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Volume 23, Issue 4, Feb 23, 2018

From Planet English: Shrovetide Issue

The halls are muddy. We teach to the sound of jackhammers. A film of white dust covers the third and fourth floors of EPB. It’s shrovetide in academe. And on my morning constitutional to the basement washroom and afternoon foraging at the coke machine, I’ve been wondering what possessed me to spend a week on Joyce’s “The Dead” in my short story class during the month of February. The protagonist’s realization that one by one we are all becoming shades seems more recursive than epiphanic right about now. As Dylan’s manager says in Don’t Look Back, “That’s not the kind of money Bob’s looking for!” Even so, a Luminous Glimmer sparkles now and again around the edges of this season, and it is exactly the kind of money Bob’s looking for:  it is Gratitude for those who brought us the Fiction Writers’ visits, the Wise Counsel of Faculty and Staff who cast a Protective Data Spell over the Department in eleventh-hour meetings, the Pyrotic Energy of Dada Futures, and members of the English Department community whose Richly Deserved Accolades we chronicle in this issue of Reading Matters. We are all moving inexorably toward Warmth, Rest, and Week Nine.


EPB Matters

Our own English-Philosophy Building received the dubious distinction of being the ugliest building in Iowa in a poll conducted by Business Insider. Of course, we know that EPB’s attractiveness is inversely proportional to the quality of its tenants.



Undergraduate Matters

Hannah Gulick, English and creative writing and astronomy and physics double major, was recently recognized for her work on two satellites being launched into space. Click here to read more.

Halle Seydel, English and political science (Indonesia) and Grace Ridnour, English and rhetoric (South Korea), have been selected as semi-finalists for the competitive Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program.


Graduate Matters

PhD candidates Laura Hayes and Konrad Swartz will represent UI English this summer at Dickens Universe, a week-long series of events held at UC Santa Cruz.

Corey Hickner-Johnson's book review on Jill Dolan's The Feminist Spectator in Action was published in Feminist Teacher in January.

“When Cheese Becomes Fire” by NWP MFA student Dina Peone was published in the January 2018 issue of Iowa Alumni Magazine.

The UI Graduate College website features an interview with PhD candidate Stefan Schoeberlein.

PhD candidates Makayla Steiner and Lydia Maunz-Breese were selected as Humanities Without Walls consortium 2018 pre-doctoral workshop fellows and will be among 30 students from the consortium who will participate in a three-week career diversity workshop in Chicago this summer. More here.

Makayla Steiner co-authored a bibliographic essay with Dr. Gloria L. Cronin titled, "Jewish American Literature: A Scholar's Map" that was published in Resources for American Literary Study, volume 39. 

PhD candidate Stephanie Tsank received a Woodress Fellowship to conduct research at the Cather Archive in Red Cloud, Nebraska.


Faculty Matters

Florence Boos's Memoirs of Victorian Working-Class Women: The Hard Way Up was issued by Palgrave in December. Her enlarged edition of William Morris's Socialist Diary is scheduled for publication by Five Leaves Press in February.

Congratulations to Eric Gidal, who received a Career Development Award for fall 2018 to pursue research on “Biblio-stratigraphy: Experiments in Ecocritical Book Studies.”

Loren Glass wrote an op-ed for the Quad-City Times about Iowa’s proposed “Bible literacy” bill, “Guest view: Sure, teach the Bible in public school”.

Congratulations to Naomi Greyser, whose book On Sympathetic Gounds: Race, Gender, and Affective Geographies in Nineteenth-Century North America was published by Oxford University Press (2018).

Lena Hill's essay, "Laughing in the Gallery: Melvin Tolson's Refusal to Hush," was recently published in Humor in Modern American Poetry (NY: Bloomsbury, 2018).

As UI’s interim chief diversity officer and associate vice president, Lena Hill is helping to encourage equity, inclusivity, and provide opportunities for participation in improving the UI’s climate for diversity. Click here to read the full article she wrote for Iowa NowLena Hill also appears in this short video about her research in UI Special Collections toward her (and Michael’s) book, Invisible Hawkeyes. The video is one of a series produced in anticipation of this year’s Provost’s Global Forum/Obermann Humanities Symposium, “Against Amnesia: Archives, Evidence, and Social Justice.”

Congratulations to Adam Hooks, who was recently made a council member of the Bibliographical Society of America, and was granted the Katharine Pantzer Fellowship in the British Book Trades for 2018 by the BSA.

Kerry Howley published a feature on whistleblower Reality Winner in New York Magazine and appeared on the Today Show to discuss the story, titled “The World’s Biggest Terrorist Has a Pikachu Bedspread.” Additionally, Howley’s book, Thrown, was optioned by actress Rebecca Hall.

Marie Kruger will speak along with Debora Matthews (PARI) as part of "Against Amnesia: Archives, Evidence, & Social Justice," the 2017-18 Obermann Humanities Symposium and Provost’s Global Forum. Their talk is titled “Living Archives: Constitution Hill in Johannesburg/South Africa.” 

