Three members of the English Department recently traveled to Detroit to participate in the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment Conference, which took place from June 20 to June 24. Katie Hogan delivered a paper titled “Resisting the Urban/Rural Divide in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home.” Juan Meneses presented a paper titled “Shedding Light: Environmental Destruction and the Politics of Visibility,” and Matthew Rowney gave a presentation titled “‘It ate the food it ne’er had eat’: Plastic, the Albatross, and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Their participation in this conference adds up to much more than three conference papers. In a very real sense, their participation shows how the members of our department are working together to make ecostudies a core part of what we do in the English Department.
A few days after Katie, Juan and Matt headed north to Detroit, Sarah Minslow, Alan Rauch, Ralf Thiede, and I headed south to Tampa to participate in the Children’s Literature Association Conference. Sarah gave a presentation titled “Exploring Imagined Futures by Revisiting the Past: Strategies of Time Travel in Children’s and YA Holocaust Literature.” Alan gave a talk titled “Writing the Scientific Mother: Understanding Women as the Source of Knowledge,” and Ralf delivered a presentation titled “Baby Einstein to Baby Chomsky: Neurocognitive Science and the Future of Early Children’s Books.” Ralf and I were on the same panel. Speaking immediately after Ralf, I gave a talk on “LeVar Burton’s Leadership Role in Shaping the Future of Reading Rainbow.” These four presentations underscore the expansive and diverse nature of our children’s literature program. Sarah’s presentation relates to Holocaust studies, Alan’s relates to women’s studies and the history of science, Ralf’s relates to linguistics and cognitive studies, and my presentation relates to media studies. The children’s literature programs in many English departments are relegated to a small silo situated in a corner of the department, but our children’s literature program has magically escaped the silo curse and in the process has become far more than the sum of its parts.
Nadia Clifton, who received her M.A. in English in May and will begin an M.S. in Library Science at UNC Chapel Hill in August, has been selected as a 2017-2019 Association of Research Libraries (ARL)/Society of American Archivists (SAA) Mosaic Fellow. The benefits of the award include a tuition stipend, a paid internship at UNC’s Wilson Special Collections Library, financial support to attend the SAA Annual Meeting and the 14th Annual ARL Leadership Symposium in 2018, and financial support for enrolling in digital archives specialist courses provided by the SAA.
Quirky Quiz Question — The Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment Conference was sponsored by the largest university located in Detroit. Does anybody know the name of this university?