December 2014

Message from Acting Graduate Director and Associate Chair

As the fall semester draws to a close, I want to remind students of some basics for where to find information and how to resolve problems before they turn into nightmares. Pressure builds at the end of a term, and everyone experiences it. Attention spans decrease as each person focuses on an expanding “to do” list. When we run into an obstacle, our impulse might be to panic. You don’t have to panic. We’ve been through this before. Many, many times before.

For academic concerns and conflicts, you can seek out answers either on the department website or the program handbooks. The policies covered in the handbooks are more precise than in the USF catalogue and deal specifically with English department program issues. Everything from incompletes to timelines are covered, and you will also find advice for managing your progress and professional development. The USF catalogue provides more information on policies that apply to all students; it is available online: Graduate Catalog and Undergraduate Catalog.

Seek your advisors’ opinions on questions that you cannot resolve. For graduate students, information can be found here, and undergraduates here. It is best to send an email to set up an appointment, but please consult with the appropriate person so that you don’t lose your way.

For problems of a more personal nature, USF offers several avenues for help. The Division of Student Affairs lists contact information for a variety of services from Students of Concern Assistance Team, to Counseling and Health Services here.

Remember that the first step in resolving difficulties is to address the professor or colleague in a professional manner to communicate your concerns. Always consider where the other person is coming from before opening communication. Never send an email in anger; remember to pause before hitting send because any and all email has an afterlife you cannot control. Professional courtesy achieves more than rudeness.

While this has been a stressful semester for many, help is on the way. We are happy to announce that our new Graduate Program Specialist begins on December 1. Stop by the main office to say hello to Nicole Silver and welcome her to the department.

The holiday break will be here before you know it. Then we can all take some down time and recharge in order to head into the new term next month.

– Laura Runge


Message from EGSA Vice President

Happy Holidays from EGSA 

It’s been another busy semester! EGSA has been proud to work with everyone this fall on Writer’s Harvest and the Fall Colloquium. Stay tuned for the upcoming 2015 Big Data and Writing Studies Colloquium on January 16 featuring some really cool names from around the globe. Here’s the website to explore before attending the event, which will be hosted in the Marshall Center Oval Theater.

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Photo courtesy of Megan Mandell

We are also looking forward to the Spring Conference, on March 27-28: “Expanding Boundaries and Reconceptualizing Text.” Panel and paper proposals are still being accepted until January 1, 2015 to Heather Fox or Stephanie Phillips. The conference will include a plenary speaker, panels, creative readings, social events, and awards, and is a great opportunity for showcasing your work. Please consider putting together a panel with your colleagues.

Don’t forget to e-mail Danielle Farrar if you haven’t submitted a bio and picture to the awesome page she’s put together featuring our grad students. We’ll be scheduling our next EGSA meeting during the first few week of January, so be sure to attend and help plan our goals for Spring.

Finally, as the semester “winds down,” we’ll likely find ourselves frantically finishing papers and doing last minute grading that can be overwhelming. This winter break, let’s make sure to take some real time for ourselves and recover from all the craziness of coursework and teaching, studying for Comps, dissertating, and entering the job market. Spend some time with family and friends. Go outside; get to know Tampa a little (there’s a whole world outside your office door and the library), take some time to touch up your CV with all the accomplishments you made this semester, and send out that journal article you’ve been meaning to tackle. Make some plans for making next semester smooth, productive, fun. Collaborate with your colleagues on projects. Be good to each other and be good to yourself. It’s so easy to get bogged down by all the work, but let this break be a time to refresh and reorganize. Happy holidays to you, from EGSA with love.

– Megan Mandell


 Faculty Bookshelf with Dr. Sari Altschuler 

  • What books have you read recently (or are currently reading)?

The Passage to Cosmos, Laura Dassow Wallsshelf-of-books-clip-art-clipart-of-books-on-a-bookshelf-20140901213834-540549caba6f3

A History of the Book in America, Volume 2, edited by Robert Gross and Mary Kelley

Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp, Harriet Beecher Stowe

Abolitionist Geographies, Martha Schoolman

Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America, Susan Schulten

Private Bodies, Public Texts: Race, Gender, and a Cultural Bioethics, Karla FC Holloway

  • What is the most interesting work (book or article) that you have recently read?

They’ve all been terrific—but probably the most interesting work I’ve read recently is Chris Mounsey’s collection The Idea of Disability in the Eighteenth Century. Mounsey’s introduction is particularly provocative for rethinking ideas of disability in earlier periods.

  • Are you currently reading anything just for fun?

Right now I’m reading Eula Biss’s On Inoculation and Salman Rushdie’s The Enchantress of Florence. I’ve really been enjoying Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy–imagine Harry Potter for adult academics.

  • Are there any particular journals in your field that you read or consult on a regular basis?

Sure – lots! There’s a lot of great work being published across the field. It’s an exciting time for the study of early and nineteenth-century American literature and culture. I regularly look at PMLA, of course, but also American Literature, American Literary History, Early American Literature, and J19, among others. I also look at journals in American studies—American Quarterly and Early American Studies—as well as important history journals that inform my work—particularly the Journal of the Early Republic and theWilliam and Mary Quarterly.

  • Have you read anything recently that you would recommend to a colleague or student interested in your field?

There’s so much great recent work. If I could make a plug for a few recent-ish books in the field, they would be Cristobal Silva’s Miraculous Plagues: An Epidemiology of Early American Narrative (Oxford University Press, 2011), Kathleen Donegan’s Seasons of Misery: Catastrophe and Colonial Settlement in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), and Ed Cahill’s Liberty of the Imagination: Aesthetic Theory, Literary Form, and Politics in the Early United States (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012). They give a real sense of the diversity of approaches currently animating the field. But, really, glancing at the terrific recent spate of pre-1865 articles in American Literature will give anyone a great sense of the kind of expansive inquiry being generated by the field right now. It’s an exciting time to be an early Americanist.


Congratulations to Cynthia Patterson! 

