Inaugural Higgs Reading Held
On April 3, 2013, the Department of Literature & Language celebrated the release of the 40th Anniversary edition of The Mockingbird with the inaugural event in the Jack Higgs Reading Series, sponsored by The Mockingbird. The evening featured poets Marilyn Kallet and Arthur Smith, both of the University of Tennessee. Marilyn Kallet is the author of sixteen books, including The Love That Moves Me, Packing Light: New and Selected Poems, Circe, After Hours, and The Big Game. Kallet directs the creative writing program at the University of Tennessee, where she is also Professor of English. She teaches poetry workshops in Auvillar, France, for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Arthur Smith's first book of poems, Elegy on Independence Day, was awarded the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and was selected by the Poetry Society of American to receive the Norma Farber First Book Award. He is the author of two other collections of poetry: The Late World and The Fortunate Era. His work has been honored with a "Discovery"/The Nation Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, and he was selected as the Theodore Morrison Fellow in Poetry for the 1987 Bread Loaf Writer's Conference. He served two terms as an advisory member of the Tennessee Arts Commission Literary Panel, and he is Professor of English at the University of Tennessee. Those gathered enjoyed a fine evening, and our second event of the series is now in the works. (Pictured: Jesse Graves, Arthur Smith, Marilyn Kallett, Catherine Childress, Robert "Jack" Higgs, Thomas Alan Holmes. Photo courtesy of Laura Kappel)
Novelist Tayari Jones Visits ETSU Campus
On Thursday, February 28, from 6:00-8:00 p.m.,Tayari Jones, author of The Untelling and Leaving Atlanta, read from her new novel, Silver Sparrow, at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City, Tennessee, in an event sponsored by the ETSU Women's Resour
ce Center, the Office of Equity and Diversity, and the Department of Literature & Language. Jones was a member of our English faculty during the 2003-2004 academic year.
Jones was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and much of her writing centers on the urban South. "Although I now live in the Northeast," she explains, "my imagination lives in Atlanta." She asserts her role as a Southern writer although she writes of urban settings, working to expand popular conceptions of what it means to write "Southern." Her first novel, Leaving Atlanta, a coming-of-age story set against the city's infamous African American child murders of 1979–81, won the Hurston/Wright Award for debut fiction. Her second novel, The Untelling, about a family struggling to overcome the aftermath of a fatal car accident, received the Lillian C. Smith Book Awa
rd from the Southern Regional Council and the University of Georgia Libraries. Upon the publication of Silver Sparrow, the Village Voice wrote, "Tayari Jones is fast defining black middle-class Atlanta the way that Cheever did for Westchester."
Spain Provides Long-Term Funds for Dr. Robert Sawyer as Co-Investigator for Shakespeare Project
Working with 12 other researchers led by Dr. Clara Calvo of the University of Murcia, Spain, Dr. Robert Sawyer of East Tennessee State University's Department of Literature and Language has been involved with a group award from the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (Ministry of Science and Innovation) in Madrid, Spain.The three-year grant, which ends this year, awarded 105,000 Euros or $140,000 for a project entitled "Cultures of Commemoration II: Remembering Shakespeare."
Meeting regularly in Europe and the U.S., the group has published a number of essays in various publications, including a special issue of the journal Critical Survey in late 2010. Sawyer's essay, "From Jubilee to Gala: Remembrance and Ritual Commemoration," was part of that collection.
Most recently, the researchers met in 2012 at the 23rd annual Spanish and Portuguese Society for English Renaissance Studies in Seville, Spain, where Sawyer read a paper, "King Shakespeare: Carlyle, Commemoration and Performative Utterances." He also served as a judge for the graduate student essays presented at the meeting. In March, he will chair a panel entitled "Charting Collaborative Commemorations" at the same conference to be held this year in Huelva, Spain.
His presentations in Spain have also enabled Sawyer to begin publishing in Spanish journals. This month, his essay "Re-Reading Greene's Groatsworth of Wit" will appear in Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses (Alicante Journal of English Studies).
Three Emerging Appalachian Novelists Appear at ETSU
The ETSU student literary organization, Literati, sponsored a day of new Appalachian fiction Wednesday, September 5. The event, billed as "3 Emerging Novelists," featured New York Times bestselling author Wiley Cash (A Land More Kind than Home, William Morrow); Bulls Gap, TN, native Amy Greene (Bloodroot, Vintage); and Asheville writer Charles Dodd White (Lambs of Men, Casperian).
The novelists offered an afternoon round table discussion for the benefit of aspiring student writers and then that evening presented a fiction reading with a question-and-answer session immediately following. Congratulations to Literati for hosting such a successful event and providing the opportunity to see such talented authors in the early stages of their careers.