Obermann Center Director Teresa Mangum (GWSS/English) has edited a new volume of the journal PUBLIC: A Journal of Imagining America. "Digital Engagements; Or, the Virtual Gets Real" (Vol. 4, Issue 2) focuses on the intersection of digital scholarship, especially in the arts and humanities, and public engagement.

Jeff Porter and Bonnie Sunstein each have a chapter in a new book collection titled Getting Personal: Teaching Personal Writing in the Digital Age (ed. Gray-Rosendale, SUNY Press). Porter’s chapter is "The Pleasure of the Voice: Speakerly Writing in the Digital Age" and Sunstein’s is "Living the Expressivist's Dream:  Writing Meets Blogging as Theory Meets Practice."

Phil Round (English/AINSP) and Jacki Rand (History/AINSP) are members of one of the successful teams selected by the Andrew W. Mellon-funded Humanities Without Walls Research Grants for 2018 for their project titled “Indigenous Art and Activism in Changing Climates: The Mississippi River Valley, Colonialism, and Environmental Change.” Click here to read more.

Though copyrighted 2017, Garrett Stewart’s Transmedium: Conceptualism 2.0 and the New Object Art just appeared last month from the University of Chicago Press.

Congratulations to Inara Verzemnieks, who has been named the recipient of the Anslavs Eglitis & Veronika Janelsina Literary Prize in Latvia, a $20,000 prize that is the highest literary honor in that nation.

Congratulations to Stephen Voyce, who has received an International Programs Summer Research Fellowship for his project, “Dark Worlds: Culture, War, and the National Security State."

David Wittenberg and Michael Tavel Clarke (UI English Ph.D. alumnus) have just published a co-edited collection of essays titled Scale in Literature and Culture (Palgrave Macmillan). 


Staff Matters

The English Department bids a fond farewell to HR Coordinator Jenny Britton, who will now be working in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

We extend a warm welcome to Nancy McAllister, who will be the new HR coordinator for the units in EPB.

Congratulations to Joelle Petersen, who has accepted a position with CIMBA in the Tippie College of Business after serving on the English Department staff for almost three years. Good luck, Joelle!


Alumni Matters

Oliver Baez Bendorf (BA 2009) has accepted a tenure track position as assistant professor of creative writing (poetry) at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, to begin this fall 2018.

Robert Cantwell (Modern Letters PhD 1971) has a new book out from Lexington Books called The Poetics of Tenderness: On Falling in Love.

Jessica DeSpain (PhD 2008) received Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s most distinguished College of Arts and Sciences award, the William and Margaret Going Endowed Professorship Award. More here.

Doug Dowland (PhD 2010) was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor of English at Ohio Northern University, where he also coordinates the minor in medical humanities.

Nyassa Kollie (BA 2014), who has served two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi as an English teacher, has extended a third year as a Peace Corps response volunteer and was featured on the Peace Corps website, here.

Emily Maloney’s (BA 2009) essay, “Cost of Living”, was selected for inclusion in The Best American Essays 2017.

Lucas Mann (NWP 2012) has received a $50,000 award from United States Artists. He is one of only four writers nationwide to win the award.

Cutter Wood (NWP 2010) and Lucas Mann (NWP 2012) have each been awarded National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships.


Upcoming Matters

Introduction to Literary GIS - Digital Bridges Workshop with Michael Gavin - February 22, 2018 | 4:00 pm | 1015A UI Main Library

Spatial Humanities and the Study of Literature - Digital Bridges Seminar with Michael Gavin - February 23, 2018 | 12:00 pm | Obermann Center Library (111 Church St.)

"Distant Reading the End of the World: Big Data and The Hunger Games" - Public Lecture by Michael Gavin - February 23, 2018 | 3:30 pm | UI Main Library Gallery

NWP Visiting Writers Series: Patricia Foster - February 28, 2018 | 7:00 pm | Prairie Lights Books

Digital Bridges: Jacque Wernimont Round Table Lunch - March 1, 2018 | 12:00 pm | Gerber Lounge, 304 EPB

Marie Kruger and Debora Matthews: Living Archives: Constitution Hill in Johannesburg/South Africa - March 2, 2018 | 10:15 am | MERGE

NWP Reading: The Speakeasy Reading Series - March 8, 2018 | 8:00 pm | Sanctuary Pub

Spring Break - March 11-18, 2018

Faculty Meeting: Tenure Faculty DCG - March 22, 2018 | 3:30 pm | Gerber Lounge, 304 EPB

NWP Visiting Writers Series: Alex Jacobs - March 27-March 28, 2018 | Founder's Room

Spring Faculty Colloquium Series: Barbara Eckstein, "Two Tales of Toxicity: Bhopal and Louisville" - March 28, 2018 | 3:30 pm | Public Library Meeting Room A


Click here to visit the News and Events on the English Department website for more details.