Photo courtesy of USF Photography

Dr. Cynthia Patterson received an “Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award”  at the Faculty Honors and Awards Reception held in Alumni Hall on Monday, November 17, 2014. Dr. Patterson was one of nine faculty members receiving the award this year. Recipients serve a two-year term on the Provost’s Council on Teaching Excellence, with a stipend of $1000 per each year of service. As stated on the award application materials, “The goal of the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award program is to encourage excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level. The University intends to ensure that the foundation courses of the undergraduate curriculum receive the proper emphasis in preparing students for work in the major, as well as providing the proper foundation in critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”

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November 2014

Message from Tova Cooper, Assistant Professor of English

On Being Inspired by my Students, or How I Learned to Teach from Dr. Barbara Christian

This semester I am teaching an African American literature course for the first time. As a result, I have been reflecting more than usual on the college professor who, more than anyone else, made me want to become a professor myself. As an Ethnic Studies major at UC Berkeley in the eighties, I was lucky enough to take classes with Norma Alarcón, Paula Gunn Allen, June Jordan, and—my favorite professor—Barbara Christian. Some of my best college memories involve sitting in Professor Christian’s lectures, in thrall to her mesmerizing presence and wonderful storytelling style. No matter what authors we were reading, Dr. Christian would weave funny, interesting, or otherwise entertaining stories about those authors into her lectures. She also insisted on making literature relevant to her students’ lives. For instance, when she taught Margaret Walker’s Jubilee—a historical novel about slavery inspired by stories Walker heard her grandmother tell—Dr. Christian gave students the option of researching our maternal inheritance. I chose to pursue this option, which led to my life-long status as my family’s genealogist. At the time, I interviewed both of my grandmothers and other family members who had stories to tell about my seemingly endless supply of eccentric great aunts—the communist organizer, the birth-control advocate, the Rockette.

This semester, in the spirit of Dr. Christian, who died of cancer at the tragically young age of 56, I decided to give my African American literature students the option of writing an essay about their racial inheritance, in response to James Baldwin’s reflections on this topic in Notes of a Native Son. As a result, I have had an exhilarating few weeks in which class conversation has been so lively that I have detected no standard rustling of papers when class is officially about to end. Instead, conversation has continued past the “bell,”, and I have had to postpone this conversation, again and again, to the beginning of the next class session. I have been more than impressed by some of my students’ written responses to this prompt, and wanted to share some excerpts of these with you. This first excerpt is from a student who describes the challenge of being a mixed-race person:

I guess my point is that the inheritance of the mixed race (and probably any person forced to conflict between two cultures) is defined by an internal civil war. We are forced to walk a line between two groups on some arbitrary basis that we didn’t ask for. We understand the meaningless and insanity of the concept of separation of people better than anyone, but are forced to be a conversation piece that starts the discussion. Most mixed people, myself included, don’t even want to talk about the supposed differences between the races anymore. Any reasonable person knows that there are very few differences, biologically, between human beings of different races. It is infinitely frustrating for those of us of mixed descent, or those of us who are just worldly enough to understand, to have to continue explaining this thing that in the year 2014 should be obvious: people are people regardless of their race. There is no biological, philosophical, societal, religious or other earthly justification that we human beings should continue to separate ourselves on such an asinine basis.

Another student included the following rumination on double-consciousness in his essay, in a style beautifully inspired by both Dubois and Baldwin:

To be born black is a gift and a curse. There is the overwhelming feeling of enmity from an invisible force, one you cannot even begin to fight or even prove the existence of but one that makes its presence known at any given opportunity. Even more formidable is the enemy of self. The voice from within that came from without. The voice that bellowed into the ears of my forefathers and now whispers into mine saying the same thing: “You can’t do it because you’re black. They won’t let you do it because you’re black.” The gift however, the one piece of my inheritance that is worth more than all the gold and diamonds that my people used to walk over in times long ago, is the opportunity to overcome such a powerful internal adversary. Even though many of my people fail to, the ones that do develop a vitality and spirit unmatched. One that stands the strong against any opposition despite the apparent odds of failure, one that defies them.

The last student essay that I will cite here is really more like a prose poem. When my student read it in class, her classmates responded with universal applause, followed by a respectful silence, as if to say, what can we say after such a profound and beautiful piece of writing?

What do you expect from me? Perhaps finger snapping and eye rolling? Oh no? Someone with multiple children from multiple men, not always sure of the father? Should I bother? Bother to tell you that in fact only a small percentage of black women are actually this way? Bother to explain that a whole group is represented by the negativity of a few, that my racial inheritance is indefinitely skewed?

I am not loud mouthed and crazy, ready to be in your face over every little thing. Why is it though, that I can only inherit what others associate with shame? Nothing positive or uplifting, no compliments to wear with my name. There are varying forms of African American beauty but, no, instead you feel as though we all hate our hair, can’t grow long hair, don’t know our hair. Or your favorite, that we all want your hair. What’s going on here, please do NOT go there. When you wear “extensions” or makeup it’s for your enhancement, but when we do we hate ourselves, are disgraced by ourselves? Hmmm. Perhaps if your beauty wasn’t all that we saw, all that was glorified, and cast in front of our eyes, we’d see no reason to hide by covering our hide. But in the same respect, you get your lips filled, your hips filled and we are the only ones seen as having issues or wanting to be like another race? From this I digress and rest.

What do you expect me to be? A woman that uses team light skin or dark skin on her Instagram selfies? No ma’am no sir, but that’s just not me. I am no Bad Bitch, but I do have some problems. Issues with my representation and presentation the way you see me in this nation. Why am I always the angry black woman? Am I not capable of happiness, the same one you get when you’re listening to Nicki Minaj? Ohhh, but see there THAT’S the issue, you can do what you want, and no one is going to diss you, dismiss you, straight up associate this WITH you. That’s what I cannot understand. You do things that are supposedly inherently “me” but when you do them you’re laughed at and paraded, but when I do them I am looked down upon and berated.

Reading these papers has made me feel happy, happy because I have been able to convince students that literature is relevant to their lives. I also love being in the position to encourage the creativity and promise of students like these three, as Barbara Christian once encouraged me. I therefore dedicate this blog post to the continuous influence of Dr. Barbara Christian, whose spirit I have mediated, and passed on to the three students I cited above: Stephen Marlin, D’Von Edwards, and Deandra Mahon. And I also dedicate this post to those students, who have reminded me that when a class is going well, I am learning as much as I am teaching.

Tova Cooper, English 3604.002


Message from EGSA Fall Colloquium Coordinator 

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Photo courtesy of Haili Alcorn

In accordance with sharing the opportunity to write the newsblog’s opening message with other instructors of the department, the EGSA will offer each of its members the chance to write our column as well. October was a busy month for the English Graduate Student Association. In addition to planning for Writers’ Harvest and our Spring Conference, we held the annual Fall Colloquium: From Fantastic to Frightening in the Marshall Center. In addition to creative stories and literary criticism from our graduate students, several undergraduates presented a wide range of work, including short fiction, artwork, and a talk on mythological monsters. I would like to thank my fellow coordinators, Ashley Annis and Brittany Cagle, for helping to organize and decorate the event. We are grateful to all who participated and attended. Check out pictures from the colloquium below, courtesy of myself and Brittany Cagle.

