Thursday, July 28, 2011

Attention Tenants: Request for Help with Diversity Week

Rachel Holmberg, former Tenant of Colson Hall and now a counselor at Career Services, just sent us the following query:

Is anyone in the English department interested in doing an event for diversity week?

Diversity week is Oct. 17th - 22nd and freshmen are required to attend at least one event as part of their orientation course. Our theme this year is "Peace, Love, and Understanding." The theme is just a starting point, though. If you think you have an event that helps students understand some aspect of diversity better, we will welcome it.

Currently planned events range from the African Dance Ensemble performance, to a "Swords to Plowshares" engineering design contest, talks from international students about their journey to WVU, a discussion of the Muslim practice of wearing head scarves, and a celebration of Diwali (including entertainment and great food).

If you have an event you'd like to do or just want to talk about the possibilities, please contact me, Dr. Rachel Holmberg, at

P.S. If you have students practicing descriptive pieces, doing research, or journal entries, you might consider having them write about diversity week. It will encourage students to go and do something to promote tolerance and growth as well as writing about something different and interesting. Most events are free (all except those that include food, like Diwali), on both campuses, and are running during the days and evenings, so access should not a problem for them.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

As mentioned on my other blog...

It's not that I don't love you best, Tenants, but I do have a job, ya know. So this is a post that's also on the Bolton Writing Workshops blog, which of course you'll want to start frequenting so you can know what's up with creative writing in the residence halls.

Ok, enough apologies and pleas. Here's the scoop:

There will be a meeting for this year's Boltoneers—that is, the program's MFA students who will lead the workshops—on Wednesday, July 27, at 2 p.m. in the 2nd floor meeting room in Colson Hall.

If you're an MFA student and interested in participating in this year's program, send me an email ( and come to Wednesday's meeting.

Call for articles

I am editing the Essays on Art column of the September issue of Connotation Press an online journal. I am looking for writers who may be interested in contributing a short, informal but well-informed article on a movie. The topic is "Cities in Celluloid" which is about famous and not so famous movies where a historic city features as the main character. So basically it's about movies which have been succesful in capturing the particular essence of a city in celluloid. Its a lot like a movie review, but more spontaneous. There is no word limit and the official deadline is the 10th of August although that is negotiable! The chosen articles will be published in the September issue of Connotation Press. If you are interested, please send me an email, with a brief bio and a photograph (not the Passport ones please) as early as possible.
I can be reached at

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Matter of Our Mascot

Summertime is the time for idle chatter, so, Tenants, let's talk about our mascot, the Scone.

It certainly has its charms, but I'm thinking it might be too . . . um . . . inanimate for our purposes.

Perusing the creatures of the bestiary (as one does when one is a medievalist), it seems to me that the Magpie might be good fit, since it is likened to a poet. Here's what Pliny the Elder has to say about it:

"they become fond of some words, and not only repeat them but can be seen to ponder them. To learn a word they must hear it said often, and if a word is too difficult for them to learn they may die. When they forget a word they cheer up greatly when they hear it spoken."

Let us hope that our own poets never encounter words that are too difficult. And try this: when you see Jim or MaryAnn in the hallway looking melancholy, shout out a few forgotten words to see if it perks them up.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cruel Summer

It's been awhile since the Tenants posted a cheezy video, and given the current heat wave Bananarama's "Cruel Summer" seems meterologically appropriate, even if the song itself doesn't quite stack up to "I Heard a Rumour" or "Venus." Note that video contains most of the very best features of British videos of the early '80's, viz.:

1. A $37 budget
2. Most of which went to hair and makeup
3. "Choreography"
4. NYCophilia
5. Costumes left over from the last Dexy's Midnight Runners video.

The unexpected benefit here is an homage to The Dukes of Hazzard.

Cultural Studies theorists should be glad to see that the ending fully confirms Richard Dyer's assertion about the musical as a vision of plenitude and social harmony in the final "dancing with Boss Hogg" sequence.

Where Are They Now?

....or, more accurately, where will they soon be? The Tenants are pleased to note that two recent doctoral graduates have taken fulltime positions for the coming academic year:

Aparajita De (PhD 2009) will be a Visiting Professor of English at Towson University (in Maryland)

Lori Zerne (PhD 2011) will be a Visiting Professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (in...uh...Pennsylvania).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Internship in Women's Studies

Position Description: Women’s Studies Internship
The West Virginia University Center for Women’s Studies is advertising a position for an intern who will help publicize and coordinate activities for the Center during the 2011/2012 academic year. This person should be currently enrolled as a WVU student with a background in women’s studies and/or a commitment to social justice issues. The position is part-time (10-15 hours per week depending on need and availability) with a pay rate of $10 per hour and will start during the fall 2011 semester. The intern will be responsible for the following tasks:

1) Develop and communicate information about events and activities associated with the program through the WMST website and other social media

Maintain the program’s Facebook page to communicate with WMST constituents

Take photographs and organize documents associated with the program’s activities to post on Facebook and the website

Update calendar and assist in communication about activities with university and community members

2) Develop brochures, announcements, and other publicity for events and activities

Utilize graphic design skills

Help schedule activities organized by the program on campus

Work with news and information office to advertise events

3) Possess excellent communication and organizational skills

Strong writing and speaking skills necessary to communicate with diverse people associated with the Center for Women’s Studies

Ability to work independently and cooperatively
Application deadline: August 24, 2011

Please send a letter of application outlining your qualifications for this internship, a WVU transcript (copies will be accepted), and two letters of reference to:

Dr. Ann Oberhauser, Director
Center for Women’s Studies
PO Box 6450
West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV 26506
# (304)293-2339 ext. 1155

Monday, July 18, 2011

John Ernest Blogs on Marriage, Slavery, and the Family

About a week ago an Iowa conservative organization called The Family Leader came up with the Marriage Vow, a pledge for Republican presidential candidates to sign. Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum immediately did so, but the pledge has turned out to be very controversial, particularly in its assertions about slavery.

When UNC Press asked our own John Ernest, Eberly Family Distinguished Professor, to give them a contribution for their blog, his post was about the Marriage Vow's inacurate picture of African-American families under slavery. We're happy to link to it: "Saving Marriages by Divorcing History." You'll enjoy this one.

Now, is it just me or does that pledge also seem a little....I don't know....homophobic?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Grading News

Just in case you thought grade inflation was a myth, Inside Higher Ed just published a report on a recent study that confirms that, depending on the type of college you attend, anywhere from 70.8% to 89% of the children are, indeed, above average.