Faculty News 2017-18

Our professors' latest awards, publications, and research
Professor Nabil Matar receiving Kuwait Foundation Award
Professor Nabil Matar (right) receiving the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences Award in Comparative Literature and Literary Translation

The Department of English hired two new Creative Writing professors, scheduled to start fall 2018: welcome to poets and creative nonfiction writers Douglas Kearney and Kathryn Nuernberger!

Elaine Auyoung was named a University of Minnesota McKnight Land-Grant Professor. Her first book, When Fiction Feels Real: Representation and the Reading Mind, will be published by Oxford University Press in September. She lectured on this project at the University of Connecticut in March and led a seminar on empiricism at the Society for Novel Studies conference at Cornell University in May. In April, she delivered a paper titled, “Rapport with Jane: Social Effects of Austen’s Indirect Style,” at the International Conference on Narrative in Montreal. She was elected to the Modern Language Association’s Executive Committee on Cognitive and Affect Studies for a five-year term.

Charles Baxter edited Maud Casey’s The Art of Mystery: The Search for Questions (Graywolf, 2018), part of the “Art of . . .” series he started with Graywolf. He published “Full of It” in The Writer’s Reader, edited by Robert Cohen and Jay Parini (Bloombury, 2017); and “Gina’s Death” in Love Stories for Turbulent Times, edited by Genie D. Chipps and Bill Henderson (Pushcart Press, 2018). “The Anns,” an excerpt from his forthcoming novel The Sun Collective, is available online at Fogged Clarity. He published “Sublime Boredom and the Drowsy Reader” at The Brooklyn Rail. His review of Denis Johnson's Largesse of the Sea Maiden appeared in the April 19, 2018 issue of The New York Review of Books. His 10th Annual Hunger Relief Benefit reading April 25, co-presented by the Creative Writing Program, raised a total of $1,565.

Timothy Brennan published “Homiletic Realism and Imperial Form” in Negative Cosmopolitanism, edited by Terri Tomsky and Eddy Kent (McGill-Queens University Press, 2017) and “Humanism’s Other Story” in For Humanism: Explorations in Theory and Politics, edited by David Alderson and Robert Spencer (Pluto, 2017). He also published “Fanon for the Present” in College Literature 45:1, for a critical forum on “Fanon in the Present” (winter 2018), and “Philology” for Futures of Comparative Literature, edited by Ursula Heise, et al., the ten-year “State of the Discipline” Report of the American Comparative Literature Association (Routledge, 2017). Brennan wrote “Digital-Humanities Bust” for The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 20, 2017. He presented “Said in Beirut” at the Camargo Foundation, Cassis, France, October 2017, and “The Spatial Imagination of Edward Said” at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India, January 2018.

Michael Dennis Browne (Emeritus) published Chimes: Selected Shorter Poems with Nodin Press. Stephen Paulus’ opera The Three Hermits, with Browne's libretto based on a short story by Leo Tolstoy, was performed at the House of Hope Presbyterian Church in Saint Paul in November.

Peter Campion published poems in Dalhousie Review, Plume, and The Plume Anthology. His poem “At the Seoul Writers Festival” was reprinted in In the Shape of a Human Body I Am Visiting the Earth: Poems from Far and Wide, edited by Ilya Kaminsky, Dominic Luxford, and Jesse Nathan (McSweeney’s, 2017).

Siobhan Craig was awarded an Institute for Advanced Studies Residential Fellowship for 2018-19.

Lois Cucullu received an Office of the Vice President for Research 2018-19 Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship award, an Imagine Fund award, and a Modern Studies Association Research Travel Grant for the project “A Queer Progress: The Naturalization of Christopher Isherwood.”

Andrew Elfenbein, Chair of the Department of English, published The Gist of Reading (Stanford University Press). He wrote the essay “How We Read” for the Stanford University Press blog. He reviewed Henry Stead’s A Cockney Catullus: The Reception of Catullus in Romantic Britain in Modern Philology (August 2017). He presented “Close Reading in Emma” to the Jane Austen Society of North America-Minnesota, Minneapolis, June 2017, and “When the Medium Isn’t the Message” to Textgroup at the University of Minnesota, December 2017.

M. J. Fitzgerald received an Office of the Vice President for Research 2018-19 Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship award.

