2012). The article is a personal reflection on the academic job search and the intangibles that go into the search process for both the job candidate and the college/university.
Richard Lee, published "Reflection as a Revision Technique," a learning module (pedagogical chapter) included in print and online versions of Writing about Writing: A College Reader. Elizabeth Wardle and Douglas Downs. Wadsworth/Cengage Press, 2011.
Amie Doughty, presented the paper "'You Are Not Allowed in This Story!': Reader-Character Roles and Attitudes about Reading in Children's Fantasy" at the National Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference in Boston, MA, on April 12. The paper examines the apparent messages about reading in children's fantasy texts in which characters enter into books.
Prof Neville Choonoo (ALS/English) recently participated in two conferences: Human Rights, Literature and the Visual Arts in Africa and the Diaspora (South Africa) and the annual conference of the African Literature Association (Dallas) where he presented a paper on White writing in South Africa.
Kathryn Finin recently attended the Shakespeare Association of America's annual conference
(April 5-7, 2012), where she presented her paper "'What means this my lord?': Ophelia, Love, and Ethics." As part of her ongoing research on gender and ethics in Shakespeare's tragedies, Dr. Finin's paper examines the layered complexities among which Shakespeare has situated Ophelia, especially her engagement with the key ethical questions of responsiveness and responsibility. The paper argues that Ophelia engages in a subversive kind of ventroliquizing and that her continual response to the call of the other marks her as a rare moral agent in this play.
Jonathan Sadow, presented a paper entitled "Moral and Generic Corruption in Eliza Fenwick's Secresy" at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies' annual conference in San Antonio Texas on March 22, 2012. This talk suggested links between the sentimental novels of the early eighteenth century and the didactic novels written by women in the 1790s. Many of those didactic novels, often about the subject of women's education, were more artistically nuanced and culturally savvy than they are given credit for.
Eileen Morgan-Zayachek presented a paper, "Radio and the Revival: Austin Clarke's Poetry Broadcasts," at the annual meeting of the American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS) in New Orleans. As part of her ongoing research on the interplay between literary production and broadcasting in Irish culture, this paper examined Clarke's appropriation of verse drama, the genre W. B. Yeats had experimented with during the Irish Literary Revival. By co-founding (with Robert Farren) the Dublin Verse Speaking Society in the late 1930's and using the fledgling medium of radio as his primary outlet, Clarke sought to awaken public interest in this hybrid genre. Radio proved a highly suitable medium for poetic dramas, and Clarke's broadcasts became weekly staples for listeners. He succeeded, then, in extending the imaginative aims of the Revival. In exploiting the natural affinity between drama and broadcasting, Clarke also demonstrated Radio Éireann's potential as a medium for sophisticated literary productions at the exact moment the service was self-consciously professionalizing in order to better compete with international rivals and prepare, more generally, for an era of greater international involvement.
Roger W. Hecht has published a new collection of poetry, Talking Picture, by Cervena Barva Press. Talking Pictures is a collection of formal, free-verse, and prose poetry that has been praised by poet Michael Burkard as a "vivid book" with "personal and impersonal worlds and factors that impinge on all of us." Novelist Michael Martone calls it "a vocal and evocative collection." To promote the release of the Talking Pictures Professor Hecht held a book-signing event a poetry reading at the Associated Writing Programs annual conference in Chicago on March 1. Talking Pictures will soon be available at local bookstores and through Cervena Barva Press (www.cervenabarvapress.com).
Bianca Tredennick, co-chaired a seminar session at the Northeast Modern Language Association's annual conference. The panel, entitled "The Undead," focused on there surgence of interest, in literature and popular culture, in zombies, vampires and other such "undead" creatures.
Susan Bernardin, has facilitated a new edition of the book, In the Land of the Grasshopper Song: Two Women in the Klamath River Indian Country, 1908-09, just published by University of Nebraska Press. A regional classic in northern California, and a text claimed by Karuk tribal members as their own, the book recounts Mary Arnold and Mabel Reed’s experiences as field matrons employed by the Indian Service. The book shows their irreverence towards Victorian gender norms while recounting their respect toward and friendship with Karuks. Writing with self-deprecating humor, the women recall their misadventures as women “in a white man’s country” and as whites in Indian country. A story about crossing cultural divides, In the Land of the Grasshopper Song also documents Karuk resilience despite seemingly insurmountable odds. The new edition features an introduction by Susan Bernardin as well as a foreword and afterword by Karuk tribal members André Cramblit and Terry Supahan. Together, Bernardin, Cramblit and Supahan provide rich biographical, cultural, and historical contexts for understanding the continuing importance of this story for Karuk people and other readers.
Amie Doughty, presented the paper “’Close This Book Right Now’: The Writer-Character in Children’s Fantasy” on November 12, 2011 at the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association Conference at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Connecticut. The paper examines the way that metafictional techniques in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians and The Kane Chronicles series serves to make the fantastic elements appear realistic.
