Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Julian Dewey Mason, Jr. –The English Department is sponsoring a celebration of the life and legacy of Julian Mason, who died on March 20, 2018. This event will take place in the English Department’s Seminar Room (Fretwell 290B) on Friday, November 30 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm. The department is organizing this event at the request of Julian’s wife, Elsie Mason, along with a group of Julian’s friends, professional colleagues, and former students.
Julian joined the English Department in 1966, and he served as the English Department Chair from 1978 to 1984. He continued to teach in the department until his retirement in 1989. During his years as a faculty member, he introduced courses on Southern literature, founded the American Studies Program, and helped create the forerunner to our current Africana Studies Department.
As a scholar and writer, Julian is best known for The Poems of Phillis Wheatley. The University of North Carolina Press published the first edition of this book in 1966. The same press published a revised and enlarged edition of this book in 1989. Julian also wrote poetry. A collection of his poems was published in 2016 under the title of The Net Needle. This collection will be available at the gathering on Friday.
Julian had a passion for book collecting, and he knew a great deal about rare books. A longtime supporter of Atkins Library, he often donated rare editions of notable books to the Special Collections Department of the Atkins Library. In 2016, Julian and his wife, Elsie (a former librarian who worked for many years at Atkins Library), donated a very rare copy of Olaudah Equiano’s famous slave narrative, Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, to Atkins Library as part of the library’s special event to celebrate the acquisition of the library’s two millionth volume.
On a personal note, I feel a special connection to Julian, for he hired me in 1984. I was the last person he hired before he stepped down as the Chair of the English Department. Over the course of my career, I have followed in Julian’s footsteps. Like Julian, I served as the Director of the American Studies Program and went on to become the Chair of the English Department. In a very real sense, I am part of Julian’s legacy.
The Night of the Hunter — The Fall Film Series of the NC Humanities Council grant funded project, The Child in Southern Literature and Film, continues today (November 26) at 5pm in the Student Union Theater with a screening of the 1955 thriller The Night of the Hunter. In this film, the children in a family are threatened by a corrupt minister. Sam Shapiro will introduce the film and lead a discussion after the screening. Everyone is invited to attend.
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:
Boyd Davis has agreed to serve as a keynote speaker at an international conference titled “Seniors, Foreign Caregivers, Families, Institutions: Linguistic and Multidisciplinary Perspectives.” This conference will take place in Varese, Italy, in April 2019.
Janaka Lewis published an article titled “A Tale of Two Sisters: An Appreciation of Sisters & Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams” in the Winter 2018 issue of RISE: A Children’s Literacy Journal.
Sarah Minslow published an article titled “The Magic of Exploring Literary Wonderlands” in the Winter 2018 issue of RISE: A Children’s Literacy Journal.
Upcoming Events and Meetings — Here is a list of upcoming events and meetings:
November 29 — Public reception and presentation by Daniel Shealy on the history of Little Women will take place on Thursday, November 29, in Atkins Library’s Halton Room from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm.
November 30 — Department Meeting, 11-12:30, in the conference room (Fretwell 280C).
November 30 — ELC Faculty Meet and Greet, 12:30-1:30 in the faculty lounge (Fretwell 248C).
November 30 — Faculty Talk – Pilar Blitvich, “Smart Mobs, CyberPublic Shaming, and Social Justice,” 1:00-2:00pm in the English Department Conference Room.
November 30 — There will be a gathering in celebration of the life of Dr. Julian D. Mason, Professor Emeritus at 3:00pm in the seminar room (Fretwell 290B).
Quirky Quiz Question — The famous film critic Roger Ebert described The Night of the Hunter “one of the most frightening movies” ever made. Ebert’s fame was tied to a television program that he did in collaboration with another film critic. What is the name of Ebert’s collaborator?