V. V. Ganeshananthan received a 2018-19 Imagine Fund Annual Award for her proposal "Collected Writings on Sri Lanka: Translations." She co-hosts a new podcast for LitHub, “fiction/non/fiction.” She gave readings at Humboldt University, the University of Gottingen, and the American Academy in Berlin. She published “Lovewatch, Hatewatch (or, ‘I Brought You into This World and I’ll Take You Out’)” in Little Boxes (Coffee House Press, 2017). She also published “Gardening” in Berlin Journal (fall 2017), “the faithful scholar dreams of being exact” in Michigan Quarterly Review (fall 2017), and “Cliff Huxtable Stole My Heart, Bill Cosby Broke It” with Electric Literature. She reviewed four books for “Stories of Familial Unrest and Displacement” for The New York Times Sunday Book Review September 2017. Last June she participated in the panel “Standing Apart, Being Involved: Writing the Foreign and Unfamiliar” at the NonfictioNOW Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland. She also joined the board of the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop and was named a Loft Literary Center 2018 Mentor.

Brian Goldberg served as interim Director of Undergraduate Studies in fall 2017.

Ray Gonzalez published the poetry chapbook Some Holy Ghost (Mesilla Press). A poem of his will be broadcast on Wordish, Radio KAXE/KBXE's literary segment that features Minnesota writers reading from their work.

Patricia Hampl published The Art of the Wasted Day (Viking) and gave numerous readings and interviews about the memoir. The book Sleeping by the Mississippi, with photographs by Alex Soth and an introduction by Hampl, was reprinted by MACK. She received the Milkweed Editions Award for Distinguished Contributions to Literary Culture, an award given annually by the press at their “Book Lovers Ball,” September 2017. She gave a reading as part of “An Urban Farmers’ Almanac," a stage show with musicians and writers organized by Dan Chouinard, at Open Eye Theater, Minneapolis, August 2017; she was a featured speaker for an annual national gathering of pastors at House of Hope Church, St. Paul, September 2017, and a featured writer at the North Shore Writers Festival, November 2017.

Michael Hancher presented “Technical Tenniel: Reproducing Alice” at SHARP 2017: Technologies of the Book, the 25th Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, Victoria, BC, in June 2017.

Rebecca Krug published “Seizure Disorders and The Book of Margery Kempe” in The Ashgate Research Companion to Disability Studies, edited by John Sexton and Kisha Tracy (Routledge). She reviewed Robert Sturges’ The Circulation of Power in Medieval Biblical Drama in Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England (2017).

Josephine Lee is the Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Asian American and Pacific Islander Literature and Culture, a comprehensive set of over a hundred essays to appear in electronic and print editions beginning in 2018. She served as a script consultant for the Bakken Trio’s Nadia by Mina Fisher at the MacPhail Center for Music, September 2017.

Nabil Matar in December received the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences Award in Comparative Literature and Literary Translation, a lifetime achievement prize for his decades of research on "cultural engagements and the meeting of civilizations.” As of July 2017, he holds the Samuel Russell Chair in the Humanities at the University of Minnesota. He published “The Arabic-speaking Peoples and ‘Globalization’: The Eighteenth Century” in The Eighteenth Century 58 (2017) and “The Cradle of Jesus and the Oratory of Mary in Jerusalem’s al-Haram al-Sharif” in Jerusalem Quarterly 70 (2017) He reviewed Anna Contadini and Claire Norton’s The Renaissance and the Ottoman World in Seventeenth-Century News and Islam Issa’s Milton in the Arab-Muslim World in Milton Quarterly 51 (2017). He presented “Resisting Christian Conversion: A Muslim Captive in Malta,” as well as a roundtable talk, at the Conference on the Politics of Conversion: Martin Luther to Muhammad Ali, Newberry Library, September 2017; he also presented “Arab Captives in the Early Modern Mediterranean: between Micro- and Macro-History” at the The Future(s) of Microhistory conference at the University of Rochester, November 2017.

Ellen Messer-Davidow was leader and sole speaker for the workshop “Why Genre Matters: Medical Forms and Patient Stories” at the Humanities in Medicine Symposium, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, October 2017.