Graves Wins Arts & Sciences New Faculty Award for 2011-2012
Literature and Language Department Assistant Professor Jesse Graves has received the New Faculty Award from the College of Arts & Sciences during its spring 2012 meeting. In noting Dr. Graves' achievements in his brief association with ETSU, Dean Gordon Anderson reiterated Professor Don Johnson's description of Dr. Graves' accomplishments as teacher, scholar, and artist as well as his catalyst-like effect on the rest of our department's faculty. Congratulations to Dr. Graves for his richly deserved recognition!
The Dr. Karen L. Cajka Memorial Scholarship Endowment
The establishment of The Dr. Karen L. Cajka Memorial Scholarship Endowment is to provide scholarship assistance to deserving students enrolled in the Literature and Language Department and/or Women’s Studies Program at East Tennessee State University. This endowment is created to provide funding for students of merit in memory and in honor of Dr. Karen Cajka, late Associate Professor of English and Director of Women’s Studies.
The endowment is established by friends, family, students, and colleagues of Dr. Cajka who wish to show their appreciation for the time they were privileged to know her. Earned interest from the endowment will be used to assist students of merit in furthering their educational journeys as Dr. Cajka did for so many. The scholarship will be awarded for one academic year, distributed in two equal installments--one at the beginning of the Fall semester and the other at the beginning of the Spring semester.
Initial gifts in the amount of $2,500 from friends and family shall establish the endowment. Subsequent contributions, including planned gifts, from family and friends shall be encouraged.
The scholarship committee shall consider the following criteria in awarding scholarships. Each applicant must:
As the scholarship completes its stages of establishment, the Department of Literature and Language will invite submissions from qualified students.
Students Collect Funds for Cjaka Memorial Bench
Students from the Women's Studies Program and the Department of Literature and Language have initiated a project for a tangible memorial to Dr. Karen Cajka and are raising funds for a bench to be placed on campus in her honor. We have chosen a bench that we think Karen would like and have secured permission from Facilities to place it in the open area between the Campus Center building and Ball Hall. Sigma Tau Delta and FMLA-Vox are contributing funds from their book and food sales but are going to need help in reaching the estimated cost of $800 for the bench, shipping, and a memorial plaque. We invite contributions to the special account that has been set up for this sole purpose. Checks can be made out to ETSU, with "Karen Cajka Memorial Bench" in the memo line, and sent to Pat Buck (Advisor of FMLA-Vox) c/o Literature and Language, Box 70683.
"The Literature of Prescription" Panel: April 19, 2012
East Tennessee State University's James H. Quillen College of Medicine will held a reception and panel discussion Thursday, April 19, for "The Literature of Prescription," an exhibit that tells the story of Charlotte Perkins Gilman ("The Yellow Wall-Paper"), a feminist author whose writing challenged a harrowing medical treatment for women in the late 20th century. The panelists for Thursday's talk are Patricia Buck, Susan Elaine, and Dr. Phyllis Thompson, all of whom have expertise in women's issues of literature, medicine and mental health. For more information, read the press release here.
Classical Studies Minor Created
The Department of Literature and Language now offers a minor in Classical Studies, our most recently developed program, providing undergraduates at ETSU a platform for the study of the languages, literatures and culture of ancient Greece, Rome, the Latin Middle Ages, and the Jewish and Christian societies of the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East. This minor is under the direction of Dr. Thomas Crofts, who, with Charles Cave, teaches Greek and Latin in regular rotation. Grounded in the study of one of three languages—Ancient Greek, Latin, or Hebrew—and inter-disciplinary by nature, the Classical Studies Minor offers a rigorous, well-rounded course which, in the best tradition of the liberal arts, complements any major field of study at ETSU.
The study of classical languages is itself one of the most effective ways to sharpen English skills, giving polish to spelling, syn-tax, and style, and illuminating the rules of grammar.
With a requirement of two semesters of language study at the 2000 level, and one required special topics course, the minor allows the student to pursue nine further credits of electives, taking courses in art, philosophy, history, religion, and literature. Thus, within its own set of requirements, the minor may be shaped to the particular interests of the student. For more information, contact Dr. Thomas Crofts (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Ms. Kathleen Grover Designated "Notable Woman of ETSU"
On November 16, 2011, our colleague Kathleen H. Grover, Assistant Professor of English, was selected along with Dr. Marie Tedesco, Professor of History and Director of the Liberal Studies Program, to be designated one of the "Notable Women of ETSU," an annual ceremony presented by the Women's Studies Program. You can view a video of her acceptance speech here.
After earning her masters degree in English from Memphis State University, Ms. Grover joined the ETSU faculty in 1976. She has been an active member of Faculty Senate, she has served as advisor for an uncountable number of students, and she has become a most sought-after instructor by students in the English program.Congratulations to our valued colleague, Ms. Grover!
