Thursday, January 31, 2013


The 2013 Annual Convention of the Midwest Modern Language Association will be held from November 7-10, 2013 at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This year's informal theme is Art & Artifice. To see a list of possible sub-themes, visit The deadline for Special Session proposals and individual proposals is March 1, 2013. Please know that although the convention has a theme, it is truly an "informal" theme. This means that we are open to proposals on other subjects.

To submit Special Session proposals, please use the Special Session proposal form on the MMLA website at:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Not Cool, Robert Frost

The first few weeks of the semester have been quite busy for the Tenants and it seems to me that we could all use a pep talk:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Harms Clocks In (Again!) at Poetry Daily

Congratulations to Jim Harms, whose poem "The Clock," from his recent collection Comet Scar, will be featured on the Poetry Daily Web site on Thursday, February 7.

Savor it at:

And buy it at:

Or at:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Aberdeen Needs You

For any grad students interested in doing a PhD in Scotland or a dissertation on textual authority, eight lines are being funded for this interdisciplinary program at Aberdeen University:


Friday, January 18, 2013

Graduate Academy Workshops for Next Week

More free professional education from the Office of Graduate Education and Life:
“Strategies and Tips for Conducting Literature Reviews”

This session will focus on strategies for using the library’s research databases effectively to gain sources for your literature review.     

Jan. 22, 4-5:30pm, Downtown Library 136  
Jan. 24, 4-5:30pm, Evansdale Library, Computer Classroom 130                       

“Public Speaking for Conference Talks and Poster Sessions” 

This session will provide practical advice for effective public speaking in conference presentations.

Jan. 24, 2-3:00pm, Evansdale Library, Computer Classroom 130

Michael Austin's new book on the Founding Fathers

A former professor of mine, Michael Austin, has a new book on how the Founding Fathers have been redeployed by the right wing as a kind of stick to shut down reasonable debate. The title of the book is That's Not What They Meant!: Reclaiming the Founding Fathers from America's Right Wing.

I post this to TCH partially because we have people who work on early American lit, but also to kind of reprise some of the issues raised in Adam Komisaruk's Public Spheres Seminar from last Spring, and related less directly to Ryan Claycomb's Fall Seminar on uses of the past (though not British postmodernism). You can watch the After Words interview with Michael where he talks extensively about how the idea of the Founders functions rhetorically in contemporary public politics and in the public sphere of the Early Republic. Of course, history is used continually in the public sphere as a source of authority for certain points, but Michael's book points to a flaw in the rhetorical use of 'The Founding Fathers,' namely that there was no such thing as 'The Founding Fathers' as a kind of "collective hive mind" as Michael says in the interview. However, Michael also notes that shifting the discourse to 'some' or 'many' Founding Fathers would destroy the power of the rhetorical appeal. In other words, any position that evokes a hive mind collective of Founding Fathers relies on a logical fallacy for its authority, but despite the fallacious quality the position is incredibly effective (dangerously so, Michael argues) for limiting the sphere of what can 'legitimately' be considered in public policy.

You can follow the blog that lead up to TNWTM! here, and Michael's newest blog attempting to encourage civil and rational debate about contemporary political issues here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

CFP: The Literature of Sport/Grad Student Essay Contest

The Sport Literature Association sponsors an annual competition among graduate students for the Lyle Olsen Graduate Student Essay Contest. Essays must pertain in some way to the literature of sport as noted in the association's journal, Aethlon, to wit: entries should “celebrate the intersection of literature with the world of play, games, and sport.” Submissions “should address treatments of sport in texts or textual media (print, film, performance, digital or other media).”       

The winner will receive a small stipend, publication in the peer-reviewed journal, a year's subscription to same, and some travel monies to attend and present the paper to the annual conference in June. Please encourage your graduate students to enter electronically, emailing their work to Dr. Richard McGehee at the University of Texas at Entries should be received no later than March 1, 2013.

This year's conference is at Monmouth University, in West Long Branch, NJ.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Year's Greetings

Since Mary Ann seems to be on a Fine Arts Visual Rhetorics kick at the moment, it seems okay to try to resuscitate "The New Year's Post That Never Happened," in which the Tenants spent several days going through the dusty steamer trunks in the attic of the North Tower to find old New Year's cards to use as the basis for a brilliant, if we do say so ourselves, meditation on Edwardian holiday iconography. But the New Year's Ball lasted until dawn this year, and when we got up there was football and ham, and the next thing we knew it was now.