Nathaniel Mills was co-organizer and co-chair for the seminar/panel session “Race and Materialisms,” at the American Comparative Literature Association Conference (ACLA), Los Angeles, CA, March-April 2018. He presented “Workshopping Blackness: The Materialism of the Encounter and African American Authorship” at the session. In May, he presented “A Feeling for History: African American Historical Representation during the Depression” at the American Literature Association Conference, San Francisco, CA, and, in February, “The Lumpenproletariat, Black Marxism, and the Archive” at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. He gave a public lecture and led discussion on his book Ragged Revolutionaries. The Lumpenproletariat and African American Marxism in Depression-Era Literature at the East Side Freedom Library, St. Paul, November 2017. The book was published in June 2017.

Christopher Pexa won the Don D. Walker Prize, given annually for best essay published in western American literary studies, for “More than Talking Animals,” Western Literature Association. He is the project coordinator, in consultation with the American Indian Studies Department and co-PI Vicente Diaz, for the University of Minnesota’s involvement in a multi-university, $138,360 Mellon Humanities Without Walls Grant examining Indigenous relationships with and in the Mississippi River Valley: “Indigenous Art and Activism in Changing Climates: The Mississippi River Valley, Colonialism, and Environmental Change.” He published “Citizen Kin: Charles Eastman’s Reworkings of US Citizenship” in Studies in American Indian Literatures 29:3 (fall 2017) and “Futurity Foreclosed: Jonestown, Historical Trauma, and the Ending of Time in Fred D’Aguiar’s Bill of Rights” in the digital MELUS (forthcoming in print). Pexa presented “Grounded Indigenous Futures in Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas” in the MLA Special Session “Futurity and Difference,” New York City, January 2018.

Dan Philippon received Grand Challenges Curriculum Approval as the co-teacher of the fall 2018 course “Living the Good Life at the End of the World: Sustainability in the Anthropocene.” He co-edited (with Michelle Mart) a special issue of Global Environment 11.1 (spring 2018) titled “Consuming the World: Eating and Drinking in Culture, History and Environment” and wrote the introduction, “Changing Food Cultures, Changing Global Environments.” The issue also includes his dialogue with Raj Patel, “Still Stuffed and Starved, Ten Years Later: A Conversation.” He co-authored “Translating Knowledge to Engage Global Grand Challenges: A Case Study” for Innovative Learning and Teaching: Experiments Across the Disciplines (e-book), edited by Ilene D. Alexander and Robert K. Poch (University of Minnesota Center for Educational Innovation, 2017). He continued as the Department of English Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Paula Rabinowitz (Emerita) gave one of the keynote addresses at the Modernist Studies Association meeting in Amsterdam in August 2017, as well presenting "How Close Is the State," about childhoods during the Cold War. She also presented the keynote lecture at the Reception Studies Society meeting at St. Catherine's in September. A celebration of the donation of her papers and materials to the University of Minnesota Libraries Archives and the East Side Freedom Library also took place in September 2017. Her essay "Stateless Mothers/Motherless States: The Femme Fatale on the Threshold of American Citizenship" was published in A History of American Crime Fiction, edited by Chris Raczkowski (Cambridge University Press, 2017). She reviewed Celia Marshik’s At the Mercy of Their Clothes: Modernism, the Middlebrow, and British Garment Culture for The Journal of British Studies. She wrote “Cotton Comes to Harlem” for Books to Film: Cinematic Adaptations of Literary Works, Volume 1, edited by Jim Craddock (Cengage Gale, 2017). She contributed to One Question’s International Women’s Day survey of women academics, March 2018. A Spanish translation of her "The Queens Two Bodies; Or, Living with the Trumps, is it possible for a feminist?" appeared in PASAJES. She continues as Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature.

Marty Roth (Emeritus) published Change Partners: Motion, Becoming, Difference, Violence (Academica Press).

Jani Scandura received an Office of the Vice President for Research 2018-19 Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship award. She presented “A coté, or the art of close memory” as part of "Modern Proximities: Close/Too Close," a panel she organized for the Modernist Studies Association conference in Amsterdam, August 2017, and “Inside Inside: Alen Divis’s Prison Walls,” as part of the Voices series at Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois, Chicago, November 2017.

