National Hispanic Heritage Month — Today marks the culmination of the 2018 National Hispanic Heritage Month. Officially described “as a way to promote the history, culture and contributions of Hispanic-Americans. Specifically — those whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America,” National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place each year from September 15 though October 15. Given the goals associated with this special month, I think it is especially fitting that members of our English Department recently launched several initiatives that relate to these goals.
Maya Socolovsky has been teaching a special topics course titled “Introduction to U.S. Latinx Literature” for a number of years, and the course has attracted strong interest from our students. She recently proposed making this course a permanent course with its own course number. At its last meeting, our Undergraduate Committee approved Maya’s proposal and sent it to forward for departmental approval. During last week’s department meeting, the faculty voted in favor of this proposal. By voting to make this a permanent course, the department not only embraced this particular course, but it also recognized the importance of Latinx literature as a vibrant and vital part of America’s diverse culture.
Of course, Latinx culture also involves more than literature. Another important aspect of this culture involves foodways. Next semester Consuelo Salas will teach a graduate seminar in which she will address this aspect of Latinx culture. When I asked her for more information about her plans for this seminar, she sent me the following email: “In the Spring, I’ll be teaching ENGL 6062, which I have themed the Rhetoric of Food. As part of the course, I plan to have students examine community foodway literacies and practices in the Charlotte area. The students will be exposed to various Latinx communities, their foodways, and explore the ways that different Latinx communities have made a food home for themselves in the area.”
JuliAnna Ávila is interested in helping Latinx students find a home for themselves within the university. Last week, she initiated the formation of an honors society for Latinx students. In an email that she sent to faculty, she wrote: “I’m working to create a university-wide Latinx Honor Society, and am looking for students to help establish this group. So, I’m writing to ask for your help with two things. First, if you have students who you think might be interested, please send names along to me. Although membership criteria will need to be set by the group itself, I’m guessing that it will include a g.p.a. of at least 3.5 and some level of community involvement. Second, if you have had experience with helping create a student group and have advice, I would appreciate hearing it.” I spoke to JuliAnna a few days after she sent out her email, and she informed me that she is already getting a very positive response, especially from members of the English Department.
As these three examples illustrate, our English Department will continue to support the goals associated with the National Hispanic Heritage Month even after the special month draws to close.
Kudos — As you know, I like to use my Monday Missives to share news about recent accomplishments by members of the English Department. Here is the latest news:
Allison Hutchcraft is the subject of an interview that has recently been published on The Massachusetts Review website: https://www.massreview.org/node/7155.
Paula Martinac will be presenting and reading at the NC Writers’ Conference in Charlotte, Nov. 2-4. She was recently featured on their website: https://www.ncwriters.org/index.php/our-members/network-news/9929-fc18-pm
Kirk Melnikoff recently published the article “Shakespeare’s Urban Comedies and the Lure of True Crime and Satire” in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean Comedy. (Oxford UP 2018).
Daniel Shealy delivered a presentation titled “‘Duty chains me to my galley’: Publishing Louisa May Alcott” at the Concord Free Public Library in Concord, MA. on October 13, 2018. The presentation was in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Little Women.
Clayton Tarr recently presented a paper titled “‘[A] daring imposture’: Registration and Impersonation in Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White” at the North American Victorian Studies Association Conference.
Heather Vorhies recently presented a paper titled “Enthusiastic Bodies; Republican Minds” at the Rhetoric and Religion in the Twenty-First Century Conference.
Quirky Quiz Question — The National Hispanic Heritage Month focuses mostly on cultural topics, but it also has connections to Latin American politics. For those interested in keeping up to date on Latin American politics, they should check out the weekly blog on this topic that is written by a UNC Charlotte faculty member/administrator. What is the name of the person who writes this Latin American Politics Blog?
Last week’s answer: Louis Armstrong
When the members of our English Department went to New Orleans to participate in the 2018 Conference of the Popular Culture Association in the South, they flew in and out of the major airport in New Orleans. This airport is named for a famous former resident of New Orleans. What is the name of this famous person?