Welcome to the December 2022 edition of the English Department News and Views. As you head off to a well-deserved winter break, it’s a time to review our accomplishments and be proud of each other’s successes. I was genuinely moved by reading the list below, which show the range, breadth, and depth of our collective scholarship. While we are a people who know that not everything that counts can be counted, and that metrics and outputs often miss the most important experiences of depth and quality, I can’t help but enumerate your successes: I see the dozens of new publications, Heather Hirschfeld’s three plenaries, two major conferences (hosted by Gichingiri Ndigirigi and Nancy Henry), and Lisa King’s Luce foundation award among the many, many other successes, named and unnamed. The growth of our college admissions essay tutoring program, thanks to Kirsten Benson and her team, is yielding its first admitted students even as it grows to serve students beyond the three east Tennessee Flagship schools.
In 2022, we began to invite speakers back to campus in person this fall, while continuing to host others via Zoom. We welcomed our newest tenure-stream colleague Jamal-Jared Alexander, and three new full-time lecturers, Melinda Backer, Sarah Cantrell, and Bre Lillie. We are also saying goodbye though not farewell to two colleagues who retire in December. Laura Howes, Professor of Medieval literature, steps down at the end of this calendar year, as does 20-year Distinguished Lecturer Robin Barrow-Nichols. I know you’ll join me in congratulating both of them and wishing them all the best as they embrace their new ventures in retirement and technical editing.
This winter break, my request of you is that, first and foremost, you take time to rest, then reflect with gratitude on the rich community we enjoy together. As we look ahead to 2023, daring to hope for better times, new projects, and ways to lighten one another’s loads, know that my wish for all of us is an even richer experience of our intellectual life together. Our work deepens an understanding of the human condition through attention to language, something our world needs more than ever. Thank you for all you have done, which reaches far beyond the accomplishments listed below. The mentoring, great teaching, website revision, curricular reform, and all behind-the-scenes work you do to keep the department humming is humbling. Thank you, and have a wonderful, peaceful winter holiday.
Kirsten Benson received a grant from the Engagement Scholarship consortium to support research related to the Judith Anderson Herbert Writing Center’s Flagship High School College Application Essay Tutoring Program. In addition, along with JAHCW colleagues, she presented on the Flagship HS tutoring project at the Engagement Scholarship Consortium’s national conference, UT’s Engagement and Outreach Conference, and the Southeastern Writing Center’s Tutor
Collaboration Day Conference.
Jessica Blake is a Graduate Teaching Associate currently earning her Master’s degree here at UTK. She teaches English 101 and 102. Jessica presented a paper titled “‘Ne bið swylce cwenlic þeaw / idese to efnanne…’: The Temporal Role of the Peace-Weaver in Beowulf” at a conference hosted by the Southeastern Medieval Association in Birmingham, AL in November 2022. This paper is currently under review for publication.
Jake Buller-Young’s article, “You Are What You Love (to Eat): Mennonite Cookbooks and the Constitutive Rhetoric of Practice” is forthcoming in the Fall 2022 issue of Journal of Communication and Religion. In addition, he presented at the 20th Biennial Conference for the Rhetoric Society of America (RSA), on rhetorical empathy, reflexive research, and the study of religious rhetorics. He also published a book review of Effective Teaching of Technical Communication in volume 31, issue 4 of Technical Communication Quarterly (2022).
Katy Chiles published three essays this year: “Synchronic and Diachronic: Race in Early American Literature” in Race in American Literature and Culture (Cambridge UP), “The Competing Demands of Early African American Literature” in African American Literature in Transition, Volume 1, 1750-1800, (Cambridge UP), and “Phillis Wheatley, Amanuensis” for Hidden Literacies.
Dawn Coleman published the chapter “Religion and Secularity” in A New Companion to Herman Melville (Wiley-Blackwell, 2022), edited by Wyn Kelley and Christopher Ohge. She presented the related paper “Melville’s Secular Spiritual Energies” at the international Melville conference in Paris in June and was elected the Melville Society’s Executive Secretary for 2023 to 2026. She also received a UT Professional and Scholarly Development Award to pursue archival research on her book-in-progress, “Margaret’s Ghosts: Inventing Secular Womanhood in American Literature.”
Don Richard Cox published an article on The Mystery of Edwin Drood: “The Charles Collins Letter: Some Additional Mysteries,” The Dickensian 118 (Winter 2022), and was appointed to the Editorial Board of Victorians Institute Journal.
Amy Elias received a book contract from Duke University Press for her edited collection of essays Speculative Light: The Arts of Beauford Delaney and James Baldwin and is now finalizing that manuscript for publication. She published a short piece about contemporary environmental literature, “Chemical Inscription as the New Nature Writing,” in ASAP/Journal[7, no. 2 (May 2022): 282-89] and gave a paper at ASAP/13 at UCLA in Los Angeles this fall titled “Inappropriate Edges: History vs. Embodiment and Beauford Delaney’s Untitled-1969.” She continues to serve as the director of the UT Humanities Center.