The EGSA would also like to thank all those who attended and donated to Writers’ Harvest on Monday, November 3. The Creative Writing program helped raise over $700 for Feeding America: Tampa Bay!

Stephanie Phillips and Heather Fox continue to plan our Spring Conference, when we hope to host graduate students from across the U.S. Please consider submitting a proposal. The coordinators will have a better idea of how many panel chairs are needed by next semester. Please email Stephanie or Heather if you would like to volunteer for the event or to offer your services as a panel chair.

Please watch your email for the date and time of our November meeting. We invite all graduate students in English to join us and will be starting Thanksgiving early by bringing baked treats and other snacks! If there are items you wish to discuss at this meeting, please contact EGSA President Kristen Rouisse. We hope to see you there.

Finally, we want to wish everyone good luck with registration/course selection and with finishing out the semester. It is hard to believe how fast the fall term has gone by, at least in this writer’s opinion. We will soon be (even more) bogged down with papers and exam grading, but I find that it helps to consider the bigger picture and to know that in a month, we’ll get the ever cherished “Winter” break.

– Haili Alcorn


EGSA Fall Colloquium: From Fantastic to Frightening

Reception and Refreshments

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Panel 1: Caitlyn Reid and Bruce Braun

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Panel 2: Beth Taylor-Thomas and Haili Alcorn

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Panel 3: Katherine McGee, Ashley Annis, and Aaron Singh

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Panel 4: Jessica Thompson, Christina Nicou, Natalie Halvorsen, Summer Freeman, and Daphne Curran

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New Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Association: Children’s & YA Literature

If you teach philosophy using Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad books, study M. T. Anderson’s Feed as an example of global corporatism, write about the narrative structure of comic books or animated films, or want to know how to use the 19th century Youth’s Companion, part of the USF Library’s Special Collections, to study the history of public health, we invite you to join us! And if you just want to hang out with other children’s/YA literature aficionados, we also invite you to join us. We are an interdisciplinary USF graduate student organization that encourages students, regardless of concentration, to come together in a shared love of children’s and young adult (YA) literature. We provide opportunities for our members to learn about the field of children’s/YA literature, to explore career options, to prepare for conferences, and to attend social events related to the genre.

To join us, click here! Also, check our Facebook page.

Want more information? Email us!

 

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October 2014

Message from Associate Chair

When October rolls around and you find yourself going to sleep in 85 degree weather and waking up to thunderstorms, you know you’re in Florida.  This semester I’m teaching a course on Literature of Place: Florida, and fourteen intrepid students are traveling with me to discover what kind of place we call – at least temporarily – home.  Last week we literally traveled to Ybor City after reading the novel The Truth About Them by Ybor native Jose Yglesias, a distinctive immigrant narrative of five generations of a Cuban-American family who worked in the cigar industry.  When I originally taught the course in 2010, Professor Emeritus of History, Robert Ingalls lectured to us about the role that literature plays in filling out the historical telling of “a true story,” especially in giving voice to those people often disregarded by grand narratives of history.  [Students this year get to view the videos of the recorded guest lectures from 2010, including ones from geography, geology and philosophy.]  We read an essay by Yglesias about the importance of not forgetting the cultural history of Ybor, and then another essay about not forgetting Yglesias by USF alumna Mary Jo Melone.  Armed with some structuration theory on the historical contingencies of ongoing place construction, we walked the streets of Ybor in search of its place meaning.  Instead of asking the students to write an essay about the field trip, they each curated a photo essay that captured their unique experience in place.  From powerpoint presentations to websites to imovie and prezi, the digital exhibits are amazing!  This is clearly the fun part of my job.  If you are interested in learning more about the class see my website:http://chuma.cas.usf.edu/~runge/FLLITSYL2014.html.  If you are interested in doing your own digital humanities work, see information included under events about the fall DH workshops.

Please note that on Oct. 21 the English Department will be holding a general interest meeting for Internships offered for undergraduates and graduate students.  See details in the Events section.  Also in our October newsletter, you will find information on upcoming events, such as readings and the EGSA Fall colloquium, discussion groups and more.  Also see the interviews with a faculty member, an alumnus and an undergraduate major.  Enjoy!


Special Column from the EGSA: A Thank You to Lee Davidson

“The first time I met Lee, I was an undergraduate inquiring about the graduate program. I was told where her office was, barged in while she was meeting with someone, and nonchalantly asked for a ‘Dr. Lee.’ Ever gracious and polite, Lee introduced herself and answered all of my questions. I counted on Lee for e-mails, deadlines, reminders, and technicalities to ensure my success in the graduate program, not really considering at first how much work she had or how important her presence was to the English Department. Now, as she is moving on to pursue her dream career, I realize just how much she will be missed. We are so happy for you, Lee. Thank you for all that you have done: putting up with our persistent questions, helping me get the newsblog running, introducing me to Blackstone editing, and providing a stable source of guidance for the students, teachers, and staff in our department. Best of luck!” – Haili Alcorn

“Lee always put the biggest smile on my face! She is one of the most kind and generous people I know. I remember being so thankful during the first week of orientation (wow– was that already two years ago?) when I learned she would be working in our English Department office. I know she is going to rock at her new job and inspire all the new people she comes across–and they too will be very lucky to have her in their lives.”                  – Brittany Cagle

“When I first began the PhD program at USF, I noticed a common refrain every time I had a question: “have you asked Lee?” It’s not often that you come across someone who inspires the kind of unwavering confidence in people that Lee does. I could devote an entire issue of Inklinks to the many ways she’s helped me out, both the very small and the very big, over the past five years. When we worked on Inklinks together, I was constantly amazed at her sharp eyes and editing skills, though it’s probably not surprising that she wouldn’t miss a thing. I’m excited to see her get the chance to put those editing skills to daily use in her new job, and though she’s already terribly missed, it’s a great thing to see someone as smart and capable as her take on a new challenge and begin a new chapter.”         – Jessica Cook

