Author Archives: Anthony Pecoraro

Taking Rhode Island: Two English Grads Speak At Their First Conference

English Graduate Students Kaitlin and Emily recently were able to experience a true milestone in their academic career: their first conference.  The two spoke on different panels at the University of Rhode Island 2011 Graduate Conference: [Pre]Occupations: Working, Siezing, Delling.  Emily presented her paper “A Crisis of Identity: Hybridity in Nervous Conditions and District 9” on the panel centered on Post-Colonial Consciousness: Hybridity, Desire, and Nationalism, and Kaitlin presented her paper, “Defamiliarizing the Stereotype in Andrew X. Pham’s Catifsh and Mandala” for the panel where she was placed.  “I felt more comfortable about going to the conference after doing our mini-conferences for African Literature last semester with Prof. Palecanda. The conference was much smaller than I had planned, so it wasn’t overwhelming at all,” says Kaitlin when asked if it was daunting to go to her first conference.  “The label “conference” sounds much scarier than it is. I didn’t realize how prepared I was just from doing presentations in front of classes in the past, and that was all this really was.”

Graduate Student Emily shares that she felt slightly more nervous, but got over that initial fear: “I was pretty nervous to begin with. All I could do was practice my presentation, and, since I was using technology (Power Point and video) I could only hope that my visual media would work smoothly– there is always the chance that something won’t work correctly! I did get to sit in on Kaitlin’s presentation (she was in the first round), and she did great, so that helped my nerves a bit. ”  Both also agreed that the atmosphere was more than welcoming of new students within the conference with Kaitlin saying “it felt like school except everyone was in business attire.”  Both also explained that, although there were many questions on the panel, the audience was appreciative and respectful of the presenters.

The conference also allowed the two to grow as scholars and view the presentations on others’ papers.  Both went to each other’s panels, but Kaitlin explains an experience when on her own panel: “A person who was part of my panel spoke about how Israel came to be formed as a result of the Holocaust and the various movements that took place in Jews’ attempts to create a new nation and identity after the Holocaust. I found this to be really interesting, and it was a history lesson for me being that I know more about Judaism and the Holocaust than I do about Zionism.”

As for advice to other students, both focused on being prepared but also unafraid of giving submissions.  Emily explains her own experience: I was really suprised at the range of presentation topics that fit in to the conference topic, so I guess I would say do not feel like your paper has to fit a conference’s guidelines spot-on. At least with this conference, it seems like they were very open to different interpretations and subjects on the theme of [pre]occupations. My only other advice would be that if you are accepted to a conference and have the means to attend, do it! It is worth it, and you will be thankful for the experience.”

In the end, both would like to thank Dean Shaw of the School of Arts and Humanities for the funding to go to the conference at URI in the first place, and will be sure to keep an eye on calls for papers in the future.

For any students looking towards upcoming conferences, information can be found on this blog or at http://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/category/all. 

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Danielle Ely: Saint Rose Student, Columbia-Green Adjunct

With the semester on its, St. Rose English Graduate student Danielle Ely faces the end of her first semester as an adjunct professor for the English 101 class at Columbia Greene Community College.  “My class is not meant to challenge students to write, but to show them how easy it is once they have the proper structures in place,” says Danielle when asked about her methodology.  “I simply illuminate the structures that allow them to compose great essays.”

Pictured: Danielle Ely

She also noted that one of her students this semester earned a scholarship thanks to one of the essays written for the course.  She does not say that happening surprises her, however “Many students here don’t realize the talent they have before they get here.  Since it’s an introductory course, many students haven’t written in this way since highschool.”

Danielle does not seem daunted at all by the job as well.  “In my interview for the adjunct position Dean Carrito told me that teaching is tough, mostly because ideally the teacher (as in myself) loves the subject they are teaching. However, most of the students do NOT love the subject they are learning. She told me that that is the toughest part about teaching.”  She went on to say that it is not too difficult maintaining the dichotomy of being both student and teacher.  “Although you can always bring your love for the subject to the classroom, it is not the case that every student will come out wanting more. Some students are simply there to go through the motions. If I can’t make them all love English, I hope I can at least get them through the semester having learned something.”

