October 14, 2019

Barrenechea Lectures on Silko at Eastern New Mexico University

Professor Antonio Barrenechea

Antonio Barrenechea, Professor of English, recently delivered a Skype lecture at Eastern New Mexico University. Titled “Leslie Marmon Silko’s Council Book: Hemispheric Forces in Almanac of the Dead,” it discussed the inter-artistic and inter-American dimensions of an encyclopedic novel by a Laguna Pueblo author.

Whalen Publishes Essay on Computer-Generated Creative Writing

Associate Professor Zach Whalen

Zach Whalen, Associate Professor of English, has just published an article in a special issue of The Journal of Creative Writing Studies on “Creative Making as Creative Writing.” His article, “The Many Authors of The Several Houses of Brian, Spencer, Liam, Victoria, Brayden, Vincent, and Alex: Authorship, Agency, and Appropriation,” is an artist’s statement reflecting on how creating a computer-generated book like Whalen’s 2017 work The Several Houses of Brian, Spencer, Liam, Victoria, Brayden, Vincent, and Alex invites readers to reconsider the idea of what it means to be an author. Whalen’s book draws on several different databases to create an essentially infinite variation on the nursery rhyme “This is the House that Jack Built”; these databases contain the work of hundreds of contributors, so Whalen argues in this article that the novel is best considered a collaboration among many instead of the work of a single individual or computer. https://scholarworks.rit.edu/jcws/vol4/iss1/

UMW ‘Keeps the Light On’ Banned Books Week

Born in Russia, UMW sophomore Katia Savelyeva has called America home for most of her life. But the English major sometimes wonders what it would be like had she stayed in St. Petersburg. “I hope I’d still do things that don’t require as much bravery here in the United States,” said Savelyeva, who read aloud […]

Brovero Honored with Debate Award

Debate Coach Adrienne Brovero

Adrienne Brovero, UMW’s Director of Debate, was recently recognized by the Barkley Forum for Debate Deliberation and Dialogue as this year’s recipient of the Melissa Maxcy Wade Award Honoring Debate as a Public Good at the Atlanta Season Opener Debate Tournament. The award is presented at the Season Opener each year to a person in the debate community who is committed to using debate as a public good or encouraging and empowering others to use debate as a public good. In March, Brovero was similarly recognized by the National Debate Tournament, when she received the Lucy M. Keele Award for Service, based on her service to the community. Brovero is also continuing in that spirit, having been elected as Chair of the National Debate Tournament Committee in March.

Crosby Presents Research on Sports Communication and Social Justice

Assistant Professor of Communication Emily Deering Crosby

Emily Deering Crosby, Assistant Professor of Communication, recently presented her research at the International Communication Association Preconference “Sports Communication and Social Justice” held at American University. Her research, entitled “Larry Nassar and Rhetorical Monster-Making: Political Subversion in the #MeToo Sports Era,” explores the rhetorical process of “monster-making” (Ingebretsen, 1998) as it unfolded during the 2018 Larry Nassar criminal case, when the former U.S. Gymnastics doctor was tried and convicted of sexual assault. By analyzing the survivors’ televised courtroom testimonials, this research contributes to scholarship on the #MeToo movement that rarely engages sports culture.

On September 20, 2019,  Dr.Crosby, was also inducted into Allegheny College’s Athletics Hall of Fame for her lacrosse career before graduating in ’06: https://alleghenygators.com/news/2019/5/31/allegheny-reveals-2019-athletic-hall-of-fame-class.aspx.

UMW ‘Keeps the Light On’ Banned Books Week

UMW sophomore Katia Savelyeva reads a chapter from emily m. danforth’s ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ at UMW’s Banned Books Week Read Out on Wednesday. Photo by Matthew Binamira Sanders.

UMW sophomore Katia Savelyeva reads a chapter from emily m. danforth’s ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ at UMW’s Banned Books Week Read Out on Wednesday. Photo by Matthew Binamira Sanders.

Born in Russia, UMW sophomore Katia Savelyeva has called America home for most of her life. But the English major sometimes wonders what it would be like had she stayed in St. Petersburg.

“I hope I’d still do things that don’t require as much bravery here in the United States,” said Savelyeva, who read aloud on Campus Walk Wednesday from a young adult book that was banned in an American school district, as part of Mary Washington’s annual Read Out event.

Held every September, this national awareness campaign by the American Library Association (ALA) and other organizations puts a spotlight on attempts to censor, challenge and ban books in libraries and schools. A collection of events and displays across campus this week highlights the need to “keep the light on” and celebrate the freedom to express all ideas. Read more. 

