Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Schweitzer Receives Dissertation Completion Fellowship

Ilse Schweitzer, doctoral candidate in the English Department, has been awarded a half-year Dissertation Completion Fellowship by the Graduate College for her dissertation in progress, "Ecocritical Readings of Anglo-Saxon Texts." Dissertation Completion Fellows receive a stipend and tuition.

Upcoming Graduate Student Workshops

How to Publish in Peer-Reviewed Journals: A Writers' Workshop; Date: Tuesday, April 6; Time: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.; Location: College of Health and Human Services: Room 2089

Presentation Objectives:
Students will: Gain a better understanding of the peer-reviewed journal publishing process. Learn the intricacies of the journal selection process. Recognize writers’ most valuable resources. Acquire an understanding of what journals WANT and EXPECT from authors who submit manuscripts for publication. Use a step-by-step process for taking a potential article through a successful publication cycle. Develop a successful publication plan

Research Data Management
Date: Wednesday, April 7; Time: 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.; Location: Putney Lecture Hall, Fetzer Center

The aim of this workshop is to provide researchers with the knowledge required to optimize database performance and to ensure quality of results.

                1. How to create a solid foundation for their research database.
                2. Data Management techniques and tools
                3. Free and easy ways to protect research data

If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact Dr. Marianne Di Pierro, Director, Graduate Center for Research and Retention

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sharon Bryan Reads Thursday, April 1, 8PM in Bernhard Center 208

** Please note that the room bas been change to Bernhard Center, Room 208. **

Third Coast UG Readings

Come to the Third Coast Undergraduate Readings!!
(Hear some hot-dog poems, short stories,
drama, and nonfiction!!)

Friday, April 2
WMU’s Brown Hall
Room 3025

Featured readers:
Sara Ann Stratton ✎ Joseph Pehrson ✎ Jonathan Follett ✐ Michelle Jeup ✎ Jim Redmond ✎ Bruce Lack ✐ James Nelson ✎ Jake McDonald ✎ Tyler Evans ✐ Nathan Norton

Open Mic available to undergrad readers
after the featured readers are done!
Limit: 5 minutes.

Sponsored by AGES
(Association of Graduate English Students)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Independent Book Festival

Calling all SELF-PUBLISHED authors and those who WANT TO BE PUBLISHED.
The first ever Independent Book Festival wants you and your submissions. Over 100 literary agents/managers, book buyers, publishers, reviewers, media specialists, regional and national segment producers for radio and television, celebrity authors and film producers will not only be in attendance, but judge the submitted self-published books. Many judges will also be giving workshops/lectures, panel discussions and hearing YOU pitch your book (all events open to writers published or not). Self-published authors will also be able to sell their books to the public. An awards ceremony honoring/celebrating the best of the best will take place on the final evening of this three day festival. To find out more about the event including submission deadlines and happy/hour mixers with the judges, please visit our website at
Feel free to call with any questions.
Onward and Upward,
Curry Walls
Abundant Media
3490 Laurel Cyn. Blvd. #646
Studio City, CA 91604
Leni Sinclair visits WMU Lee Honors College

On Monday, March 29, at 7:00 pm in the LHC Lounge, the Lee Honors College will sponsor a multimedia presentation by activist and photographer Leni Sinclair.

Born and raised in the former East Germany, Leni arrived in the U.S. in 1959 and settled in Detroit. In the early 60s she and her then husband John Sinclair helped organize the Detroit Artists Workshop while immersing themselves in the radical politics of the era. Together they soon discovered the thriving Detroit jazz clubs and by mid-decade, found themselves amidst the explosive Michigan rock scene, working with then emerging artists such as the MC5, the Stooges, and Bob Seger while exploring the role of the music within the ongoing climate of cultural revolution. In the early 60s, Leni began documenting the cultural and political history of the times with her camera; from John Coltrane and Sun Ra to the Hill St. Commune, White Panther Party, and perhaps most famously, the MC5, Leni Sinclair’s images present an essential portrait of the era.

On Monday, Leni will reflect upon the politics, culture, and music of Detroit and Ann Arbor in the 60s and beyond as well as display her photography: Don’t be late!

