Wednesday, April 20, 2016

English Department Students Present at URCA 2016

By Dr. Linda Joyce Brown

The Department of English was well represented at this year’s College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium, which was held April 12 in the John C. Meyers Convocation Center.

Four Creative Writing majors—Maggie Andrews, María Cardona, Emily Nieberding, and Garrison Stima—read from their work. Andrews, Cardona, and Stima were advised by Dr. Joe Mackall, and Nieberding was advised by Dr. Maura Grady.

Maggie Andrews reads her short story, "My Return to Route 77"
María Cardona notes that it can be difficult to choose a particular creative work to present. She eventually chose part of her historical novel, Lares, and found that sharing it was rewarding: “I loved being able to share my story with faculty and students, and the feedback I received afterwards was great!”

Maria Cardona reads from her historical novel Lares in traditional Puerto Rican garments
Garrison Stima had a similarly difficult but equally fulfilling process of choosing and revising a piece to present. Stima, who read from his nonfiction essay “My Tree House,” emphasizes that the experience of presenting at URCA can be ground-shifting for a writer. He notes, “the impact my stories have had on the people who’ve come to listen has easily been the most amazing and gratifying feeling of all. To have a person or group thank you for a connection they were able to make with your work is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever known.”

Department of English students also presented their scholarly research. Kouri Weber, an Integrated Language Arts major, and Alexandra Newhouse, who is studying Integrated Language Arts and Creative Writing, both presented original arguments in literary criticism. Weber, who was advised by Dr. Deborah Fleming, explored some of the differences between Ralph Waldo Emerson’s and Walt Whitman’s views of spirituality and nature. Newhouse, who was advised by Dr. Linda Joyce Brown, analyzed the illustrations in Willa Cather’s novel My Àntonia. Newhouse recommends that students who are interested in presenting at URCA choose a topic they are truly interested in. She explains, “While I loved the initial idea of my presentation, I didn't consider the fact that I would be spending time with it on not only my happy days, but also my grumpy I-don't-want-to-do-anything-today kind of days, and the only way to overcome that loss of motivation is if you have a topic that you are truly passionate about.”

Allie Newhouse presents her interpretation of the illustrations in Willa Cather’s novel My Àntonia 
Several other students affiliated with the Department presented at URCA. Dane Zunich, an English and Psychology double-major, studied how reliant people have become on the Internet to provide and store information. Joey Barretta, a minor in English, presented on Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.

Furthermore, two Department of English faculty sponsored projects by students who are majoring in other disciplines: Dr. Maura Grady advised Lucas Trott’s presentation, “Pressure and Time: A Critique of the American Penal System in The Shawshank Redemption,” and Dr. Sharleen Mondal advised Charlie Michel’s project, “#BlackMindsMatter: The Psychological Repercussions of Racial Prejudice.” Both of these projects grew out of courses offered by the Department of English.

Charlie Michel with his faculty sponsor, Dr. Sharleen Mondal
The planning of this year’s symposium was led by Dr. Diane Bonfiglio, Associate Professor of Psychology, and Department of English chair, Dr. Hilary Donatini. Dr. Donatini notes the unique perspective that her service on the committee affords her: “From the perspective of a co-chair of the URCA committee, I love to see the evolution from the original project—often for a class or senior thesis—to the abstract and to the finished oral presentation or poster. Over the course of this process, I see tremendous growth and improvement in even the most polished submissions. Our students gain skills in professionalism as they respond to the committee's feedback on the abstracts and try to communicate their discipline-specific ideas to a broader audience. In both the poster session and the oral presentations, presenters learn how to respond to questions about their work. URCA is an affirmation of our students' membership in our academic community and a showcase for their talent and hard work.”

This sense of personal development is shared by the students who participate. Garrison Stima hopes that more students will take advantage of the opportunity of presenting at URCA: “I believe URCA to be an all-around fantastic experience worth every step.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

English Major Wins National Graduate Fellowship

From the AU News Center:

Ashland University’s Kristen Herrick, a senior who is majoring in English and minoring in business administration and psychology from Mansfield, Ohio, has been awarded the Kathryn Phillips Graduate Fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year by the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. The fellowship is in the amount of $3,000. Herrick was recognized as one of 24 students who received a graduate fellowship. She is the daughter of Shawn and Denisa Herrick, and is a  2012 graduate of Madison Comprehensive High School.

