April 2000

Volume 18

Number 6



In This Issue:

From The Chair

In Print

Panels & 

Awards & 





Luke Whisnant

Assistant Editors

Jenn Karasow

Lyndsay Massengill

Written by

Lyndsay Massengill

Luke Whisnant


Gabrielle Brant

Reid Anderson

Jenn Karasow

photo of Trifles cast by Lyndsay Massengill


The Common Reader

From The Chair
Bruce Southard

As I contemplate this academic year, I find it all too easy to focus on its many negatives--the flooding that devastated eastern North Carolina; the death in the flooding of freshman composition student Aaron Child; the automobile accidents that took the lives of freshman composition student Elizabeth Ann Labus and senior English major Shannon Alexandria Meek; the serious illnesses that have stricken various faculty or members of their immediate families; the retirement of Associate Professor Jim Wright and impending retirement of Associate Professor Vicki Wang; the resignations of Assistant Professor Jeff Franklin, Associate Professor Frank Farmer, and Professor Lillian Robinson--but I keep telling myself that the cruelest month is now behind me, that I should focus on the year's positives.

<   Faculty Retreat

Among the positives (and I certainly cannot list them all), 1999-2000 saw the first departmental retreat, an experience that has helped the department continue its development as a community, and not just as a community of scholars.  Partially as a result of discussion that began at the retreat, at its final departmental meeting the faculty approved in principle a number of significant changes in the undergraduate program, including the addition of a fifth "core" course and consequent re-structuring of B.A. program requirements, the creation of a 1000-level literature course open to freshmen, and the creation of a 3000-level course in literary theory.  These proposed courses will join university approved new offerings in Native American Literatures at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and an "in process" new undergraduate offering in Southern literature. This year the department also received approval for a Certificate in Professional Communication, an innovative program being offered entirely via the Internet.

At its last faculty meeting, the department also recognized a number of faculty for their positive contributions.  Awarded the departmental Research Award were soon-to-be Associate Professor Margaret Bauer and Professor Emeritus Malcolm South.  Awarded the departmental Service Award were Lecturer Lorraine Hale Robinson, Assistant Professor Reginald Watson, and soon-to-be Associate Professor Seodial Deena.  Recipient of the Bertie Fearing Excellence in Teaching Award was Professor Douglas McMillan.

To these award winners I would like to offer my congratulations; to all members of the department I would like to offer my thanks for the many positives that you brought to 1999-2000



In Print

Here's the roundup of recent faculty publications (no links this time--it seems everyone was too busy to provide them). In no particular order: 

<  Kirkland

Jim Kirkland has published two articles recently: "Between Sleep and Waking: The 'Old Hag' in Folk, Medical, and Literary Perspective," in MIDWEST FOLKLORE (25.1) and "The Tell-tale Heart as Evil Eye Event," in SOUTHERN FOLKLORE (56.2).

"The Chinese Diaspora: Language, Culture, and Identity," by Veronica C. Wang,  appears in the PROCEEDINGS OF THE 1997 INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON LANGUAGE AND TEACHING, Beijing- Hangzhou, October 5-14, 1997. 

C.W. Sullivan III's entry, "Cashman, Denis B. (1842-1897)" has just been published in THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF IRISH IN AMERICA, University of Notre Dame Press, 1999 (127).  Sullivan is currently editing Cashman's diary and poems for publication.

<   Hursey

New work by Brett Hursey has recently appeared in NC ACADEME, RIVERRUN, POTPOURRI, and RED CEDAR REVIEW.  His poem "Man Shoots Mayor over Fifteen Dollar Water Bill before Making Getaway on Riding Lawnmower" was featured in the POTPOURRI Tenth Anniversary Edition.

Laura Micciche's review of (RE)VISIONING COMPOSITION TEXTBOOKS: CONFLICTS OF CULTURE, IDEOLOGY, AND PEDAGOGY (Xin Liu Gale and Fredric G. Gale, eds) appeared in the Winter 2000 JAC 20. 

Richard Taylor's "Goldsmith's First Vicar" was reprinted in LITERARY CRITICISM FROM 1400-1800 (Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 1999).  Taylor's article " 'A Small Pain in My Breast': Frances Burney's Mastectomy Letter as Literary Object"  appears in PROCEEDINGS OF THE THIRD NATIONAL WOMEN'S HEALTH AND RESEARCH CONFERENCE, ed. Leslie Sue Lieberman et al (Gainesville, Fl., 1999): 246-254.

H. Jacobs
<   H. Jacobs

THE DICTIONARY OF LITERARY BIOGRAPHY volume "American Women Prose Writers 1870-1920," co-edited by Heidi Jacobs, Jennifer Putzi, and Sharon M. Harris, has just been released; it includes essays by Tom Shields on Cristina Mena and Marie Farr on Anna Katherine Green.

