Sunday, October 26, 2014

Doctoral Student Khristeena Lute Recounts Her Journey to France

Khristeena Lute in Metz (third from left)

On October 7, I travelled to Metz, France, a small French town about an hour train ride south of Luxembourg City, for a three day conference on southern writer Grace King. 

There, I met the keynote speaker, Dr. Melissa Heidari, who completed her dissertation on King in the 1980s and published a collection of King's journals. She is one of a very few King scholars. When the conference organizer, Dr. Brigitte Zaug, introduced us, Dr. Heidari smiled brightly, shook my hand, and said she had taken a look at my professional website-- so, I need to offer a huge thank you to Dr. Dubek for suggesting I create this last fall! Dr. Heidari was wonderful and took me aside a number of times to chat about King, graduate school, and dissertations. 

I listened to a number of fascinating papers on topics ranging from King's use of language to her feminist subject matter, before, during, and after being stuffed with gorgeous french cuisine. I presented my paper on King's intentional use of liminality in her fiction and how this use places her as a pre-modern writer, rather than a 19th-century local colorist. I told a few stories about my visits to NOLA, stumbling into used bookshops, getting lost in cemeteries during thunderstorms (something I will take care to avoid in the future!), and working with the wonderful folks I've met down there. I even openly addressed the issues I have had in addressing King's views on race-- and found everyone in the room was in agreement with how I positioned myself on this topic. I provided backup through the literature and criticism, just as Dr. Bradley had recommended I do. 

After I finished reading, I waited for those gut-wrenching few seconds after a presentation and then heard it: applause. I finally exhaled and looked around with focused eyes. Lots of smiles and nods. My ideas were well-received with a number of positive remarks from my new colleagues. I prepared for this conference intensely for months leading up to the start date-- reading and rereading criticism and primary texts, and building a large annotated bibliography for use for my dissertation as I progressed through the readings. This conference was crucial for developing my dissertation on King and gave me a venue to offer my ideas and angles on King and receive feedback before I formerly compose my dissertation. Now, I feel ready to write. 

Though I have sent private thank yous, I need to do so here as well. Drs. Bradley, Dubek, and Smith all provided strong support as I prepared for this conference-- providing feedback on my topic (Dr. Bradley), my navigating sensitive social issues (Drs. Bradley and Dubek), and conference procedure and presentation prep (Dr. Smith). Without Dr. Renfroe sending me a CFP for the conference I attended in Germany last winter, I would never have known about this King conference, as attendees in Germany recommended me for this conference in France. And I wouldn't have been able to attend at all without the support of my professors, supervisors, and colleagues this semester: Drs. Brantley and Cox, and the wonderful admin and staff in the Writing Center. Thank you for your support, guidance, and wonderful advice. 

Khristeena Lute
English Ph.D. Student, Graduate Teaching Assistant
Margaret H. Ordoubadian Writing Center Program Assistant
Middle Tennessee State University

English Majors Present at Regional Conference

Stephanie Ellis (right) and Bridget Carlson (left) with Dr. John Lowe, Distinguished Professor of Southern Studies at the University of Georgia and the keynote speaker at the Faulkner & Hurston conference in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Dr. Lowe sends greetings to his friends and colleagues in the MTSU English department, Dr Will Brantley and Dr. Mark Jackson.
Standing in front of the Hurston display outside the Rare Book Room of Southeast Missouri State's Kent Library with their teacher, Laura Dubek. Earlier in the day, Stephanie and Bridget presented "Through a Colored Purple Lens: A Feminist (Re)reading of Their Eyes Were Watching God." Dr. Dubek presented on a Popular Culture panel, and Dr. Pat Bradley presented on a panel focused on Performance & Storytelling. See more about Dr. Bradley's student, Savannah DiGregorio, in a previous post from Dr. Lavery.
Stephanie and Ph.D. candidate Megan Donelson view letters, photographs and other Faulkner-related artifacts. Megan participated in a panel on Dysfunctional Families. Her paper, "'Did you ever have a sister?': Caddy Compson's Silence in Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury," was as well received as it was presented.

Friday, October 24, 2014

English Department Colloquium, October 22, 2014

Dr. Allen Hibbard and Dr. James Comas prepare to present.

Dr. James Comas
On October 22nd, Dr. Rebecca King hosted the first English Department Colloquium of 2014-2015.

Dr. Allen Hibbard spoke on “Translating A Banquet for Seaweed by Syrian Writer Haidar Haidar: The Story of the Project and the Story of the Novel.”

And Dr. James Comas presented “The Disciplinary Primer: The Role of a Pedagogical Genre in the Self-Representation of a Profession."
Dr. Allen Hibbard

Dr. Bene Cox chairs the Colloquium Committee. Its members include Dr. Bob Holtzclaw, Dr. Jackie Jackson, Dr. King, and Dr Justyna Kostkowska.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


An earlier post noted the involvement of the English Department's Dr. Phil Phillips in the establishment of a new public statue of Edgar Allan Poe in Boston.

The statue is now in place. Read The Boston College Chronicle's account of the installation here.

Watch Dr. Hixon's Honors Lecture

Saturday, October 11, 2014

MTSU English Major's Writing Wins First Place

Savannah DiGregorio, a senior English major from Nashville, has been named the first place prize winner in an undergraduate writing contest sponsored by the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University.