“About 3 weeks after getting my PhD exam results, at the end of the fall 2012 semester, my dad died. It was sudden and life altering, and the very last thing on my mind was dealing with my candidacy paperwork. When I got back after winter break, I was still in a daze; I knew I needed to get my paperwork done, but I had a hard time concentrating. Lee was right there: she contacted my off campus committee members, patiently prodding them to sign and return things; she worked with my chairs to finish my paperwork without all that much help from me. I’m convinced I never would have made it into candidacy without her intervention. There have been so many times during my years here when Lee has made my life infinitely easier than it would have been. But I’m not sure I can accurately convey how she softened my reentry into real life after losing my dad. Thank you, Lee. I have no idea what we’re going to do without you.” – Megan McIntyre

“Thanks to Lee and her calming presence, I’ve successfully navigated not only the bureaucracy  of TA paperwork, but also my qualifying exams. Lee has always been a meticulous and good-humored colleague to me. I wish her well in her new position.”            – Meghan O’Neill

“I came to USF after a ten year hiatus from higher education and was generally baffled by the academic industrial complex. Lee made everything okay. She was always patient with me when I filled out the wrong form or forgot to fill out a form entirely, or vented about the absurdity of all these forms! I appreciate her punctuality and her attention to detail, which kept me and this program afloat. Sometimes I needed a quick signature; other times just a moment to talk about running or yoga or friends and family, and Lee never failed to warmly entertain these conversations. You will be sorely missed Lee Davidson and I hope to see you on the yoga mat or at Ella’s for dinner and wine soon!” – Sarah Beth Hopton

“Lee, thank you for all of your hard work and love over the years, and best of luck with your future endeavors. You will be greatly missed!” – Kristen Rouisse

Thanks for Literally 1000 Conversations: I enrolled in the PhD program in literature at USF in 2009 when Lee Davidson was about halfway through her tenure (or twelveyear) with the English department. As a “commuter student,” I have known Lee primarily through email. I happen to be one of those people who never deletes emails. My Gmail account collects related chains of emails into “conversations,” each including the original email and any responses back and forth. My inbox tells me that I have 23,380 of these conversations.

Filtering that inbox with a search for emails ‘from:ldavidson@usf.edu’ turns up 1000 conversations. While most of these are announcements Lee sent to all graduate students or the department, among them are hundreds of emails sent specifically to me, especially in the form of answers to my questions. That’s a lot of individual assistance to be grateful for. And I am.

What may be even more striking than how much Lee has done for the department and for me is how wellshe has done. To illustrate this, it is worth noting that in all of those time Lee helped me, she made exactly 1 mistake, which, thanks to never deleting emails, I know that she discovered and corrected on 8/3/11.

In addition to being grateful, I am also sad. Though Lee and I have not had a chance to become close personally in these years, her help navigating the policies and paperwork of graduate school has been a source of steadiness and reassurance, gifts not to be taken for granted during this long and difficult journey.

But as I think about how she will be missed, I’m drawn back to that total number of email conversations between us. According to Gmail, it is precisely 1000, not one more or less. Nothing more than a coincidence, I’m sure, that number signifies for me a sense of fullness and completion. Lee has done well in this department, personally and professionally. It is fitting for her to move on to new challenges and new opportunities.” – Paul Corrigan

“Before I moved to Tampa, I remember being excited to come to USF because all the people I’d been talking to were so nice and helpful. I was really nervous about moving across the country for a new grad program and had questions about my GA, health insurance, paperwork, and the City of Tampa. Lee answered at least a hundred of my questions and never made me feel like a nuisance (even though I likely was). My interactions with Lee made me feel like she was happy I was joining the program, and I am grateful to her for being there for me during a difficult transitional period in my career and life. I am certain I’m going to miss Lee, but I am so happy to wish her the best with her new adventure. Thank you, Lee!” – Tiffany Boyles

“Lee, you were one of the first people I had contact with in the English dept, and from the beginning up till now (four years later!) you’ve offered me so much help, way too much to enumerate. You’ve always been my go-to person for basically everything, and each time I’ve appreciated how capable, organized, prompt, and patient you’ve been. Thank you so much for your service–you’ve been a model to me and I’ll miss having you around. I hope that your new job is perfect for you and that you leave as meaningful a mark on it as you have here. I wish you all the best.” – Allison Wise

“Lee, thank you for always being so helpful! I’ll miss you, but I wish you the best of luck in your new position!” – Rachel Tanski

“Lee, you’ve saved my life so many times I really don’t know how to thank you properly. I would have brought you chocolates any number of times, but your Facebook posts were all so healthful that it seemed somehow, um, tacky. I wish you the best of everything, and hope you take away tons of good memories. Keep on running! We’ll miss you.” – Dori Davis


Undergraduate Spotlight: Shirley Cid

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Photo courtesy of Shirley Cid

Shirley took Lauren Cagle’s New Media for Technical Communication course in the Spring of 2014. Professor Cagle wrote a letter of recommendation for Shirley, who was recently awarded two scholarships: the Charles F. Books Award for Technical Writing and the STC Technical & Professional Writing Scholarship. In addition to the letter of recommendation, these scholarships required samples of Shirley’s best work in Technical Writing. She is from La Habana in Cuba and is currently pursuing a double major in Psychology and Professional Writing. Haili Alcorn conducted the following interview with Shirley.

  • What are your post-graduate plans?

I would like to go to Spain as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) this summer (2015). Following this ETA, I would love be admitted into either USF’s or UF’s School Psychology PhD program.Ideally, I will conduct research cross-culturally and find methods to improve American education system. I would like to work with teachers to help them produce engaging and empowering classroom curriculums. I would love to benefit at-risk students through my research.

  •  What would be your ideal career? 

I have such a variety of different interests, it is hard for me to pinpoint an ideal career, but I would love any career in which I would be able to empower people and cultivate a leadership culture.

  •  What are some of your favorite works/authors? 

I really enjoy reading works by: Tom Rob Smith, Khaled Hosseini, David Benioff, Joseph Heller, and Ray Bradbury.

  • When you have free time, how do you spend it?

When I have free time I normally: draw, read, paint nail designs, create clay jewelry, manage my online shop, play with my dogs, and spend quality time with my family.

If you have an achievement (scholarship, internship, publication, etc.) that you would like to spotlight for our Undergraduate feature, please send an e-mail to hailialcorn@gmail.com.


