Department of English Newsletter May 2018

Upcoming Department Events

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Publications & Acceptances

James Brunton's poetry collection, Opera on TV, has been selected for publication by The Operating System Press and will be published in 2019.

Cover of A SHORT HISTORY OF FILMWheeler Winston Dixon and Gwendolyn Audrey Foster have just published the third edition of their classic film history textbook A Short History of Film, which is used in classrooms throughout the world. With more than 250 images, including a large series of color plates, new information on international cinema—especially Polish, Chinese, Russian, Canadian, and Iranian filmmakers—an expanded section on African-American filmmakers, updated discussions of new works by major American directors, and a new section on the rise of comic book movies and computer generated special effects, this is the most up to date resource for film history courses in the twenty-first century. “With the goal of offering 'a fast paced tour' of movie history, Dixon and Foster have produced a study in the tradition of Paul Rotha's The Film till Now. The authors touch all the base—they address new trends in international movie making, technologies, and critical theory and the emergence of new national and ethnic cinemas--and relate film history to social history. Each new technique, style, school, trend, and newly visible ethnic or feminist group takes its place in the larger history, and Dixon and Foster make it all accessible to the neophyte reader without ever breaking the pace. Uncommonly well-reproduced stills and a topically organized bibliography enhance the discussion. Highly recommended.” —Choice

Cover of QUICK TAKES - COMIC BOOK MOVIESGwendolyn Audrey Foster and Wheeler Winston Dixon also have two new volumes in their edited series “Quick Takes: Movies and Popular Culture” for Rutgers University Press: “Monster Cinema” by Barry Keith Grant, and “Comic Book Movies” by Blair Davis. This brings the total number of volumes in the series to nine books.

Additionally, Dixon has published a new article, “The Philosophy of the Ramones,” in European Journal of American Culture 37.1 (Spring 2018): 5-18.

Gabriel Houck's story, “Al, Off the Grid,” which initially appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of The Sewanee Review, will be featured in a digital re-print issue of Pyschopomp.

Ted Kooser's new and selected poems, Kindest Regards, has been published by Copper Canyon Press. It has received a starred review in Booklist, and was named among the top five poetry picks for 2018 by Library Journal. Ted will be reading from the book at Francie & Finch on Saturday, May 12th, at 2:00 p.m.

Patrick T. Randolph (of PIESL) has recently published a new article in the College ESL Quarterly called Using Embodied Semantics to Help ELLs Acquire Action-Related Vocabulary. This piece focuses on tapping into the “embodied semantic hypothesis” which, according to recent research in neuroscience, shows that the sensory-motor region of the frontal lobe houses the ability to both help perform physical actions as well as conceptualize them. Through a six-part method, Randolph shows how he gets students to take full advantage of this region of the brain to encode, learn, and reinforce the feeling, meaning, and use of action-related lexical items. Randolph’s article (in press), Employing Embodied Cognition to Help ELLs Acquire Vocabulary, will be published in the OHIO TESOL Journal. This article examines the use of how employing embodied cognition via associating parts of the body, organs, or regions of the body with vocabulary terms is a way to help students genuinely learn and use the different kinds of English lexical items (i.e., single words, phrases, and idioms).

Julia Schleck co-edited with Amrita Sen (University of Calcutta) volume 17.3 of The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies on “Alternate Histories of the East India Company”. In addition to introducing the volume, she also published an essay within it entitled “The Marital Problems of the East India Company”.

In early 2018, Adrian Wisnicki brought to an end a year-long publication spree by releasing the last of a tetralogy of major digital humanities publications. The publications are:

Kristi Carter speaks about trauma, community, and daughterhood in an interview about her chapbook Daughter Shaman Sings Blood Anthem with Sheila McMullin at Tinderbox. In an interview with Tammy Walker for National Poetry Month, Carter discusses female agency in horror and poetry within her collection Cosmovore at Freethinking Ahead. Her review of UNL Alum Sarah Chavez's book is available at The Rumpus. Carter's microreview of Noor Hindi's Diary of a Filthy Woman appears at Occulum. She has two poems, “Regarding the Nation of my Birth and its Unrequited Passion for Violence,” and “American Nothing,” into the Counternarratives anthology to be printed by Four Chambers Press, based out of Phoenix. Her poem “Cosmovore Searches the Animal Shelter” will appear in the 2018 Rhysling Anthology.