Kristen Herrick and Dr. Jason Ellis, Associate Professor of Education at AU

Herrick was recognized as one of 24 students who received a graduate fellowship. She is the daughter of Shawn and Denisa Herrick, and is a 2012 graduate of Madison Comprehensive High School.

The Kathryn Phillips Graduate Fellowship is recognized in honor of Kathryn Phillips, who contributed greatly to the Department of Guidance and Student Personnel Administration at Teachers College, Columbia University, which is the graduate school of education for Columbia University. She also was one of the founders and served as the first president of the National Association of Deans of Women.

Since Herrick was inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta her first year at AU, she was able to apply for a national graduate fellowship her senior year, which included completing an extensive application process.

Herrick is more than deserving of this national fellowship. In addition to her involvement with Alpha Lambda Delta, Herrick is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society and is the current president of the Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society. She has been named to AU’s deans’ list every semester of her college career, and presented research at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium in 2015. Being an active member on campus, Herrick has been involved with AU’s Social Work Club and the Ashland Commuter Eagles organization.

Upon graduation, Herrick will be pursuing an advanced degree in higher education administration.

The Alpha Lambda Delta national honor society for first-year students credits individuals who have achieved a 3.5 cumulative grade point average in their first or first two semesters. Their purpose is to encourage superior academic achievement among students in their first year, to promote intelligent living, and to assist students in recognizing and developing meaningful goals. Alpha Lambda Delta continues to celebrate academic excellence among first-year students.

Scott Russell Sanders

English Department Spring Reading Series
Scott Russell Sanders Nonfiction Writer

When? April 13th

Where? Hawkins Conard Student Center Auditorium

Time? 4:00 PM

About Scott Russell Sanders:
Scott Russell Sanders is the author of twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including Hunting for Hope and A Conservationist Manifesto. His most recent books are Earth Works: Selected Essays (2012) andDivine Animal: A Novel (2014). A collection of stories titled Dancing in Dreamtime will be published in 2016, along with a new edition of his documentary narrative, Stone Country. Among his honors are the Lannan Literary Award, the John Burroughs Essay Award, the Mark Twain Award, the Cecil Woods Award for Nonfiction, the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2012 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at Indiana University. He and his wife, Ruth, a biochemist, have reared two children in their hometown of Bloomington, in the hardwood hill country of Indiana’s White River Valley.

Questions? Call Kari Lindecamp at ext. 5110 or (419)289-5110           

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fall 2016 English Department Course Offerings

Below are selected descriptions of courses offered in the fall 2016 semester.

English 201 A&B Introduction to Creative Writing--Poetry Section
Dr. Deborah Fleming
MWF 10:00-10:50
Requirement for Creative Writing Major & Minor, Elective in the Integrated Language Arts Major

In this seminar class we will discuss students' own poems as well as learn about poetic forms.

Requirements: During each week devoted to poetry, students will write one or several poems to be discussed in class; portfolio submitted at the end of the semester.

Text: Mark Strand and Eavan Boland, The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms

English 301 Writers' Workshop: Poetry
Dr. Deborah Fleming
MWF 1:00-1:50
Requirement for Creative Writing Major & Minor, Elective in the Integrated Language Arts Major

In this seminar class we will discuss students' own poems as well as review poetic forms, technique, and style.

Requirements: One poem per week, reaction papers most weeks on assigned poems, one paper on an Ashland Poetry Press book; portfolio submitted at the end of the semester.

Text: Ferguson, et. al., Norton Anthology of Poetry, Shorter Fifth Edition or similar Norton Anthology of Poetry; one Ashland Poetry Press book.