English Department Playwright G. William Zorn Wins National Playwriting Prize from the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival

WMU English Department Creative Writing Ph.D. playwriting student G. William Zorn has won the Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting from the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival for his play: Metropolis Has No Superman. Zorn’s award includes a monetary prize, a playwriting residency at the esteemed Sundance Theatre Lab, possible publication from Dramatic Publishing Company, a production grant and a trip to the Kennedy Center/ACTF national festival in Washington D.C. where he will receive his award and participate in a week-long playwriting workshop with theatre professionals and fellow award-winning college playwrights. Additionally, a portion of Zorn’s play will be read at the Kennedy Center. A national reading committee composed of theatre professionals and educators selected Zorn’s play. KC/ACTF is a national theatre education program that includes over 200,000 students nationwide.

Metropolis Has No Superman tells the story of Chance Loring, the creator of Queer-Boy Comics, who grew up in Superman’s hometown of Metropolis, Illinois, a town he vowed he never to return home to--until his father is killed driving his Chrysler into the Man of Steel and Chance must go home for the funeral. Zorn’s play was recently presented at Western Michigan University in a staged reading, directed by Zack Apman and cast with actors from Theatre Department, as part of the English Department’s collaboration with Theatre Kalamazoo!, of which the University Theatre is a member.

Zorn’s award continues the tremendous record of success that English Department playwrights have enjoyed in the National Playwriting Program of KC/ACTF. At this year’s regional festival (MI, IL, IN, and WI) held in Saginaw, MI in January, 2010, English Department playwrights won regional awards in all three playwriting categories, including MFA playwright Jason Lenz for a ten minute play; MFA playwright Karen Wurl for a full-length play, and Zorn for a one act play, entitled "The Speed of Falling Objects". Additionally, two more students, MFA Fiction student James Miranda and MFA Playwriting student Kris Peterson, had work presented at the regional festival. In total, five of thirteen plays selected were by WMU English Department playwrights, as were three of the five regional winners. Furthermore, this is the second year in a row that Western Michigan University English Department playwrights have achieved this remarkable “sweep,” by having a winning play in all three regional categories, including one those plays going on to the Kennedy Center.

English Department Associate Professor Steve Feffer serves as Chair of the National Playwriting Program for our region for KC/ACTF.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nagle Goes West, Going Farther Next Time

Chris Nagle recently returned from Albuquerque, where he presented a paper on botany and empire in the work of Ango-Irish Romantic poet Mary Tighe (still, sadly, best known as an important influence on Keats, but a brilliant poet in her own right). The presentation was part of a session entitled "Vegetable Love: Plants and Empire in the Long Eighteenth Century" (although he spent most of his time being carnivorous, given the distinctive pleasures of the local cuisine). In addition, Chris served again as an ASECS Graduate Student Caucus mentor this year, and was invited to join the Gay and Lesbian Caucus sessions for next year's meeting in Vancouver. Upon returning, he learned that he will be presenting a paper on the recent film adaptations of Jane Austen at the 2011 MLA convention in L.A.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cashman spoke on Supernatural Encounters on the Irish Border

On the invitation of Mustafa Mirzeler, Dr. Ray Cashman, Author of Storytelling on the Northern Irish Border (Indiana University Press, 2008), spoke to fascinated audience on “SUPERNATURAL ENCOUNTERS ON THE IRISH BORDER” Dr. Cashman’s presentation focused on the nonfictional accounts of supernatural encounters told by Irish storyteller Packy Jim McGrath. In these stories the supernatural bursts into everyday life; haunting presences and gaping absences force us to question the shape of reality and point to a divine plan. Having crossed a boundary, ghosts, wraith, and fairies are out-of-place in this material world, yet at the same time their presence confirms a broader cosmological order of which the here and now are but one part. Approaching these narratives with previous work on sense of place in mind offers new perspectives on both belief and sense of place scholarship. The presentation was sponsored by: Department of Anthropology, Africana Studies, Department of English, Department of History, Lee Honor’s College, Lewis Walker Institute, Gender and Women’s Studies Program.

