Department Annual Report 2008-09

Every year the English Department reports on its progress and achievements to the university. I thought readers of this blog might enjoy the glimpse it yields of the year that was.


CCAS Department Annual Report 2008-09

IA Undergraduate studies

* Majors, minors, double majors
Majors: 191 in English, 10 in English and Creative Writing; minors 26; double majors 3 (fall 2008)

* WID courses offered
We taught 58 WID courses in the fall, and 48 WID courses in the spring, many at the introductory level. The classes range in size from 15 to 90. The English Department is clearly a university leader in WID.

Dean’s Seminars offered
1. Kathy Lawrence, “American Coming of Age”
2. James Miller, “D.C. Renaissance: Black Culture”
3. H. G. Carrillo, “Evil”
4. Ormond Seavey, “Inquiries, Stories, Histories”
5. Tom Mallon, “Abraham Lincoln”
6. Maria Frawley, “Jane Austen, Literary Icon”

Undergraduate research (Luther Rice, Gamow)
• Rajiv Menon, “Regionalism and South Indian Lit. in English (Judith Plotz)
• Edward O’Neil “Henry James and the City of Boston” (Kathy Lawrence)
• Samantha Barry, “Inquiry into Victory Garden Culture” (Gayle Wald)

*Independent study and capstone enrollment
Honors seminar: 12 students
Honors thesis: 12 students
Independent study: 6 students
Creative Writing Senior Thesis: 4 students
5 year BA/MA: 5 students

Other undergraduate research
• Reed Cooley presented a paper at the DC Queer Studies Symposium at the University of Maryland
• Rajiv Menon published two articles (“Unheard Protests and Silent Acceptance: Modern Indian Cinematic Representations of Subaltern Women, Wide Screen (April 2009): 1-9; “Gaining Imperial Paradise: Reading and Rewriting Paradise Lost in Colonial Bengal,” Nebula: A Journal of Multidisciplinary Scholarship). Rajiv also presented two papers and has one more accepted for October (“Scripting Ethnicity: Indian Film and the Concept of ‘Regional Races,’” 2009 Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Meeting, New Orleans, April 2009; “Hindutva 2.0: Hindu Fundamentalism and User-Driven Internet Media”, “States of Violence: Representations of Conflict in The Film, Fiction, and Media of South Asia”, University of Washington, Seattle, February 2009; “Regionalism Outside of the Region: Postcolonial Nationalism and Diasporic Indian Tamil Identity”, 2009 Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison, October 2009)

Undergraduate accomplishments
• Josie Price won the Academy of American Poets College Poetry Prize ($100) and the GW Student Poetry Prize ($500)
• Nada Shawish was fully funded for the PhD program at Michigan State
• Amy Katzel was accepted into the MFA program at the University of Maryland
• Taylor Brown was accepted at Columbia University and Northwestern in English
• Beth Lattin, Columbia University M Ed Program in Math
• Leah M. Webster, MA Creative Writing Temple
• Hayley Mirek, University College London MA International Public Policy
• Michael Fauver, MFA program at Iowa (most competitive MFA program in US)

We had twelve internships during the year and one more over the summer. A sampling:
• Emily Anderson, internship at Heinemann Publishing
• Laura Henry, CQ Press
• Carolyn Kerchof, Congressman Arthur Davis’s gubernatorial campaign in Birmingham, Alabama (received GW’s Shapiro Public Service Award to do this)
• Andrea Jo DeWerd, Summer Youth Program at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis
• Emily Ziobrowski Corcoran Gallery
• Georgia Bobley Washington Life magazine
• Caitie Craumer National Geographic
• Julie Braunschweiger VH1 studios
• Laura Masterson Sanford J. Greenburger (literary agents, New York)
• Hayley Mirek National Portrait Gallery

Unique offerings
• Fifteen students took an advanced creative writing course in fiction with Pulitzer prize winning novelist Edward P. Jones
• Twelve students participated in a one credit, one month book club with Mr. Jones, in which he read his favorite novels with them
• Twelve students participated in a one credit, one month book club with Suhayl Saadi, our GW-British Council Writer in Residence
• Six students enrolled in the GW-Folger Undergraduate Research Seminar on the History of the Book
• Fifteen students took a course in screenwriting comedy with alumnus Jason Filardi, who wrote Bringing Down the House and Seventeen Again. The course was visited by Hollywood directors and actors.
• Twelve students accompanied alumnus Malcolm O’Hagan on a tour of the Library of Congress’s rare books collection
• Robert McRuer introduced a new course on Transnational LGBT Film that included a week’s stay in Prague for the students
• The GW Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute offered an undergraduate-directed speaker series integrated with English 40W (“Myths of Britain”) that enabled students to hear famous scholars speak about the new work they were doing on the texts read in the course
• David Bruce Smith funded Faye Moskowitz’s “Jewish Literature Live.” 35 students had the chance to meet six contemporary writers whose books they read as part of the course. Three of the authors also gave evening readings open to the public: Michael Chabon, Art Spiegelman, Anya Ulinich. The course has been funded for 2009-10 as well.

IB Graduate studies (doctoral, overall)

* Applications, admissions, enrollments, with GRE scores
• 77 applied, 32 accepted, 10 matriculated
• GRE: GREV 665, GREQ 612, GREW 5.1

* GTA support
• 8 GTA packages

*Tuition credit awards
• Nothing beyond GTA awards

Other graduate support
• Two students secured WID support
• Three students are Writing Preceptors
• One student supported from the Violet McCandlish fund
• One student held a Women’s Leadership fellowship at Mt. Vernon

Graduate student research
• English graduate students are doing research in Early Modern literature, African American literature, Post-Colonial Literature, British and American 19th century literature, and trauma studies.

Graduate student accomplishments
• Amber Vasquez presented at “Bodies in Motion,” an inter-disciplinary grad conference at the University of Rhode Island in March.
• Julia McCrossin was co-chair at the National Popular Culture of America Conference of 6 panels on fat studies scholarship; contributor to The Fat Studies Reader, which contains her paper “The Fat of the (Border)land: Food, Flesh, and Hispanic Masculinity in Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop” (NYU Press, 2009); book reviewer of Elena Levy-Navarro’s book The Culture of Obesity in Early and Late Modernity: Body Image in Shakespeare, Jonson, Middleton, and Skelton (The Journal of Popular Culture); has an accepted essay “Supersize Fetish” for the inaugural issue of Prefix, the online journal edited by GWU graduate students; has a paper “The Ectoplasmic Endomorph, or the Secret Tale of Kathy Bates’ Queer/Disabled Misery” accepted for an anthology entitled Spilling Over, exploring the intersection of queerness and fatness, edited by Jessica Giusti.
• Maureen Kentoff has a chapter for inclusion in the forthcoming Seeds of Change: Critical Essays on Barbara Kingsolver (University of Tennessee Press)
• Julie Donovan published Sydney Owenson and the Politics of Style.
• Three students presented paper at the APCS Conference at Rutgers October 26 2008. They presented together on a panel entitled “The Ethics of Recognition in Clinical and Social Processes” (Anton Trinidad, Duc Nguyen, Natalie Carter)
• Marilena Zackheos co-founded and set up “Prefix,” an academic/literary journal for GW English grad students, and presented a conference paper at NeMLA.
• Rachel Vorona had a paper on Moll Flanders and gender accepted for the Defoe Society conference taking place this September.
• Natalie Carter’s paper “A Voice of One’s Own: An Analysis of Maria’s Voice and Silence in Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls” won Honorable Mention for Outstanding Paper Presented by a Graduate Student at the College English Association conference
• Elizabeth Pittman and Constance Woodard became members of the Bouchet Society – a National Honor Society for PhD students working on African-American topics
• Lowell Duckert, Gabriella Wyatt, and Nedda Mehdizedah presented at the prestigious Shakespeare Association of America conference

Placement of graduates
• One student finished a doctorate this year and was hired by Saint Anslem College Vermon as a tenure track Asst. Professor in Post-Colonial literature.

IC Academic programs, signature programs

* US News and World Report ranking
• 71 (we rose 8 places)

Other national/international rankings

Media coverage
• Our media coverage has mostly been limited to in-house, GW media. We were in the Hatchet frequently, and had feature stories on our programs in Research magazine, in the alumni magazine, and in By George.
• Jane Shore appeared three times on NPR
• Gayle Wald interviewed twice by BBC

Participation in interdisciplinary initiatives
• The English Department is the guiding force behind the GW Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute; the Folger Undergraduate Research Seminar; and the GW-British Council Writer in Residence. We also sponsored a series of public readings in the spring in tandem with the Edward P. Jones residency and the Jewish Literature Live course. Two of these readings attracted 300 audience members.

II Graduate professional education programs (Masters)

* Applications, admissions, enrollments
• 22 applied, 10 admitted, 1 enrolled (NOTE: this year we have five new MA students via our new BA/MA program)
• GRE: GREV 621, GREQ 646, GREW 5.1

Graduate student accomplishments

Placement of graduates
• One MA to Berkeley PhD program, fully funded (she also had offers at Northwestern, Berkeley, Michigan, NYU, Rutgers)

IIIA Faculty

* New hires
• Gregory Pardlo, an accomplished African American poet, will join our faculty in the fall
• Novelist Edward Skoog is our new Jenny McKean Moore Writer in Residence

* Promotion and tenure
• Promotions to full professor: Tara Wallace, Maria Frawley, Robert McRuer

* Retirements, resignations

Faculty accomplishments
• Professor Herman Carrillo read from his fiction at the Folger as part of the PEN/Faulkner reading series opening gala. He taught in an all-day format at the Smithsonian as part of a Resident Associates’ program called “From Memory to Memoir: A Writer’s Guide.”
• Patrick Cook was nominated for the Trachtenberg prize in teaching
• Jeffrey Cohen is giving three keynote lectures: “Bodies in Motion / Mandeville, Defective” (plenary lecture Bodies, Embodiments, Becomings: The 34th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Medieval Association. Saint Louis, 2008); “Between Christian and Jew: Orthodoxy, Violence, and Living Together in Medieval England” (keynote lecture. International Medieval Conference, Leeds 2009); “The Future of the Jews of York” (plenary lecture, The York Massacre of 1190 in Context: Reassessing Relations between Jews and Others in Medieval England, York, England, 2010).
• Jane Shore has three times been featured on NPR

Faculty publications
• H. G. Carrillo’s “Andalucía” was published in Conjunctions as the final piece in “The Death Issue: Meditations on the Inevitable.” The story is ambitious, layered, allusive, rhythmical, jumpy, earnest, self-aware and generous. It explores and resuscitates a once frequently-treated topic, the death from HIV/AIDS of a gay man’s lover, and it is firmly set in Washington and environs.
• Jeffrey Cohen, “Time out of Memory.” The Post-Historical Middle Ages, ed. Sylvia Federico and Elizabeth Scala (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).
• Robert Combs, three book reviews
• Kavita Daiya published Violent Belongings (Temple University Press)
• Holly Dugan, “Shakespeare and the Senses” appeared this year in Literature Compass 6 (2009).
• Maria Frawley, a book review and a dictionary entry
• Robert Ganz, several book reviews in the Washington Times
• Jennifer Green-Lewis, “Teaching Victorian Literature in the Context of Photography,” Victorian Review 34
• Jonathan Gil Harris, Untimely Matter in the Time of Shakespeare (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009)
• Jonthan Hsy, book review
• Jennifer James, essay on Gwendolyn Brooks in Feminist Disability Studies (University of Illinois Press, 2009)
• Kathleen Lawrence, “Tragedies Upon Tragedies,” Ateneo Veneto (2007) and “Where’s Waldo?” The Journal Sculpture 2009.
• Antonio López, “Cosa de Blancos: Cuban-American Whitness and the Afro-Cuban-Occupied House,” Latino Studies (2009)
• Robert McRuer, “Shameful Sites: Locating Queerness and Disability,” Gay Shame, ed. Halperin and Traub (Chicago 2009).
• Kim Moreland, “Teaching Gtasby as American Culture-Hero,” Approaches to Teaching ‘The Great Gatsby’ (MLA, 2009)
• Gayle Wald, “Same Difference; Racial Masculinity in Hong Kong Cop Buddy ‘Hybrids’” Chinese Connections (2009)

Faculty national and international leadership
• Jeffrey Cohen is on the Advisory Board of postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies
• Pati Griffith serves Board of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
• Gil Harris serves as an MLA delegate and on an MLA divisional committee. He is also the associate editor of Shakespeare Quarterly.
• Evelyn Schreiber is Secretary of the Toni Morrison Society
• Gayle Wald composed an essay on Soul! for the WNET website

IIIB Research/scholarship/creative endeavors

* New research awards
• GW MEMSI is supported through the REF at $40,000/year for three years

Awards to faculty
• Gil Harris received the NEH Fellowship to spend a year at the Folger working on a book project
• Kathy Lawrence received the American Academy of Rome Visiting Fellowship
• Four faculty members have UFF awards for 2009-10: Jeffrey Cohen, Gayle Wald, Jennifer James, Antonio Lopez

Research culture: seminars, etc.
• Thanks to the new Wang Endowment, we have funding to bring visiting scholars to GW to present their work. We had two such visits this year and will start the series in earnest next year with a big lecture in disability studies tied to our second Wang Visiting Professor in Contemporary English Literature

IV Partnerships/community/alumni

Significant partnerships: DC and international
• We maintain partnerships with the Folger Library, the Corcoran, and the British Council

Alumni events
• We sponsored two successful alumni events: “Literature in a Global Age” with Suhayl Saadi in the fall (80 attendees) and “Knowing The Known World” in the spring (43 attendees). Alumni were a significant presence at the Edward Jones inaugural reading and the Michael Chabon reading as well.

Alumni newsletter (attach)
• We will likely do our first newsletter in the fall. Mainly we rely upon our popular blog and Facebook page.

V Infrastructure

Centers/institutes involving units
• The English Department houses the GW Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute

Space changes
• Using an endowment created by an alumnus, we are renovating Rome 771 (our seminar room) to enhance the technology and renew the space

VI Financial base

Development activities and accomplishments
• This year we put to use the Wang gift and saw an initial gift to fund the Jewish Literature Live course renewed.

Use of donor money
• Donor money funded the Wang Visiting Professor of Contemporary English Literature (Pulitzer prize winning novelist Edward P. Jones) in the spring, and will bring Latino studies scholar José Muñoz here in the fall
• David Bruce Smith funded a very successful run of Faye Moskowitz’s “Jewish Literature Live” course. He has pledged a second gift to fund the course again.
• Some money from the Wang Endowment will be used to bring a major lecture on disability studies to campus next year
• The Rose Memorial Endowment is being used to renovate our seminar room


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