Barrenechea Presents at Literature/Film Association’s Annual Conference

Professor of English Antonio Barrenechea

Professor of English Antonio Barrenechea

Antonio Barrenechea, Professor of English, recently presented “Fear and Loathing in São Paulo: Trash Metaphysics in the Cinema of Jose Mojica Marins” at the Literature/Film Association’s annual conference, entitled “Reboot Repurpose Recycle” this year and held in Portland, Oregon.

Goldman Co-Edits Special Issue of The Journal of Hip Hop Studies Devoted to Kanye West

Assistant Professor of Communication Adria Goldman

Assistant Professor of Communication Adria Goldman

Adria Goldman, Assistant Professor of Communication, is one of three guest editors of a special issue of The Journal of Hip Hop Studies devoted to Kanye West. According to the abstract, “The goal of this project, ‘I Gotta Testify: Kanye West, Hip Hop, and the Church,’ is to add a new perspective to the scholarly discourse on Hip Hop and Christianity within classrooms, religious institutions, and popular culture by focusing on Kanye. We chose to focus on Kanye because he has been one of Hip Hop’s most influential artists in the past decade. Furthermore, Kanye is one of the most polarizing celebrities in America and across the globe. His music, fashion, political views, and family (which includes the Kardashians) dominate discourse on social media, blogs, television, and other forms of mass media. With the exception of Julius Bailey’s 2014 edited book, The Cultural Impact of Kanye West, there has been little scholarly work published on Kanye. Bailey’s book contained just one essay, written by Monica R. Miller, dedicated to the theme of Kanye and religion. We intended to produce a nontraditional journal issue, partly because Kanye has never adhered to traditional boundaries. We also chose this method because we wanted to provide a document suitable for both academic and popular audiences. Kanye West identifies as a Christian and primarily uses Christian themes in his music, videos, concerts, and messaging.” For more information, please see: https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/jhhs/vol6/iss1/1/.

Dasgupta Presents at Memory Studies Conference in Spain

Associate Professor of English Shumona Dasgupta

Associate Professor of English Shumona Dasgupta

Shumona Dasgupta, Associate Professor of English, recently presented a paper titled “Everyday Trauma: Memorializing the Indian Partition” at the third annual Memory Studies Conference (MSA) at the Complutense University Madrid, Madrid, Spain (June 25-28, 2019).

Foss Publishes Book Review of Academic Ableism

Professor of English Chris Foss

Professor of English Chris Foss

Professor of English Chris Foss has published a 1500-word book review of Jay Timothy Dolmage’s watershed work Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education in Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, one of the top two scholarly journals in the field of disability studies today.

The book’s charge is “not just to recognize where and how ableism happens, but to ask what the impact will be of exposing it, what the cost might be of assigning blame, and what the forces are that make it imperceptible, what the euphemisms are that disguise it, and how it comes to be normalized, even valorized in academia” (58). Dolmage sets up his argument in a superb Introduction that exposes “the university as a rhetorical space that holds a history of injustice in its architecture” (9).

After noting higher education’s inextricable imbrication with the shameful histories of eugenics and colonial science, Dolmage transitions into a disheartening assessment of the state of the university in the present day. Statistics on underused and ineffective accommodations (here, for faculty/staff as well), attendance and graduation delays, heavier debt, etc. for students with disabilities—combined with the frustrating realities of how overworked and underfunded disability resource offices continue to be—reveal in very sobering terms the persistent ableism still preventing so many disabled people from fully accessing, much less successfully navigating, the world of academia. What is more, Dolmage’s observation, “The programs and initiatives that are developed in the name of diversity and inclusion do not yet deliver tangible means of addressing the ableism inherent in higher education” (26), sadly is all too true.

For Dolmage, owing to the logic of the retrofit, “disability has become the Whack-a-Mole of higher education” (91), the latter’s “structural exclusion” both “abetted and allowed by forms of temporary, tokenized, and tenuous inclusion” (85). As he elaborates at the beginning of his fourth chapter, “Universal Design is not about buildings, it is about building—building community, building better pedagogy, building opportunities for agency.  It is a way to move” (118). At the same time, prone to “checklistification” (145) and the passive recycling of old initiatives (143-44), universal design is “as dangerous as it is useful” when it serves administrators’ “neoliberal justifications for cutting back on funding” (150). In the end, it is up to us to take up the mantle of Dolmage’s project (and its goal, as reiterated in the book’s final sentence, “to give [us] ways to change higher education” [191]) by building upon his indispensable groundwork.

Dolmage was our featured speaker here in August 2018, thanks to the generosity and support of Provost Mikhalevsky and Associate Provost O’Donnell. If you never got around to reading his book, remember that you may access it for free online at: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/u/ump/mpub9708722. You also can check it out his online appendix of resources aimed at giving “teachers some places to actually begin changing the classroom and the syllabus” (150) at: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/u/ump/mpub9708722/1:13/–academic-ableism-disability-and-higher-education?rgn=div1;view=fulltext.