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Faculty News 2018-19

English professor accomplishments in writing, teaching, and research
June 18, 2019

Above, Professor Christopher Pexa talks about his new book

Elaine Auyoung published When Fiction Feels Real: Representation and the Reading Mind (Oxford University Press, 2018). She also published “Reading” in Victorian Literature and Culture 46.3-4 (2018). She presented “What We Mean by Reading” at the October North American Victorian Studies Association meeting in Florida. She received the Ruth Christie Distinguished Teaching Award from English. Read more about Auyoung's book.

Charles Baxter was awarded the John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence in October at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. The first recipient of the prize was Eudora Welty. His novel The Sun Collective will be published by Pantheon/Random House in 2020. An excerpt, “The Cure for Everything,” was published in The Idaho Review in October. His essay on the Pop artist James Rosenquist, "Eighteen Midwests for James Rosenquist," appeared in James Rosenquist, His American Life (Rizzoli, 2018).

Timothy Brennan wrote an afterword for a volume of essays responding to his book Borrowed Light entitled History, Imperialism, Critique: New Essays in World Literature, edited by Asher Ghaffar (Routledge, 2018). He published “World Literature and Cosmopolitanism” in The Cambridge Companion to World Literature, edited by Ben Etherington and Jarad Zimbler (2018), as well as “Against Modernism” and “Benita Parry’s Position,” in Left Turns, edited by Rashmi Varma and Sharae Deckard (Routledge, 2018) and “Khaldunia: the Literary Politics of Radical Arabic Humanism” in World Literature and Dissent (Routledge, 2018). He gave a lecture titled “Against Modernism” at the University of Illinois-Chicago, November 2018, and another on “The Humanities in an Age of Science” for CLA’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations Capstone lecture at the McNamara Center, October 2018.

Peter Campion will publish a critical collection, Radical as Reality: Form and Freedom in American Poetry, with the University of Chicago Press in 2019.

Siobhan Craig co-edited and co-wrote the introduction for a special issue of the journal Gender and History published in October 2018. She gave a lecture on “Visuality and the Resignification of Space in Fascist Libya” for the Department of French and Italian, December 2018, and spoke about the Gender and History special issue and “Epistemology and Mediation in Historical Film” at a Department of History Colloquium, November 2018.

Lois Cucullu retired this spring after 21 years with the Department of English. Read more about Professor Cucullu.

Eric Daigre, Senior Lecturer, won the Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education, the University’s highest honor for undergraduate teaching.

Andrew Elfenbein published “Author” in Victorian Literature and Culture 46.3-4 (2018). He presented “Byron and Malthus in the Mediterranean” at the Mediterranean Studies Association International Congress at the University of Crete, and “Re-Mapping the Romantic Legacy” at the Victorian Mappings Conference, both May 2019. He also presented “When the Medium Isn’t the Message” at Carleton College, October 2018, and at the University of Minnesota, Duluth November 2018. He was elected to his second three-year term as Chair of the Department of English.

M. J. Fitzgerald spoke on the panel “Re-Inventing, Re-Imagining, Re-Interpreting: Stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses” at the Conference of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers, Vanderbilt College, November 2018.

Patricia Hampl read from her work accompanied by pianist Dan Chouinard for “My Manhattan: A University Farewell” at the Weisman Art Museum November 29. She wrote about how winter brings Minnesotans together for The Star Tribune December 26. The paperback edition of her latest book The Art of the Wasted Day was published April 2019. She will teach at summer writing workshops in Prague and Italy in July 2019. The Regents Professor retired this spring after 37 years with the Department of English. Read more about Professor Hampl.

V. V. Ganeshananthan continues to co-host (with Whitney Terrell) the LitHub podcast "Fiction/Non/Fiction." She co-authored a New York Times opinion piece, "Another Season of Trouble in Sri Lanka," published November 2018. She presented work about Sri Lanka's civil war at the Human Rights Program’s Initiative Research Symposium on November 13. She received a 2019-20 semester fellowship from the U’s Institute of Advanced Study to work on her second novel, Movement. She participates in the Grand Challenges Research Initiative, which allocates $1.95 million to support six interdisciplinary team projects, as a member of the project "The Minnesota Model: Building Interdisciplinary Capacity to Defend Human Rights in Challenging Times," which received $325,000. She also gave presentations at the NonFictioNOW conference in Phoenix, AZ, November 2018, and at the Madison South Asia conference, University of Wisconsin, October 2018.

Brian Goldberg published “Poetry and Social Class” in The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism, edited by David Duff (2018).

Ray Gonzalez published Cutting the Wire: Poetry and Photography From the U. S.-Mexican Border (University of New Mexico Press), a collaboration with El Paso poet Lawrence Welsh and photographer Bruce Berman. The book was named a Best Southwest Books of 2018 by the Pima County Library in Tucson, Arizona. He published poems in the anthologies Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan (New Rivers Press) and Enchantment of the Ordinary (Mutabilis Press). His artwork and poetry appeared in the journals Poetry, Bitter Oleander, Fifth Wednesday, and Caliban.

