August 12, 2022

Crosby Presents Two Papers at National Communication Association Conference

Assistant Professor of Communication Emily Deering Crosby

Emily Deering Crosby, Assistant Professor of Communication, presented her research last Thursday and Friday at the National Communication Association Conference in Baltimore, MD. The title of her research presentation in the Feminist and Women’s Studies Division was “‘She went too far’: Exploring Patriarchal Critiques of Feminist Comedians Michelle Wolf and Samantha Bee,” which discussed patriarchal themes of manufactured catfights, double standards, and protection in critiques of feminist comedy. Crosby’s second presentation was titled “Framing Racial Innocence: Media Literacy and the Cases of Brock Turner and Owen Labrie” in the African American Communication and Culture Division, which used visual rhetoric scholarship to analyze news media bias and call for media literacy in communication and digital studies curriculum. Her second presentation was alongside leading panelist and fellow UMW faculty member Adria Goldman, Assistant Professor of Communication. Their well-attended panel was expertly chaired by fellow UMW faculty member Elizabeth Johnson-Young, Assistant Professor of Communication.

Levy Publishes Story, Presents Excerpt from Novel in Progress

Assistant Professor of English Rachel Levy

Rachel Levy, Assistant Professor of English, recently presented an excerpt from a novel in progress at The Bitter Laugh, a featured event at the 2019 Lambda Lit Fest in Los Angeles, CA. The Bitter Laugh showcased queer/trans writers of dark comedy, including Ryka Aoki, Charlie Jane Anders, and Megan Milks. In addition, Levy’s short story “Severin,” a satire of Venus in Furs scholarship, is published in the current issue of The Account. And today, alongside co-editor Lily Duffy, Levy launched Issue Eighteen of Dreginald Magazine.

Rao Presents on Speech Anxious Students at National Communication Association Conference

Professor of Communication Anand Rao

Anand Rao, Professor of Communication, presented last Friday at the National Communication Association conference held in Baltimore, MD. The title of his presentation was “Helping Speech Anxious Students Survive and Thrive” and was part of a panel about speech apprehension and the basic course. In the presentation, he discussed what UMW has done to help address communication apprehension for first-year students at UMW through the FSEM, as well as the special sections of COMM 205: Public Speaking that he has offered for highly apprehensive students. Anand reports that the panel had a great turnout–approximately 35 in attendance–and a wonderful discussion after the panel.

Blevins Presents at Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference

Assistant Professor of English Brenta Blevins

Brenta Blevins, Assistant Professor of English, recently presented at the 2019 Feminisms and Rhetorics conference her project “Composing New Public Rhetorical Possibilities Using Augmented and Mixed Reality.” Blevins analyzed installations of traditional epideictic rhetoric, such as memorial statues and artwork, at institutions that began as schools for women, and, after examining other Augmented Reality (AR) projects, contended that AR compositions, such as class assignments, could offer additional means for expanding campus historical interpretation.

Lorentzen Presents Paper on Dickens and American Popular Culture

Eric Lorentzen, Associate Professor of English

Eric Lorentzen, Professor of English

Eric G. Lorentzen, Professor of English, contributed a paper, “21st-Century ‘American Notes’: Charles Dickens and Popular American Culture” at the annual Victorians Institute conference this November in Charleston, SC. This year’s conference theme was Transatlantic Influence, and Lorentzen’s talk first surveyed quickly the multitude of modern-day Christmas festivals that are grounded in Dickens’ text across this country, before he turned to visual media. He made brief connections with some of the cultural manifestations that obtain on screen, from the fairly obvious A Muppet Christmas Carol, to the far more esoteric connections to be made with seemingly non-holiday fare such as films like The GameGroundhog Day, and the more recent Disney blockbuster film, Christopher Robin. These connections led to a discussion of the ways in which Dickens’ somewhat Wordsworthian ideas of the crucial formative years of childhood, and the necessary project of philanthropy for social justice in A Christmas Carol, germinate into more fully-articulated and mature philosophies in latter novels like David Copperfield and Bleak House. The objective was to demonstrate how thoroughly (and extremely) these Dickensian archetypal tropes have permeated our own American zeitgeist in “texts” of popular culture that could not seem further away from the literary in general, or Charles Dickens specifically.  To that end, the final text Lorentzen took up for analysis was the once hugely “popular” teen soap/drama of the early 2000s, The O.C., a series which depended upon, admittedly in the most unlikely of ways, multiple Dickensian archetypes for its thematic (and didactic?!?) backbone.  Amidst the oversexed bikini-clad angst of Southern California, the Victorian dude of serial fiction abides, and our postmodern cultural studies theoretical methodologies can help us discover why the recognition of such an arcane connection remains crucially important, in terms of both individual and collective agency.