When asked about if she saw herself teaching in the future, the response was quick, “Teaching at the college level has always been something I was interested in doing. Though I understand the importance of a democratically-structured class like 101, I would absolutely love teaching a higher level literature class. I would much rather teach students how to be thinkers, and how to analyze a text than to teach them the do’s and don’ts of writing. In writing, there may seem like too many do’s and don’ts but what that really means is that there are good methods of writing and then there are better.”  She continued with how she saw her future in higher level courses.  “I feel that analytical classes involving literature are a bit more open to interpretation. How can you be wrong about an interpretation of a book, unless you don’t back yourself up. I do see however, how classes like 101 are essential preparation for 102 or higher level classes. It’s great to have a solid foundation and know that students know how to build an argument before they try to tackle something like interpreting “Bartleby the Scrivener.”

So, as the curtain closes on the Spring semester at both St. Rose and Columbia-Green, the future looks bright for the St. Rose adjuncts: Danielle Ely and Tony Carrano, and, on behalf of the English Department, I wish them both a bright future in teaching.

English Graduate Courses for Summer and Fall 2011

Summer—First Immersion Session—May 16-June 3

ENG 590  IM Seminar in Faulkner (3)  Dr. Eurie Dahn   MTWR  6-9:10 pm.

In this seminar, we will read some of William Faulkner’s best-known works. While emphasizing rigorous close readings of his texts, we will also work to contextualize Faulkner’s oeuvre within conversations and debates about class, race, modernism, Southern regionalism, and American citizenship of the time.  Fulfills literature requirement.

FALL 2011

ENG 520  E1 Work and Play in Early Modern English Culture (3)

Dr. David Morrow    Thurs.  6:15-8:45

Here we will study works in a variety of literary forms (including lyric and narrative poetry; prose fiction; drama) in relation to struggles over emerging modes of labor and social life. Framing texts within the festive, peasant culture of the era and inherited social structures at the start of the semester, we will move on to explore how authors engage with changes to traditional culture. Our emphasis on labor will include much attention to different forms of women’s labor—both as men represent it, and as it is represented and embodied by female writers. Primary texts will include work by Thomas Dekker, Thomas Deloney, Amelia Lanyer, John Marston, William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Isabella Whitney. Secondary texts by Mikhail Bakhtin, Peter Burke, Alice Clarke, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Ellen Wood, and many literary critics.  Fulfills literature or theory requirement.

ENG 559 E1 Writing: Four Genres (3)  Dr. Barbara Ungar

Thurs.  6:15-8:45

Practice in the theory and critical analysis of a variety of literary genres, which will include poetry, fiction, drama, and creative nonfiction.  Study of theories of poetics and some attention to teaching strategies related to imaginative writing.  Open to graduate students from all disciplines.  Writing sample may be required to enroll; contact instructor.

ENG 564 E1 Fiction Writing (3)  Dr. Ronald Shavers    Wed.  6:15-8:45

The primary focus of this course will be short fiction and novel excerpts written by students in the class.  Besides production of their own material, students will analyze literary and theoretical texts in order to gain a better understanding of fiction structure, aspects of style, and other elements of a fiction writer’s craft.  Some attention to publication processes and possibilities for fiction writers.    May be taken twice, if space allows, by written consent of instructor only.  Fulfills writing requirement.

ENG 579 Early American Literature  (3)  Tues. 6:15-8:45

Critical reading and discussion of various works of writers from the pre-colonial period to the early nineteenth century, possibly including selections from oral traditions of native peoples and writers from British and other colonial perspectives, as well as writers such as Bradford, Bradstreet, Wheatley, Franklin, and Irving.  Fulfills literature requirement.

ENG 566 E1 Literature, Performance, and Visual Narrative in the Digital Age (3)  Dr. Kathryn Laity  Mon. 6:15-8:55

How has the digital age effected a sea change in the way we interact with narrative, with literature, with visual images (moving and still) and with ourselves?  How do we use digital space?  How do we read images? How do we negotiate the bricolage world of the web where file sharing, sampling and retweeting are the order of the day?  How do we present ourselves on the web?  How do we read others’ performances of self?  Is it possible to “know” anything anymore? Do we really need books anymore? Is anything “original” or “authentic” at all?  Fulfills literature or theory requirement.

Funding for English Faculty, Scholars, and Writers

English faculty members have been very successful in applying for and making productive use of professional development opportunities provided by the College.   In just this academic year and next that involves twelve English faculty members—so far.  We appreciate this funding and plan to continue using it well.

Sabbaticals

Dr. David Rice and Dr. Kenneth  Krauss have had one-semester sabbaticals this year. Rice worked on an article dealing with John Edgar Wideman’s memoir about his brother’s impri- sonment and a larger book-length project on twentieth-century American prison memoir. Krauss is completing a book, Male Beauty: An Iconography of Postwar American Masculinity. Prof. Daniel Nester and Dr. May Chan are will  have full-year sabbaticals in 2011-2012.  Nester will work in a public Memoir Office on a book-length project investigating memoir and the craft of writing. Chan will work on a book on Victorian English travelers  in China.

Reassigned Time Grants

Dr. Kathryn Laity and Dr. Hollis Seamon each had reassigned time equivalent to teaching one course in 2010-2012.  Dr. Laity worked on a collection of essays discussing films, tentatively titled, Bold Warriors and Gentle Knights: Masculinities and Medieval Film. Dr. Seamon is revising a novel, working title “Somebody Up There HATES You.” that  is an expansion of her story “SUTHY Syndrome,” originally published in The Bellevue Literary Review. Dr. Barbara Ungar and Dr. Megan Fulwiler have reassigned time grants in 2011-2012 to support their Scholar and Artists Grants projects described below.

Scholars and Artists Grants for 2011-2012

Scholars and Artists grants provide substantial funds for professional projects.  Dr. Ungar will write a group of poems as part of her manuscript-in-progress, tentatively entitled Mermaid Spell and undertake a reading tour for this new work and Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life, published in 2010.  Dr. Fulwiler’s grant will allow her to continue work on the production of a documentary film on how issues of labor influence teaching. The film, which she began during a sabbatical in spring 2010, will feature interviews with adjunct/contingent writing instructors from across the nation, Writing Program Administrators, tenure-track faculty, college administrators, and national labor activists. Dr.Ronald Shavers plans to use the funds received from his grant to help defray the cost of attending the Vermont Studio Center for one month while working on a novel-in-progress entitled, The Codeswitchers. Dr. David Rice plans to build upon Wideman’s critique of prison memoirs as sympathetic first-person “neoslave narratives” and examine how this concept might apply to Mikal Gilmore’s memoir, Shot in the Heart and also present his findings to the American Studies Association.

Professional Development Grants

With a Professional Development mini-grant, Dr. Fulwiler attended a workshop on an editing software system for her documentary film (described above).  Dr.Kim Middleton’s mini-grant helped to defray expenses for presenting “The Cylons Didn’t Ask What you Wanted: Battlestar Galactica and the Anxiety of Human Obsolescence,” in July at Oxford .

Crest Residential Fellowships

CREST Residential Fellowships provided both time and funding for Dr. Eurie Dahn and Dr. Vaneeta Palecanda this year.  Dahn  is writing a journal article on a particular discourse of social change, in terms of race relations, as it emerges from Harlem Renaissance literature and American sociology during the 1920s and presenting her findings at the American Studies Association Conference and the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900.   Palecanda’s project entitled “Free Market Policies and Suicides in India: Research for the Novel, ‘The Hangman’” relates to her research in India for her novel-in-progress about a little known place, Kodagu, and people affected by globalization in Southern India.

The Dish: April 2011

Grad Student/Faculty Reading Continues on Lark Street

Thanks to the organizational skills of Jennifer Austin and the generosity of Upstate Artists Guild, readings in several genres are occurring again on the last

Fiction writers (left to right): Dan O’Leary, Hollis Seamon, Brianna St.John, Katherine Wilhelmi, and Rone Shavers. Event planner Jennifer Austin at right.

Friday of the month in the spring 2011 semester at UAG.  The first reading by fiction writers (pictured right) was on Friday, January 28.  The works-in-progress provided a wide range of subjects and narrative styles—from a death-row inmate to a cat-lady.  The second reading, on March 25, will feature poets, including Barbara Ungar and graduate students Carolee Sherwood, William Rodden, and Mary Catherine Owen. Check the English Department website or blog for information on an additional reading from March 25th.

Other Important News

Graduate student Emily LaPointe’s paper, “A Crisis of Identity: Hybridity in Nervous Conditions and District 9” has been accepted for presentation at the 2011 University of Rhode Island Graduate Student Conference in April.

Dr. Hollis Seamon will be participating in two mystery panels at the Empire State Book Festival in Albany on April 2, 2011.  She will moderate the “Cozy up to a Good Mystery” panel discussion and will be a panelist for the “Kick-Ass Women on the Case” discussion.

Dr. Eurie Dahn  has been selected to participate in the seminar on Slave Narratives that will be led by Professor David Blight at Yale University, June 12-15, 2011.

Dr. Catherine Cavanaugh will present “Boland’s Domestic Violence: From Still Life to Words” at the Canadian Association for Irish Studies in Montreal in July.

Jennifer Austin: English M.A. Honors

Jennifer Austin has earned top honors among English graduate students completing their degrees in December 2010 or May 2011.  Jennifer is already demonstrating how she will put this degree to good use.  In addition to the staged  reading of her play (described above), Jennifer’s paper “The Outlaw: Trespass, Disfigurement, Domestication” has been accepted for presentation at the University at Albany Graduate Student Conference onApril 1.  After graduation, Jen plans to continue as a TV News Producer in broadcast television while writing for stage and screen and completing her memoir, which she is currently working on as her Advanced Project for her M.A.  She would also like to look into teaching at the college level.  She hopes that “my graduate degree in English will coalesce with my background in television production and lead to success in teaching both English and New Media courses–and getting my work published.”

Looking back at her graduate study, Jennifer says, “I think it’s important to note the small class size and personal attention that I’ve received at The College of Saint Rose.  All of my professors have always been accessible and encouraging and I think that these are truly special qualities offered at Saint Rose that are not available on all college campuses.”

English Majors Find Career Interests with Internships

The Damien Center, just one institution where our English majors are placed for internships.

Thirteen English majors are working on internships this semester. The internship course, or English 494, is a requirement for graduation, and the sheer variety of what is available allows the skills of the individual student to shine.

Saint Rose English majors are currently doing their internships at the following places:

Juliet Barney: We Who Are About to Die (literary/cultural blog)
Melissa Dominguez:  Neil Hellman Library
Kelsie Forte: Sous Rature (literary magazine)
Jaylin Frese: Historic Albany Foundation
Michael Higgins:  New Netherland Museum
Victoria Hill:  SUNY Press
Jessica Jordan: College Archives, Neil Hellman Library
Kelly Laniewski: Foit-Albert & Associates
Emily Massa: The American Red Cross, Northeast New York Chapter
Taylor Miller: The Damien Center
Matthew Shoop:   The Classic Theater Guild
Sarah Wood: The Word Works (small poetry publisher)

And here is a list of those from the Fall 2010 semester:

Nicole Alsdorf: The Pink Orange (design firm)
Briana Brinson: NYS Office of the Attorney General
Teresa Farrell, We Who Are About to Die (literary/cultural blog)
Emily Gagola, Upstate Artists Guild (not-for-profit organization)
Marisa Graham: Law Office of Ken McGuire, Jr.
Kelley Imbody, Schenectady High School
Jordan Miller, SUNY Press (publishing company)
Justin Singer, “The Team” ESPN Radio (media organization)

“It’s been exciting and challenging, and worth all of the time and effort. I feel like I’m one step closer to finding my dream career,” says Victoria Hill, who hopes to continue in the publishing field after graduation. Her enthusiasm certainly appears to be the norm across the group of interns no matter what field they are in.

“It really helps if the internship follows a possible career path that they wish to explore,” says Jessica Jordan, whose internship at the College library has sparked an interest. “I decided I wanted to work in the archives, or at least in a library setting, because I am planning on continuing with my education so I can one day possibly work in this field.”

An internship provides an opportunity to delve into the working world outside of academia, but a consensus among the interns certainly says that preparation is required.

“The only advice I would offer undergrads,” Taylor Miller says, “would be to plan for and even start applying to internships before halfway through the semester prior to the course.”

Some internship listings can be found at the College Career Center‘s eCareer site. The Center offers resume critique as well as personal search help with appointment. They can be reached by phone at 518-454-5141 or by email at career@strose.edu.