Monday, November 29, 2010

Tenure-Track Position in Gender Studies at McMaster University

The Department of English & Cultural Studies and the graduate program in Gender Studies and Feminist Research at McMaster University jointly invite applications for a tenure-track appointment in Cultural Studies and Gender Studies at the rank of Assistant Professor to commence July 1, 2011. Specific areas of expertise are open, but might include indigenous studies, sexuality studies, queer studies, visual culture, youth cultures, critical race studies, consumer culture, and popular culture.

The successful applicant’s primary appointment will be housed in the Department of English and Cultural Studies in which tenure, if awarded, will be held, but her/his duties will include teaching courses in the interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Gender Studies and Feminist Research, and the undergraduate Women’s Studies minor. The current minimum salary for an Assistant Professor is $60,997 per annum. McMaster is a research-intensive university. Its Department of English and Cultural Studies has both an Honours BA and an MA program in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory. Many of the Department’s doctoral candidates are pursuing dissertations in the areas of gender studies and cultural studies. The new Graduate Program in Gender

Studies and Feminist Research offers an MA degree and a diploma program for PhD students in a number of Humanities and Social Science departments at McMaster. The successful candidate will have a PhD and demonstrated excellence in teaching and research, with a clearly defined research program and a promising record of publication. She or he will be expected to supervise graduate students for both the Department of English and Cultural Studies and the Gender Studies and Feminist Research Program, and to contribute to the administration of both.

Applicants should send a letter of application, a curriculum vitae, a sample of writing (e.g., an article or chapter of a book/dissertation—maximum 25 pages), and a statement of teaching philosophy to:

Dr. Peter Walmsley and Dr. Susan Fast
Department of English & Cultural Studies
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L9

Applications received by January 17, 2011, will be assured of full consideration. Applicants should arrange for three letters of reference and graduate transcripts to reach the Department by the same date. All documentation submitted in support of your application becomes the property of the University and is not returnable.

For further information on the Department of English & Cultural Studies, see

For Gender Studies and Feminist Research, see

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. However, Canadians and Permanent Residents will be given priority. McMaster University is strongly committed to employment equity within its community, and to recruiting a diverse faculty and staff. Accordingly, the University especially encourages applications from women, members of visible minorities, Aboriginal persons, members of sexual minorities, and persons with disabilities.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Did you have a good Thanksgiving?

Hope so! And are you ready for the next big event of the semester? That's right, the English 418: Creative Writing Capstone reading is next Wednesday, December 8, at 4:00 p.m. in 130 Colson. This semester's readers include fiction writers Carolyn Brewer, David Palmeri, and Jordan Weisenborn, and poets Tiffany Burrow, Seth May, Stefania Piatkiewicz, and Selby Stanton, who will be introduced by their MFA mentors—Rachel King, Justin Anderson, Rebecca Schwab, Danielle Ryle, Matt London, Micah Holmes, and Tori Moore. So come hear some stories and poems and eat some flying WV cookies. We know you love 'em.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the above papier-mache turkeys are part of the Big Head Corps of the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade. Pretty cool, huh? Look at those little hats!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Weekend Re-cap

---Last weekend, that is. I mean: wow. Sorry for the delay, but it takes a little time to find the right words, you know? Because we're, like, artsy, and artsy is exhausting. But, here, finally, are the highlights:

… Friday night’s COW (Council of Writers; a hearty moo shout-out to all of them) reading at Zenclay. Nothing I could write could capture the night better than the post already, um, posted by Miss Rebecca and Miss Connie, but let me just add that the kids made yours truly very proud. Also, this reading featured the most disconcerting podium ever: made of clear plastic and thus entirely see-through and thus not really a podium (read: hiding place) at all. Most upsetting.

… also this past weekend, The Play. You know “The Morgantown Play, or Dreams from a Shady Glen," written by the department’s own Bill French and featuring some familiar faces: Pat Conner, who juggled several roles, including a rather serious Waitman Willey (always wondered who he was, didn’t you? if you went to the play, you now know); young up-and-comer Walt Harms as the main player of the play within the play; and best actress Cindy Ulrich as the Mountaineer’s ever-lovin’ wife. Congratulations to all of them for breaking a leg in the theater sense but, thank goodness, not in any other way.