Deadline Extended: EGSA Fall Colloquium 

colloquiumThe English Graduate Student Association (EGSA) is hosting its annual Fall Colloquium on Friday, October 24th in MSC 3708, from 9am-3pm. This year’s theme, “From Fantastic to Frightening,” accepts submissions on fantasy, gothic, and horror in literature as well as creative works intended to spook, chill, and thrill audiences. Please send proposals to Brittany Cagle (bmcagle@mail.usf.edu), Ashley Annis (ashleyannis@mail.usf.edu), or Haili Alcorn (halcorn@mail.usf.edu) no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 8. Please also let us know if you would like to sign up to bring Halloween-inspired treats to the event. We look forward to reading your work!


Faculty Bookshelf with Dr. Ylce Irizarry

  • What books have you read recently (or are currently reading)?

nTE5X68TAFor this semester, I decided to teach something new, Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves. Genre is one of my main scholarly interests and it is contemporary, so it fit well into the Honors Seminar I am teaching on contemporary multiethnic fiction. It is a *super ginormous* book – almost 700 pages – with interesting paratexts, footnotes, embedded documents, and narratives, so I am still reading it!

  • What is the most interesting work (book or article) that you have recently read?

I would have to name, actually, a book I re-read: A Handbook to Luck, by Cristina García. This is her least successful novel and I am still wondering why. Reading it a second time, I was reminded that the language is stunning and the characters are gripping. Approaching it as a teacher, the novel newly impressed me with its ability to engage the reader’s perspectives and perceptions of big themes including war, love, and of course, luck. My students really enjoyed it and one is going to write an Honors Thesis on it, so I am glad to have taught it.

  • Are you currently reading anything just for fun?

Yes, I confess, I use FaceBook is to see what my friends are reading! So right now, I am reading the novel, At Night we Walk in Circles, by Daniel Alarcón, a Peruvian American author. I bought Zigzagger by Manuel Muñoz and The People of Paper, by Salvador Plasencia, both of which colleague recently mentioned. I hope to get to these at the end of the semester. The People of Paper is similar to House of Leaves in that it uses extreme genre manipulation. For a book project down way the road, I am exploring the commonalities and differences between historiographic metafiction and speculative fiction. Separating “work” reading from “just for fun” reading is difficult for me because I really love my work. What other profession pays you to read and write about things that interest you? Maybe Journalism and Creative Writing do, but not too many others!

  • Are there any particular journals in your field that you read or consult on a regular basis?

For my work in multiethnic literatures, I try to keep up with specialty journals such as Aztlán, Centro, Latino Studies, MELUS and Meridians. Though the literatures I teach and publish on are written by US American authors, the writers are not as often discussed in canonical journals. Nonetheless, these sources are important to me as well: American Literature, Contemporary Literature, Genre, Narrative, and PMLA.

  • Have you read anything recently that you would recommend to a colleague or student interested in your field?

Yes! A book I picked somewhat randomly last fall and really loved, Salsa Nocturna Stories by Daniel José Older. It is speculative fiction/noir/and horror. The main character is a “half-dead” Latino ghost who works for the Council of the Dead in Brooklyn. His job is to investigate and resolve issues with the scores of the “whole-dead” roaming the city’s underbelly. Often, non-specialists have the false perception that Latino literature is all about oppression and assimilation – this is one of many books, actually, that defies the perception and offers a “good read” for a wide variety of audiences. This genre fiction is not my usual taste but I love the book; moreover, when I taught it last fall, my students loved it, so I am teaching it again this semester.


Alumni Spotlight: Josef Benson

  • What areas did you study? What subjects have you or are you publishing in?

I primarily studied fiction writing, contemporary American literature, and poetry writing for both my BA and MA.  My Ph.D. course work, comprehensive exams, and dissertation largely focused on American literature, both modern and contemporary; African American literature; and gender studies, especially masculinity studies.

Since graduate school my publications have pretty much directly reflected those areas of study, with the exception of a newish focus on Whiteness Studies.  Rowman & Littlefield published my book Hypermasculinities in the Contemporary Novel: Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, and James Baldwin a few months ago, and I’ve had articles appear over the last year or so in Journal of Bisexuality and The Raymond Carver Review.  I also have a few more forthcoming in Journal of Medical Humanities and Pop Culture Studies Journal.  My second book for R&L will be a cultural history of The Catcher in the Rye, wherein, among other arguments, I claim Salinger’s half-Jewishness and his personal exposure to the gruesomeness enacted on Jews in the Nazi concentration camps inform Caulfield’s struggle and ultimate rejection of heteronormative patriarchal whiteness

Benson photo

Photo courtesy of Josef Benson

  • What other projects are you working on?

I think I jumped the gun on that last one.  I’m also interested in writing books concerning Whiteness Studies and graphic novels and, secondly, the relationship between the black arts/black power movements and rap and hip/hop.  Those last two are more or less in the early stages, i.e. stuff I’m focusing on in the classroom.

  • What classes are you or will you be teaching? How would you describe those classes?

Jumped the gun again.  I’m an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin Parkside and one awesome aspect of this gig is that I get to regularly teach contemporary American literature; African American literature; fiction writing; poetry writing; women’s, gender, and sexuality studies (WGSS); and composition.  Presently I’m teaching a senior seminar restricted to graduating seniors that focuses on the black arts/black power movements.  I’m also planning to teach a winterim course focusing on rap as literature.  Recently I developed the curriculum for a creative writing certificate with the hopes of further developing this program of study down the road.  UWP offers only a few graduate degrees, and I’d like to change that.

  • What is your favorite memory of graduate school?

Any thoughts about graduate school always revolve around the crucial relationships I developed with professors and fellow graduate students.  I absolutely could not have accomplished what I’ve accomplished without the guidance of John Fleming, Susan Mooney, and Bob Batchelor.  Literally from day one until I defended I relied heavily on these three individuals and will be forever thankful for their support and genuine interest in my evolution as a scholar and a human being.  Since graduate school Bob Batchelor has been especially important as a friend and mentor.

  • How is/was the transition from being a graduate student to a faculty member? 

I think maybe I had an easier time than some.  I was hired as a senior lecturer at Ohio State University my first year out of graduate school.  Then I accepted the TT Assistant Professor of English gig at UWP my second year.  I probably applied to well over two hundred jobs over that period of time.  I got sort of addicted to applying for jobs.  I still scour the jobs listings out of habit.  I formally interviewed for five jobs, three of which were campus visits, and the only one that I didn’t completely bomb I got.  After I accepted the UWP job, I turned down, I think, three other interview requests.  One piece of advice is to never schedule two different campus visits on the same day.  I did this and toward the end of the second one I almost started crying.  I didn’t get either.