ENG 314OL8A: Literature and Gender
Dr. Sharleen Mondal
Online Course (Mostly asynchronous; group meetings via Blackboard Collaborate TBD)
Core Humanities, Elective for English and Integrated Language Arts majors

This is an eight-week online course with seven weeks of instruction (the eighth is designated for final grading by the University). The course offers the equivalent course work and student learning outcomes as the regular sixteen-week version of the course. Students are strongly encouraged to read the novels and/or watch the films ahead of time. This course will focus on the theme of Intersectional Worlds--that is, how experiences of gender intersect with and are shaped by factors such as race, class, sexuality, nationality, language, and religion. We will begin our inquiry with a short research assignment in which each student will investigate the role of gender in their respective career field. Thus oriented to each of our individual and professional stakes in the study of gender, we will proceed to a series of essays, films, and novels spanning then nineteenth century to the present day.

Likely texts include the following:
"I Want A Wife" by Judy Brady (essay)
"Yes, Ma'am" by Deirdre McCloskey (essay)
"Just Walk On By" by Brent Staples (essay)
The Brandon Teena Story (documentary, 1998; directed by Susan Muska and Gréta Olafsdóttir)
"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (short story)
Excerpt from Of Queens' Gardens by John Ruskin (essay)
"Statement Repudiating the Rights of Husbands" by John Stuart Mill (paragraph)
"Professions for Women" by Virginia Woolf (essay--originally a speech)
Passing by Nella Larsen (novel)
Sand Queen by Helen Benedict (novel)
Edward Said, On Orientalism (interview, 1998 with Sut Jhally)
The Invisible War (documentary, 2012; directed by Kirby Dick)
Literary criticism and historical documents as relevant

The course will require a short research assignment, short close reading papers, two longer papers, two presentations, and regular discussion board and journal assignments.

ENG 316REHON: Postcolonial Literature
Dr. Sharleen Mondal
MWF, 11:00-11:50 AM
Core Humanities, Elective for English and Integrated Language Arts majors

This Honors course will focus on postcolonial literature and film from South Asia, specifically India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. We will begin with the late colonial period, examining the end of British rule and struggle for independence, decolonization, modernity, and postcolonial nationhood through the perspective of poetry, short stories, essays, novels, and film. We will consider the nuances of everyday life under British rule, what it meant for colonized Indians to seek independence (inspired the Irish "Home Rule" movement), and the religious and linguistic tensions that led to the formation of Bangladesh.

Likely texts include:
Timothy Corrigan's A Short Guide to Writing about Film
Rudyard Kipling's "The White Man's Burden" (poem)
Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain's "Sultana's Dream" (short story) and Padmarag (novella)
Tahmima Anam's A Golden Age (novel)
Selected short stories by Rabindranath Tagore
Selections from letters and speeches by Mohandas K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru
Selections from Malala Yousafzai's I Am Malala (autobiography)
Gandhi (film, 1982, directed by Richard Attenborough)
Rang De Basanti (film, 2006, directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra)
My Name is Khan (film, 2010, directed by Karan Johar)
Literary criticism and historical materials as relevant

Class activities include regular discussion, reading quizzes, two exams, short close reading papers, two longer literary argument papers, and two presentations.

English 319: Modern Drama
Dr. Jayne E. Waterman
T Th 1:40-2:55 p.m. (Hybrid)

Core Humanities, elective in the the English and Creative Writing majors and minors
This course will begin with the close reading analysis of some powerful one-act plays from the late nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. We will also consider a range of full plays from, for example, Chekhov’s trivialities, Beckett’s absurdism, and Pinter’s pauses to Churchill’s body politics, Mamet’s language uncorrected, and Nottage’s triumph in trauma. All of these texts will help the class explore key issues, ideas, texts, and contexts of European and American modern drama. The main focus of the course will be to examine plays from different periods and styles. Attention will also be paid to the cultural, historical, political, sociological, and dramaturgical aspects that surround and inform the works. Themes of gender and race, the tension of illusion and reality, and the crisis of the individual and the family will also be of significance as we explore modern dramatic sensibilities and discourse. In addition to the texts, the course will, where relevant, consider the adaptations and interpretations of the plays in performance and film.

