Department of English Newsletter April 2019

Upcoming Department Events

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Indigo Bridge Books
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Publications & Acceptances

Marco Abel published his latest essay on contemporary German cinema, “‘Il faut souffrir’; or, Why the personal was (mostly) not the political at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival,” in Senses of Cinema 90 (March 2019).

Joy Castro published “‘The People Are Missing’: New Refugee Documentaries and Carceral Humanitarianism” in Senses of Cinema 90 (March 2019).

Cover of L.A. Private EyesGwendolyn Audrey Foster and Wheeler Winston Dixon are happy to announce a new volume in their series Quick Takes: Movies and Popular Culture from Rutgers University Press - L.A. Private Eyes by Dahlia Schweitzer. The book examines the tradition of the private eye as it evolves in films, books, and television shows set in Los Angeles from the 1930’s through the present day. It takes a closer look at narratives—both on screen and on the printed page—in which detectives travel the streets of Los Angeles, uncovering corruption, moral ambiguity, and greed with the conviction of urban cowboys, ultimately finding truth and redemption. While the conventions of the genre may have remained consistent and recognizable, the points where they evolve illuminate much about our changing gender and power roles.

Frame from THE INNOCENTSWheeler Winston Dixon has published two new articles in Senses of Cinema (March 2019): “The Power of Imagination: The Innocents on director Jack Clayton’s 1961 film of Henry James’ Turn of the Screw, and “‘I Do Not Believe’ – Sidney Hayers’ Night of the Eagle.”

Cover of DELAYED JUVENILIAChris Harding Thornton’s Delayed Juvenilia, a chapbook of seven short stories, debuted at the Omaha Zine Fest and is available through the imprint Doom Town.

Melissa Homestead’s critical introduction to a previously-uncollected newspaper interview with Willa Cather appeared in Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers in December (“Willa Cather in the Denver Times in 1915 and New Evidence of the Origins of The Professor’s House”).

Ted Kooser’s fourth picture book for children, Mr. Posey’s New Glasses, has been published by Candlewick Press. Ted has new poems in current issues of North American Review, River Styx and Third Wednesday, and six prose poems in Alaska Quarterly Review.

Dr. Ng’ang’a Wahu-Mũchiri published a review of Mukoma wa Ngugi’s The Rise of the African Novel: Politics of Language, Identity, and Ownership (2018). In The Rise of the African Novel: Politics of Language, Identity, and Ownership, Mukoma uncovers why a majority of Africanist literary critics have not included early African writing in their versions of the African literary tradition. Read the review on H-NET Africa.

Image from Livingstone websiteAdrian S. Wisnicki is celebrating early 2019 with two major publishing milestones. The first of these is Wisnicki’s new monograph, Fieldwork of Empire: Intercultural Dynamics in the Production of British Expeditionary Literature, which (if all goes well) will be published by Routledge in April. This publication brings to a close a 15-year odyssey of research development. Wisnicki has even drawn on recent scholarship in the area of “minimal computing” to develop a minimalist website (now a critical intervention in its own small way) that helps promote the book plus includes some of the backstory related to the book’s development.

Wisnicki’s second milestone involves the completion of a pentalogy of major Livingstone Online publications released over the last three years with the late January 2019 publication of the “alpha” edition of Livingstone’s Missionary Travels Manuscript. This publication, which Wisnicki co-directed with a colleague in Belfast (Justin D. Livingstone), itself brings to near conclusion a six-year process of development. Incidentally, an earlier publication from the pentalogy, Livingstone’s Manuscripts in South Africa (2018), was just awarded the prestigious Seal from the MLA Committee on Scholarly Editions, also in early 2019.

Patrick T. Randolph and Nikoleta Dubjelová published “Examining the Personal-Association-Based Components of the Head-to-Toe Method of Associations for Vocabulary Acquisition—Part I: Sense-Based Associations” in the Winter 2019 issue of College ESL Quarterly. This article looks at how sense-based associations (e.g., color, smell, and taste) help develop intuitive and long-lasting connections with English lexical items. Randolph uses neuroscience-based concepts like synesthesia and cognitive psychology-based ideas like sense-associations to show how our first language is often learned and then shows how teachers and students can transfer those ideas to Second or Multiple Language Acquisition. Dubjelová contributed three examples from a student’s perspective of how Randolph’s method of lexical item-color associations work, and she also contributed to the caveat section of the paper with some very significant ideas. The article has already received praise from ESL teachers in the States and abroad.

Johns Hopkins University Press will be publishing Claire Jimenez’s collection of short fiction Staten Island Stories in November 2019.