"Coming to Composition, Or a Collaborative Metanarrative of Conversion and Subversion," by Dale Jacobs (with Kate Ronald) appeared in the Spring 2000 issue of COMPOSITION STUDIES (28.1). Jacobs also published "Teaching in Two Worlds: Critical Reflection and Teacher Change in the Writing Center" in the Spring 2000 NWP QUARTERLY (10-15).

" 'Elective Affinities': Language Contact in the Abstract Lexicon and Its Structural Consequences," an article by Agnes Bolonyai, has just appeared in THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BILINGUALISM's Special Issue "Testing a Model of Morpheme Classification with Language Contact Data" (C. Myers-Scotton and J. Jake, eds.). And . . . 


Panels & Presentations

<   Bolonyai

. . . segueing smoothly into the next section, Agnes Bolonyai gave her paper "Preverbs in Language Contact: Evidence from American Hungarian Among Bilingual Children" at the 45th Annual Conference of the International Linguistic Association, Georgetown University, Washington DC, 7-8 April, 2000.

Michele Sharp presented "William Wordsworth at Tintern Abbey: Elegy and the Anxiety of Going Public" at the 1999 MLA Convention in Chicago, December 1999.

Margaret Bauer read a paper on "Ellen Gilchrist's Women Who Would be Queens (and Those Who Would Dethrone Them)" at the biennial meeting of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature in Orlando, FL, on 8 April 2000.  On March 16th, at the invitation of Sigma Tau Delta and the English Department of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Bauer gave "Ellen Gilchrist's Rebellious Debutantes," a lecture adapted from her book, THE FICTION OF ELLEN GILCHRIST.

As usual, the department was well represented at three major springtime conferences: 

At the Twenty-first International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Fort Lauderdale, FL, March 22-26, 2000 . . .

Jim Kirkland presented " 'To Sleep, Perchance to Dream....': the Nightmare in Folklore, Medicine, and Literature." 

Jim Holte presented "He's Looking at You, Kid: Dracula and Hypnotism." 

<   Palumbo

Donald Palumbo presented "Reiterated Plots and Themes in Asimov's Robot Novels: Getting Away With Murder and Overcoming Programming." Palumbo also participated in a panel discussion on "Publishing Fantastic Scholarship" as Series Advisor to Greenwood Press's "Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy" series, chaired the session on "Computer Games: New Ways of Reading the Fantastic," and participated in the IAFA Roundtable Luncheon as a former president of the sponsoring association. 

C.W. Sullivan III chaired a panel and made a presentation; both were entitled "J.R.R. Tolkien: The Father of Us All." The panel of editors, authors, and critics discussed the ways in which the current popularity of fantasy literature can be traced to the paperback publication of THE HOBBIT and LORD OF THE RINGS in the mid-1960s.

. . . while at the Conference on College Composition and Communication in Minneapolis, April 2000. . .

D. Jacobs
<   D. Jacobs

Dale Jacobs gave "Being There: Negotiating Emotional Space in the Classroom." 

Laura Micciche presented her paper "Teaching and Disappointment." 

Pat and Resa Bizzaro gave "Men As Cautious Feminists: Three Comments and Two Responses." Pat also spoke on "Men As Cautious Feminists: An Introduction to Men in Feminism in Composition Studies," and Resa lectured at the Women's Caucus on "Composition Pedagogy in the 60's and Early 70's: Three Women's Personal Narratives."

<   Taylor

Richard Taylor presented "The Personal is Professional: What is a Feminist Pedagogy in a Man's Composition Classroom?" 

. . . and at the 30th Popular Culture Association annual conference in New Orleans, April 19-22 . . .

Don Palumbo served as the Film Area Chair (having scheduled seventeen Film Area Panels and over sixty papers on film) and also participated on the "Publish Your Scholarly Work in Greenwood Press and Femspec" panel--again, as Series Advisor to Greenwood Press's "Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy" series. 

<   Wang

And Veronica C. Wang presented her paper, "Memory and Representation in Asian American Literature."

The Robinson Roundup: In March, Lillian Robinson guest lectured on "Women's Studies Past, Present and Future," at Concordia University, Montréal, and gave "Mixed Company: Race, Rape, and Representation," at Florida International University. In April, Robinson guest lectured on "The Salt of the Earth: Feminism and the Cold War" at the City University of New York Graduate Center; gave "Strangers on a Train: Race and Gender in the Scottsboro Defense," at City College of New York; and presented a paper, "Dorothy Allison: Telling a Story that Cannot be Told," at the Annual Meeting of the Southeast Women's Studies Association in Boone, NC.

<   Baldwin

Karen Baldwin and Ernest Marshall (Emeritus, Philosophy) presented a paper entitled "Aesthetics & the Artist's Performance of Self: The Art Yards of Horace Byrd and Charles 'Birdman' Miller," at Visceral and Virtual: Performance from Myth to Millennium, a conference held in Tempe, Arizona, 9-12 March 2000 (co-sponsored by Performance Studies International and Arizona State University).  To see photos of Byrd's and Miller's art, click here


Awards & Appointments 

As we went to press, TCR had just learned that C.W. Sullivan III was one of six recipients of the UNC Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award at the Teaching Awards ceremony on 3 May 2000.

