Friday, December 5, 2014

2014 Peck Awards

In a ceremony at the Thomas Jackson Building yesterday, ten undergraduate and graduate students were named Peck Award Scholars.


Kristen Bezner (introduced by Dr. Claudia Barnett)
Katherine Mayetta Estes (Brewer) (introduced by Dr. James Comas)
Jesse T. Burleson (introduced by Dr. Laura White)
Savannah DiGregorio (introduced by Dr. Pat Bradley)
Mary Marley Latham (introduced by Dr. Marion Hollings)
Khristeena Lute (introduced by Dr. Laura Dubek)
Shellie Melnick Michael (introduced by Dr. Mischa Renfroe)
Adam Sisk (introduced by Dr. Pat Bradley)
Tiara Terrell (introduced by Dr. Kathleen Therrien)
Taffeta Xu (introduced by Dr. Aleka Blackwell)

Front row: Savnnah DiGregorio, Taffeta Xu, Shellie Melnick Michael, Adam Sisk, Khristeena Lute, Jesse T. Burleston; back row: Katherine Estes, Mary Marley Latham, Tiara Terrell, Kristen Bezner) 


Therrien, Barnett
The award ceremony was hosted (for the last time ) by Dr. Claudia Barnett, who passed the mantle to her successor, Dr. Kathleen Therrien.

Photos by Dr. Will Brantley


Friday, November 28, 2014

Cain's Essay Published in German Collection

A recently published German collection, Vergemeinschaftung in Zeiten der Zombie Apokalypse, edited by Michael Dellwing and Martin Harbusch, includes an essay by the English Department's Dr. Jimmie Cain entitled "The Combat Veteran as Monstrous Other."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2014 Peck Award Winners Named

The Richard C. and Virginia Peck Awards were established in 1975 with a gift from Virginia Peck after Richard Peck's death and have provided over $150,000 to outstanding English majors. Students are nominated by the English Faculty and are then selected by the committee charged with administering the funds. Stipends are presented each year to academically talented and deserving English majors, graduate and undergraduate, who have been identified by faculty as deserving of the honor and encouragement.
This year's winners have been chosen. Dr. Claudia Barnett, chair of the Peck Awards Committee, reports that "We had more nominations than usual, and our decisions were extremely difficult—but we thoroughly enjoyed learning about the many excellent English majors and graduate students in our department."

Please join us in congratulating the winners, both when you see them in Peck Hall and at this year's ceremony: 

Kristen Bezner
Katherine Mayetta Estes (Brewer)
Jesse T. Burleson
Savannah DiGregorio
Mary Marley Latham
Khristeena Lute
Shellie Melnick Michael
Adam Sisk
Tiara Terrell
Taffeta Xu

The awards will be presented on Thursday, December 4 (Study Day) at the Tom Jackson Building: Reception at 4:30; Ceremony to begin promptly at 4:45.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gaitely to Lecture, the First Talk in the English Department's Speaker Series

This evening, the Department  of English and the College of Liberal Arts present a public lecture, "Folklore, Serpent-Handling, and Appalachian Life," by Dr. Patricia Gaitely, 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Tennessee Room of the James Union Building. The lecture is free and open to the public.


For information, please contact Connie Huddleston, coordinator for the College of Liberal Arts at connie.huddleston@mtsu.edu (494-7628), or the committee chair of this program, Dr. Bene S. Cox, Department  of English, at bene.cox@mtsu.edu (898-2714).

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Poe Seminar Visits W.T. Bandy Center

Front Row: Rachel Donegan, Arlo Hall, Sarah Gray; Back Row: Dr. Phillips, Elizabeth Robinson, Starshield Lortie, Laura Black
Dr. Phil Phillips

Dr. Philip Phillips and students in his Fall 2014 Poe Seminar visited the W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies at the Jean and Alexander Heard Library, Vanderbilt University, to learn about Charles Baudelaire and his influential translations of Poe’s works. The class saw first-edition copies of many of Poe’s works, including various gift books, magazines, and Eureka (1848), as well as first-edition copies of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal (both the expurgated and the rare unexpurgated edition), all five books of his Poe translations, and various illustrated editions of Baudelaire’s Poe translations. W.T. Bandy Center librarian, Yvonne Boyer, even brought out the Baudelaire death mask for the class to view.


Dr. Phillips and Elizabeth Robinson

Sarah Gray

W.T. Bandy Center librarian, Yvonne Boyer

Carlo Farneti from "The Black Cat"


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Lavery to Keynote

Dr. David Lavery has agreed to be the keynote speaker at an international conference on Twin Peaks to be held in May 2015 at the University of Salford in the UK.

Monday, November 3, 2014

EGSO Symposium: CFP


Helford Coedits a Special Issue of "The Journal of Science Fiction Film and Television"

The Journal of Science Fiction Film and Television has just released a special issue on SF Anime (7.3), coedited by the MTSU English Department's Dr. Elyce Rae Helford and Dr. Alex Naylor of Greenwich University.






Q & A with Dr. Cynthia Burkhead (Ph.D., 2010)

Bloomsbury has a Q and A with Dr. Cynthia Burkhead about her book (originally her doctoral dissertation), now available in paperback.

Dr. Cynthia Burkhead

Go here to read it.

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

Phillips/Poe

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 (pictured), 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.