Stan Garner’s review of Jill Stevenson’s Feeling the Future at Christian End-Time Performances (2022) was published in the September issue of Theatre Journal. In November he presented a paper entitled “Catastrophe and Emergence in Kseniya Simonova’s Sand Animation” to a cognitive science and performance working group at the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) Conference in New Orleans.
Venturing abroad into the post-pandemic world, in July Martin Griffin gave a paper entitled “Under Pressure: The Stone Face, African American Expats, and the War in Algeria” at the Transatlantic Studies Association conference (the first in-person meeting since 2019) in Canterbury.
Tom Haddox’s article, “Diachronicity, Episodicity, and the Aesthetic of Historicist Criticism,” is appearing in the October 2022 issue of Philosophy and Literature. His article “‘Lingering’ and ‘Incurable’: Flannery O’Connor’s Humor and the Game of Status in ‘Good Country People’” was published in Women’s Studies in March. And his entry on Modernism was published in July in The Routledge Companion to the Literature of the U.S. South, eds. Katharine A. Burnett, Todd Hagstette, and Monica Carol Miller.
In his role as Vice President of the Charles W. Chesnutt Association, Bill Hardwig organized and chaired the Chesnutt panel at the annual American Literature Association conference in Chicago in May. UT PhD student Morgan Shaffer also presented a paper on this panel! At the same conference, Bill delivered a paper “Cormac McCarthy and the Refuge of Language” and another one “Sermon on the Mountains: Cormac McCarthy and the Biblical Mode” at the Cormac McCarthy Society conference held in Savannah, Georgia. Bill will serve on the Board of Officers for the McCarthy Society beginning in 2023.
In summer 2022, Hilary Havens, graduate research assistants Jamie Kramer and Eliza Wilcox, and other collaborators at UTK, Texas A&M, Wake Forest, and Xavier, launched a Zooniverse website to enable scholars, students, and members of the public to read and transcribe Maria Edgeworth’s correspondence. Over 600 members of the public have combined to transcribe over 600 letters, which are currently being corrected, encoded, and prepared for inclusion in an open- access database that has received funding from the NEH. More letters will be added to Zooniverse in coming months, and there will be a transcribe a-thon event on April 13 at 3:30P.M. as part of the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS) conference.
In July, Nancy Henry attended the Dickens Universe at UC Santa Cruz along with graduate students Henry Kirby and Dynestee Fields. She is currently organizing the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference to be held in Knoxville, April 13-16, 2023.
Heather Hirschfeld was pleased to finish her term as Director of Undergraduate Studies over the summer. Since then, she has delivered four invited talks, three of which were international: one on Middleton’s Black Book at the University of Tübingen, one plenary on Hamlet at the University of Côte d’Azur (by Zoom), and one plenary on Hamlet at the University of Toulouse (by Zoom). The fourth, a plenary for the Southeastern Renaissance Conference, addressed “The Place and Space of Hell in Early Modern Print Culture.”
Laura Howes retired from teaching in December, 2022. Her essay, “The Troilus Frontispiece and Isabella of Valois,” appeared this fall in Medieval Perspectives 35 (2021): 79-103.
Marilyn Kallet‘s 19ᵗʰ book, Even When We Sleep, was published by Black Widow Press, 2022. This is her 8ᵗʰ book of poems.
Based on her work with McClung Museum and the ongoing project to protect the Indigenous mound and promote Indigenous stewardship on campus, Lisa King was invited to present “Perspectives From Indigenous Science: Thinking Through Our Relationships and Responsibilities to Land” for the Knox County Master Gardeners in September, and then “Responsibilities to Indigenous Peoples and Lands: The Ongoing Work at UTK’s McClung Museum” at the Munsee History and Language Symposium hosted by Princeton University in October. Her review of You Better Go See Geri: An Odawa Elder’s Life of Recovery and Resilience was also published in the Journal for the History of Rhetoric.
Katy Chiles’ and Henry Kirby’s co-authored entry on “Martin R. Delany” for Oxford Bibliographies Online was approved for publication in 2023.
For the last two years, Emily Jalloul, fifth year PhD candidate in poetry, has been an associate editor for WHAT THINGS COST: an anthology for the people—helping poets Rebecca Gayle Howell and Ashley M. Jones put together this important collection published by the University Press of Kentucky. Emily is proud to have an excerpt of her dissertation included alongside this important assemblage of voices, which is now available for preorder. All proceeds go to The Poor People’s Campaign.
Roy Liuzza learned that one of his translations from Old English was the “Poem of the Day” on December 19, 2022 at PoetryFoundation.org.
Robin Barrow Nichols is leaving us after almost 20 years with the department. She has accepted a position as technical editor at Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. Robin came to us from the University of Iowa in 2003, where she specialized in Victorian literature, and was promoted to Distinguished Lecturer in 2018. She has been an integral part of our lecturer corps, regularly teaching honors composition, business and technical writing, and sophomore literature courses like Intro to Jane Austen, Intro to Fiction, and the second half of the British literature survey. We are grateful to all the contributions that Robin has made during her time at UT, and we wish her well on her new venture.
Eleni Palis’ article “A Problem of Fit: Athina Rachel Tsangari and Greek “Weird Wave” Cinema,” was published in Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies, the foremost feminist film journal, in September 2022. She also gave an invited talk, titled “A Cinema of Reparations” at the University of Pennsylvania Cinema Studies Colloquium in Philadelphia in October. She also served as peer-reviewer for a special issue on short-form horror in Monstrum, a peer-reviewed journal of studies in horror. In addition, she presented a paper entitled “Post-#MeToo Materialities: Sound, Lip-Syncs, and Admissible Evidence,” for the Screen Studies Association of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand (SSAAANZ) conference, “The Materials of Screen Media.”
In late October, Kat Powell co-presented “Navigating Challenges and Developing Solutions in University-High School Outreach” at the International Writing Center Association (IWCA) conference in Vancouver, B.C. along with Outreach Fellows–Senior lecturer, Anne Langendorfer and PhD candidate, Kelly Sauskojus. While there, Kat also co-presented “Interrupting Conversations about Difficult Students: Use of Sociolinguistic Conversation Style Analysis in Writing Center Pedagogy” remotely at the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW) along with recent PhD graduate, Dr. Hannah Soblo, now of Augusta University.
Since May, Mariah Rigg has published essays in Brevity, Oxford American, Catapult, Scalawag Magazine, and more. Two of her essays, “Reading Joan Didion Taught Me How Not to Write About Hawaiʻi,” which was published in Catapult, and “The White Lotus is supposed to be satire. Hawaiians deserve the last laugh.” which was published in Scalawag Magazine were featured as Editors’ Picks on Longreads. Along with her creative nonfiction publications, Mariah has had stories published in multiple venues, including “(Partheno)Genesis” in Joyland and “On Sandy Beach” in The Florida Review. Her creative nonfiction chapbook, All Hat, No Cattle, which placed second in UTK’s Graduate Creative Writing Award for Nonfiction, will be published as part of the Inch series at Bull City Press in the summer of 2023.
Tanita Saenkhum had two co-authored publications in 2022. Her book chapter, “Responding to the University’s Internationalization: Establishing Placement Mechanisms for Cross-Cultural Composition,” co-written with our newly minted PhD Hannah Soblo appeared in Building Internationalized Spaces: Second Language Perspectives on Developing Language and Cultural Exchange Programs in Higher Education edited by Estela Ene, Kyle McIntosh, and Matthew Allen (University of Michigan Press, 2022). With Chatwara Suwannamai Duran, Associate Professor at University of Houston, she published an article “‘Because she’s not a native speaker of English, she doesn’t have the knowledge’: Positioning NNES Scholars in U.S. Higher Education” in Race Ethnicity and Education in July.
Urmila Seshagiri edited the Oxford World’s Classics Second Edition of Virginia Woolf’s 1922 novel Jacob’s Room for Oxford University Press. In June, she held the University of Bristol’s Benjamin Meaker Distinguished Visiting Professorship and gave a keynote address at the Annual Conference of the British Association of Modernist Studies. She spoke about Jacob’s Room and its centenary at the Modernist Studies Association Conference in Portland, Oregon, and over Zoom for the New York Public Library’s Work/Cited series. She is finishing the first scholarly edition of Woolf’s memoir Sketch of the Past, for which she was awarded a Robert B. Silvers Foundation Grant for Works in Progress. She blogged about Woolf and Beethoven for Oxford UP and about archival materials for the NYPL. During the 2022-23 academic year, she holds a Five Colleges Research Associateship and will be traveling to Smith College for archival research as well as for collaborative work on expanding humanities undergraduate education.
Erin Elizabeth Smith‘s third chapbook, Ghost || Animal, was recently accepted for publication by Milk & Cake Press. Her poems have recently appeared in the South Carolina Review, Flyway: Journal of Writing and the Environment, and lickety~split. She appeared as a guest on the Atticus After Dark podcast and Beyond the Spark, a podcast from Knoxville Poet Laureate Rhea Carmon. In her role as Poet Laureate of Oak Ridge, she has given talks at Roane State Community College, the Boys and Girls Club of Oak Ridge, and with the Oak Ridge Friends of the Library and hosted a three-part workshop series called Write, Edit, Share for community members.
Mark Tabone’s essay, “Insistent Hope as Anti-Anti-Utopian Politics in N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy,” was published this fall in Utopian Studies.
Maggie Warren had several poems published (under pen name Maggie Rue Hess). “I Haven’t Written a Good Poem in Just About Ever” and “In Response To Some Lines She Posted Long After I Left” appeared in the LGBTQ+ Edition of Backchannels Journal; “Correspondence” was published by the Connecticut River Review; “unspoken love poem #6” appeared on Passages North; “A Sonnet, Because I Didn’t Want to Say ‘I Already Knew'” and “what heat” appeared in the fall issu of Gasher Journal; and “Hunger”was chosen for the 2021 Lexington Poetry Month Anthology.