Cover of TIN HOUSEIlana Masad has sold a debut novel, All My Mother’s Lovers to Maya Ziv at Dutton Books. It is expected to come out in summer of 2020. In recent months, Masad reviewed Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen; The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang; Sea People by Christina Thompson; The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson; and Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden, all for NPR Books. For the LA Times, Masad reviewed The Body Myth by Rheea Mukerjee and Real Queer America by Samantha Allen. For the Washington Post, Masad reviewed The Atlas of Red and Blues by Devi S. Laskar; for Nylon, How to Be Loved by Eva Hagberg Fisher; for the Portland Herald Press, Buddhism for Western Children by Kirstin Allio; and for Bitch Mag, Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi. Masad also saw their flash fiction story Diffuser published in Berfrois.

Xavier Navarro Aquino’s story/novel excerpt, “Raw Season,” was recently published in the latest Tin House.

Ivan Young’s poem “The Bone Farmer” was accepted by the Minnesota Review.

Conferences, Readings, Workshops & Presentations

Frame from SELF PORTRAIT by Gwendolyn Audrey FosterGwendolyn Audrey Foster is delighted to learn that her short film, Self Portrait [Détournement] is an Official Selection of the 8th International Video Art Festival of Camagüey in Cuba, April 22 - 29th. Foster is equally thrilled to learn that The Leisure Class has been selected an Official Selection of the Another Experiments by Women Festival (AWX) at Anthology Film Archives in New York City, on April 17th. Foster is invited to present Kiki’s Film, an Official Selection of The 14th Annual Experiments in Cinema International Film Festival in Albuquerque (April 12 -20). Three of Foster’s films, Legends of the Pine Barrens, The Prisoner [A Fairy Tale], and No Personal Checks were curated for the Atrabilious Film Festival held at Filmhuis Cavia in Amsterdam, March 29-30. Foster was also honored to learn that No Personal Checks, Kiki’s Film, and Séance for Hilma [af Klint] were featured at Kino Climates on February 22, in Belgrade, Serbia.

Last, but not least, Foster is particularly honored to learn that Fountains for the Baroness, a short film homage to the infamous German bisexual Dada artist and poet Elsa Hildegard von Freytag-Loringhoven, (now celebrated as “The Mother of Dada”) was screened by KinoBerlino. A pioneer of “found objects,” The Baroness infamously mailed her found art piece (an upturned urinal), to Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp, in turn, known as “The Father of Conceptual Art,” exhibited the gift of the Baroness as his own, and, until recently, was given sole authorship for The Fountain (1917) Foster’s short, Fountains for the Baroness, screened at Kino Moviemento, (one of Germany’s oldest cinemas) in Berlin, on March 28th.

Ken Price recently attended the Society for Textual Scholarship conference in New York City where he enjoyed hearing Nicole Gray deliver their paper on “‘Witnesses of Us': Editing Whitman’s Early Poetry Manuscripts.” At the conference, Ken also chaired a panel on “Editing Charles Chesnutt Now.” Papers were presented by Stephanie Browner, Dean of the Eugene Lang College of the New School, Sarah Wagner McCoy, an Assistant Professor at Reed College, and Bianca Swift, a UNL sophomore English major. Bianca’s paper grew out of her UCARE project, directed by Ken and Matt Cohen, on Charles Chesnutt’s correspondence with African American intellectuals, including W. E. B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, Kelly Miller, John Patterson Green, and Walter White. As part of her UCARE project, Bianca is editing the letters and also reflecting on her process by writing poems triggered by the striking ideas and memorable phrasing she encounters. Fittingly, Bianca capped off her talk with a reading of one of her poems. A member of the audience immediately exclaimed “you just won the conference.”

Renaissance illustration of sea monsters in the East IndiesJulia Schleck was invited to present at a workshop held at Duke University on March 3-4. The workshop was on “Corporate Families: Multidisciplinary Approaches”, a division of the Sawyer Seminar on Corporations and International Law family of events. She presented a paper on the British East India Company entitled “Patriarchs, boys, and informational incontinence: The early modern corporation as household.” The paper is part of her current book project on gender and knowledge formation in literary and archival sources depicting the EIC.

Two weeks later Julia got back on a plane and headed to Toronto for the Renaissance Society of America’s annual meeting, March 17-19. While there, she participated in a roundtable discussion on “Pedagogical Perspectives on a Non-Eurocentric Renaissance” and presented a paper on the panel “Rethinking Early Modern Orientalisms” entitled “Said and Strategic Ignorance in the Early Modern Period.” The paper challenged the RSA to consider ways that its academic practices and logistical arrangements and rules are still inflected by the economic and political power structures that Said critiqued. RSA members in attendance got into the spirit of the paper in the Q&A, albeit in an ironic vein, by strategically ignoring the challenge to be more self-reflective in the organization’s practices and focusing instead on larger structural issues largely outside of our control.