Ilana Masad's review of Eileen Pollack's novel, The Bible of Dirty Jokes appeared in the New York Times this month. Her review of Amy Meng's poetry collection, Bridled, appeared in Platypus Press's Weekend Review series. Additionally, she got to write about how Meg Wolitzer's new novel, The Female Persuasion is a social novel a la Middlemarch for Read It Forward.

Daniel Clausen's essay “Big Sky Tourism,” based on his travel to Namibia with the Center for Great Plains Studies, will appear in the next issue of The New Territory magazine.

Ángel García has two publications forthcoming in Miramar--his poem “Elegy for What Once Slept in a Cage” and a review of Gary Soto's The Elements of San Joaquin, reprinted from Chronicle Books. His poem “Satyr” will also be published by Spillway this summer.

Linda Garcia Merchant’s Scalar research site, Chicana Diasporic: A Nomadic Journey of the Activist Exiled, a media rich, literary exploration of the political-ideological journey of the women of the Chicana Caucus of the National Women’s Political Caucus, 1973-1979 has been selected for publication in the Fall 2018 American Quarterly special edition on Digital Humanities.

Matthew Guzman's review of Gregory Nobles' book, John James Audubon: The Nature of the American Woodsman, was published in most recent issue of Great Plains Research (Spring 2018).

Katie Schmid Henson's poem “Apple Glory,” a finalist in the American Literary Review's annual contest, was published in their Spring issue. Her poem “Turning 32” was nominated for Best New Poets 2018, by Southern Indiana Review.

Ivan Young’s poem “Fishing for Bream” was featured on American Life in Poetry on April 9, 2018.

Dillon Rockrohr's (MA UNL 2017) article “The Daemonic Life of Objects: Object-Oriented Criticism and Cynthia Ozick's 'The Pagan Rabbi'” was accepted for publication in symploke's upcoming Oceania in Theory issue, 26.1-2 (December 2018).

Conferences, Readings, Workshops & Presentations

Marco Abel co-organized a meeting of Big Ten English Department Chairs that took place in East Lansing, MI (Michigan State U) on April 12-13. The attending chairs (from Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota, Illinois, and Cara Cilano, Marco's co-organizer from MSU) agreed to three basic points: 1. to share program data with each other; 2. to initiate a Big Ten Emerging Scholars lecture; and 3. to hold the next meeting in spring 2019 at Penn State. The Chairs who participated at this inaugural meeting will communicate these agreements to the Big Ten English Department Chairs who were unable to attend and invite them to participate in the sharing of data, in the new lecture initiative, and in the next meeting.

Rachel Azima, Bradley Hughes and Rebecca NowacekRachel Azima presented on a panel titled “Interrogating the Everyday Documents of Writing Centers” with Bradley Hughes from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Rebecca Nowacek from Marquette University at the 2018 Conference on College Composition and Communication in Kansas City.

Grace Bauer recently participated in a special panel featuring her co-edited anthology Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse at the Tennessee Williams Festival in New Orleans. While in New Orleans, Grace was also a Visiting Writer at Xavier University and gave a reading from her latest collection, MEAN/TIME at Frenchy's Art Gallery as part of the Maple Leaf Reading Series. Earlier in March, Grace co-hosted a Nasty Women Poets reading in Tampa as an off-site event at the National AWP Conference. Nasty Women Poets readings have now been held in 20 cities across the country, with several more scheduled for this summer. An interview with Grace and her co-editor, conducted by alum Sarah Fawn Montgomery, is currently featured on the website of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.

James Brunton presented his paper, “Queers with Kids: Biopolitics after Same-Sex Marriage,” at the American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting at UCLA, March 29-April 1.