Dr. Michael Cody, an Americanist in the Department of Literature and Language, received a 2011 Student Choice Award for his service as the Director of the University Honors Scholars Program and Midway Honors Scholars Program. Dalton Collins, President of the Student Government Association, presented the 2011 Student Choice Awards as part of the Centennial Celebration Ceremony on Monday, Oct. 10, which commemorated ETSU’s 100th anniversary. Our department is pleased to see Dr. Cody receive this richly deserved recognition.
Pictured are ETSU President Paul Stanton, Dr. Michael Cody, and SGA President Dalton Collins.
Beginning in fall 2011, the Department of Literature and Language offers a minor in Linguistics, whose goal is to provide students with a distinct structured way of obtaining a foundation in the field, hence making them competitive for graduate study in linguistics and for graduate study and/or employment in fields where linguistics is a valued area, such as computer science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and communications.
The linguistics faculty has designed courses to provide students with a better understanding of the structure, history, and use of language. Students graduating with a linguistic minor will be able to, among other things, explain the core concepts of the field, explain and apply the traditional methods of linguistic analysis in the core fields, identify features common to all human languages and identify social and political issues in which knowledge of linguistics is salient.
|The Department of Literature and Language is pleased to announce that our administrative assistant, Ms. Deanna Bryant, received the ETSU Career Staff Award. This annual award recognizes outstanding service and dedication to the university, and there is no question in our department that Ms. Bryant is deserving. A graduate of ETSU, she has earned a BA with a biology/math double major, and she has recently completed a master's degree in counseling with a higher education concentration. She is pictured with ETSU President Paul Stanton during the May 2011 award presentation.|
The April 2011 online issue of A! Magazine for the Arts, features four Literature and Language students, Brian Bowman, Catherine Childress, Samuel Church, and Adam Lambert. Please follow the hyperlinks to learn more about them. These student poets have enjoyed a great deal of success of late. Bowman's poem, "Spaces," also appears in the print edition of A! Samuel Church has a poem that will appear in an upcoming issue of Now and Then. Both he and Adam Lambert placed in the top three in a contest sponsored by the Tennessee Poetry Society, Northeast Chapter. Lambert and Childress both placed in Knoxville’s Old Gray Poetry Society “Portraits of the Past” contest. Finally, Childress has placed a poem in an upcoming issue of The Connecticut Review.
|On April 14 at 4:00 p.m. at the Reese Museum on the ETSU campus, the Department of Appalachian Studies and the Department of Literature and Language will host a premiere reception for The Southern Poetry Anthology Volume III: Contemporary Appalachia. This recent volume in the Southern Poetry Anthology Series, co-edited by ETSU assistant professor Jesse Graves, Paul Ruffin, and series editor William Wright, features the work of approximately eighty writers with voices Graves refers to as "diverse and multilayered." Contributors to this volume participating in the reading include Graves, Jane Hicks, Thomas Alan Holmes, Don Johnson, Ted Olson, and Rita Sims Quillen. The event is open to the public; copies of the book will be available, and refreshments will be served.|
It would come as no surprise that, as a scholar of Shakespeare at East Tennessee State University, Dr. Robert Sawyer would be drawn to the story of Christine Burleson’s life, with its classic Shakespeare markers: unrequited love, ghostly haunting, and suicide. But in launching a research project on her life and death, Sawyer set out not to draw parallels between Burleson’s life and a Shakespearean tragedy, but to dispel them. Sawyer, an ETSU professor of language and literature, will did just that when he presented his research findings, "Rest, rest, perturbed spirit." You can learn more about this project here.
|A recent issue of the weeklin online alternative newspaper, The Volunteer Review, features an interview with Literature and Language Department Assistant Professor Jesse Graves. In the interview, Graves discusses qualities of Appalachian and Southern literature, the influence of environmental concerns and his studies in philosophy on his creative work, and the need for new poets to "read broadly." According to Graves, "poems don’t always arrive in complete form, and . . . catching the fragments of experience before they get away can lead to all kinds of interesting discoveries when you look back at them.: You can find the complete interview here.|
Image from http://www.ncliteraryfestival.org/page/graves-jesse
The Department of Literature and Language regularly hosts a poetry/spoken word open mic event at the Acoustic Coffeehouse ("Next Door"), 415 West Walnut Street, Johnson City, Tennessee. The Open Mic will follow this format:
On October 29, 2010, Dr. Robert Sawyer's ENGL 2210 (British Literature I) students dressed as figures from works ranging from Beowulf to King Lear. You can find more of the students' innovative costumes here.
The Tennessee Board of Regents approved a new language minor in Mandarin Chinese, offered by the Department of Literature and Language beginning in January 2011. Ms. Lijuan Cao will direct the minor. For more information, visit our Chinese language page.