… and congratulations to 3rd year MFA Danielle Ryle who won a big fat $1000 poetry prize from Mid-American Review. We just know that Danielle will want to share her monetary award with her fellow poets… especially her teachers. Thanks, Danielle, and congratulations on this much-deserved recognition.

… and while we’re in a congratulating mood, it seems our (“our”?) sports teams won a few games last weekend. So go team! to them as well. Next time, though, try not to schedule your games during our readings and plays, ’k?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tenure-Track Faculty Position at West Liberty University

English: English/Humanities Faculty Position West Liberty University. The Department of Humanities invites applications and nominations for a full-time, tenure-track faculty position in English, in any area of specialization. All members of the English faculty teach a mix of composition and literature courses appropriate to their expertise. Candidates should have a commitment to excellent teaching and college service, including participation in student advising, recruitment, and retention. Doctoral degree is preferred, ABD candidates may be considered. Salary will be commensurate with education and experience and includes a comprehensive benefit package. Anticipated starting date: August 16, 2011. Interested individuals are requested to submit a current curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation, copies of student evaluations, a sample syllabus, and transcripts of all graduate and undergraduate work to: West Liberty University, Human Resources Department, 131 Campus Service Center, P.O. Box 295, West Liberty, West Virginia 26074-0295 or to Any further materials will be requested if needed. West Liberty University ( is an accredited, multipurpose, coeducational, state-affiliated institution under the auspices of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. WLU is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer. Individuals with disabilities who need assistance in the application process may contact Brian Warmuth at 304-336-8139 or e-mail to Successfully passing a background screening report is required for final employment. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fear and Loving in First Readings

Last Friday, as Connie Pan and Rebecca Thomas watched the traffic pass by on University Avenue, they briefly contemplated suicide. Instead, they played live-action Frogger, crossed the street, and entered Zenclay to prepare for Friday night’s reading.

“Why did I volunteer for this?” Rebecca asked Connie, as they waited in line for their delicious beverages.

“So we can get it over with,” Connie said and ordered a cold, blue beverage.

They clutched their delicious beverages, holding them up to their foreheads, wiping away beads of sweat, waiting to receive the line-up for the night.

With their beverages in hand, suddenly a little braver, they ascended the stairs and witnessed the sea of chairs that would soon be full of people.

They wanted to vomit. This is why they gave up hopes and dreams of becoming rock stars: stage fright.

“Do we know the line-up yet?” they asked Heather Frese, but she shook her head no. Christina Rothenbeck was stuck in cursed Morgantown traffic.

So they sat, in the back of the room, waiting, drinking, and exchanging smiles that did not comfort each other.

“I hope I get to go early,” Rebecca said.

“I don’t,” Connie said.

Christina entered. They received their fate. It was a fear sandwich: Connie first, Rebecca last. They considered Parent Trapping it and being the other for the night. Instead, they finished their beverages and waited for the night to begin.

Alex Berge emceed, started the show, and Connie Pan walked to the plastic podium. She had been hoping for something solid, something to hide behind or lean against, but instead, she was forced to work with a transparent croquet wicket. She started to read, she finished, and she doesn’t remember anything in between.

The top bread of the fear sandwich was finished (Authors’ note: We recognize that although nobody eats a sandwich this way, we thought our audience might like the nod to deconstruction.). However, the bottom half of the bread still wanted to vomit. Luckily, the innards made for a delightful distraction.

Connie and Rebecca sat, one a little more relaxed than the other, and were swept away on a wave of words by such wonders as: Ben Bishop, Justin Crawford, Charity Gingerich, Christina Rothenbeck, Danielle Ryle, Rebecca Schwab, Shane Stricker, and Christina Wulf.

Everyone had gone. Rebecca knew her time had come. Alex deftly introduced her, and with a sinking stomach, she walked up and began to read. The next thing she knew, she was finished.

As Connie and Rebecca left Zenclay that night, they crossed the street without having to dodge any traffic. No longer did they feel the urge to jump in front of a car.

