Monday, February 1, 2016

Lavery Returns to "Twin Peaks"

With Twin Peaks (ABC, 1990-91) returning to television on Showtime, The English Department's David Lavery, editor of the first scholarly book on David Lynch and Mark Frost's landmark series (Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks [Wayne State U P, 1994), has been busy.

Last May he delivered the keynote address at a conference on Twin Peaks in Manchester, England, and he has also written (1) a preface to the Jeffrey Weinstock and Catherine Spooner's just published Return to Twin Peaks (Palgrave McMillan, 2015); (2) a foreword to "Returning to the Red Room—Twin Peaks at Twenty-Five," a Spring 2016 special issue of Cinema Journal edited by Ross Garner and Karra Shimabukuro.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What an English Degree Is Good For

Check out this NPR article

A Top Medical School Revamps Requirements To Lure English Majors

Brantley and Roche to Publish New Books

Dr. Nancy Roche
Dr. Will Brantley
The English Department's Dr. Will Brantley and Dr. Nancy Roche (Ph.D, 2011), currently teaching at Vanderbilt, have co-edited a volume to be released later this year in the University Press of Mississippi's "Conversations" series: Conversations With Edmund White. Dr. Roche has also recently signed a contract to complete a volume in the "Traditions in World Cinema" series of Edinburgh University Press: Cinema in Revolt: Censorship Reform in 1960s British and American Film.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Lavery Source for "Financial Times" Article on the Return of "The X-Files"

You can read the article online here.

With Dr. Angela Hague, Lavery co-edited the first scholarly book on The X-Files (Syracuse U P/Faber and Faber, 1996).

Monday, January 25, 2016

The 2016 Virginia Peck Composition Series Presents Dr. Derek Mueller

Please consider joining us on Friday, March 4 for the 2016 Virginia Peck Composition Series, sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of English. This special Peck Series has two purposes: 1) to engage writing faculty from area universities and secondary schools in considering timely issues in the research and teaching of writing, and 2) to establish a Southeastern affiliate of the Council of Writing Program Administrators. This entire event is free, but space is limited, so each individual attendee must reserve a spot in our Google form (linked here).

We are pleased to announce that this year’s invited speaker is Dr. Derek Mueller, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing and Director of the First-Year Writing Program at Eastern Michigan University. Dr. Mueller’s work has appeared in College Composition and CommunicationComposition Forum,Kairos, and Computers and Compositionamong other venues.

Dr. Mueller’s talk, "Disciplinary Discourse Networks 1984/2014" will argue for distant reading and thin description as methods for inquiring into patterns in academic discourse, both at the small scale (e.g., a single article) and at much larger scales (e.g., collections of several hundred articles). He will share examples of visual models that help us see patterns in rising and falling frequencies of keywords inCollege Composition and Communication, and will explain how these practices can aid us all (especially newcomers) in understanding long-rising and long-falling developments for so-called "turns" and also for threshold concepts. The talk will lay out how this works in particular with the threshold concept "All writing is multimodal." These efforts to visualize patterns in disciplinary discourses will set up the teaching-focused workshop, which will step attendees through their own work with an academic article to notice and trace keywords, citations, authorship, and aspects of the time, place, and circumstances under which the article was written and published.

Please note that the event will be held at the Foundation House, located at 324 West Thompson Lane, Murfreesboro, TN 37129 (parking is ample and passes are not required). Thanks to the generosity of W.W. Norton and Bedford/St. Martin’s, light breakfast and lunch will be provided at no cost to attendees. We do, however, respectfully request that only those certain to attend reply so that we will have an accurate headcount.

Tentative Schedule
8:00-8:45: Registration, book fair, and light breakfast (sponsored by W.W. Norton)
9:00-10:00: Research Talk, "Disciplinary Discourse Networks 1984/2014."
10:15-11:45: Interactive Workshop
12:00-1:15: Lunch (sponsored by Bedford/St. Martin’s)
1:30-3:30: WPA affiliate planning meeting
*Those not interested in attending the WPA affiliate meeting are welcome to stay on and continue the day’s conversations with other participants or are free to depart after lunch.

We encourage you to forward this invitation to colleagues who might be interested in these topics.Please respond by Monday, February 15.

​If you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact Dr. Julie Barger ( or Dr. Kate Pantelides ( 
Attachments area
Preview attachment Mueller.pdf

Monday, January 11, 2016

English Alumni: Dr. Cynthia Burkhead

From the University of North Alabama Website.
Dr. Cynthia Burkhead (Ph.D., 2010) is an Assistant Professor and Chair of the English Department  at the University of North Alabama. At MTSU, she wrote her doctoral dissertation, later published as Dreams in Television Narratives, under David Lavery.

At UNA, she is the Director of the George Lindsey/UNA Film Festival, a role that has introduced her to many interesting people.
Michael Rooker, Burkhead, Mark Boone, Jr.

Burkhead and Billy Bob Thornton

In addition to Dreams in Television Narratives, Burkhead is the author/editor of three other books. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Dr. Claude Crum (Ph.D., 2004)

First up in a series of posts on English Department alumni is Dr. Claude Crum. 

One of the first to receive a Ph.D. in English (the first was awarded in 2003), Dr. Crum's dissertation, “In Flowing Script: James Still's Lasting Legacy, was written under the direction of Dr. Sara Dunne.