Mark Ferrara, published the essay "“Rustic Fiction Indeed!”: Reading Jia Yu-cun in Dream of the Red Chamber" in the peer-reviewed New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 13.1 (2011). In that work, Ferrara argues that to interpret Jia Yu-cun as a stock depiction of the corrupt Mandarin in Chinese literature is to overlook his multivarious roles in the narrative. Like Wang Xi-feng who is too often regarded as a stereotypical shrew, Yu-cun is a complex and carefully developed character woven philosophically and typologically into the patterns of meaning in the novel.
Jonathan Sadow published the essay "Bagels and Genres" in the peer-reviewed Journal of New York Folklore (37:1-2, Summer 2011). This essay is a contribution to the study of material culture in the fields of folklore and ethnography. It suggests that "genre" is a subject that represents cultural discussions about objects, not objects in themselves. Genre rules--such as the distinction between a "real" and "fake" bagel--are best seen as a kind of enforcement of ethnicity, place, and nation. Bagels are a genre in distress, but it is primarily the distressed nature of a traditional genre that establishes something as a genre in the first place. In other words, the concern for bagels'’ “traditional” form only becomes important when cultural assimilation becomes objectionable rather than desired.
Susan Bernardin, recently presented a paper at the annual meeting of NAISA, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, held in Sacramento, May 18-21, 2011. Her paper addressed the relevance of tribal genealogy and affiliation as a primary methodology in Native literary studies.
Susan Bernardin, has published a book chapter in the groundbreaking collection, Visualities: Perspectives on Contemporary American Indian Film and Art, just out from Michigan State University Press. Her essay, entitled, "Seeing Memory, Storying Memory: Printup Hope, Rickard, and Gansworth," examines the interrelation of literary and visual expression in the work of these three contemporary Haudenosaunee artists.
Amie Doughty, presented the paper “Living Characters and Life behind the Scenes in Roderick Townley’s The Sylvie Cycle” at the joint National Popular Culture Association/American Association and Southwest Texas PCA/ACA conference in San Antonio, Texas, on April 21, 2011. The paper examines the role of Reader, Author, and Writer in Townley’s trilogy and argues that Readers’ role in the trilogy is to pass on stories and keep characters alive.
Jonathan Sadow, presented the paper "'Hunted by Dogs and Men': Bird Migration in Charlotte Smith's "Beachy Head" and Oliver Goldsmith's History of the Earth and Animated Nature at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies' annual conference on March 18, 2011 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. This paper addressed the connections between conceptions of natural history and poetics in the late eighteenth century. He also chaired a panel entitled "Critical Misidentifications" at the same conference on March 19, 2011 investigating the affective links between scholars and their subjects.
Bianca Tredennick published Victorian Transformations: Genre, Nationalism and Desire in Nineteenth-Century Literature this Spring. It is an edited collection for which she served as editor (Ashgate) and “Some Collections of Mortality: Dickens, the Paris Morgue and the Material Corpse” (Victorian Review). She also presented at the Northeast Modern Languages Association conference as part of a composition roundtable entitled “Image as Argument.” Her presentation was “‘What Would You Want with a Rabbit?’: Teaching Gender and Sexuality through ‘The Rabbit of Seville.’”
Mark Ferrara, published the essay "Blake's Jerusalem as Perennial Utopia" in the peer-reviewed journal Utopian Studies (22.1). In addition to giving us a new way to understand the well-documented distinctiveness of William Blake’s religious message, the Perennial paradigm shows Blake’s soteriology in the poem Jerusalem to be utopian rather than Salvationist (that is to say, individual-religious as opposed to collective-political). In Jerusalem Blake does not rally the reader towards some “ensuing peaceful millennium,” but rather to find enlightenment in the eternal moment.
Susan Bernardin, English, gave two presentations at the Native American Literature Symposium in Albuquerque, held March 16-19, 2011. Her first presentation, "Extending the Rafters: Ted Williams' The Reservation, Tuscarora Literature, and Native Studies," used Haudenosaunee concepts of affiliation to address aesthetics and activism within the field of Native literary studies. The second presentation charted the relationship between literary and visual arts in the work of several contemporary Haudenosaunee artists.
Amie Doughty has published the article “’I Think You Are Not Telling Me All of This Story’:
Storytelling, Fate, and Self-Determination in Robin McKinley’s Folktale Revisions” in Susan Redington
Bobby’s collection Fairy Tales Reimagined: Essays on New Retellings published by McFarland, Fall
2009. The essay examines several of Robin McKinley’s novels and argues that there is a parallel
between how closely the novels conform to the folktales upon which they are based and how self-reliant
the main characters are. The more McKinley deviates from the traditional folktales, the more self-reliant
her characters are.
Mark Ferrara co-edited the book Between Noble and Humble: Cao Xueqin and the Dream of the Red Chamber, a scholarly work by the famous mainland Chinese critic Zhou Ruchang. Written for the Western reader, it historicizes the life and times of the Chinese novelist Cao Xueqin (c. 1715–1763) and comprehensively introduces the origins of the novel Dream of the Red Chamber (Honglou meng). This translation is unique because it offers the first book-length biography of Cao Xueqin in English, and in it Zhou also offers controversial theories about Honglou meng based on decades of careful research, for instance, that the famous commentator Red Inkstone was in fact a female relative of Cao Xueqin. This book appears as volume sixty-two in Peter Lang's Asian Thought and Culture Series.