Still from a Dixon and Foster filmGwendolyn Audrey Foster and Wheeler Winston Dixon presented an invited screening of their video work at The University of Nevada, Las Vegas on April 19th, 2018. The films screened included Beat Box, Echo and Narcissus, Making Women Great Again, Another Place, Sleeping With The Fishes, Have Fun / Keep Out, Mystery Train, Superluminal Time Travel, Shopping, Fantasy for Academy Leader, Joy, Popular Science, Ambience, Fine Tuning, Downhill, Look, Ulysses on the Shore, Double Wedding, The Prisoner, Horizontal, Kaleidoscope VII and Hot Rod Auto Races.

Still from DELTA OF VENUS filmGwendolyn Audrey Foster was invited to present a number of her queer bisexual feminist films at the Atrabilious Film Festival Redux. Delta of Venus, Making Women Great Again, Dreaming of Monica Vitti, Goddesses, Fairy Tale [Excerpt], Self Portrait, Playing Dolls, Dervishing Vanitas, Pre-Raphaelite Falls, Beautiful [for Florine Stettheimer], Yonic Energy, Male Gaze Time Travel Machine, A Film for Chantal Akerman, Male Gaze Time Machine [Inversion Version] and other short films by Foster were curated and screened at Filmhuis Cavia, in Amsterdam, on 21 April, 2018.

Cover of BITTER FRUITMaureen Honey gave a presentation on African American women in World War II April 19 on a panel including senior historians from Tulane, Xavier University of Louisiana, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, and the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, which hosted the event. This day-long symposium on Louisiana and World War II was open to the public and highlighted the Museum's exhibit, “The Pelican State Goes to War: Louisiana in World War II.” Maureen was asked by the Museum to host a book signing for her long-in-print anthology, Bitter Fruit: African American Women in World War II (University of Missouri Press).

Tim Meadows and Lark Warren with students in KigaliFrom March 17-April 1, Tim Meadows and Lark Warren travelled to Kigali, Rwanda to administer a two-week test preparation course and the English Language Test (ELT) to finalists for the Undergraduate Scholarship Program (CUSP). The course focused on developing the reading, writing, and listening skills of students competing to study Integrated Sciences through the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR). The results of the test will be used to determine if the students meet the university’s English language requirement for full admission. Out of the 63 students who took the ELT, 50 will receive the scholarship to begin their studies in August 2018.

Patrick T. Randolph has been invited by the Illinois Teachers of English of Speakers of Other Languages – Bilingual Education (ITBE) to be a plenary speakers for their 2018 October Convention, Finding Our Voice: Education and Advocacy.

Patrick T. Randolph (of PIESL) represented two U.S. TESOL Affiliates at this year’s International TESOL Convention and English Language Expo in Chicago, IL. He represented COTESOL and Mid-America TESOL and received awards from both affiliates – “the Best of COTESOL” and “The Best of TESOL Affiliates” from Mid-America TESOL. Randolph gave three presentations at International TESOL: “A Guaranteed, Humanistic, 4-Step Process to Help Prevent Plagiarism,” (this talk was one of 6 chosen from over 7,000 and received the “Best of TESOL Affiliates” award); “Sustaining Dialogues: A Guide to Creating Collaborative Mini-Professional Development Conferences” (with E. Musil) and “ELL Read-a-Thons: Feeling the Language Through Performing the Written Word” (with J. Ruppert and L. Ramm). Randolph also presented on “Peer Observations That Inspire Professional Development” at the 2018 Spring PIESL Professional Development Mini-Conference. This talk was based on peer observations conducted at Anglia Ruskin University in England.

Guy Reynolds introduced a new adaptation of Willa Cather's April Twilights for a performance at the UNL music school, Sunday April 22nd. Chris Miller's song cycle features four singers and musical settings to Cather's only volume of poetry.

Julia Schleck participated in two roundtable discussions at this year's Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting in New Orleans, March 21-24. One asked “Whose Renaissance? 'Heritage', Scholarship, and the Politics of the Past Today” and the other addressed “Collaborative Research in the Global Renaissance”.