Assignments: Two essays, a presentation, in class and online projects and participation.

English 325: Major Writers Seminar: Paul Laurence Dunbar
Dr. Jayne E. Waterman
TTh 12:15-1:30 p.m. (Hybrid)
Required for English majors, elective in the Creative and Integrated Language Arts majors

This course provides a comprehensive understanding of one major writer: Paul Laurence Dunbar. During his lifetime, this young author from Dayton, Ohio was both critically acclaimed and commercially popular. Indeed, at the time of his death, he was the most famous poet in America. Classes will include extensive reading of selected Dunbar works – in his short but productive life he produced twelve collections of poetry, four novels, four collections of short stories, and numerous lyrics, plays, and essays, which were all published in leading magazines and journals. This reading will be supplemented with critical, biographical, and historical/archival materials. In addition to an examination of Dunbar’s literary career, the course will consider his work in relation to his contemporaries, focus on his role in American literary history, and assess his literary legacy. Underpinning this exploration of Dunbar’s work will be an engagement with the idea of identity, the trope of the mask, the historical complexity of race, and the tensions of his critical reception and literary production.

Assignments: Two essays, a presentation, in class and online projects and participation.

ENG 351 A: Advanced Composition 
Dr. Linda Joyce Brown
MWF 1:00-1:50

Requirement in the English and ILA majors 
This advanced course is designed to give you extensive practice writing, revising, and editing nonfiction prose, with an emphasis on revising for rhetorical and stylistic effectiveness. Our goal will be to write prose that is not only clear and efficient but stylish enough that a reader will want to read it. The skills you develop in this course should help you beyond college, no matter your career path. 

English 365 Greek Literature 

Dr. Russell Weaver 
MWF 9:00-9:50
Core Humanities, elective in the the English and Creative Writing majors and minors

In this course we will read some of the great masterpieces of Greek Literature. This particular semester we will be reading Homer’s Odyssey along with ten plays by Sophocles, Euripides, and Aeschylus. Sophocles: Antigone, Oedipus the King, The Women of Trachis, Ajax and Philoctetes

Euripides: Medea, Hippolytus, Iphigenia at Aulis, Electra.Aeschylus: Agamemnon.There will be two take-homes, one on either Antigone or Medea and one on The Odyssey and one presentation on two of the other plays. 

English 372: Nietzsche and the Problem of Values 

Dr. Russell Weaver 
T Th 9:25-10:40
Core Humanities, elective in the the English and Creative Writing majors and minors

We will be reading Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Conrad’s Lord Jim, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Dostoevksy’s Crime and Punishment, and Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons. Two papers and two presentations. No philosophy background necessary.

English 408: Eighteenth-Century English Literature

Dr. Hilary Donatini
T Th 12:15-1:30
Elective in the English, Creative Writing, and ILA majors, Elective in the English and Creative Writing minors

The eighteenth century is often referred to as the “Age of Reason” or “Age of Enlightenment”—a time when philosophical inquiry and scientific discovery blossomed. English 408 will examine poems, novels, and plays that both reflect and resist the rational and empirical—often in the same work. The great eighteenth-century works are endowed with intellectual seriousness yet bursting with vitality and joie de vivre. Our attention will be constantly trained on literary form, as we explore poetic, novelistic, and dramatic form. Throughout the semester we will appreciate what is often called the golden age of satire, a mode that cuts across all genres, skewering its targets and setting forth a moral vision. Because the literature of the period was so grounded in its world, we will pay attention to relevant historical contexts as well.

Selected Texts: 

Frances Burney, Evelina 
John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel 
Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer 
Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock, Essay on Man
Samuel Johnson, Rasselas
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels

English 417 Grammar and Usage
Dr. Deborah Fleming
MWF 11:00-11:50
Requirement for Integrated Language Arts, Major Elective for Middle Grades Language Concentration, Major Elective for English

The course format will consist of lecture, discussion, and workshop as we learn the entire grammar of the English language as well as discuss ways of using grammar in the teaching of writing and teaching grammar and usage to secondary and middle grades students.

