Department of English Newsletter December 2019

Upcoming Department Events

6:30 pm
Indigo Bridge Books
3:00 pm
Pinnacle Bank Arena
9:00 am
Pinnacle Bank Arena
3:30 pm

Publications & Acceptances

Grace Bauer’s essay, “A Tomb of One’s Own,” appears in the latest issue of the on-line journal Ascent. Her poem “Unspeakable Elegy” appears in the latest issue of Rattle.

Cover of Quick Takes War Games bookGwendolyn Audrey Foster and Wheeler Winston Dixon’s series of books for Rutgers University Press, Quick Takes, announces the publication of War Games by Jonna Eagle, the 13th volume in the series. This Quick Take considers how various war games and simulations shape the ways we imagine war. Paradoxically, these games grant us a sense of mastery and control as we strategize and scrutinize the enemy, yet also allow us the thrilling sense of being immersed in the carnage and chaos of battle. But as simulations of war become more integrated into both popular culture and military practice, how do they shape our apprehension of the traumatic realities of warfare?

Covering everything from chess to football, from Saving Private Ryan to American Sniper, and from Call of Duty to drone interfaces, War Games is an essential guide for anyone seeking to understand the militarization of American culture, offering a compact yet comprehensive look at how we play with images of war.Here’s an early review: “Let Eagle’s brisk storytelling shuttle you through a labyrinth of training simulators, re-enactments, video games, epic films, and more. You will be rewarded with a staggeringly rich meditation on our cultural obsession with representing the unrepresentable. From capture the flag to capture the real, I know of no other text that delivers an Olympian glimpse of the whole spectrum with such breadth, clarity, and style.”—Roger Stahl, author of Through the Crosshairs: War, Visual Culture, and the Weaponized Gaze

Wheeler Winston Dixon has published two new book reviews, “Hamlet and World Cinema by Mark Thornton Burnett” and “Making Sense of Mind-Game Films: Narrative Complexity, Embodiment, and the Senses by Simin Nina Littschwager,” in Choice (January 2020).

Conferences, Readings, Workshops & Presentations

On November 12, Marco Abel delivered the Dirk Ippen lecture at the American Academy in Berlin, “Left Politics without Leftism: Toward a Counter-Genealogy of Germany’s Political Cinema.” The lecture is now available on Vimeo. Berlin School filmmaker Christoph Hochhäusler introduced Marco.

Joy Castro gave readings at the University of Regensburg, the Heidelberg Center for American Studies, the Deutsch-Amerikanische Institut in Tübingen, and the John F. Kennedy Institute in Berlin.

Title screen from Meet Me On the Other Side
Screenshot from The Apocalyptic Now
Poster for MicroActs Film Series

Wheeler Winston Dixon’s film Meet Me On The Other Side was screened by invitation at Kino Klub Split, Split, Croatia, November 22, 2019. His video The Apocalyptic Now was screened by invitation at Kino Klub Split, Split, Croatia, on November 29, 2019.

Gwendolyn Audrey Foster’s short experimental film, Making America Straight & White Again, plays at MicroActs LGBTQ+ Artist Film Screening on November 21 in London. Foster’s 8mm short No Personal Checks was curated for the prestigious Analogica Film Festival. This traveling film festival kicks off with a screening at FotoForum in Bolzano, Italy on December 5th. No Personal Checks is also an Official Selection for CODEC Festival Internacional de Cine Experimental y Vídeo and plays on November 28 - 30 in Mexico City. Foster’s short eco-filmpoem, Mass, a meditation on mankind’s destruction of the planet, was screened in a group show at Kino Klub Split in Split, Croatia, November 22, 2019. Foster’s eco-film, Virtual Gallery: The Gaia Triptych played at Video Art Forum Film Festival on November 11 - 15, in Saudi Arabia.

Timothy Janda and Dawn Rammaha gave a presentation entitled “OER’s: A Bridge to Textbook Freedom” on Saturday, 9/28 at the regional MidTESOL Conference held in Omaha, NE. The presenters gave a brief history of OER’s, discussed the various kinds of licensing used with OER’s, and gave a survey of open source materials and textbooks currently available for traditional ESL/EFL skills instruction.

Crystal Bock Thiessen, of PIESL, attended the Global Ties U.S. Regional Summit on the Future of Global Education in Louisville, KY from Nov. 14-16. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, this summit addressed current trends and future educational endeavors in international exchanges to the United States with a focus on how organizations can best form and retain partnerships in the implementation of these types of programs.