Citino Wins Second Prize for Creative Nonfiction

Laura Citino, senior English and German major, won second prize in creative nonfiction at the 2010 Sigma Tau Delta International Convention for "Souvenirs," which she presented at the convention last weekend. "Souvenirs" is based on her experience studying abroad in Germany last year.

Citino, the 2010 Presidential Scholar in Foreign Languages, serves as the communications officer of the WMU chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. She is also an editor of the Laureate, WMU's literary magazine, and works as a consultant at the Writing Center. She will graduate in April and plans to pursue graduate study in German and creative writing.

Announcing the MFA Festival!

Greetings everyone and congratulations to the graduating MFA students!

The MFA Festival is the creative writing program's yearly reading by those graduate students who have completed their course of study. It is an important event as it reflects all their hard work they have done. Please plan on attending.

The readings will be held in Bernhard Center, Room 208, 7:00-9:30 PM on 3/26 (Friday) and 3/27 (Saturday). The readers and the order in which they will read are as follows:


1. Kristopher Frithjof Peterson
2. Joe Gross
3. Chris Carter
4. James Miranda
5. Laura Zawistowski


1. Kory Shrum
2. Kate Dernocoeur
3. Kathy Zlabek
4. James Pray
5. Karen Wurl

This event will be catered and you are encouraged to arrive 10 - 15 minutes early.

Suspense Magazine Short Story Contest

Suspense Magazine has created a fantastic new place for fans of mystery, suspense, thriller and horror novels. These fans can enjoy interviews with their favorite authors, reviews of upcoming releases, links to the authors' websites and much more!

Suspense Magazine has also come up with a way of promoting aspiring writers by featuring stories in their magazine and on their website. They are looking to promote the work of students, in their Annual Short Story Contest. Stories must be no longer than 5,000 words and should have a suspenseful tone. Stories submitted to the contest will appear on the website and inside the magazine throughout the year.

Anyone interested is encouraged to submit stories to the 2010 Suspense Magazine Short Story Contest. Stories should be submitted electronically to If you have questions or require additional information, e-mail or visit

Release of "Freshwater Boys" by Adam Schuitema

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New Issues Press Reading: Thursday March 25

The Gwen Frostic Reading Series of Western Michigan University proudly presents the New Issues Press Reading, featuring poets Donald Platt and Malinda Markham.

Thursday, March 25th, 8 p.m.
WMU's Bernhard Center, Rooms 105-107

Malinda Markham is the author of Having Cut the Sparrow's Heart, winner of the 2009 Green Rose Prize. She received an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a Ph.D. from the University of Denver. After teaching full-time in the Linguistics Department at Daito Bunka University in Tokyo for several years, she won a Blakemore Fellowship to attend Stanford University’s Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama, Japan. Her first book of poems, Ninety-five Nights of Listening, won the Bread Loaf Bakeless Prize and was published by Houghton-Mifflin. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Conjunctions, Colorado Review,  Paris Review, Volt, Fence, and Antioch Review and has been included in The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries and Deep Travel. She has also published translations of post-war and contemporary Japanese women’s poetry. She lives in New York and works as a Japanese-to-English financial translator.
"In a masterful work of startling possibilities, Markham layers gleaming phrases into a testimony to the world’s particularities, which she reveals as also, paradoxically, eternal. Nothing here is limited by history, but instead attains the kind of simultaneity that drives myth. And like myth, her world is populated by creatures that mean, irreducibly, only themselves. Her ready attention to animals and birds is indicative of a compassion that demands of the world an inventive intelligence, and offers it one in return." —Cole Swensen
Donald Platt is a professor of English at Purdue University. He is the author of Dirt Angles (New Issues, 2009). His first two collections, Fresh Peaches, Fireworks, and Guns and Cloud Atlas, were published by Purdue University Press as winners of the Verna Emery Poetry Prize. His third book, My Father Says Grace, was published by the University of Arkansas Press. He is a recipient of the “Discovery”/The Nation Prize, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Center for Book Arts’ Poetry Chapbook Prize, and two Pushcart Prizes. His poems have appeared in many magazines and journals, including The New Republic, Nation, Paris Review, Poetry, Kenyon Review, Georgia Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Field, Iowa Review, Southwest Review, and Southern Review, and have been anthologized in The Best American Poetry 2000 and 2006. He lives with his wife, the poet Dana Roeser, and their two daughters in West Lafayette, Indiana.
"Donald Platt’s aptly titled and arresting fourth collection of poems, Dirt Angels, examines how we exist in states of physical disrepair, decay, and disability: the world’s transience exhibited in the slow degradation of our very consciousness and flesh."—Paisley Rekdal

news from Janet Heller

Janet Heller has recently become a specialist reader for Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, and just completed a report about a scholarly article concerning the works of African-American writer Gwendolyn Brooks.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