I’m starting my second year at UWP and I’m having a ball.  It’s actually not hugely different from graduate school except for more meetings.  Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of John Fleming and Susan Mooney in preparing me for a career as an academic.  My advice is to hitch your wagon to one of these two and never look back.

  • How would you describe your experiences on the job market?

Jumped the gun again.

Posted in Uncategorized

September 2014

Message from Associate Chair

Let me be the fiftieth person to welcome you to the start of the 2014-15 academic year. The USF English department brings in twenty-seven new graduate students to take our total grad student population to 112 in all three programs. We also welcome one new faculty member, Jarod Rosello, who will be teaching graphic narrative and digital storytelling in our Creative Writing program. (See an interview with Jarod in this issue.) In addition to our tenure-line faculty and our continuing instructors, we welcome twelve visiting instructors (six new this year), our new Post Doc, Robin Brooks, and thirty-eight part time instructors. We also have six hardworking staff and advisors, student assistants, and hundreds of new and returning majors, minors and honor students who make our department the large and thriving entity that it is.

Let me be the first to introduce you all to this new department newsblog. This blog, designed and edited by PhD student Haili Alcorn, will replace our monthly graduate newsletter Inklinks. For those of you familiar with our pdf newsletter, you will find the same features in this blog, including news of alumni, student and faculty achievements, upcoming events, important dates and CFPs. We have broadened the scope to include news and achievements for the undergraduates in our department as well. We hope to feature some of our unique programs and achievements on the undergraduate level throughout the year.

The new medium requires a new name, and I invite all department members to tap into their creativity and come up with some ideas. We are holding a contest to name the newsblog and to design a new logo that we can load into the banner above. Please see the announcement in this issue. You could win a CD-ROM of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (Cambridge UP) from 1996!

Our digital turn in the newsblog is in keeping with USF’s new support for the digital humanities. I encourage any of you interested in learning more about the digital humanities – and the building, collaborating and making that digital humanists do – to consider attending the workshops on DH offered in the History department by their new digital humanist, visiting instructor David Thomas, a PhD candidate from Brown working in the Brown Center for Digital Scholarship (contact). Workshops will be held Friday mornings in October from 10-12:30. All levels of interest and expertise are welcome. Please contact me if you are interested.

Finally, just a word about the Digital Media Commons now open in the library. In my last newsletter post of May 2014, I included a blurb about the exciting opportunities for faculty and students to work with the Digital Media Commons, and the projected expansion has been completed. Stop by on the first floor of the library to take a tour and find out what you can do or write to the Director of Academic Services, Nancy Cunningham; she’s VERY excited about the new resource! Please let me know what you think of the new format for our newsblog and send any suggestions for improvements to Haili or myself. Don’t forget about the naming/logo contest!

Sincerely, Laura L. Runge, Associate Chair


Message from the EGSA President

Welcome back English graduate students, faculty, and adjuncts. I can’t tell you how excited I am about what EGSA has planned for the 2014-2015 school year. But first, I’d like to acknowledge the success of (and thank) last year’s president, Angela Eward-Mangione, and her amazing team of officers.

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Photo courtesy of Kristen Rouisse Smithers

As the new President of the EGSA, I am overjoyed to be working with this year’s bunch of lovely ladies: Meg Mandell, Vice President; Rachel Tanski, Treasurer; Tiffany Boyles, Secretary; Danielle Farrar, Webmaster; Brittany Cagle, Haili Alcorn, and Ashley Annis, Fall Colloquium Coordinators; Heather Fox and Stephanie Phillips, Spring Conference Coordinators; and Christina Lutz, Special Events Coordinator.

The Fall Colloquium is taking a spooky turn this year with a Halloween theme. “From Fantastic to Frightening” will be held on Friday, October 24 in MSC 3708, from 9am-3pm. The first general EGSA meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 10 in CPR 343, from 2-3pm. Stay tuned for details on Writer’s Harvest and upcoming social events.

The Spring semester is already in full bloom with the announcement of the 2015 Big Data and Writing Studies Colloquium on January 16, and our Spring Conference, “Expanding Boundaries and Reconceptualizing Text,” which will be held on March 27-28. This year we’re taking our goal of striving to improve the personal experience of all English graduate students by working to identify and voice their needs one step further. Know that you can turn to us in times of need as mediators, friends, and overall advice givers. The EGSA wants to be a resource for GAs and adjuncts in times of stress, so don’t hesitate to contact us with problems or concerns.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the beautiful EGSA website and send your photograph and bio to Danielle Farrar by September 15 to be added to the mix (please be aware that any photographs and bios sent after this date will not be added to the website until the Spring 2015 semester). If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to email me or simply stop by a meeting and say hello! I look forward to working with everyone in the upcoming months.

– Kristen Rouisse


Feeling Creative?: Announcing the Newsblog Name and Banner Contest!

To commemorate the wider scope of our digital department newsletter, which includes news, events, and accomplishments from both the graduate and undergraduate programs; degree-specific developments in Literature, Creative Writing, Rhetoric & Composition, and the English Hcreative_computeronors program; and updates from the Humanities department, we are seeking to revamp Inklinks’ official name and logo. Interested participants should submit an original image (featuring their idea for the new name) that can be used as the site’s banner. Please ensure that all banners are 940 x 198 in dimension. Submissions should be e-mailed as an attachment to Haili Alcorn, Newsletter Editor, by Friday, September 19. The winner will be selected before the release of our October issue, when the new name and logo will appear. Good luck!


Congratulations, Summer Graduates!

joyandjessica

Dr. Jessica Cook and Dr. Joy Sanchez

Elizabeth Angello, PhD Literature

Ryan Blank, MA Rhetoric and Composition

Adam Breckenridge, PhD Rhetoric and Composition

Jessica Cook, PhD Literature

Julie Gerdes, MA Rhetoric and Composition

Deborah McLeod, PhD Literature

Sarah Ranes, MA Literature

Joy Sanchez-Taylor, PhD Literature


New Doctoral Candidates

Alaina Tackitt, Rhetoric and Composition

Dorinda Davis, Literature


Welcome, New Graduate Students!