Andrew Scheil wrote multiple dictionary entries, including “Aldhelm,” “Anglo-Saxon Chronicle,” “Guthlac,” “Hengest and Horsa,” “Hild of Whitby,” and “Theodore of Tarsus,” for The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity, edited by O. Nicholson and M. Humphries (Oxford University Press). He reviewed Malcom R. Godden’s The Old English History of the World: An Anglo-Saxon Rewriting of Orosius in Bryn Mawr Classical Review (August 2017). He served as CLA Assembly Vice-Chair (2016-2017), and Chair (2017-2018).

Katherine Scheil published Imagining Shakespeare's Wife: The Afterlife of Anne Hathaway (Cambridge University Press), her fourth book. She wrote “New Places for Civic Shakespeare in America” for New Places: Shakespeare and Civic Creativity, edited by Paul Edmondson and Ewan Fernie (Bloomsbury, 2018). She also published “Shakespeare and Non-Fiction: In Search of the Biography” in The Shakespearean World, edited by Jill Levenson and Rob Ormsby (Routledge, 2017) and co-authored “Writing and Re-writing Shakespeare’s Life” for Shakespeare Survey 70 (2017). Shakespeare Criticism: The Taming of the Shrew, edited by Lawrence Trudeau, reprinted her article “Sauny the Scott; or, The Taming of the Shrew: John Lacy and the Importance of Theatrical Context in the Restoration.” Together with Jo Rian, Director, Center for the Humanities in Medicine, Mayo Clinic, she developed an internship in Medical Humanities for English Graduate Students.

Julie Schumacher received a Sabbatical Supplement Award for calendar year 2019. She gave readings at Southdale Library, October 2017; Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, September 2017; and Common Good Books, St. Paul, July 2017. She was the keynote speaker at the Two-Year College Association Midwest Conference and at LaSierra University, Riverside, California, both in October 2017.

Geoffrey Sirc presented "The Rhetoric of Threnody" at the Biennial Conference of the Rhetoric Society of America, Minneapolis, May 2018.

Madelon Sprengnether (Emerita) published Mourning Freud (Bloomsbury). She continues to post on her blog Minding Memory at psychologytoday.com. She attended the annual meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association February 14-18, where she co-chairs the Discussion Group on Psychoanalysis and History and serves on the committees on Psychoanalysis and the Academy and Interdisciplinary Relations.

Kimberley Todd received a University of Minnesota Talle Faculty Research Award, College of Liberal Arts, for her project “Undercover, the Hidden History of America’s Girl Stunt Reporters” and sold the project to HarperCollins for publication in 2020-21. She was named the Donald V. Hawkins Professor of English. Her essay “The Island Wolves, How Genetics Retold the Story of Predators and Prey,” originally published in Orion (2017) will be included in the 2018 Best American Science & Nature Writing Anthology. She published “In Turn Each Woman Thrust Her Head” at The Paris Review online, February 2018. Her essay "Coyote Tracker: San Francisco’s Uneasy Embrace of a Predator’s Return" came out in Bay Nature, January 2018. She presented “Bad Animals, Predators in American Life” at the Chautauqua Institution, August 2017. She will serve as Director of the Creative Writing Program in 2018-19.

John Watkins organized and edited a special issue on “Non-State Actors in Mediterranean Politics” in Mediterranean Studies 25 (2017); he also wrote the introduction. He reviewed William T. Rossiter’s Wyatt Abroad: Tudor Diplomacy and the Translation of Power in Common Knowledge 23 (2017). He gave a guest lecture at the University of Haifa in January, 2018. He was interviewed for articles by John Rash for The Star Tribune in December and July 2017. He was interviewed by Nyajai Ellison on The Morning Show, Wisconsin Public Radio, November 2017, and by Jim du Bois on Access Minnesota, October 2017. He continues as Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of English. He is now writing a book on "Apocalyptic Diplomacy."

Amit Yahav published her debut book, Feeling Time: Duration, The Novel, and Eighteenth-Century Sensibility (University of Pennsylvania Press). She reviewed Christoph Henke’s “Laurence Sterne and Common Sense: Discursive Shifts in Eighteenth-Century English Culture” in The Scriblerian 50.1 (2017) and Dorothea von Mücke’s The Practices of the Enlightenment: Aesthetics, Authorship, and the Public in The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 56, supplement.

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