Aimee Allard will present her paper “'That Singular Light': The Luminescent Underpinnings of My Ántonia” at the American Literature Association Conference next month in San Francisco. Her paper was accepted as part of a panel organized by The Willa Cather Foundation in celebration of My Ántonia's centenary.

Daniel Clausen presented “Out of Africa and the Romance of Ecotourism” at the 2018 Great Plains Symposium.

In April, doctoral student Linda Garcia Merchant presented a paper, “Chicana Diasporic: The Four-Dimensional Search for Breadcrumbs” with graduate students from the University of California at Santa Barbara on research and methods panel entitled, “Building a New House: Innovative Tools and Methodologies in Chicanx Studies” at the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies Conference in Minneapolis.

Also in April, Garcia Merchant presented a paper, “Bridging Place as Land/Scape/Theater: Chicana Diasporic, and the Sisterhood Salon/Salón de Hermandad” at the Organization of American Historians Conference in Sacramento.

In May, Garcia Merchant along with Dr. Maria Cotera from the University of Michigan will be giving a talk on the Chicana Por Mi Raza Digital Memory Collective, (CPMR) project, at the launch of a new book on the history of Wisconsin Latina activism, Somos Latinas: Voices of Wisconsin Latina Activists. The Somos Latinas History Project is a collaborative effort of the University of Wisconsin, Madison and the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Matthew Guzman recently presented his paper, “What's Really Going On: Eco(ideo)logy, or the Ideology of Ecology,” at the You Are Here: Space, Place, and Embodiment conference at Creighton University. The paper works to critique the ideology surrounding contemporary environmentalism as well as to think about the human in an expansive and traumatic ecological context.

Mark Houston, a 1st-year Composition and Rhetoric PhD student, presented “Unwriting ‘Nature’: Deconstructing and Repurposing in College Composition Courses” at a work in progress panel of the Research Network Forum, on March 14 at the 2018 Conference on College Composition and Communication in Kansas City, MO. He also presented his paper “‘Project Rawhide’: Neoliberalism, Environmental Rhetoric, and a Nebraska Poultry Facility,” which analyzes neoliberal transformations of environmental rhetoric, at the “You Are Here” conference on March 23 in Omaha, NE.

Anne Nagel participated in the international conference Dreams and Literary Creation in British Writings of the 18th and 19th Centuries at the Université Clermont-Ferrand, France, in April. She is deeply grateful for the travel funding that she received from the Nick Spencer Excellent Fund and the Joy Currie Travel Award, which enabled her to have the amazing, invaluable experience of attending a conference themed on her dissertation topic. At the conference, she presented the paper “Dreaming Up the Monstrous: The Affective Intensity of the Dream in Frankenstein and Wuthering Heights.”

Anne Nagel also attended the James A. Rawley Conference On the Margins here at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in March, where she presented the paper “The Revolutionary Potential of Queen Mab: A Transatlantic Connection between Charles Brockden Brown and Percy Bysshe Shelley.”

ESAB members present their posterJerica Burgess, Xinyue Wang, Hailey Fischer, and Lee Kenny, English Student Advisory Board members, presented a poster titled “English Peer Mentoring: Fostering a Sense of Belonging Through Imaginative Reasoning” at the 2018 UNL Academic Advising Association Conference. The main points of the poster addressed the mentoring program in the English Department and how it contributes to fostering a sense of belonging for first-year students. The poster received first place for the poster session at the conference! Thank you to the English Department for their support, as well as professor Joy Castro for allowing the students to use a quote from her on mentorship and belonging for their poster! Academic Advising Association.

Activities, Accolades, & Grants

Marco Abel and Julia Schleck have been selected by the Faculty Senate as the 2018 recipients of the James A. Lake Academic Freedom Award. This prestigious award is presented annually to an individual whose efforts have helped to preserve “the most basic freedom of all, the freedom to seek and communicate truth.” A number of past recipients were from the Department of English, including James A. McShane, 1983; Paul Olson, 1987; Linda Pratt, 1994; Robert Haller, 2001; and George Wolf, 2002. Julia and Marco are the first set of joint winners to share the award. They regard this as a recognition of the Department of English as a whole, and they hope that you will join them to share in this recognition by attending the award presentation and reception on September 4 (details forthcoming).