MA Literature                                                 MA Rhetoric and Composition

Ryan Arciero                                                       Samantha Cosgrove

Micah Chapman                                                 Sophia Gourgiotis

Atika Chaudhary                                                Andrew Hillen

Christina Connor                                                Jonathan Ray

Kristin Gocinski                                                  Sarah Nicely

Jasmine Persaud

____________________________________________________________

MFA Fiction                                                    MFA Nonfiction

Alison Barone                                                    Carmella Guiol

Colleen Kolba                                                    Karissa Womack

Dennis Mont’Ros                                               MFA Poetry

Theodore Murray                                              Chelsea Dingman

Jessica Thompson                                             Annalise Mabe

____________________________________________________________

PhD Literature                                               PhD Rhetoric and Composition

Lesley Brooks                                                      Tanya Zarlengo

Stephanie Derisi

Shauna Maragh

Stephanie Phillips

Anne Wetmore


New Faculty Interview: Dr. Jarod Roselló

Where is your degree from? When? What areas did you study? What subjects did you/are you publishing in?

I received my MFA (2010) and my PhD (2014) from Penn State University. My MFA is in fiction and at that time I was focusing on writing formally experimental prose fiction. My PhD is in curriculum & instruction, with an emphasis in language, culture, and society. My doctoral work moved between the social sciences and the humanities. I spent a few years drawing comics with kids—mostly teenagers—and studied their processes. I was curious to see what it meant for sixteen and seventeen year-olds to be cartoonists or artists or writers and then letting those experiences inform larger theories of production in the literary and visual arts. These days, I mostly write and draw comics and fiction. I make a range of comics: from darker, adult comics to cartoonish, all-ages comics. When you draw, you have to see what kinds of lines you feel like making, and usually those lines are suggestive of characters, narratives, and worlds. My writing is more alt lit fiction that plays with form and content. Wildly unpublishable stuff. I also do arts-based research, which considers art-making (in my case, cartooning and fiction writing) to be forms of meaningful inquiry into human experience. I write and draw with kids, then make comics or write fiction that responds to those experiences. It’s art-making that is empirically, theoretically, and aesthetically informed.

What classes are you or will you be teaching? How would you describe the class(es)?

I teach undergraduate and graduate creative writing courses in fiction and cartooning. I would describe these as studio courses: we spend a lot of time making things together and then sharing the things we make. I’m pretty insistent about referring to writing as art and thinking about creative writing classes as art-making spaces. I spent a long time working on curriculum development with literary and visual arts and thinking about the pedagogy of creative writing and drawing, so my classes tend to be warm, fuzzy places that are deeply interested in not only the development of craft, but also in examining the relationship between self and art-making.

What research projects are you currently working on?

I just finished a graphic novel about an anthropomorphized bear that’s been living amongst humans for a long time and having an identity crisis about the whole thing. I’m currently working on a middle-grade graphic novel about a rabbit who is trying to stop a series of paranormal events from destroying the world. I’m also researching a longer project: a graphic memoir about my daughter’s first three years of life. Visual field notes from the first three years of parenting that weaves in some history and science.

What is your favorite/least favorite memory of graduate school?

Oh well, my least favorite memory had to be working on my dissertation. That’s not any single memory, but a cumulative one, I guess. But that’s everyone’s least favorite part, right? It’s not the work itself, necessarily, just that by the time you’re finishing that thing you’re pretty tired and maybe a little burned out, and trying to hold it all together. My favorite memory from graduate school was, for sure, getting hugged by George Saunders. Best hugger. Read more about Dr. Roselló’s work on his website.


Alumni Spotlight: Kyle Stedman, PhD Rhetoric and Composition 2012

What areas did you study? What subjects have you or are you publishing in?

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Image courtesy of Kyle Stedman

I finished my PhD in rhetoric and composition in Summer 2012, and my interests and publications haven’t changed too much in the two years since then. For example, my work on the Beastie Boys’ recent fair use lawsuit was included in the CCCC Intellectual Property Committee’s annual publication of the top IP developments of the year, and I recently co-published an audio book review of Thomas Rickert’s Ambient Rhetoric, focusing the review especially on what the book can contribute to sound studies in rhetoric.

What other projects are you working on? I’ve been working with three other sound scholars for a couple of years now on a short digital book on sonic rhetoric, especially as it applies to pedagogy. Since I’m at a teaching school, I’m trying to better meld my research and teaching, putting my time into things that “count” for me in multiple categories–like my new podcast on pedagogy, which makes me look good to the school for being a public intellectual but also helps make me a better teacher, since I have to read more about pedagogy to do a good podcast. Double-dip FTW.

What classes are you or will you be teaching? How would you describe those classes? I’m at a small teaching school where I’m one of two specialists in rhetoric and composition, so I mostly teach 3 rhetoric courses: an entry-level course, a research-based argument course, and a junior-level course on digital rhetoric. I also get to teach creative writing: intro and a junior-level creative nonfiction course. A lot of those classes are gen-ed requirements, so I deal with the same things anyone does: making class work for those who have a bad attitude as well as those who love this stuff. So I do what I learned to do at USF: I overplan and then throw the plans out the window in the middle of class when something isn’t working.

What is your favorite memory of graduate school? I loved working on small, intense task forces on various aspects of the FYC curriculum and website. We had some rocking teamwork going on, especially when we realized that we could band together and make serious change happen in the way that we wanted it to (with Dr. Moxley’s approval, of course). Like, we decided we needed simple images and videos to represent the work done in various FYC projects–so we made them. We decided we needed to seriously revise the order of projects–so we did. We decided we loved dinosaurs–so we put them everywhere.

How is/was the transition from being a graduate student to a faculty member? I think it took me a while to realize that I was the trusted expert on how to teach my courses. I kept emailing my department chair at first to let her know what I was up to, and eventually I realized that I get to do what I want, since I’m trained and all. That’s freeing and fun. More than ever, my time is my time. (Except when there are meetings. There are lots of meetings.)

How would you describe your experiences on the job market? Oh, you’ve heard enough of my ideas about that. My three columns in Inklinks from 2011-2012 are all on my blog.


