Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spring Course Offering From Our Friends in Education

Are you looking for a graduate elective for Spring 2010?

C&I 694(c): Special Topics: Media Literacy in Education
4-6:50 T

This course will have three dimensions: 1) exploring research and common concerns related to children/adolescent engagement with media and popular culture; 2) understanding debates about identity formation and representation of culture in the media; and 3) exploring strategies for bringing the study of the media and popular culture into the K-12 curriculum.

Readings will include: Buckingham, D. (1996). Moving images: Understanding children’s emotional responses to television; McCloud, S. (1993). Understanding comics: The invisible art; selections from various media and cultural studies theorists (e.g., Adorno and Horkheimer, Althusser, Sholle and Densky, Jenkins).

Contact Dr. Sheila Benson ( or 293-9445) for further information. Graduate-level students from across programs are welcome

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hench Post-Dissertation Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society

Scholars who are no more than three years beyond receipt of the doctorate are invited to apply for the Hench Post-Dissertation Fellowship, a year-long residential fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society. The purpose of the post-dissertation fellowship is to provide the recipient with time and resources to extend research and/or to revise the dissertation for publication. Any topic relevant to the Society's library collections and programmatic scope, and coming from any field or disciplinary background, is eligible. AAS collections focus on all aspects of American history, literature, and culture from contact to 1876, and provide rich source material for projects across the spectrum of early American studies.

The Society welcomes applications from those who have advance book contracts, as well as those who have not yet made contact with a publisher. The twelve-month stipend for this fellowship is $35,000. The Hench Post-Dissertation Fellow will be selected on the basis of the applicant's scholarly qualifications, the appropriateness of the project to the Society's collections and interests, and, above all, the likelihood that the revised dissertation will make a highly significant book.

Further information about the fellowship, along with application materials, is available on the AAS website, at Any questions about the fellowship may be directed to Paul Erickson, Director of Academic Programs at AAS, at

The deadline for applications for a Hench Post-Dissertation Fellowship to be held during the 2010-2011 academic year is October 15, 2009.


Just a reminder to celebrate. The official holiday is supposed to celebrate the "importance of proper punctuation." I'd like to think we can also celebrate rebel, rude, and rowdy punctuation.

If you check out this site, you can download a PDF file of a recipe that will allow you to cook the "official meatloaf of national punctuation day."

How Old English Stuff Becomes New

One honking big hoard of gold and silver items has just been announced in England. The contents are dated to the seventh century, the age of Bede. "Experts said that the collection of more than 1,500 military artefacts, including helmets, sword pommels and sword hilt ornaments possibly looted on the field of battle 1,400 years by a victorious warlord, is unparalleled in size and may have belonged to Saxon royalty," according to a description with a video at Timesonline. The BBC reports the story here, and there is currently a mass of photographs on Flickr. (That incomparable online resource for this is provided to us by Dr. Stuart Brookes, University College, London, via ANSAXNET.) Hilary Attfield sent me the incredibly rich Daily Mailsite.

My first take on all of this, beyond what is said in the sources I've given you, is that the prevalence of Latin inscriptions, all from the Bible insofar as I can see now, seem to have talismanic purposes at the same time that they assert those Christian warrior notions of "God as my shield, etc." For those teaching Beowulf and who adhere to the notion that the poem is from the period of this hoard, here is further material cultural comparanda; for us late daters, it confirms what the poet tells us of heirloom swords and shaky Christianity of the poet's ancestors, to the degree that this poem is about English culture, having been written in English, although it engages no English folks in it, excepting a passing reference to Offa of Mercia who was known throughout Europe.

For those who aren't teaching or reading in the Old English period, try to imagine how a parallel discovery would open discussion in your own area of study.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Contribute to the Journal Open Words: Access and English Studies

Hi All,

I am an editorial board member for this journal, and I hope some of you might consider contributing. The journal is now very actively looking for articles! Stay tuned, as I'll also be guest-editing a special issue of the journal on Disability Studies in the coming year.