Savannah will receive her cash prize at the Faulkner and Hurston Conference, also sponsored by the Center for Faulkner Studies and held October 23-25. In addition, she is on the conference program to read her winning essay, "A Wilderness Affair: An Ecofeminist Reading of Faulkner's Go Down, Moses, which is a revised version of a paper by the same title she wrote for Dr. Pat Bradley's Faulkner and Warren class (ENGL 4320) during the spring 2014 semester.

Other MTSU students on the program include Megan Donelson (graduate) and Meghan Burnham, Bridget Carlson, and Stephanie Ellis (undergraduate).

For a look at the conference program, go to here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

"Mad Men" Conference

One of the greatest series in the history of television, AMC's Mad Men, will end its seven season run this spring.

A year from now a major symposium on the show will be hosted by Fordham University in New York.

The English Department's Dr. David Lavery and fellow MTSU media scholar Dr. Jane Marcellus (Journalism) originated the idea for the conference and will collaborate with Dr. Gary Edgerton of Butler University and Drs. Brian Rose and Jacqueline Reich at Fordham in planning and running the conference, tentatively planned for September 17-19, 2015.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Engaging the Woman Fantastic"

Click on the image above to see a larger version.

Republished here from Dr. Helford's homepage:

Friday, September 12, 2014

MTSU's English Department Involved in a New Statue of Edgar Allan Poe in Boston

recent story in BostInno announces groundbreaking for a new memorial to the American writer Edgar Allan Poe.

Dr. Phil Phillips

The English Department's Dr. Phil Phillips, Associate Dean of MTSU's Honors College, has played a key role in the project as President of the Poe Studies Association. Phillips, who also serves on the Advisory Committee of the Poe Foundation of Boston, will participate in the unveiling and dedication ceremony scheduled for October 5, 2014.
Phillips is also currently teaching a graduate seminar on Poe.

Helford, Hixon to Present in Honors Lecture Series

Drs. Elyce Helford and Martha Hixon will both be featured in this Fall's Honors Lecture Series.

Dr. Helford will be speaking on September 15th on "Placing the American Dream: The Founding of Hollywood."

Dr. Hixon's September 22nd talk is entitled "Neverlands and Wonderlands: Magical Geography in Children's Literature."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Graduate Assistant Brandon Hardy Elected to the Board of the European Writing Centers Association

This past July, the European Writing Centers Association (EWCA) held its biannual conference in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, at the European University Viadrina (EUV), where over 250 writing center professionals and peer tutors from 36 nations entered into an international conversation about a number of theoretical and pedagogical issues in the field. 

Katrin Girgensohn and Franziska Liebetanz, Directors of the Writing Center at EUV, received their guests warmly and hosted an exceptionally productive conference with prominent keynote speakers such as Harvey Kail, Paula Gillespie, and Bradley Hughes. Despite an agonizing heat wave, attendees enjoyed a number of post-conference outings such as a German barbecue, sightseeing tours of Frankfurt (Oder), and dinner in Poland, which is a brief walk from the university. Attendees who had arrived as strangers left feeling part of a family.

The EWCA elected new executive board members for the next two years, one of which was Brandon Hardy of Middle Tennessee State University. Brandon serves on the board to contribute an American perspective on European writing center practices and to advocate the crossing of borders between writing centers all over the globe. 

The EWCA champions a broader perspective on writing center studies and practices, and Brandon, with fellow Peer Tutor Representative Birte Stark, has developed an international peer tutor network within a Google+ Community called “International Peer Tutoring,” which will attempt to forge new and exciting cross-cultural partnerships between U.S. and European writing centers. 

Brandon has already begun exploring the possibilities of such an international collaboration by co-writing writing center scholarship with peers from around the globe and initiating an annual, international peer tutor conference.

Renfroe's New Edition of Nineteenth Century Novel to be Published

Dr. Alicia Mischa Renfroe's edition of Rebecca Harding Davis's A Law Unto Herself will be published in January by the University of Nebraska Press in its Legacies of Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers series.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The English Department at PCAS/ACAS in New Orleans

At next month's annual meeting of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association in the South in New Orleans, no less than seventeen English Department faculty, current students, and recent graduates will be presenting papers. Dr. Bill Badley, Dr. Linda Badley, Dr. Nancy Roche (Ph.D., 2010), Stephanie Graves (M.A., 2014), Dr. Jonathan Lampley (Ph.D, 2007), Dr. Jessica Szalacinski (Ph.D., 2014), Laura Black (doctoral candidate), Brandon Hardy (M.A. candidate), Dr. David Lavery, Dr. Pete McCluskey, Dr. Jeff Frame (Ph.D, 2012), Dr. Patricia Gaitely, Dr. Jeff Thompson (Ph.D., 2007), Lisa Williams (M.A., 2010), Dr. Jimmie Cain, Dr. Sara Lewis Dunne (retired faculty member), Ariel Dingus (M.A., 2012), and Brittany Walker (doctoral candidate) will be delivering papers on a wide variety of topics, from True Detective, to female adolescent sexuality in contemporary film, to the Clash and British fascism, to science fiction and the dismal science.

The program can be found here.

Updated 9/26/14

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Lavery to Speak at Belmont

David Lavery will be one of the speakers in this Fall's Humanities Symposium at Belmont University. His talk will be entitled:  "Neverending Story: Time Lords and Narrative Time in Doctor Who."