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.
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 Honors 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!
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
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
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?
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.