CFP: Manuscripts for the Journal Open Words

Open Words: Access and English Studies is a refereed journal dedicated to publishing articles focusing on pedagogical, political, and professional issues related to teaching composition, reading, ESL, creative writing, and literature to open admissions, at-risk, and non-mainstream student populations. We seek critical work in areas such as instructional strategies, cultural studies, critical theory, classroom materials, technological innovation, institutional critique, student services, program development, etc., that assist educators, administrators, and student support personnel who work with students in pedagogically difficult settings. Articles should consider the particularities of these settings—issues, for example, surrounding the identifier of “open access,” intersections of race, class, gender, disability, and sexuality, regional and cultural differences, and the range of competencies students bring with them to classrooms—in light of the aims of English studies to empower students’ critical and creative endeavors.

If you are interested in submitting a manuscript, please send an electronic copy to both John Tassoni at tassonjp@muohio.eduand William Thelin at

Contribute to

Please celebrate writing at WVU by submitting a sample of new or existing writing to
When you log in to contribute, you will be asked to "choose a gallery."
  • Please select LOCAL gallery as your choice
  • Look for the title: CELEBRATE WRITING AT WVU.
Deadline: October 12.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Doctoral Student Wins SAMLA Prize

Congratulations to Beth Staley who was recently awarded the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) Graduate Student Essay Prize! Beth will receive a cash award, free registration to this year's SAMLA conference (at which she's presenting), and publication in South Atlantic Review. The winning essay, "Voicescapes in Dickinson's Late Fragments," was, in Beth's words, "the one that was fun to write."

I LoVE your BiG EGO


Grad student meeting: 3:30

Last Lecture featuring Prof. Michael Germana: 4:00.
Open to all.

Friday-type unwinding to follow: Riverstone (227 Chestnut St, by Walnut PRT station)

Plenty of Reasons for you to attend our very first EGO meeting of the year:

Grad Students: a chance to meet other students and department members, to get involved, and to voice your concerns. Also, BIG book sale coming up people.

Faculty: support your colleague, receive the adoration of your students, and give us some professional roles to model (take the role of your choice).

Not to mention, I will stop referencing Beyonce forever if there's a good turnout. And my recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies makes, like, 8 dozen. Come!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Job Market Informational Meeting

Greetings to those who are thinking of hitting the job market this year. I'm writing to let you know that Mary Ann Samyn and I will host an information session on the application process.

We will meet on Friday, September 18 at 4:00 in Colson 106. This will be our only formal meeting about the job market, featuring a veritable feast of information, inspiring stories, and opportunities to ask questions. After that, we will meet with you individually to comment on your application materials and to help you through the mysteries of the process. Please, though, come to this meeting so that later we can build on what we said and not introduce you to
what we said at the meeting.

In the meantime, you should check out the department's website for the academic job search--which you can find at

By the time of the meeting, you should have drafts of your letter and cv, at the very least. By now, you should have talked with the faculty on your committee about letters of recommendation, and you should have provided them with all the information they need to write a strong letter.

Recommendations for Requesting Letters of Recommendation

For graduate students who need letters of recommendation for the job market:

When you request a letter of recommendation, don’t assume that even your favorite and most enthusiastic professors will have all the information they need to write a good letter. Tell them as much as you can about the kinds of jobs you are looking for, your progress on the dissertation, your publications, etc., and anything else you can say about how you are presenting yourself.

Do this in writing, since they might forget the details after you leave the room.

Different faculty members have different thoughts about the documents they need to write a strong letter, so it would be best to prepare a set of documents for them to look through.

You should submit these documents to the faculty member after you have first approached them with your request for a letter, and you should ask them whether they prefer to receive the documents electronically or in hard copy.

This set of documents should include:
1. A statement listing information mentioned above--the kinds of positions for which you plan to apply, your progress on your dissertation, etc.
2. Your CV
3. An abstract of your dissertation
4. Your letter of application
5. A sample from your dissertation
6. A statement of your teaching philosophy
7. The form from Career Services--with your part of the form completed and signed (typed or in very neat handwriting)

Be sure to ask whether there is any additional information that might be useful--for example, additional chapters from your dissertation, or a copy of one of your publications.

Virginia Butts Sturm Creative Writing Award

English majors who are currently pursuing the Creative Writing Concentration and have completed or are completing at least nine credit hours in the concentration are encouraged to apply for the Virginia Butts Sturm Creative Writing Award.

To apply for the $100 award (in the form of a Barnes and Noble gift certificate), students should submit a writing sample and their name, address, telephone number, and email address to Marsha Bissett, 100 Colson Hall by Friday, October 9, 2009. The writing sample should consist of either 5-10 poems or one work of fiction or creative nonfiction, with a maximum 20 pages.

The recipient of the award will be notified by October 16th. The public announcement of the recipient will be at the evening reading of the 2009 Virginia Butts Sturm Writer in Residence, Janet Peery. That reading is scheduled for Monday, October 19, at 7:30 p.m., in room 202 of Brooks Hall.

Although any West Virginia University student, regardless of major, can pursue a Creative Writing Concentration, this scholarship may only be awarded to a student majoring in English as stipulated by the benefactors. Past recipients include Kelly Sundberg (2008-09); Marit Ericson (2007-08); Nick Gaudio (2006-07); Sarah Whitney Holmes (2005-06); Aaron Flanagan (2004-05); Tricia Almase (2003-04); Abigail Aikens (2002-03); Natalie Sypolt (2001-02); Jessica Harriman (2000-01); Ann Marie Lavorata (1999-2000); Nicole Sheets (1998-99); Scott Matthews (1997-98); Adriane Schramm (1996-97); Ruth Ann Schmitt (1995-96); and Michael Thobois (1994-95).

The Creative Writing Program would like to acknowledge the generosity of the WVU Book Store in providing the $100 gift certificate to the winner.

For more information, contact Professor Mark Brazaitis, director of Creative Writing, at 304-293-9707 or

Development Workshops for Grad Students

Workshops Offered by The Office of Graduate Education and Life:

October 5: ETD Seminar, 3:00-4:30, NRCCE 101 A&B
Learn how to format and submit your electronic thesis or dissertation

October 14: Teaching Portfolios, 5:00-7:00, Brooks 151
Learn how to create a teaching portfolio that will help you succeed on the job market

November 11: CVs and Cover Letters, 5:00-7:00, Clark 112
Learn how to write effective cover letters and CVs for your academic job search

Refreshments provided Please RSVP to **

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Celebrate Writing at WVU!

Celebrate writing at WVU by submitting a sample of new or existing writing to

The National Council of Teachers of English has declared October 20, 2009, the first National Day on Writing to celebrate writing and show how integral it is to all our lives.

Whether it’s an essay or story, a letter home, an everyday e-mail, a great assignment, a hand-written postcard, a blog entry from one of the very hip Tenants of Colson Hall, a poem, or a podcast (say, something featuring our tutoring center or a creative writing reading. . . ), a video interview with writers, a claymation feature, or your updated resume or C.V., everyone has something important to share. Upload documents to the gallery website or link to existing online work at

Deadline for Submissions: Oct 12, 2009(one entry per person).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Woodrow Wilson Fellowships

The Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation announces the opening of two of its Dissertation Fellowship competitions:

The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships ( supports the final year of dissertation work for Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences. Eligible proposals have religious or ethical values as a central concern, and are relevant to the solution of contemporary religious, cultural or human rights questions. Please note that this year the stipend for the Newcombe Fellowship has been raised to $25,000 for a twelve-month period of dissertation writing. This increase reflects a commitment by the Fellowship’s sponsor, the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, to continue to attract and support the brightest young scholars. (Deadline: November 15, 2009)

The Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowships in Women’s Studies ( offers awards for candidates doing original and significant research about gender that crosses disciplinary, regional, or cultural boundaries. (Deadline: October 11, 2009)

Beauty Breaks In

Congratulations to Professor Mary Ann Samyn, whose latest book of poetry, Beauty Breaks In, will be published by New Issues Poetry & Prose on November 2.

About Professor Samyn's work, poet and fiction writer Laura Kasischke says, "Mary Ann Samyn writes poems in which the impossible happens through language, the human experience is turned to sky, fire, fireworks, diamonds. This is a poet who is able to hijack sorrow, or error, or delight, and transform them into deeply imagined, perfectly condensed and terrifying expanded glimpses."

This is Professor Samyn's fourth full-length poetry collection.

She'll be reading at WVU in the spring. Stay tuned.

Her new book can be pre-ordered on and elsewhere.