9th Francophone Film Festival at WMU

Dear Colleague,

We are finalizing the details of the 9h Edition of the Francophone Film Festival which will be held from March 17th to March 21st at the Little Theater on the campus of Western Michigan University. We would like to ask for your support in encouraging your students to attend the festival. This year we are offering a student ‘All Access’ pass for $18 ($50 value): entrance to all long films and short films  as well as an opportunity to meet one of the directors. Thank you very much for your time and your support! For more information on these films or for further information, do not hesitate to contact us or consult our website at: .  We also have a Facebook event at the following adress:!/event.php?eid=337829268743&ref=mf

Kindest regards, Justine Gresset For The Francophone Film Festival

Under Direction of: Vincent Desroches
Department of Foreign Languages
Western Michigan University

We are hoping to see you there!
African filmmaker, rare films part of WMU Francophone Film Fest
Release #0910-XXX; March XX, 2010--Contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8413
 KALAMAZOO--Local audiences will have the chance to see rare films made in French-speaking countries and meet a female, African film director during the Francophone Film Festival Wednesday through Sunday, March 17-21, at Western Michigan University. A highlight of the festival will be an appearance by filmmaker Joséphine Ndagnou, a native Cameroonian, who will introduce her latest creation, "Paris At Any Cost." Ndagnou will present her film at screenings at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 20, and 4 p.m. Sunday, March 21, and will be on hand to lead after-screen dialogues. All films will be shown in the WMU Little Theatre. Ndagnou, who also will meet with WMU film studies students while on campus, holds a diploma in audio-visual production from the Ecole Supérieure de Réalisation Audiovisuelle in Paris and a master's in cinematographic and audio-visual studies from Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne. A director with the national television station of Cameroon--CRTV--for 15 years, she has played a role in many telefilms produced by CRTV and appears in Jean-Pierre Bekolo's "Les Saignantes."  "Paris or Nothing" is her first full-length film, which she not only wrote, directed and produced, but also plays the leading role of Suzy, who will do anything to leave her native Cameroon for Paris. Her film has won several awards, including the Judges' Prize in the 2009 Fespaco Film Festival, the ADFF prize at the Annual African Diaspora Film Festival 2008, and the Best African Digital Film at Festival vues d'Afrique de Montréal. Other long-feature films included in this year's festival include "Sex, Okra and Salted Butter" by Mahamat Saleh Haroun of Chad and France; the U.S. premiere of "Tamanrasset" by Merzak Allouache of France and Algeria; "A Sentimental Capitalism" by Oliver Asselin of Québec, Canada; "The Necessities of Life" by Benoit Pilon of Québec, Canada; "Adhen (Le Dernier Maquis)" by Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche, a French Algerian; and "Khamsa" by Karim Dridi of France. For more information, including screening times and admission prices, go to

Monday, March 15, 2010

Donald Platt & Malinda Markham Read March 25, 8:00 PM, Bernhard Center 105-107

Supernatural Encounters on the Irish Border

PROFESSOR RAY CASHMAN, Author of Storytelling on the Northern Irish Border (Indiana University Press, 2008), will present


Monday, March 22 at 7:00 PM, Brown Hall 3025, Free and open to the public.