Douglas Kearney received the 2019 Cy Twombly Award for Poetry of $40,000. He won the COGS Advisor Award from the Council of Graduate Students, nominated and voted on by grad students. He published the poetry chapbook That Loud-Assed Colored Silence: Turntablism (A Container Press, 2018), which was printed as a limited edition ViewMaster Reel. He was featured in Montez Press’ “Interjection Calendar.” He published “In the End They Were Born on TV” in Tube Talk, edited by Kate Alquist, et al. (Great Books Foundation, 2018); “Sand Fire (or “The Pool, 2016)” in What Nature: Poems, edited by Timothy Donnelly, et al. (Boston Review, 2018); and “Bae.K.Tré.” in The Creative Critic: Writing as/about Practice, edited by Katja Hilevaara and Emily Orley (Routledge, 2018). His poems were also published in several journals, including Lana Turner and Haunt: Journal of Art. He gave numerous readings and talks, including at the 92nd Street Y in New York and The Hip Hop Lab at California Institute of the Arts.

Rebecca Krug presented “Lions Can’t Eat Virgins? Questions, Propositions, and Late Medieval Storytelling” at the New Chaucer Society Biennial Meeting, Toronto, July 2018.

Josephine Lee was awarded a $60,000 2019 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for her book project “Blackface and Yellowface: American Theater and Racial Performance.” She presented “The Shared Spaces of Blackface and Yellowface on the Southern Vaudeville Circuit” at the Duke University Inaugural Asian American Studies Conference “Afro/Asian Connections in the Local/Global South,” November 2018, and “Talkin’ ‘bout a Revolution: Teaching Asian American Radical Performance” at the Consortium of Asian American Theatre Artists Conference and Festival, Chicago, August 2018. She was interviewed by Joshua Johnson for National Public Radio’s “1A” show as part of “Bringing Down the Curtain on Yellowface,” December 2018. She continues to serve as Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Asian American Literature and Culture, a set of over a hundred essays that began appearing in electronic and print editions in 2018.

Nabil Matar edited, translated, and introduced The United States Through Arab Eyes (Edinburgh University Press). He also published “Two Arabic Accounts of Captivity in Malta: Texts and Contexts” in Piracy and Captivity in the Mediterranean, 1550-1810, edited by Mario Klarer (Routledge, 2018) and “The Expulsion of the Andalusīs in Arab Memory, 1609/1614–2014” in The Study of al-Andalus: The Scholarship and Legacy of James T. Monroe, edited by Michelle M. Hamilton and David A. Wacks (Harvard University Press, 2018). He gave the William F. Church Memorial Lecture at Brown University, October 2018, and presented “Muslim Captives in European Sculpture” at the Mediterranean Studies Association International Congress at the University of Crete, May 2019. In June, he gave the keynote at the University of Innsbruck workshop for the opening of the exhibit “Pirates and Slaves in the Mediterranean” at Scholss Ambras, Innsburck. Part of his paper was published in the catalogue, “Captive ‘Turkes’ in European Sculpture.”

Nathaniel Mills was awarded University Grant-in-Aid for Research for his project “Workshopping Blackness: Collaboration and the Production of African American Literature.” He published “African American Historical Writing in the Depression” in The Cambridge Companion to American Literature of the 1930s, edited by William Solomon (2018), and “Marxism, Communism, and Richard Wright’s Depression-Era Work” in The Cambridge Companion to Richard Wright, edited by Glenda R. Carpio (2018). He presented “Dictatorship and the Black Radical Tradition” at the panel “Wake Work: Recovering the Legacies of the Black Radical Tradition in a Reactionary Moment,” American Studies Association, Atlanta, GA (November 2018). He was elected Director of Graduate Studies for a three-year term.

Kathryn Nuernberger will publish her next poetry collection, Rue, with BOA Editions in spring 2020. She received a 2019-20 semester fellowship from the U’s Institute of Advanced Study to work on two poetry and lyric essay collections, both with an ecology slant. She was elected to the College of Liberal Arts Assembly for a two-year term. She published numerous poems and essays in journals and magazines, including Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Southern Review, Meridian, and Copper Nickel, among others. She was a panelist for “The Poetics of Fury” at the C.D. Wright Conference for Women, Little Rock, Arkansas, and for “The Essay as Ecosystem” at the NonfictioNOW Conference, Phoenix, Arizona (both November 2018). She gave several readings, including for the Louisiana Tech University Reading Series, December 2018.

Christopher Pexa published his first book, Translated Nation. Rewriting the Dakhóta Oyáte, with University of Minnesota Press. He was presider for the roundtable “Textual Transactions of Native Literary Pedagogy” at the Modern Language Association Conference, Chicago, January 2019. He was awarded an Imagine Fund faculty award to attend the Cornell School of Criticism and Theory regarding his project “Sovereign Flows: Global Indigenous Future-Making Beyond Borders.” Here in Minnesota, he hosted faculty participants from Northwestern University, University of Iowa, and the University of Mississippi for the first multi-university session of the Mellon Humanities Without Walls Grant project, "Indigenous Art and Activism in Changing Climates” (for which he is Co-Principal Investigator), September 2018. Read more about Pexa's book.