Poetry Reading by Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Linda Gregerson, Nov. 14

Professor Linda Gregerson

Professor Linda Gregerson

The Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program presents


Professor Linda Gregerson

Linda Gregerson is the Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished University Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Michigan. She is co-editor of Empires of God: Religious Encounters in the Early Modern Atlantic and author of The Reformation of the Subject: Spenser, Milton, and the English Protestant Epic, as well as six books of poetry and a volume of essays on the contemporary American lyric. Her essays on Milton, Spenser, Shakespeare, Wyatt, and Jonson appear in numerous journals and anthologies. She has received awards and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Poetry Society of America, the Modern Poetry Association, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim, Mellon, and Rockefeller Foundations. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Professor Gregerson will read from a range of her poems and offer commentary, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 5 p.m.
Combs 139

For more information, contact Professor Gary Richards at (540) 654-2365 or

Co-sponsored by Phi Beta Kappa’s Kappa of Virginia and the Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication and generously funded by the Wendy Shadwell ’63 Program Endowment in British Literature

Rafferty Publishes Essay, Presents at Rappahannock Writers Conference

Associate Professor of English Colin Rafferty

Associate Professor of English Colin Rafferty

Colin Rafferty, Associate Professor of English, recently published an essay on Claude Lanzmann’s Holocaust documentary Shoah in the new issue of Wig-Wag, a literary magazine on film edited by UMW graduate Brad Efford.

Rafferty also gave a talk on “Writing the Travel and Food Essay” at this past weekend’s Rappahannock Writers Conference, sponsored by the Central Rappahannock Regional Library and held at UMW’s Stafford Campus.

Richards Leads Capote Discussion at Louisiana Book Festival

Professor of English and ELC Chair Gary Richards

Professor of English and ELC Chair Gary Richards

Gary Richards, Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication, led the group discussion of Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory at the One Book, One Festival program of the Louisiana Book Festival held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Saturday, November 2, 2019. One of Capote’s most beloved pieces of writing, the autobiographically-inflected story was published in 1956 in Mademoiselle and later reissued as a slender stand-alone volume. This particular program was made possible in part by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

Johnson-Young Publishes Paper on Firearm Safety Counseling Practices of Pediatricians

Elizabeth Johnson-Young, Assistant Professor of Communication

Elizabeth Johnson-Young, Assistant Professor of Communication

Elizabeth Johnson-Young, Assistant Professor of Communication, recently published a paper now available in the peer-reviewed journal Children. This project was completed in conjunction with research colleagues in emergency pediatrics from University of Maryland, Kaiser Permanente, and The Herman and Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai, and is part of a larger set of data and projects. The current publication is the first among a few upcoming publications from the project and presents data and conclusions regarding pediatric medical residents’ attitudes towards anticipatory guidance counseling about firearms and firearm safety. Survey items asked residents about their knowledge of current gun safety campaigns, as well as their own gun safety counseling practices. Overall conclusions are that residents support the idea of counseling patients on firearm safety as part of their anticipatory guidance practices, but seem to recognize that the subject of firearms can be problematic. Educational programs and resources are needed to support pediatricians in this type of counseling. This paper is now available in open access form at the following link:

Mathur Presents Research on Shakespeare and Indian Cinema at Queen’s University, Belfast

Maya Mathur, Professor of English

Maya Mathur, Professor of English

Maya Mathur, professor of English, presented the paper, “Desiring Violas in Tim Supple’s Twelfth Night and Atul Kumar’s Piya Behrupiya,” at the conference, Women and Indian Shakespeares: Exploring Cinema, Translation, Performance. The conference was held at Queen’s University, Belfast, from 29 October – 1 November, 2019, and is the first gathering of international scholars to focus exclusively on representations of Shakespeare by Indian writers, translators, and directors from the nineteenth century to the present.