Can’t wait to see the rest of the first years for Spring 2011: Jamie Kegg (you were missed!), Rebecca Childers, Sara Kearns, Andi Stout, Jeremiah Shelor, Anthony Fabbricatore, and Melissa Atkinson.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

MFA Reading

Just a reminder from your friendly Counil of Writers (COW) that the Fall MFA reading is taking place this Friday, November 12. We'd be as happy as the above cow if you all came to Zenclay at 6pm to hear some delightful fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Featured readers are Rebecca Schwab, Charity Gingerich, and Christina Wulf, who will headline a stellar line-up of authors reading their work. (And in case you need further incentive, we hear that Zenclay now serves beer.)

Reminder: The Rally to Restore Two Things

The Return of Charles II to Whitehall in 1660
by Alfred Barron Clay
This Friday, November 12th, the annual doctoral student meeting will be held in 130 Colson from 3:30-4:15. After discussing various academic matters, we'll vote on what to restore and then restore it.

Immediately afterward at 4:15, EGO will hold its monthly meeting. Although the exact agenda has not yet been released, given EGO's current financial situation the rumor is that the "meeting" will consist largely of EGO members shooting Cristal at each other out of Super Soakers.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Call for Submissions: Mountaineer Undergraduate Research Review

The Mountaineer Undergraduate Research Review (MURR) is accepting submissions for its spring 2011 publication. MURR publishes outstanding research performed by undergraduates at WVU. Papers based on faculty-mentored research completed by students in any discipline will be considered for publication. Papers are selected based on reviews performed by qualified faculty members at WVU.

Submissions may be:
* Full-length research papers
* Short papers, e.g. papers adapted from a poster presentation
* Literature reviews

Chicago style is preferred.
Deadline for submission is Friday, January 14, 2011.
All submissions and questions should be directed to the editors at

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Unofficial Potluck Poet's Dinner

On October 15th, many of the Poetry MFA's met at Christina Rothenbeck's apartment for an entertaining evening of good food, light conversation, and vigorous writing. A community of writers who came together in the hope of breaking in some of the new poets, as well as, gathering resources in a productive and exciting way. This was the first of the Potluck Poet's Dinners, but it certainly will not be the last. The evening eased into action with the ceremonial breaking of cornbread with chili, chips, and salsa: a regular potluck feast to help set the informal tone of the evening’s events. Charity, Micah, Tori, Christina, and Lisa brought in poems to read and discuss, and it was a rather pleasant and calm gathering of minds to talk loosely about the craft and tools of poetry. The one first year who was able to make it, Melissa Atkinson, who was inducted into the group with open arms, also read one of her newer poems. The process was light, helpful, and often very humorous (the evening grew giddier as the night went on). Though other new poets could not make it to the event, another dinner coming up soon will hopefully allow everyone to come together for second and third years to get to know the first years (and vice versa).
Christina put together a writing exercise where a notebook was passed around and each person in the group wrote a stanza of the poem. There was no particular theme or thread involved, and it was just a free form exercise where anyone could really do or say anything they felt. The poem was a success: a rather twisting narrative of odd juxtapositions strung together until the meaning of the poem was completely obscured—all that was left was the rather hysterical overview of a mixed bag of images and sounds. The end product was a collaborative effort and a great way to end the evening.
The first of the Poet's Dinners was such a success that everyone was asking about the next dinner by the end of the night. It was a great way for writers to break up their class and workload, and for them to really unwind with the one thing they all have in common, the love and aspiration of writing. WVU's strong community of creative writers had just gotten stronger.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Artistic Interlude

Being ardent fans of artistic innovation, the Tenants are currently enamoured of the work of Gregory Thielker, which, although it always looks like a photograph, is always actually a painting.

The work above ("Transference") is a particular favorite since it reminds some of the Tenants of a poorly conceived and particularly disastrous roadtrip to Atlantic City in Colson Hall's "Scone Express" (a 1987 Dodge Caravan of dubious reliability) in an attempt to parlay the proceeds from the EGO Bake and Book Sale into some "serious money." The scene depicted above is the perfect graphic representation of the point in the return trip where the Tenants discovered that Professor Hazen had spent the last of the remaining money on a package of Twizzlers during the rest stop at the Exxon Station and that, due to poor navigation, they were now somewhere near Toms River.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

CFP: Bloodwork: The Politics of the Body, 1500-1900

Conference: “Bloodwork: the politics of the body 1500-1900
May 6 and 7, 2011 at the University of Maryland, College Park
Sponsored by the Center for Literary and Comparative Studies, Department of English
Conference Organizers: Ralph Bauer, Kimberly Coles, Zita Nunes, Carla L. Peterson

This conference will explore how conceptions of the blood—one of the four bodily fluids known as humors in the early modern period—permeate discourses of human difference from 1500 to 1900. “Bloodwork” begins with the assumption that the concept of “race” is still under construction and that our understanding of the term would profit through an engagement with its long, evolving, history. Specifically, it asks how fluid transactions of the body have been used in different eras and different cultures to justify existing social arrangements.