Seodial Deena has been awarded a NEH Summer Seminar on the "Decolonization of the British Empire," July 10-August 18, 2000, at the University of Texas at Austin.

Andrea House, Technical and Professional Communications graduate student and president of the ECU Student Chapter of STC, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship to attend the 47th STC International Conference (May 21-24 in Orlando, FL).

<   Holte

At the March 22-26 IAFA conference (see above) Jim Holte was elected to the Lord Ruthven Assembly Literary Awards Committee.

Margaret Bauer has been elected to the Executive Council of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature.

Pat Bizzaro has been invited to be Visiting Scholar Researcher in Rhetoric and Technical Communications this summer at Michigan Technological University, and to serve as faculty member for the Institute on Technical Communication in Jackson, MS. 

At the April 26th faculty meeting, a number of departmental awards were presented:

The Departmental Service Award Committee--Marie Farr (chair), Seodial Deena, and Mary Katherine Thornton --gave three awards: one to Seodial Deena "in recognition of service to the Department of English, particularly in Multicultural Literature, to the academic profession, and to the promotion of international exchange"; one to Reggie Watson "in recognition of service to the Department of English, to the students of ECU, and to Greenville and Pitt County, in particular for creative endeavors publicizing minority experience"; and one to Lorraine H. Robinson "in recognition of tireless service to the Department of English, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and the ECU community."

The Departmental Teaching Award Committee--Jim Holte (chair), Ron Hoag, Bruce Southard, Sandy Tawake, and James Anderson (grad student member)--awarded the Annual Bertie Fearing Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching to Douglas McMillan. Finalists for the award were Mike Hamer, Brett Hursey, Dale Jacobs, Jim Kirkland, Mike Parker, Barri Piner, C.W. Sullivan III, McKay Sundwall, Luke Whisnant and Denise Woods

The Departmental Research / Creative Activity Award Committee--Tom Douglass (chair), Patrick Bizzaro, and Sherry Southard --gave two awards: one to Margaret Bauer for her book THE FICTION OF ELLEN GILCHRIST, and one to Malcolm South for his book THE JESUITS AND THE JOINT MISSION TO ENGLAND DURING 1580-1581. According to a member of the committee, "Jim Holte was a close third for six articles and the editorship of THE JOURNAL OF THE FANTASTIC IN THE ARTS." 



cast of Trifles
<   The cast of Trifles

Cheryl Dudasik-Wiggs (not pictured), Lillian Robinson, Marie Farr, Robin Martin, and Richard Taylor (left to right) participated in a reading of Susan Glaspess's play "Trifles," Wednesday, May 3, 2000 in GCB. The performance was sponsored by the Women's Studies Program.

This semester five graduate students from the Department-- Lynn Frye, Jennifer Karasow, Jenny Leonard, Shau-Ann Longsworth, and Kitty Sauls--have been serving as grant writers and researchers for a volunteer organization called ECU Grants Outreach Network. The mission of this group was to help municipalities in eastern North Carolina identify and apply for grants to fund short-term flood recovery efforts as well as long term economic development projects. Currently the students are helping the Scotland Neck Library Board in their efforts to build an addition to the library and the Patillo School in Tarboro to address a variety of needs for students and their families.

The Arizona Birding Report: Karen Baldwin reports that "even without birding any of the 'hotspot' sewage treatment ponds (birders go where the birds are!)," on their recent conference trip she and Ernie managed to identify 107 species, including Pyrrhuloxia, Phainopela ("no, these are not names of embarrassing skin disorders"), Vermilion Flycatcher, and Greater Roadrunner. Baldwin says: "The 'trophy' bird was an over-wintering adult male Elegant Trogon, a species sacred to Mayan people." (Click on the link to see a photo).

The technical and professional communication website has been extensively revised by Sherry Southard, and now includes information about undergraduate programs, the MA, and the online Certificate.  Also new is a website for the online (post-baccalaureate) Certificate in Professional Communication designed and created by Philip Rubens. Click on the links to visit these sites.

Farewell to Lillian Robinson, who has accepted a position heading the Simone de Beauvoir Institute (women's studies research and teaching) at Concordia University in Montréal.


From the Editor 
Luke Whisnant

<   Shannon

As some of you know, senior English major Shannon Meek had been my student for the past three semesters; we were doing a directed readings this spring when she was killed. As a memorial, I've set up a website where friends, classmates, and teachers can share their memories of Shannon; I've also posted some of her work, and details of the creative writing award we're establishing in her name. If you have a few words to add to the site, please email me. To visit, click here: Shannon Meek Memorial.

The next issue of The Common Reader will be published in early September; there will be a call for copy around the last week of August. Please hold all news and notes until then.


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