Grace Bauer has been awarded an Individual Artist's Fellowship from the Nebraska Arts Council.

ELS LogoCrystal Bock Thiessen, instructor in Programs in English as a Second Language (PIESL), has been chosen by the U.S. Department of State for a one-month English Language Specialist program in Belarus and Ukraine in June as a teacher-trainer. The Belarus assignment will focus on current methodologies in English language instruction, including photography and video projects for language-learning. In Ukraine, Bock Thiessen will work in the current conflict zone in the East with English teachers on resiliency, peace-building, student-centered learning, mixed-ability classes, and current methodologies in language teaching. She has been chosen as one of approximately 80 U.S. citizens each year selected to serve on an English Language Specialist assignment abroad.

Patrick T. Randolph helped organize, “Observations – Embracing the Moment” the Second Annual International Poetry Night on April 10th, 2018. The event was sponsored by the Diversity Committee and Regina Flowers of Love Library. Randolph and 17 of his former and current students from seven countries (China, Colombia, India, Malaysia, Rwanda, Taiwan, and Vietnam) read their poems based on observations of local culture, language, and human interaction.

Lark Warren of PIESL will move to Thika, Kenya in September 2018 to work as an English Language Fellow for the U.S. Department of State. She will participate in teacher training and materials development for the English Language Department at Uma University related to syllabus design, content-based instruction, and English for Academic Purposes for lecturers at the university, head of departments, and students.

Kristi Carter will participated in Tupelo Press's 30/30 this April. The project is a fundraiser for the press which they describe as “a beautiful extension of that mid-1920s Paris salon approach to art and artists.” Donations encouraged through May. Her manuscript earned her a spot as a semi-finalist in the 18th Annual Elixir Press Poetry Award.

Aimee Allard successfully defended her dissertation, Fashioning Madness: Clothing in American Women's Asylum Narratives, 1925-1965, on April 11. She would like to thank her committee, Professors Guy Reynolds, Melissa Homestead, Tom Gannon, and Margaret Jacobs for their invaluable feedback, support, and advice.

Erin M. Bertram’s dissertation, It's Not a Lonely World—a hybrid text memoir exploring their own transmasculinity and a loved one's past experience with breast cancer—was a semifinalist for the 2017 Subito Press Prose Book Prize, an honorable mention for the 2017 Seneca Review Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize, and runner-up in the 2017 White Pine Press Marie Alexander Poetry Series; an excerpt, “Gender/Genre,” was a finalist in the 2017 Gold Line Press Poetry Chapbook Contest and has been conditionally accepted to appear in the forthcoming Shame: An Anthology. Their other hybrid text manuscript, The Vanishing of Camille Claudel, was a semifinalist for the 2017 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize, an honorable mention for the 2017 Seneca Review Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize, and a finalist in the 2017 [PANK] Book Series. After earning their Ph.D. in Creative Writing, with a specialization in Women's & Gender Studies, at UNL, Erin will begin work, this summer, toward an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a graduate certificate in LGBT Studies, at Northern Illinois University.

Lydia Presley has accepted a summer graduate assistantship with the Genoa Indian School Digital Reconciliation Project. She will be working with Dr. Margaret Jacobs and Dr. Liz Lorang as part of the first stage of this project. The project, which is funded by the Council of Library and Information Resources, is to digitize, describe, and make accessible materials related to the school, one of the largest U.S. Indian boarding schools, which was in operation from 1884 to 1934, and included students from over forty Indian nations.

Ivan Young was named the Mayor’s Honoree in Writing for the Emerging Artist Award for the Kimmel Harding Nelson Artists Residency. He received a $1,000 prize and a two-week residency at Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts.

Have news or noteworthy happenings to share?

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