Graduate Student Advice Column: What You Wish You’d Known Last September

“Ask questions about what questions you should be asking. It might sound weird or dumb, but there are an insane number of unknowns in Grad School. There are so many, in fact, that you can’t be expected to think of them all ahead of time. Sure, you’ve got burning questions you can’t wait to ask about classes and conferences in your head or written down somewhere, but there are a million things you haven’t thought of either. So ask your adviser, your professors, and all your new colleagues ‘What questions should I be asking you that I haven’t already? What else do I need to know?” — Neal Fischer

“Prepare for weight changes.” – Dori Davis

“For the first few weeks, remember that parking will get easier once people settle into their schedules and you eventually will know all your students’ names even if it seems like an uphill battle. Eric, my officemate from last year, gave me good advice to live by for the occasionally not-so-perfect teaching day: keep in mind that the students often get more out of a class period than you ever thought they could have and what may have seemed disastrous to you might even have gone unnoticed by most of your students. As far as the classes you are taking are concerned, be ready to participate, but remember that participation can often be simply asking a question about a concept you do not completely understand–even if you feel you are the least knowledgeable person in a specific subject, having the professor or class as a whole reconsider a passage or argument will ultimately be productive for all involved. Finally, I would like to point out that while grading intermediate drafts, do your best to not worry about the final draft grading in two weeks–this will not only be less strenuous, but does not have the time restrictions of the IDs. When you have 40+ papers to grade extensively you don’t need any more on your mind than is completely necessary!” – Peter Andriotis

“Make time for your own personal needs and for doing things outside of academia. Have money for Starbucks and keep Motrin and snacks at your desk (so you don’t have to leave and lose your parking space). Also, schedule reading times so that you don’t wait until the last minute—it will be impossible to finish it all! Try to start early on sending things out for publication; don’t wait until it’s perfect. Don’t take both doctoral seminar credits in one semester. Eat regularly so you don’t realize at 9 p.m. that you haven’t eaten today and then consume 8,000 pounds of Chick fi la. Socialize with your colleagues! Be an advocate for yourself as far as consulting professors and advisors about your scholarly interests so you know which courses to take and how to get the most out of them. Finally, Jimmy is really nice—talk to Jimmy!” – Meg Mandell and Heather Fox

“Realistically, you can’t do everything, so you have to prioritize. Some things you’ll be able to read in depth; others you will need to skim based on the weekly demands of the courses you are both teaching and taking.” – Brianna Jerman


Spotlight on Recent Job Placement: Joy Sanchez-Taylor, PhD American Literature 2014, Assistant Professor of English at CUNY LaGuardia

I am so grateful for my time at USF; it is the skills I learned here which enabled me to get such a wonderful position. CUNY LaGuardia is a two year college in Queens, NY and serves a diverse student population. The English department is large (over 50 faculty members) and many of the faculty specialize in ethnic American studies. My teaching load is three/four, and the department gives me sabbatical hours so I can continue my research in ethnic American science fiction and fantasy. The college also encourages collaborative research, so I am excited at the prospect of working with faculty who share my research interests. For the Fall semester, I will be teaching three sections of Composition I. Since my family lives in Tampa, I will definitely be back to Florida soon to escape New York winter!


Faculty Bookshelf with Dr. John Lennon

What books have you read recently (or are currently reading)? What is the most interesting work (book or article) that you have recently read? Are you currently reading anything just for fun? Are there any particular journals in your field that you read or consult on a regular basis? Have you read anything recently that you would recommend to a colleague or student interested in your field?

I don’t really have a division between fun books and work books (btw, I am not the person to talk to about life/work balance). Instead, I get really excited about projects and then I read a lot in a short amount of time. Right now I am working on two projects: one is a co-written piece that compares why working class literature in the U.S. is not as recognized or respected as it is in Sweden. My main thrust in the article is that the Cold War’s long reach into academia, along with a national view of American exceptionalism, are major contributing factors. So I have been reading a lot about the Cold War’s effect on the University: Unmaking the Public University (Christopher Newfield, 2008); No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the Universities (Schrecher, 1986); The Cold War and the University (Andre Schiffrin, 1997); Cold War University: Madison and the New Left in the Sixties (Matthew Levin, 2013) as well as theoretical and historical examinations of working class literature in the U.S. context: Vanishing Moments: Class and American Literature (Eric Schocket, 2006); The Marxist Imagination: Representing Class in Literature (Julian Markels, 2003); Blue Collar, Theoretically (John Lavelle, 2012); New Working-Class Studies (John Russo and Sherry Lee Linkon (2005). I’m at the point now that I’ll soon start writing (badly) my piece of the article so I can figure out what else I need to read in order to start making sense.

The other project is a larger ongoing book length manuscript on conflict graffiti where I am examining the role of graffiti in areas of war, natural disasters and/or extreme poverty. I am interested in the roots of graffiti in a particular area but also graffiti’s routes–how these political images of graffiti are disseminated worldwide. I am currently examining graffiti in the Middle East and so a good amount of my reading right now is actually done on twitter (yes, reading twitter is work. no, really it is). I am following a lot of graffiti writers/artists/activists and seeing their work on line as well as reading articles and newspaper reports by individuals embedded in, for example, Syria or Egypt or Iraq. I follow up with these people and where possible, talk with them, trying to lay the groundwork for understanding graffiti in particular areas. I then pair these immediate, visceral and often photographic messages with the theoretical work that I am concurrently reading (a small list: Narrating Conflict in the Middle East (Dina Mater, 2013); Visual Culture in the Middle East (Christiane Gruber, 2013); Image Politics in the Middle East (Linda Khatib, 2012), among many, many others—the list of books I need to read keeps growing every time I look through the index of a current book I am reading (I would be happy to talk to anyone about this project if they are interested).

I know, I know, where’s the fiction? Every time I visit someplace, I try to read literature from the area. I was lucky enough to be in Cairo for a few weeks doing research and since I was strung out on really powerful coffee, I spent a good amount of my nights in outdoor cafes reading. While there I read a few fantastic novels by Egyptian novelists: Bahaa Taher’s Love in Exile; Naguib Mahfouz’s Karnak Café and Miramar and Mohamed Salmawy’s Butterfly Wings (Karnak Café was my favorite). I am also rereading the books that I am teaching early on in my undergraduate courses (always fun)—so I just finished Tille Olsen’s Yonnondio and Charles Burns’s Black Hole right before the semester began.

Finally, I read to my daughters every night and, because they don’t like to go to sleep and I am a sucker for, “C’mon, one more!”, we read a lot. On the current rotation is The BFG (Roald Dahl); The Giggler Treatment (Roddy Doyle); The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (Mordicai Gerstein); The Runaway Wok (Ying Chang Compestine); Luke on the Loose (Harry Bliss) along with EVERY book in the Mo Williams’ Elephant and Piggie series. Oh and SpongeBob Squarepants because, well, I like it.

And of course, I am re-reading Moby Dick because it just happens to be on my night table.

Follow John Lennon on Twitter, @hoboacademic.


 

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