The Center for Appalachian Studies and Services and the ETSU Department of Literature and Language hosted a poetry reading by Jeff Daniel Marion and Linda Parsons Marion on Thursday, October 21. Jeff Daniel Marion, a native of Rogersville, Tennessee, has published eight poetry collections, and he currently serves as the Jack E. Reese Writer-in-Residence for the University of Tennessee Libraries. Linda Parsons Marion is the author of two poetry collections, and she served as the poetry editor for ETSU's Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine for fourteen years. The Parsons concluded the evening with a question-and-answer period, followed by a book signing.
On July 1, a new academic unit--the Department of Literature and Language--was introduced at East Tennessee State University. Housed within the College of Arts and Sciences, it represents a merger of the Departments of English and Foreign Languages as well as the Women’s Studies program.
“This move unites common academic interests among many of our English and language faculty, particularly in the areas of linguistics and comparative literature,” said Dr. Judith Slagle, who chaired the former ETSU Department of English. “As a result, this shared expertise will open new doors for ways our current offerings can be enhanced and also allow for the development of additional classes and programs of study, including a new classical Greek course that begins this fall.”
Slagle, who serves as chair of the new Department of Literature and Language, says potential areas for faculty collaboration include foreign language films and the film studies minor program; linguistics and English as a Second Language (ESL) certification and instruction; and classical studies, which Slagle hopes could be developed into a degree minor in the upcoming semesters.
In addition to the Women’s Studies program, the department will oversee ETSU’s graduate certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language and the new graduate certificate in Healthcare Translation and Interpreting, which was approved earlier this spring and is funded through the Stimulus Buc$ Challenge.
Other programs of study are the BA and MA degrees in English, minors in technical writing and film studies, and a BA degree in foreign languages, with concentrations in French, Spanish, and German, minors in Applied Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese, and course offerings in Latin and Greek.
Once the merger is complete, the Department of Literature and Language will include more than 35 full-time faculty members. Students in these programs will continue to have their same academic advisers, and faculty offices will remain in the same location.
Slagle said immediate action plans for the new department include reassessing the foreign language placement policy for high school students and creating a staffing plan to incorporate post-doctoral fellows as instructors for some language courses.
English faculty Fred Waage and Virginia Renner led a senior/graduate international course, "Literary Ireland," in Ireland during the pre-summer session, 2010. They traveled by van from three different bases: hostels in Ennis, Cork, and Dublin. As well as visiting sites with deep literary associations such as Coole Park and the "monastic city" of Glendalough, they participated in a "medieval feast" in Dunguare Castle and saw both a beautiful production of the classic folk legend "The Children of Lir" at the Irish Folk Theatre in Tralee and a new play about travellers and ethnic difference at the Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar, Dublin.
We hope to post images of their adventures soon.
The Department of Literature and Language at East Tennessee State University will host the fifth annual Southern Appalachian Student Conference on Literature, to take place on Saturday, September 24, 2011. This day-long event will permit undergraduate upperclassmen and graduate students the opportunity to present their literary research to peers from colleges and universities in the southern Appalachian region, providing them professional experience as they pursue their studies.
Please visit the SASCOL site.
East Tennessee State University welcomed participants in the 36th annual conference of the Southeastern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Hearty conference participants braved the brisk February weather to enjoy a weekend of exploring period art, drama, printing, music, history, religion, and social issues. Plenaries included presentations on British drama by Jean Marsden and on Scottish fiddle music by Jane MacMorran. Other special presentations included a theatrical production of Tartuffe that was preceded by an informal chat with Freyda Thomas, who served as translator of this adaptation of Molière's play, as well as a concert of period Appalachian music. Thanks to all the participants.
Please visit our SEASECS 2010 site.
A news release from Appalachian State University notes that "Dr. Elaine O'Quinn, a professor in Appalachian State University's Department of English, has received the Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence. O'Quinn is one of 17 faculty members from the multi-campus University of North Carolina to receive the honor. Each award winner will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $7,500 cash prize. She also will be recognized during the May commencement for Appalachian's College of Arts and Sciences." Dr. O'Quinn received her PhD from Virginia Tech after receiving her BA and MA from East Tennessee State University.
Congratulations to ETSU alumna English major/Theatre minor Jessica Gilly, who has begun her PhD at the University of Manchester. Gilly excelled in her studies here and won a "best presentation" award for the 2008 SASCOL conference. Congratulations!
The Department of Literature and Language is pleased to announce our student awards presented this spring:
Congratulations to these students for their fine achievements!
Literature and Language Department members Katherine Weiss and Phyllis Thompson have won awards from the College of Arts & Sciences for the 2010-2011 academic year. Thompson has received recognition for her service to the college, and Weiss has won an award for her scholarship. Weiss will represent A&S as a nominee for the university-wide research award. Congratulations to them both!