Dan Philippon continues as Director of Undergraduate Studies. He presented “Graduate Education in Transnational Environmental Humanities” in a roundtable discussion on “Environmental Humanities Experiments and Horizons” at the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, University of California, Davis, in June 2019.

Paula Rabinowitz (Emerita) published “‘I plan to send you some pictures’: Documenting the 1930s in Cold Blood” in The Cambridge Companion to American Literature of the 1930s, edited by William Solomon (2018), as well as “America’s Movie-Made Novels” in a special issue of Letterature D’America 38 on film and literature. She collaborated with sound artist Liz Phillips in an essay about the artist’s site-specific installation Wave Crossings (on which she also collaborated), in a special issue of the German journal Kunstmusik. She presented “Belabouring Dress: Literature of Wear and Tear” at “The First World Symposium for Fashion. Jewellery. Accessories,” Tongji University, Shanghai, December 2018. She taught a master class on “Cold War Dads: Fathers and the National Security State” at Family Film Project: International Festival Film Archive, Memory and Ethnography, Porto, Portugal, October 2018. And she participated in the symposium “Facing the Abyss: American Literature and Culture in the 1940s” at Columbia University, April 2019. She continues as Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature.

Katherine Scheil published Imagining Shakespeare's Wife: The Afterlife of Anne Hathaway (Cambridge University Press), reviewed in The Spectator, Times Literary Supplement, and Globe Magazine. She was awarded University Grant-in-Aid of Research and University single-semester leave. She also published “Hathaway Farm: Commemorating Warwickshire Will Between the Wars” in Shakespeare Survey 71 (2018) and “Adapting the Comedies” in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean Comedy, edited by Heather Hirschfeld (2018). Her essay “What Shakespeare’s Wife Could Tell Us” appeared Time Magazine online, October 2018. She organized two “Citizen Shakespeare” events with international Shakespeare scholars: a roundtable at the Shakespeare Association of America Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, and a forum and symposium here at the University of Minnesota (both April 2019).

Julie Schumacher published The Shakespeare Requirement (Doubleday), a sequel to her Thurber Award-winning Dear Committee Members. The new novel was reviewed on National Public Radio and in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and elsewhere. She won the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate and Professional Education, the University’s highest recognition for teaching graduate students. She gave the College of Liberal Arts Commencement Speech on May 19.

Geoffrey Sirc retired this spring after 13 years with the Department of English and 20 years with the General College. Read more about Professor Sirc.

Madelon Sprengnether (Emerita) was a guest of the Berkeley Psychoanalytic Society to talk about her recent book Mourning Freud (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018) in January. She served as a respondent for Joel Whitebook regarding Freud: An Intellectual Biography (Cambridge 2017) for the Discussion Group on the History of Psychoanalysis at the annual meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association in New York in February. She presented her recent work at “Freud's Bar,” hosted by Eastbay Booksellers in Oakland, CA in May. She continued to publish installments of her blog, “Minding Memory,” on the website of Psychology Today.

Kim Todd’s essay “The Island Wolves” was published in Best American Science and Nature Writing 2018. She published “Meet the Urban Osprey” in Bay Nature (2018) and “Summoning the Ghost Bear” in Ecotone (2019). She gave a talk at the the U's 300th anniversary Robinson Crusoe celebration in April, called “The Dismallest Howling of Wolves: The Nature of Robinson Crusoe.” She continues as Director of the Creative Writing Program. 

Rachel Trocchio will join the English faculty next fall as assistant professor with a specialty in pre-1900 American literature. Trocchio holds a PhD in English from the University of California, Berkeley; her current book project is “American Puritanism and the Cognitive Style of Grace.”

John Watkins published “Lesbianism in Early Modern Vernacular Romance: The Question of Historicity” in Queens Matter in Early Modern Studies, edited by Anna Riehl Bertolet (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2018), as well as “Marriage Diplomacy” and “Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis (1559)” in The Encyclopedia of Diplomacy, edited by Gordon Martel (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018). He gave the conference keynote, “Apocalyptic Diplomacy,” at Bridging Divides: Third Conference of the New Diplomatic History Network, University of Middelburg, Netherlands, September, 2018.

John S. Wright retired this spring after 35 years with the Departments of English and African American & African Studies. Read more about Professor Wright.

Amit Yahav was awarded a College of Liberal Arts’ Talle Fellowship, given annually to 8-10 associate professors across the college for outstanding projects in research or creative activity. She organized a 300th anniversary celebration of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, featuring a roundtable of University faculty presenting on the novel and a talk by visiting scholar Sarah Kareem (April 2019). She presented “A Defense of Leisure Reading” to the Eighteenth Century Seminar in March 2019 at the Newberry Library in Chicago. And she gave a paper, entitled “On Making Leisure Real,” and organized a panel on “Politics and Poetics” at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Denver, March 2019.