MFA Meet and Greet

The MFA program will host its annual back-to-school party for students, faculty, and friends, this Sunday, September 20, at Elissa Hoffman's house (95 Marion Street, Morgantown) from 3- 6 pm. There will be a potluck, so bring a favorite dish to share.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fellowships at UCLA

The following fellowships are sponsored by the UCLA Center for 17th- and 18th- Century Studies and the Clark Libary.

The Ahmanson-Getty Fellowship Program for 2010–11

Cultures of Aestheticism—before and after Oscar Wilde, directed by Clark Professor Joseph Bristow

The program, which is based at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, invites applications from humanities scholars whose research interests relate to the ways in which post-Kantian traditions develop theories and practices that address beliefs in l’art pour l’art. The fellowships will be of interest to scholars who wish to make use of the resources of the Clark Library’s extensive archive of materials relating to Oscar Wilde and his circle. If prospective applicants have any questions about the fellowship, they are welcome to send them to Professor Bristow at

Eligible: Scholars will need to have received their doctorates in the last six years, (no earlier than July 1, 2004 and no later than September 30, 2010). Scholars’ research must pertain to the announced theme.

Awards: Three consecutive quarters in residence at the Clark Library

Stipend: $37,500 for the three-quarter period together with paid medical benefits for scholar

Application deadline: 1 February 2010
Clark Short-Term Fellowships

Fellowship support is available to scholars with research projects that require work in any area of the Clark's collections. Applicants must hold a Ph.D. degree or have equivalent academic experience. Awards are for periods of one to three months in residence.

Stipend: $2,500 per month.

Application deadline: 1 February 2010
ASECS/Clark Fellowships

Fellowships jointly sponsored by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the Clark Library are available to postdoctoral scholars and to ABD graduate students with projects in the Restoration or the eighteenth century. Fellowship holders must be members in good standing of ASECS. Awards are for one month of residency.

Stipend: $2,500 for the month of residency.

Application deadline: 1 February 2010
Kanner Fellowship in British Studies

This three-month fellowship, established through the generosity of Penny Kanner, supports research at the Clark Library in any area pertaining to British history and culture. The fellowship is open to both postdoctoral and pre-doctoral scholars.

Stipend: $7,500 for the three-month tenure.

Application deadline: 1 February 2010
Clark-Huntington Joint Bibliographical Fellowship

Sponsored jointly by the Clark and the Huntington Libraries, this two-month fellowship provides support for bibliographical research in early modern British literature and history as well as other areas where the two libraries have common strengths. Applicants should hold a Ph.D. degree or have appropriate research experience.

Stipend: $5,000 for two months in residence.

Application deadline: 1 February 2010
Hello, world.

I'd thought I'd inaugurate my inaugural Blog post with a piece of writing advice. These writing tips could become a regular feature of this Blog if a) I remember to do them; and b) You don't hate them.

So: Writing Tip #1

Tuck tag lines between quotations of two sentences or more rather than placing them at the end. This way, what is said, rather than who is saying it, is emphasized.

Instead of: “You’re not my friend. You’re my bitterest enemy,” Alfred said. Write: “You’re not my friend,” Alfred said. “You’re my bitterest enemy.”

Please note: None of the six Alfreds I know considers me his enemy. So this is not an autobiographical example. Unless that ominous knocking on the door is Alfred.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

CFP: College English Association Conference

Call for Papers

The 41st Annual College English Association Conference

March 25-7, 2010 – San Antonio, Texas

For additional information, see:

Conference Theme: Voices

Electronic submissions open on August 21 and close on November 1, 2009. Abstracts for proposals should be between 200 and 500 words in length and should include a title.

CFP: American Periodicals and Visual Culture

In Fall 2010 American Periodicals will be publishing a special issue on “American Periodicals and Visual Culture”, guest edited by Janice Simon. Although periodical scholarship has traditionally tended to emphasize the word, visual imagery of all sorts has been an important component of periodicals, even before our post-modern visual deluge.

We are calling for essays that will address any aspect of visual culture in American periodicals from the colonial period through WW II, including but not limited to the intersections and ironies of text and image juxtapositions; the meaning of visual ephemera-frontispiece or margin illustrations, headings, advertisements, magazine covers, cartoons, photographic inserts; the role of a specific art editor, director, or reviewer; studies of periodicals devoted to the visual arts; the importance of the photographic or illustrated essay.

