Department of English Newsletter May 2020

Upcoming Department Events

Publications & Acceptances

Marco Abel published two essays in the 2nd edition of one of German film studies’ standard readers, The German Cinema Book (Bloomsbury/BFI): (1) “The Berlin School,” which attempts to sum up the history of the Berlin School by taking its cue from Berlin School director Christoph Hochhäusler’s claim (made in 2013) that “school is out” and by offering an extended reading of Christian Petzold’s Barbara (2012); and (2) a short essay, “Nina Hoss: An Unlikely German Film Star?,” on the actress who is the lead actress in this as well as five other Petzold films.

Amid all the current uncertainty and anxiety, Steve Behrendt is happy to announce that Cork University Press will publish his large (150,000 words) scholarly critical anthology, Romantic-Era Irish Women Poets in English. The first comprehensive print anthology of the fifty-some Irish women poets who published poetry in English in book form between 1775 and 1836, Steve’s anthology will appear as (and if) we move from 2020 into a (hopefully) brighter 2021.

Cover of FEMME FATALEThe Femme Fatale, a new volume in the Quick Takes series edited by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster and Wheeler Winston Dixon was published by Rutgers University Press.

Wheeler Winston Dixon has published a feature article, “The 21st Century Plague: Cinema in The Age of COVID-19,” in Senses of Cinema (April 1, 2020), and a review of Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film by Allyson Nadia Field and Marsha Gordon, eds., in Choice (June 2020).

Cover of ARIA VISCERAKristi Carter’s book of poems Aria Viscera (April Gloaming) is now available for pre-order and scheduled for publication on May 5. You can pre-order/buy it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Also stay tuned for a “live” reading of the book via Instagram.

Claire Jimenez reviewed Julia Alvarez’s Afterlife and Fernanda Melchor’s Hurricane Season for Remezcla. She also wrote “Five Cookbooks to Feed Your Spirit in Quarantine.”

Fiction editor for Prairie Schooner and 2019 MacDowell Fellow Xavier Navarro Aquino has sold his debut novel, Velorio, about five Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of Hurricane María and their quest to find meaning on an island torn apart by both natural disaster and human violence, to Tara Parsons at Harper Via/HarperCollins, for publication in fall 2021.

Conferences, Readings, Workshops & Presentations

Online Shakespeare seminar attendees
2020 Seminar on the Supernatural and Transcendent in Shakespearean Film

Steve Buhler presented “The Politics of Necromancy” as opening comments for a Seminar on the Supernatural and Transcendent in Shakespearean Film during the annual meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America. The physical conference was, of course, cancelled; the seminar proceeded online, including a WebEx meeting, in April 2020.

Still from SPRING 2020 by Wheeler Winston Dixon
Still from Spring 2020

Wheeler Winston Dixon was honored with a screening of his recent video work on April 18, 2020 as part of an international streaming event on Vimeo from the VastLab Collective in Los Angeles. Several of his films were presented along with a live soundtrack by Chestnut, an avant-garde music duo who were slated to appear at SWSX before it was cancelled, followed by commentary by curator Michael Woods. In addition, his video essay Spring 2020 was selected as part of the special Corona Shut Down edition of NewMediaFest 2020.

Still from Kitchen Sink Film

Gwendolyn Audrey Foster is one of seventeen global artists who created Chant for a Pandemic,  short film made in response to the pandemic. The film was selected for the Marbella International Film Festival in Spain and is also part of the online Grounded Film Festival. It was also selected for the Bologna in Lettere 2020 - Il Festival in Italy and the Covid-19 Project curated for Undercurrent Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, (DUMBO). Foster’s short celebrating female healthcare workers on the frontline in New York, What a Real Soldier Looks Like, is playing in the New Media Festival Shutdown in Cologne, Germany, and her short film for Kiki de Montparnasse, Kiki’s Film, screened at the FilmArte Festival in Madrid. Her 16mm hand-painted direct animation abstract film, Kitchen Sink Film, plays in a program of shorts called Ghost Dwelling on May 1st at 11 BST.

An interview with Foster is included in the programme for the Alchemy Film & Arts Festival, the prestigious experimental film festival that normally takes place in Haworth, Scotland every Spring. This year, as a result of the pandemic, the May 1-3 festival is being live-streamed and will be free and open to the public for the first time.

Activities, Accolades, & Grants

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada has just awarded a $249,290 (CDN) grant to the Women’s Print History Project 1750-1830. Melissa Homestead is a Collaborator on the grant, of which Michelle Levy of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver is the Primary Investigator. The Women’s Print History Project is a bibliographic database documenting women’s involvement in print culture, “not just as authors, but also as printers, publishers, booksellers, editors, compilers, translators, engravers, illustrators, and composers.” The grant will fund an expansion of the database to cover North American imprints (and thus Melissa’s involvement).

Matt Cohen and Ken Price report that the NEH has awarded The Walt Whitman Archive $349,856 for a site renovation that will bolster its accessibility. Through the project, Cohen and Price aim to make it easier to search and use the materials on the Walt Whitman Archive by improving the digital architecture. Tasks include: changing the programming framework; creating a machine-readable interface for the website’s code, images and metadata; revising files to improve the metadata; and leveraging existing metadata through a new search engine. The project directors are grateful for support from the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities and in particular for major contributions from Karin Dalziel and Elizabeth Lorang (the latter is known to many in the department as “Liz”; she holds a UNL English PhD, 2010, and is now an associate dean in the University Libraries). Liz first conceived of this initiative some years ago, and Karin did the lion’s share of work in drafting this particular grant proposal.

The Walt Whitman Archive has successfully wrapped up its three-year National Endowment for the Humanities grant to digitize Whitman’s cultural geography scrapbook and nearly 200 additional pages of Whitman’s related marginalia, all of which is now freely available on the Archive site. Compiled by Whitman in the late 1850s, the scrapbook was the poet’s attempt to educate himself about world culture and geography. A hefty tome of more than 1,200 pages, the volume is comprised of portions of textbooks, maps, magazines, newspaper clippings, and handwritten manuscripts. All of these scraps have now been transcribed and made searchable, along with images of the entire volume and four original essays that explore prevalent themes within the scrapbook and marginalia documents. Matt Cohen, Kevin McMullen, Caterina Bernardini, Ashlyn Stewart, and former MA student Caitlin Henry served as editors of the project. Former UCARE student Regan Chasek and graduate research assistant Christy Hyman also made important contributions. The project team would like to thank the NEH for its generous support of this project, as well as the Whitman Archive directors Ken Price and Ed Folsom for their ongoing support of work on Whitman’s marginalia.

Pascha Sotlongo Stevenson’s flash story “Ember” has been named a finalist for the American Short(er) Fiction Prize.

Have news or noteworthy happenings to share?

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