Timothy J. Cook, PhD student in English (Literary and Cultural Studies), delivered a paper at the University of Texas-El Paso, on October 11, 2019, during the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association’s 73rd Annual Convention. As a part of the panel “American Literature after 1900, Session II”, Cook shared his work, “‘I am almost too intense, too burning’ : H. D.’s Sea Garden and Echoes of the Imagist Ideal” [Part I]. He is grateful to UNL’s Department of English for providing financial assistance from the graduate student travel fund while attending the conference.

Additionally, Cook delivered a paper at the Hilton Chicago Downtown, on November 16, 2019, during The 61st Annual Convention of the Midwest Modern Language Association. As a part of the panel “Women’s Voices in Poetry”, Cook shared his work, “‘I am almost too intense, too burning’: H. D.’s Sea Garden and Echoes of the Imagist Ideal” [Part II].

Anne Nagel presented her paper, “Victorian Passageways and Possibilities, through the Eyes of a Dickensian Sleep-Watcher,” at the Midwest Conference on British Studies (MWCBS), which was held at Loyola University Chicago this fall.

Jordan Charlton recently presented the paper “From Stepin Fetchit to Lil Pump: Blackface in American Entertainment” at the 2019 PAMLA conference in San Diego, CA.

Activities, Accolades, & Grants

Megan Ekstrom, Bev Rilett, Mackenzie Burch, Sydney BatyMũchiri’s Africana DH project, The Ardhi Initiative, was accepted by UNL’s Center for Digital Research in the Humanities. CDRH will provide advisory and technical support during the pilot phase of The Ardhi Initiative.

2019 marked the bicentenary birthdates of Queen Victoria and an important Victorian novelist, George Eliot. Because of the yearlong celebrations, it was a busy year for Eliot scholar and CDRH faculty fellow, Dr. Beverley Rilett. She was invited to give a keynote address at the “Queen Victoria and George Eliot 1819-2019” conference and a workshop as a Visiting Research Fellow at Loughborough University in Loughborough, England last spring. She also gave an invited lecture to the Alliance of Literary Societies in George Eliot’s hometown of Nuneaton. By July, she was back in England presenting a paper at the George Eliot International Bicentenary Conference and researching Eliot-related archival materials.

This year also marked the launch of the George Eliot Archive, edited by Dr. Rilett. The project, born digital on the first of January 2019 to coincide with the bicentenary celebrations, has gained international renown among Eliot scholars. Recently, both the George Eliot Archive and  its sister site, the George Eliot Review Online (also edited by Dr. Rilett) were peer reviewed and accredited by the Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship (NINES) organization. These digital projects are the result of the contributions of a team of undergraduate research assistants funded by UNL’s Creative Activity and Research Experience (UCARE) grants: Megan Ekstrom, Susannah Boyer, Mackenzie Burch, Grace Erixon, John Harkendorff, and Riley Jhi. In addition, two graduate assistants, Antje Anderson and Sydney Baty, contribute to the project. In October,  Antje Anderson, Megan Ekstrom, Mackenzie Burch, and Sydney Baty presented conference papers on aspects of the George Eliot Archive project at the 44th annual European Studies Conference in Omaha.

Pakistani Husker football watch party attendeesPrograms in English as a Second Language (PIESL), under the leadership of Chris Dunsmore, hosted 25 English language instructors from Pakistan on the English Works Teacher Training and Cultural Exchange from October 28-November 11. Crystal Bock Thiessen, the program’s coordinator and lead instructor, worked with the group last February in Pakistan as a U.S. Department of State English Language Specialist, and helped to continue the exchange in Nebraska in conjunction with the the Regional English Language Office at the U.S. Embassy Islamabad. The English Works Program in Pakistan seeks to teach entrepreneurship, professional, personal, and English language skills to underserved populations throughout the country, and the language teachers from that program who were selected to partake in the Nebraska exchange were chosen because of their exemplary work with their students and in their communities. During their two weeks in Nebraska, the Pakistani participants had opportunities to learn and share by engaging in workshops and observations on the UNL campus at PIESL, TLTE, and the College of Business, and through participating in a Teaching & Learning Symposium with their American colleagues. They visited many area businesses and non-profits in order to learn more about working with underserved populations and preparing them for 21st century skills in the workforce. Many cultural activities, such as a Halloween party, a Huskers football watch party, trips to area museums, dinner in community members homes, and an excursion to the Omaha zoo were also on the itinerary and made for a memorable and full two-weeks for them here in Lincoln.

Erika Luckert’s poetry manuscript was a semi-finalist for the Wisconsin Poetry Series’ Brittingham and Felix Pollak Prizes.

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.