Crystal Bock Thiessen and English language teachers in PakistanCrystal Bock Thiessen of Programs in English as a Second Language was invited to Islamabad, Pakistan February 21-March 1 to conduct trainings on current English language methodologies and best practices to English language teachers from around the country. The week-long training and Bock Thiessen’s workshops were presented on behalf of the Regional English Language Office of Pakistan, the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, and the DOVE Foundation, a non-profit working to create 21st-century skills and opportunities for youth through English. The trainings are a part of a larger U.S. State Department-sponsored initiative to implement English language and entrepreneurial trainings to students in low and under-resourced areas throughout Pakistan and will culminate in a future exchange partnership with a university in the United States.

Crystal Bock Thiessen, of PIESL, gave three presentations at the International Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, March 12-15. The first presentation, “Teaching Lower-level Research and Presentation Skills by Creating Infographics” focused on using infographics to help English language learners learn basic research skills. “English for Campus and Community Engagement” detailed the design and implementation of an English language course for learners to better engage with their American university campuses and host communities. As an invited panelist for the U.S. State Department’s English Language Programs, she also spoke about her fellowship in Ukraine during “English Language Fellows: 50 Years of Impact Around the Globe.

Patrick Randolph at conferencePatrick T. Randolph and Dieter Bruhn won the Best of CoTESOL (Colorado TESOL) Award for their 2018 presentation, “Using Creative Writing to Enhance Academic Writing.” Their talk focused on how different genres and techniques of creative writing help develop various writing and thinking skills needed for academic or technical writing. In addition, they presented four unique creative writing activities that help ELLs develop a sense of confidence, comfort, and control in their academic writing.

Randolph and Bruhn’s presentation was voted on by the attendees of the convention, where a total of 120 presentations were given. This prestigious award pays for all the expenses for the 2019 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo to be held in Atlanta, Georgia, from March 12-15. As part of this award, CoTESOL has invited Randolph and Bruhn to be featured speakers at the CoTESOL Spring Conference in Greeley, Colorado, held in April of the year. This is Randolph’s second Best of CoTESOL Award. He won it last year for his presentation on his own unique version of Culture and Language Observation Journals. Randolph is the first worldwide TESOL member of 44,000 to win this award twice. He is also the only TESOL member to win four “Best of Sessions” at conferences from different TESOL Affiliates.

Patrick T. Randolph was invited to discuss his Head-to-Toe Method of Associations for Vocabulary Acquisition on the Detroit-based ELT Talk podcast. He details the 40-component method that helps ELTs and ELLs teach and learn English lexical terms.

Timothy J. Cook, PhD student in English (Literary and Cultural Studies), delivered a paper at the University of Louisville on February 21, 2019, during the 47th Annual Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900. As a part of the panel “Modernist Relations: Crane, Loy, Moore, and Pound”, Cook shared his work; “Pound, Heidegger, Arendt: The Ascetic Origins of The Pisan Cantos, ‘Art,’ and Modern Statelessness". He is grateful to the Department of English for providing financial assistance from the graduate student travel funds while attending the conference.

Charlotte Kupsh presented her paper “Displacement, Deracination, and Identity: How Place and Writing Intersect in the Classroom” at Creighton University’s annual interdisciplinary conference on space and place, You Are Here.

Activities, Accolades, & Grants

Shakespeare-themed birthday cardBard Birthday Bash as Shakespeare Turns 455!

Help us celebrate the traditional observance of Shakespeare’s birthday on April 23. Time: 1 to 3 p.m. Location: Dudley Bailey Library, 228 Andrews Hall. Festivities will include sonnets, soliloquies, and scenes – with musical selections from Sweet Will and the Saucy Jacks. And cake. There must be cake. Or, in the spirit of Sir Toby Belch, cakes and (ginger) ale. Anyone interested in reading, reciting, or performing Shakespeare at the Bard Birthday Bash should contact Steve Buhler at to arrange a selection and time. This event sponsored by the Department of English and the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program of UNL.

Melissa Homestead was elected President of the Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society.

Gabriel Houck has been awarded the Emory Creative Writing Fellowship in Fiction, and will serve a 2-year appointment at Emory University starting in the Fall of 2019.

The UNL Honors Program nominated Dr. Ng’ang’a Wahu-Mũchiri as the 2019 Humanities Honors Faculty of the Year.

In mid March, Andrew Kaplan interviewed Ken Price in Washington, DC for an educational film on Walt Whitman. Ken was there, along with Kay Walter, co-director of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, and two colleagues from Creighton University to advocate for the humanities on Capitol Hill.

Have news or noteworthy happenings to share?

The Department of English encourages our faculty and current students to submit stories about their activities and publications of note by filling out the Department Newsletter Submission Form.