Now a member of the faculty and part of the central administration at Alice Lloyd College in Kentucky, Crum has also published three books, including the novel Only Son. The profile below is from the ALC website.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Weishaar's Novel to be Published

Dr. Schuy Weishaar (Ph.D., 2010) will publish his first novel this spring. Pre-order from Amazon here.

Here's what the book's Amazon page says:

Abraham Jacobsen is misfit for this world. His peculiar gifts have cursed him with a past of good deeds he cannot escape, with dreams and visions he cannot explain, with a future as stone-set as the etchings on a grave marker. Now, just as he has found a suitable place to loose his haunted thoughts in the outer blanks of rural Illinois, Abraham finds himself the prime suspect in the murder of a local girl. He is edged in upon by a priest who wants to see him canonized, an ancient vigilante group with ties to the county’s founding fathers, the dead girl’s farmer father, and local law enforcement. In his roving, Abraham has burned up the road of life in both directions, scorching and scarring as many as he has helped or healed. And the journey has only taken him deeper within the dark of the center line, into a country nothing-world of fields, farms, and roads, a place that seems peopled with his own inner demons and bad memories. But does the dark of the center line lead somewhere too?

Friday, December 4, 2015

Peck Award Winners for 2015 Chosen

The Peck Award winners for 2015 have been named: Bridget Carlson, Stephanie Ellis, Marcus Franklin, Krysta , Frost, Sara Hays, Margaret Johnson, Mo Li, Chloe Madigan, Morgan Oldacre, Blaik Paris, and Megan L Smith.

They received their awards in a ceremony in the Tom Jackson building on December 3rd.
Carlson, Ellis, Paris, Frost, Smith, Johnson, Li, Hays

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pantelides' Students to Present Their Research

On Monday, 11/30/2016 Dr. Kate Pantelides's Advanced Composition students will present their original research projects in a fair-style showcase.

The first group will present from 1:00 to 1:30, and the second group from 1:30-2.

Feel free to drop in briefly.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Albakry and Bryan Co-Author Forthcoming Study

Bryan and Albakry
Dr. Mohammed Albakry and doctoral candidate Clint Bryan have co-authored an article, "A little bit transparent with one another: Constructing vulnerability in the evangelical discourse of women preachers," soon to be published in Culture and Religion (16-4.1-20).

Prof. Albakry explains that the co-authors "apply a discourse analysis and sociological approach to two similar online videos by prominent American evangelical female preachers: Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore," examining "how the two preachers construct their narratives of vulnerability in order to establish rapport with their audiences."

Friday, November 13, 2015

Hall, Badley Contribute to New Book

An essay by Dr. Dawn Hall (Ph.D., 2014), "Old Joy (2006): Resisting Masculinity," has been published in the Edinburgh University Press book US Independent Film after 1989. Also included in the book is an essay by the English Department's Dr. Linda Badley: "Lovely & Amazing (2001): Naked Chick Flick."
Dr. Dawn Hall

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

EGSO's Research Symposium

At today's English Graduate Student Association Symposium, seven M.A. and Ph.D. students presented their current research.

Based on the evaluations of the judges--Department Chair Dr. Maria Bachman, Director of Graduate Studies David Lavery, and Graduate Adviser Dr. Rhonda McDaniel--awards (funded by the Richard and Virginia Peck Fund) were given to Hillary Yeager (first place), Margaret Johnson (second place), and Jacqueline Hayek (third place).

Johnson, Yeager

Matthew Spencer

Lava Asad, Jonathan Thurston, Spencer


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Drs. Alghamdi and Alharbi

Left to Right: Hibbard, Johnson, Alghamdi, Alharbi, Provost Brad Bartel, White
During the last week two Saudi Arabian Ph.D. candidates, Lama Alharbi and Mohammed Alghamdi, successfully defended their doctoral dissertations.

Alharbi's The Nation Revisited: Examining Patriarchal Presence in Nuruddin Farah’s Maps and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun was directed by Dr. Tina Johnson, with Dr. Allen Hibbard and Dr. Laura White as readers.

Alghamdi's dissertation, Inscribing the Nation and Reforming Its Margins:  A Comparative Study of 19th Century American and 20th Century and Contemporary Saudi Literatures, was directed by Dr. Allen Hibbard; Dr. Johnson and Dr. Carl Ostrowski served as readers.
Left to right: Johnson, Hibbard, Alghamdi, Ostrowski

To the best of our recollection, Alharbi and Alghamdi are the first married couple to both earn the Ph.D. in our graduate program.

Renfroe Promoted

Among those honored at today's Faculty Tenured and Promoted Reception (Tennessee Room in the JUB, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.) is the English Department's Dr. Mischa Renfroe, who was recently promoted to the rank of Professor.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Cain Delivers Honors Lecture

The English Department's Dr. Jimmie Cain delivered this week's Honors Lecture: "The Combat Veteran as Monstrous Other."

Dr. Cain's talk was based on an essay recently published in Vergemeinschaftung in Zeiten der Zombie-Apokalypse: Gesellschaftskonstruktionen am fantastischen Anderen (2014), edited by Michael Dellwing and Martin Harbusch.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Gaylord Brewer: Two New Books and an Online Interview

This Fall has seen the publication of two new books by Dr. Gaylord Brewer.

The Cloudy House website also has an online interview with the English Department's distinguished poet. Read it here.

A New Brown

English Department instructor Dr. Matt Brown and his wife Anne have had a new baby girl, born last night.

Her name is Alette Catherine, and she is 19 inches tall and weighs 7 lbs 11 ounces.

Pictures to follow.