Still, some of the cards are too good to waste, and it seemed a shame not to share at least one of our favorites:

While there are many, many appealing things about this, perhaps its best feature is that, while it obviously depicts a vegetable, it is not entirely clear exactly which vegetable it's supposed to be. A panel of experts has finally identified it as a spouted potato although there is some support for the idea that it might be an irregularly shaped kohlrabi. The Tenants' own private theory is that it is actually just a bad artist's rendering of Oscar Wilde.

In any of these cases, though, we're not entirely certain what the graphic representation has to do with the New Year. Any clarification you could give us would be greatly appreciated.

Back to School

From our ongoing Richard Scarry series:

Why so much Richard Scarry, you ask? Because he's awesome. Dogs in dresses! Scissors on a string! And look at those expressions, especially the pouty pup in the back row. This is school. What more could you ask for?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The View From The MLA

In a sense, the annual convention of the Modern Language Association is a reverse diaspora: an entire interrelated village of academics appears overnight out of nowhere, not unlike Brigadoon. Not surprisingly, then, there is much meeting and greeting and conviviality, and, as Mary Ann has already reported, the Tenants were "at home" and receiving visitors at the Fairmont. Although the hotel's resident dog may have snubbed us, other people did not, and at least one of the Tenants managed to secure an invitation to the Norton party, held on the 50th floor of the Prudential Building, which had a nice view:

With apologies for the reflections on the glass. 

The Tenants were surprised by how much Boston looks like Morgantown.

Other interesting happenings:

Rumor has it that the Delegate Assembly spent fifteen minutes discussing a comma.

Because the various hotels were connected by a skyway lined with highend shops, someone actually said, "We turn left here at Michael Kors," a sentence that very few people other than Heidi Klum have ever uttered.

The current conundrum seems to be how one abbreviates Object-Oriented Ontology, with some people referring to it as "Triple O" and others calling it OOO (pronounced "ew"). One acquaintance of Colson Hall speculated on what the abbreviation would be if the field of study were actually Pre-Oedipal-Object-Oriented Ontology, but the Tenants, above such vulgarity, paid her no mind.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Graduate Academy Courses for Spring 2013

Just a reminder that the Office of Graduate Education and Life is offering the following courses for graduate students across the university to help with professionalization and career development:

GRAD 710 Scholarly Teaching

This pedagogy course provides teaching strategies drawn from current research on college education. Students will practice and apply these teaching skills in their own disciplines in order to become effective college instructors. Instructor: Dr. Michelle Withers. CRN: 15123
 C&I 789 Teaching in Higher Education

This pedagogy course provides a general methods course involving instructional concepts and strategies for present/prospective faculty in higher education. Comprehensive consideration of objectives, planning criteria and methods, teaching strategies, and evaluation in meeting the needs of adult learners. Instructor: Dr. John Oughton. CRN: 15406     

GRAD 794A Seminar: 21st Century Teaching

This course will offer strategies for combining effective teaching with research. The course explores the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning to develop research that is based on teaching. Instructor: Dr. Jessica Deshler. CRN: 17259     

GRAD 694B Seminar: Preparing Future Faculty

This seminar helps graduate students chart their course into faculty careers by exploring types of faculty positions, current issues in higher education, and even careers outside of academia. Instructor: Dr. Jenny Douglas. CRN: 16453 
GRAD 685: Teaching Capstone

This is the capstone course for the Certificate in University Teaching and is intended to help students prepare teaching portfolios for university faculty positions. Instructor: Dr. Jenny Douglas. CRN: 17118

Well, we're back...

from the MLA convention, that is. In other words: we survived. And things were pretty swanky, at least at the Fairmont Copley Plaza where resident dog Catie Copley was too booked up to go walking with us but did prompt some of our deepest theoretical thinking... which Professor Allen will explain to everyone since I, ahem, cannot.

And, yes, the interviews went well, as you can see from this photo. We tried not to overwhelm the candidates with our elegance, but, well, what can you do, right? We are who we are.

Friday, January 4, 2013

ADS: Word of the Year

Breaking News from Boston, MA!!!!!

The American Dialect Society selects its slate of words of note for the 2012 year.

With the help of several hundred linguists, the American Dialect Society debated, on January 4, 2013, the niceties of semantics and popular opinions.

See here for the full slate and the winners, including word of the year: