Dear English Department community,
Welcome back, and a special welcome to newly declared English majors just joining us for the first time! Given how isolated we all have been since covid-19 erupted this past winter, it feels especially good to reconnect this fall, albeit virtually.
My work as the chair of the Department of English has heightened my awareness of all that we have to offer to our students. We are a department of vibrant scholars and committed teachers who care deeply about our students and about the world we inhabit together. Reading the written commentary shared by our graduating seniors last spring affirmed this sense. On our virtual bulletin board students expressed their deep appreciation for the power of language instilled by their course work; they described their professors as beacons of hope and pillars of fortitude. We feel similarly about you all of course, and can’t wait to embark on another academic year together.
Yes, we have another semester of online learning in front of us, but faculty and graduate students have spent substantial time this summer taking workshops designed to help us make full use of the tools available to us on Blackboard. This past summer, led by Professor Annie Liontas, we embarked on a program of shared reading as part of a community building effort, starting with Gabriel Bump’s fabulous debut novel Everywhere You Don’t Belong. Stay tuned for more information on our next collective read. We will also host a wide range of departmental events this year, beginning with a reading by Cutter Wood, this year’s Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Residence. His reading will take place on Thursday September 10th at 6:30 pm. Links to this event will be sent out a few days in advance, so be on the lookout for that.
That event will be followed by an enhanced version of our annual Shakespeare Lecture. This year we will feature two Shakespeare scholars, Joyce Green MacDonald and Ambereen Dadabhoy, each presenting work on Shakespeare and adaptation and engaging in dialogue with one another and with us. This event will be held at 3:00 pm Eastern time on Friday Sept 18th. Stay tuned for more details, including the titles of their talks and information about opportunities to pre- or post-screen “Haider,” a 2014 Indian adaptation of “Hamlet” produced and directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur, and co-written by Basharat Peer.
Another exciting event for the fall will feature important and incredibly timely work of literature scholar Sal Nicolazzo, whose book Vagrant Figures: Law, Literature, and the Origins of the Police explores the important role of eighteenth-century literary treatments of policing and vagrancy. Professor Nicolazzo offers a prehistory of police legitimacy in a period that predates the establishment of the modern police force. Details on the time and date for this event will be shared as soon as they are available.
We will use all tools available to us to communicate, but rely on you to check your email regularly and, if possible, to follow us on our blog (https://gwenglish.blogspot.com/), on twitter (@gwengl, on facebook (@GWUEnglish) and on Instagram (gwuenglish). Finally, I am available the old-fashioned way. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns or to schedule a phone call or meeting. All the very best for a rewarding academic year. Sincerely, Maria Frawley