Requirements: Three midterms and final; homework, quizzes, practice; one paper.
Text: Kolln, Martha, et. al., Understanding English Grammar, Tenth Edition, Pearson

ENG 425 A: American Literature I: Colonial to Federalist 

Dr. Linda Joyce Brown
MWF 12:00-12:50
Elective in the English, Creative Writing, and ILA majors, Elective in the English and Creative Writing minors

Our course will begin with precolonial oral narrative, move to colonial-era texts, and conclude with literature from the early republic. The course will provide an introduction to the origins of American literature and an opportunity to closely study significant works.

Readings will include travel journals, captivity narratives, essays, poetry, and fiction. Texts will likely be chosen from the writing of the following authors: Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Mary Rowlandson, Jonathan Edwards, Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Allan Poe, William Grimes, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Monday, March 21, 2016

American Literature Students Explore the Legacy of the Hiroshima Bombing

By Emily Wirtz, Creative Writing, Psychology, and Religion major

On February 2nd, Dr. Jayne Waterman invited a guest, student Miki Yamamura, into our American Literature IV class. We’d been discussing in great emotional depth the development of the technology of the atomic bomb and its repercussions not only for Japanese society where the bomb was dropped, but also on society as a whole. We studied in great detail one of J. David Cummings’s poems in his collection Tancho entitled “Folding the First Crane.” Miki, who grew up very close to an American military base on mainland Japan, was more than happy to talk about her experiences and teach us how to fold our own first crane. 

During her visit, Miki explained the importance of the crane in Japanese culture. She reflected on the ideas in Tancho and the Japanese story of one thousand cranes. As Japanese legend goes, one who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish. Sadako Sasaki, a young Japanese girl who developed leukemia after exposure to radiation from the bomb dropped in Hiroshima, began to try to fold a thousand cranes, wishing for peace and a world without the destruction of nuclear weapons. Sadly, she passed away with only 644 cranes folded. In the spirit of reigi (courtesy), her classmates completed the remainder of the cranes for her, beginning an incredible tradition. Today, a statue of Sasaki stands holding a crane in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, around which people place their own folded cranes in her memory and the memory of their own loved ones. The crane has become an icon of peace and hope and freedom. It represents the possibility to be “free from everything,” Miki expressed. 

The cultural construct of reigi could be literally translated to “courtesy,” but the word holds much more meaning. It is a behavior and way of life, honing in on respect in order to maintain order of society. While this obviously transfers into Japan’s modern society, it is also traditional and played a huge role during and after the dropping of the American atomic bombs. In our class, we read the accounts of several victims in John Hersey’s “Hiroshima” in addition to the poems in Tancho. Many of the students were impressed by the fact that so many survivors were willing to stop what they were doing, whether that be escaping a burning building or searching desperately for food and water, to help others in need. It was expressed, almost as a consensus, that in America, we would run and keep running no matter who needed our help—and that’s something powerful to reflect on. How could it be that an entire culture could be so selfless? This very literal foreign concept is a reflection of reigi and the ethical strength of the Japanese people, regardless of the war going on around them.

This is the side of war we often forget about: the strength and peace of coming out the other side. The story of Japan and that of Tancho is an incredible feat out of unimaginable tragedy. It was an honor to have Miki reflect on these events and her own history. We need to reflect on the crane. We need to reflect on the possibility of peace.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Show Your AU Eagle Pride

  The Ashland Fund announces the first Ashland University Day of Giving. Up to $10,000 can be won for different areas across campus based on votes.  A gift to the Ashland Fund on that day allows the person to vote for the area they support.  Throughout the day there be hourly challenges where the winner will receive $1,000 along with an overall winner for the day with the most votes receiving $5,000 for that area.  

Across campus we will be passing out t-shirts to get everyone to show their #AUeaglepride!  We also will have a social media toolkit that will be available on the day of giving website where we hope everyone will change their profile picture and banner picture to show pride in AU. In addition we will have a caption contest where the best caption can win $500 for the area he or she supports and a selfie contest with another $500 on the line.

Click on this link to contribute: