English Department Faculty Update: A Year of Teaching and Research

English Department Faculty Update: A Year of Teaching and Research

As is the custom, we at Folio are closing out the 2018-2019 academic year with a highlight reel of English faculty’s accomplishments and activities. Because it’s a highlight, some things did get left out–mostly because they got better coverage elsewhere.

So, if you feel like clicking, check out:

A special thanks to this year’s Department Media Intern, Alex Oberempt, for writing these stories as well as managing the department’s social media accounts and making all kinds of promotional materials.

Areas of Faculty Activities

And as is the recent custom, activities discussed here are organized according to categories.

  • Tenure and Promotion, Review and Renewal
  • Publications
  • Study Abroad
  • Awards, Reprints, and Media Appearances
  • Innovations and Initiatives
  • New Courses
  • Readings and Presentations
  • Forthcoming Publications and Works-in-Progress

Tenure and Promotion, Review and Renewal

This year was unusually busy in the realm of tenure and promotion and renewal, but to our department’s credit, all seven cases were successfully approved. So congratulations to everyone who received good news this year–especially Lindsey Drager who we wish well as she moves to her next appointment at University of Utah, joined by her partner, Allan Borst.

Tenure and Promotion: Gary Jackson, Colleen Glenn, and Anton Vander Zee

Successful 3rd year review: Jacob Craig and Lindsey Drager

Successful Renewal: Cathy Holmes

Promotion to Full Professor: Chris Warnick


Study Abroad

From May-June 2019, Emily Rosko and Myra Seaman taught courses  in the Spoleto, Italy Study Abroad Program. Rosko’s creative writing course focused on the art of travel and ekphrastic writing, and Seaman’s course focused on medieval Italy through the study of modern literature and film.

In the summer of 2018, Joe Kelly, Colleen Glenn, and Cara Delay established the College of Charleston’s Summer School in Ireland, which will take twenty-two students to Dublin for the month of June in 2019. Students in Kelly’s Introduction to Irish and Irish American Studies class conducted 13 oral history interviews, the foundation of the Low Country Digital Library’s Irish Oral History Project.

Susan Farrell, along with Joe Kelly, will be taking students abroad to Florence, Italy, for the Fall semester of 2019, where she’ll be teaching two new courses: ENGL 360, Images of Italy in American Literature and Film, and ENGL 365, Cooking the Books—Food and Feminism in Fiction. The Italian trip has a sustainability theme which focuses specifically on the slow food movement in Italy, and is linked to the college’s three-year sustainability literacy project.

Tim Carens spent June 2018 in London teaching a study-abroad class on Victorian Gothic literature. In London, his class visited many art museums, theaters, and literary landmarks. Students also took day trips to Emily Brontë’s home and the Yorkshire moors where she set Wuthering Heights; to Bath, the fashionable town that features in Jane Austen novels; and to Oxford, where they visited Oscar Wilde’s college and toured the “Hogwarts” dining hall.

Carens’s Gothic literature class in Bath

Archive: South Carolina Poetry Since 2005 is part of the South Carolina Poetry Archives in the Department of Special Collections and Archives in James B. Duke Library at Furman.

Awards, Reprints, and Media Appearances

In September 2018, when Hurricane Florence was threatening the Southeast coast, Emily Rosko was solicited by a CNN editor to write an op-ed on the conditions in Charleston, which she wrote 24 hours before evacuating inland.

Emily Rosko‘s poetry was included as well in the anthology, Archive: South Carolina Poetry Since 2005, published by Ninety-Six Press.

Susan Farrell’s 2003 article, “Tim O’Brien and Gender: A Defense of The Things They Carried,” was reprinted in both the 12th and 13th editions of the Norton Introduction to Literature.

Anthony Varallo‘s story, “Fair Enough,” won 3rdplace in the River Styx 2019 Micro-Fiction Contest, and will be published in River Styxin the fall.

This spring Myra Seaman won the 2019 ExCEL Award for Administrator of the Year.

Myra Seaman accepting the ExCEL Administrator of the Year award

Scott Peeples wrote the script for a TED-Ed video, “Why Should You Read Edgar Allan Poe?” which has garnered over 450,000 views since its release in September.

Innovations and Initiatives

Kathy Béres Rogers worked with Jacob Steere-Williams (History), Laura Specker-Sullivan (Philosophy), and Allison Foley (Anthropology) to propose a new minor in Medical Humanities. The minor was accepted by the faculty senate and is slated to begin in Spring 2020. This minor will consist of an introductory course, six courses from philosophy, sociology, anthropology, psychology, English, Latin-American Studies, and more, and either a capstone or an internship with MUSC or a health-affiliated organization. Kathy Béres Rogers will be directing the minor in the spring; all questions should be directed to her.

Next year, with the help of (hopefully) an ILAS grant–Innovative Teaching and Learning in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, Kathy Béres Rogers will also be spearheading a College-wide neurodiversity initiative, together with Wayne Smith (Hospitality and Tourism), Mary Trent (Art History), Anne Osowski (SNAP), Edith Cusack (REACH), Tanner Crunnelle (ENGL/WGS), and Kepp Manson (Biology/International Studies). Says Prof. Rogers:

When students get to campus in the fall, they will see posters showcasing facts and statistics about “neurodiversity” (including functional definitions of the term). Prof. Rogers will then have a campus-wide art contest, asking faculty, staff, and students alike to submit works of visual art or creative writing that illustrates what it means to them to be neurodivergent. Students will be invited to brown-bag lunches featuring topics relevant to neurodiversity (like school inclusion, intersectionality, etc), and, finally, the campus will hear from Laura Owens, president of TransCen, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to improving educational and employment outcomes for people with disabilities. There will be one presentation for students and another for industry leaders.

In the Fall of 2018, John Bruns returned from a year-long sabbatical and somehow managed to get right back into a teaching groove with relatively few hiccups. That semester, he was a judge for the College of Charleston’s first annual screenwriting competition. He was delighted to offer first prize to Film Studies minor Hannah Terry, for her screenplay “The Grocery,” which was produced and directed by members of the Student Film Club as an official entry in the 14th Annual Spring Student Film Festival, retitled as Like Nothing in This World.

New Courses

Chris Warnick, Bonnie Devet, and Jacob Craig delivered many new courses as part of the newly launched Writing, Rhetoric, and Publication program. Students and faculty impressions of these courses are available on the WRP page.

Anton Vander Zee was happy to have a chance to teach two new courses in spring 2019: a course on post-1945 American poetry in English, and an Honors Colloquium on contemporary autobiography. Both courses featured numerous works written in the last year or two. Says Vander Zee:

It’s always exciting to explore a living and growing literary tradition in real time. Student projects for these classes included web-anthologies, chapbooks, poetry-music mash-ups, films, vlogs, comics, and podcasts along with more traditional research papers.

Kathy Béres Rogers‘s students in HONS 110, “The Rhetoric of (Dis)Ability,” and FYES 114, “Stories of (Dis)Ability,” have done activism on campus, mostly in the form of posters, facebook pages, and instagram posts.  In addition to these two classes, both of which are brand new, she taught Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies for the first time this year and enjoyed it immensely.

Readings and Presentations

In 2018-2019, Emily Rosko was invited to give poetry readings at Furman University, Converse College, Wofford College, Clemson University, and at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee.

Last summer Myra Seaman presented the talk “Not Aloof but OOF: Feminist Object Studies” at the biennial meeting of the New Chaucer Society at the University of Toronto. This year she will be on the program committee for the New Chaucer Society meeting that will be held in Durham, UK, in July 2020.

Last summer, Devin Byker presented a paper about Erasmus’s idea of seeing a “glimmering” when dying, at the New Chaucer Society Biennial Congress in Toronto. This March, Byker went back to Toronto for the Renaissance Society of America meeting, where he presented a paper on characters who die like an animal or a stone in Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, on a panel he organized about mortality in early modern England. In April, Byker attended the Shakespeare Association of America meeting in Washington, DC, to share a paper on deteriorating worldly perception in King Lear.

Anthony Varallo served on a panel, “Flash Fiction Exercises that Work from Award Winning Masters of the Form,” at the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Annual Conference in Portland, OR, in March.

Kathy Béres Rogers presented a paper titled, “Idiots and Automata: Re-Signifying Disability in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” at the International Conference on Romanticism in Greenville, SC, and is working to organize the 2021 version of this conference, which will be held here in Charleston In addition, she also coordinated a panel for WGS’s Year of Women about gender, race, and healthcare.

In March of this year, John Bruns chaired a panel entitled “Trash and Outsiders: Fiction and Nonfiction Independent Cinema” at the annual Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference in Seattle, WA.

Forthcoming Publications and Works in Progress

Anthony Varallo‘s story, “Land of Flowers, Land of Light,” will appear in the fall issue of The Iowa Review, and his novel, The Lines, will be published by the University of Iowa Press in August.

With his co-author Charles Ramírez Berg, John Bruns is in the process of preparing a film history textbook for University of Texas Press.

Susan Farrell published an article on Jane Smiley for a reference work called Twentieth and Twenty-First Century American Literature in Context, slated to appear in 2019. She will also be attending the American Literature Association conference in Boston in May, where she’ll present a paper called “Vonnegut and the Space Aliens.” The paper explores the cultural significance of alien abduction in the novel Slaughterhouse-Five. She’s currently working on a book-length narrative history about Vonnegut, Dresden, and the writing and production of Slaughterhouse-Five.

Over the summer, Anton Vander Zee will work on a book project related to Walt Whitman and his late work and its influence, which is also the topic of a capstone he is teaching in the fall and a publication forthcoming in Resources for American Literary Study.