Recent scholarship has opened up the question of the continuities and discontinuities between early modern and modern rationalizations of human difference. In early modern England, “race” commonly referred to family lineage, or bloodline, and relied upon pervasive notions of what were believed to constitute the properties of blood. The anxieties anatomized in Thomas Elyot’s Boke named the Governour (1537) about the degradation of “race,” or the corruption of noble blood, describe the physical technologies by which virtue—both physical and moral—was thought to be conveyed through bloodlines. Daniel Defoe’s later satire “A True-Born Englishman” (1708) echoes this rationale for difference. The language of his poem not only insinuates the crossover of the term “race” from family lines to national groups, but also supplies evidence that both kinds of racial ideology—whether affirming social hierarchy or national superiority—rest upon the invisible qualities of the blood. In late eighteenth-century Anglo-America, Thomas Jefferson invokes such notions as "White," "Indian," and "Negro" blood in order to suggest an essential difference between what he calls "the races," a difference that he sees as "fixed in nature," thereby anticipating modern racialism.

A comparative conference such as ours, that is trans-historical and transnational and draws literary critics and historians of cultures on both sides of the Atlantic world, will make a significant contribution to this ongoing debate about the “invention” of race.

Plenary Speakers:

Jennifer Brody, Department of African and African American Studies, Duke University
Michael Hanchard, Department of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University
Ruth Hill, Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese, The University of Virginia
Mary Floyd-Wilson, Department of English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


•How does blood rationalize bodily difference in the period in which you work?
•How is blood used as a metaphor in your period? How is it contested?
•How—and why—is the idea of blood transforming? How does it operate in the body?
•What are the physical technologies of the body and how are these pressed into the service of difference? Conversely, how is the rationalization of bodily difference embedded in “scientific” discourse?
•Is religious difference figured in cultural or somatic terms?
•Does the body have a moral constitution?


Monday, November 1, 2010

"I'll Take You There"

This particular tenant never thought he'd say this, but Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear has him wondering whether Slavoj Zizek might actually be wrong about something. Bear with me for a moment....

In The Sublime Object of Ideology, Zizek tries to determine why, in a cynical age, people continue to act against their best interests simply because someone else tells them that his or her best interests are their best interests, even if they're not. One of the few options you have nowadays, according to Zizek, is what he calls kynicism, where you make fun of the hypocrisy and self-interest of official pronouncements although, Zizek makes clear, this actually has very little effect on those in power (however you want to construe that concept), who are as cynical as everyone else and just keep on doing what they're doing.

Now, kynicism is obviously the stock in trade of The Daily Show, and insofar as it seems entirely unlikely that politicians or cable news networks are going to change the fever pitch of their rhetoric in response to  Stewart's call, during his speech on Saturday, for a more measured public discourse, Zizek may be right: not much will change. Except....

Stewart's speech really seemed to be less about something that should happen than about something that already does: the fact that, despite serious differences in opinion, most people most of the time cooperate quite well ("You go, then I go"). It was a different view of America than one usually gets from cable news or political ads (where every politician's opponent seems to have been deliberately determined, from the moment of his or her birth on a Nazi eugenics farm, to harm the American public as much as possible), and the best part was that this America seems to have been enacted by the crowd itself, which, by all accounts, had a very nice vibe.

It looked good to me. It was an America with music (Ozzy! Mavis Staples!), and witty, original signs, and an allegorical puppet show in which Fear was killed by Sanity (and John Oliver), and ironic Hitler mustaches, not to mention people climbing trees without getting yelled at.

So, while Zizek might say that this was just a momentary triumph of the kynical and the ludic, I think he might be wrong. I think the whole point was that this moderate America is out there--you could sort of feel it stretching out from the rally across the continent, Benedict-Anderson-like, into an imagined community all reading The Onion at the same time. I bet you the people in DC even picked up the trash when they left.