For consideration for the Special Issue on "American Periodicals and Visual Culture," please submit your essay by January 1, 2010 to For more information about the journal, including submission guidelines and style sheet, please see our website at:

TCH PS: And wasn't something very close to this last year's prosem topic? Coff! Paper revision! Coff!

CLC: Syllabus Archive

The Center For Literary Computing reminds you of the Knowledgebase syllabus archive:

The Knowledgebase project has created a searchable syllabus archive
(, which is an ongoing compilation of syllabuses from our English department. The archive contains English Department syllabuses from 1999 to the present. This is a valuable resource for everyone - teachers, students, and researchers:

* Teachers preparing a course can compare syllabi from previous versions of a course, find a selection of anthologies that have been used in the past, and get ideas for companion-readings to accompany a text that they plan to include in their own course.

* Students can search for particular professors and instructors to get a better idea of the kinds of courses, course requirements, and so on they might expect. Or, they can look through a variety of syllabi for a course they are planning to take.

* Scholars can research the varying ways that texts are taught and the background materials associated with them across the department's offerings, from introductory through more specialized and graduate courses.

In an effort to keep the syllabus archive alive and well, we hope that you'll be willing to contribute your own syllabus to the project. If you are willing to participate, please send your syllabus in the form of a .doc or .pdf file to Lindsey Joyce at

Monday, September 7, 2009

Free Stuff!

Okay, this is a pretty exciting find. The British Library is making its sound archive available to the public! An article at The Guardian explains a little more. Classical music, traditional songs, dialect recordings, oral histories and wildlife recordings...Free!

More Importantly: included is a gigantic collection of talks from the Institute of Contemporary Arts. This will link you directly to the list of lectures devoted to literature, featuring (as a very small preview) such notables as Iris Murdoch, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro and Kurt Vonnegut. The moderators sound appropriately British and Vonnegut sounds appropriately... like you'd expect. Brilliant!


Friday, September 4, 2009

Game Plan

In marked contrast to my colleagues, who have some class and who are thus leery of using the blog for obvious self-promotion, I'd like to take this opportunity to unveil my new game plan: I'm going to become a minor celebrity through my academic writing.

Goal: Partying with lesser Kardashians and Jenners, abusive items about me posted on Gawker and Jezebel, possibly a reality tv show.

The Background: A few years back I did a paper for a conference on the Coen brothers' film The Big Lebowski entitled "Logjammin’ and Gutterballs: Masculinities in The Big Lebowski.” An edited collection of the conference papers, The Year's Work in Lebowski Studies, is due out in the fall. Today the editors, who apparently scour the internet for any mention of the conference or collection, sent me a link to this article in The Daily Californian.

Interjection: California!

Estimated Time until Paris and I are shopping on Rodeo together: 6 months.
Estimated Time until The Real Professors of Monongalia County airs: 15 months
Estimated Time until I'm found passed out at the computer with only half a paragraph of a think piece on Mad Men that was due at Vanity Fair three months earlier: 2 and a half years

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Review of English Studies Essay Award

2009 RES Essay Prize

The Review of English Studies is now inviting entries for its 2009 Essay Prize. The RES Essay Prize aims to encourage scholarship amongst postgraduate research students in Britain and abroad. The essay can be on any topic of English literature or the English language from medieval times to the twentieth century.

The prize

The winner will receive:

  • Publication of the winning essay in the 2010 volume of The Review of English Studies
  • A cash prize of £250
  • £250 worth of OUP books
  • A free year's subscription to The Review of English Studies

How to enter

Please click here to read through the entry guidelines and terms.

Entries should be submitted through our online submission system. Click here to access the system and submit your paper.

The competition rules

The competition is open to anyone studying for a higher degree, or who completed one no earlier than October 2006. The winner's student status verification will be requested from their academic supervisor or head of department. The entry must not be under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Click here for full details of the competition rules.

Promote the prize

If you would like to advertise the RES prize amongst interested students and peers, why not download our pdf poster and display it on your department notice board? Click here to download the poster.

Past winners

Click here to read past winning articles FREE online.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Job Placement Meeting

This year's job placement meeting for graduate students will be held on Friday, September 18, at 4 p.m. in 106 Colson Hall.

John Ernest and Mary Ann Samyn will provide an overview of the application process and entertain attendees with stories of past MLA conventions.

For more info, email John (