June — Did you ever see the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel? I always think about Carousel around this time of the year because it features the famous song “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over.” When I was a junior in high school I performed in Carousel. The director made sure I had one of the few non-singing roles. I played the part of the stodgy banker who ends up shooting Billy Bigelow, the central character in the play. Nevertheless, I have great memories of being in the play, and I believe that the experience of performing a role in this play has carried over to my teaching career. When I teach, for example, I often act out scenes from the books that I am covering.
Another way in which performing and teaching can go together is when professors have their students take a performative approach to the texts that they are studying. Several professors in the English Department take such an approach in their classes. I know that that Kirk Melnikoff and Jen Munroe have their students act out scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. Similarly, Beth Gargano has her students perform versions of fairy tales. Lil Brannon encourages the students in her English education courses to engage in role playing. I am sure that there are other examples, and I would love to hear about them. Sometimes stories need to bust out from the pages of books. As I see it, June is a great time for stories to be bustin’ out all over.
Kudos— As you know, I like to use my Monday Missives to share news about recent accomplishments by members of our department. For those people who think English faculty sit back and relax over the summer, the following listing will prove them wrong. Here is the latest news:
Paula Connolly recently received a Caleb Loring, Jr. Fellowship from the Boston Athenaeum for 2014-2015 (for a 4-week residency). Also, her book Slavery in American Children’s Literature just received a glowing review from the Journal of American History.
Amanda Dykema, a former graduate of our M.A. program in literature, received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland last weekend. She has accepted a two-year Visiting Assistant Professor position at Rhodes College.
Aaron Gwyn recently published an essay in the Huffington Post titled “Nine Classic Contemporary Westerns You Need to Read” Here is the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aaron-gwyn/9-classic-contemporary-we_b_5397760.html?utm_hp_ref=books
Jeffrey Leak presented a paper titled “Robert Hayden: A Man of Few Poetic Boundaries” at the Ninth Biennial MESEA (Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas) Conference, which took place at Saarland University in Saarbruken, in Germany.
Malin Pereira presented a paper titled “Crossing Race, Class, and Nation: Natasha Trethewey’s Mixed Race Interrogations in Beyond Katrina and Thrall” at the Ninth Biennial MESEA (Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas) Conference, which took place at Saarland University in Saarbruken, in Germany.
Daniel Shealy presented “‘Playing with Edge Tools’: Teaching Louisa May Alcott’s Moods” at the American Literature Association conference on 24 May in Washington, DC. Also, his book Little Women: An Annotated Edition just received a glowing review from The Lion and the Unicorn.
Lara Vetter delivered a keynote address entitled “H.D., World War II, and Forms of Mysticism” at a conference on Women Modernists and Spirituality at the University of Stirling, Scotland, UK, on May 23, 2014.
Quirky Quiz Question — Carousel takes place in the state of Maine. Maine is also the home of several prestigious colleges, including the college where Nathanial Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow were once students. What is the name of the college?