Dr. Cashman’s presentation investigates the nonfictional accounts of supernatural encounters told by Irish storyteller Packy Jim McGrath. In these stories the supernatural bursts into everyday life; haunting presences and gaping absences force us to question the shape of reality and point to a divine plan. Having crossed a boundary, ghosts, wraith, and fairies are out-of-place in this material world, yet at the same time their presence confirms a broader cosmological order of which the here and now are but one part. Approaching these narratives with previous work on sense of place in mind offers new perspectives on both belief and sense of place scholarship.
This Presentation is sponsored by the following departments, Programs and Institutes: Department of Anthropology, Africana Studies, Department of English, Department of History, Lee Honor’s College, Lewis Walker Institute, Gender and Women’s Studies Program

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Richardson spoke on 'Defaulting to Fiction'

On Thursday evening, Professor Alan Richardson (Boston College), spoke to an audience of 50 students and faculty on DEFAULTING TO FICTION: NEUROSCIENCE REDISCOVERS THE ROMANTIC IMAGINATION. Professors Nagle and Bradburn introduced the guest, who visitied Western Michigan University as part of the English Department Speakers Series.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tom Ludwig recognized as Film/Video Educator of the Year

Digital Arts, Film and Television (DAFT), a non-profit organization of media educators and professionals based in the Detroit area, has recently chosen Tom Ludwig as  Film/Video Educator of the Year for 2010. He will be presented with the award on May 14 at WMU as part of the Michigan Youth Arts Festival. Congrats!

cfp: chicago shaw symposium

A "Call for Papers" for the Chicago Shaw Symposium (October 22-23, 2010) is here attached, and it would be a big help if you would print this out and post at least one copy on some appropriate bulletin board, particularly where interested faculty and graduate students are likely to see it.   And please take a close look at it yourself, as we're hoping for a sizable attendance at this inaugural symposium in Chicago.  The deadline for abstracts, please note, is July 1. The details are at And don't forget that our usual Summer Shaw Symposium at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake has a deadline of April 15 for abstracts.   The details are at

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

commencement, may 1

You are cordially invited to participate in the Spring 2010 commencement exercises for your college Saturday, May 1, in Miller Auditorium.
6 p.m. - College of Arts and Sciences
Further details and information pertaining to commencement and academic regalia is available as a PDF file on the Provost's Web site.

Witschi to interview David Guterson

On Wednesday 17 March 2010 at 7pm, Nic Witschi will hold a conversation with the author of Snow Falling on Cedars (1994), live and on stage at Kalamazoo Central High School, as part of Kalamazoo's Reading Together program. The event is free and open to the public. For more information see the Reading Together website.

As part of this program, Prof. Witschi also conducted on 9 March a lecture and discussion at the Kalamazoo Public Library on the literary qualities of Guterson's novel.

Grace Tiffany is 2010 Sigma Tau Delta Faculty Honorary Inductee

Congratulations to Dr. Grace Tiffany, 2010 Faculty Honorary Inductee to the Alpha Nu Pi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. Honorary membership is extended to faculty, staff, and alumni who exemplify the ideals set forth by Sigma Tau Delta: excellence in teaching, scholarship, and creative activities in English studies.

Dr. Tiffany will be inducted along with 27 new student members at the Spring 2010 Sigma Tau Delta induction on Sunday, March 14, at 3 p.m., in 3025 Brown. All are invited to attend.

She joins previous Alpha Nu Pi honorary inductees Jon Adams, Kim Ballard, Meg Dupuis, Mike LoPresto, and Scott Slawinski.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

From Practical Writing to Screen Writing

This afternoon, about 40 students interested in screenwriting had a chance to encounter alumnus Mike Daniels (B.A. English/Practical Writing, 1999) in Dr. Casey McKittrick's Film class. Daniels, who is currently a member of the screenwriting team for One Tree Hill, a teen, young adult television drama on the WB TV Network, spoke about his path from English major to screenwriter, describing the positive and negative aspects of seeking a career in his field. We hope to bring him back to teach a workshop for a select group of interested students in the future.

Graduate Student Essay Contest (Victorian)

Graduate students are invited to submit essays for the
2010 VanArsdel Prize
for the best graduate student essay on, about, or extensively using Victorian periodicals.

Manuscripts should be 15-25 pages and should not have appeared in print. The winner receives a plaque, $300, and publication of the prize essay in VPR.

Send paper submissions postmarked by 1 April 2010 to:

Kathryn Ledbetter,
Department of English
Texas State University
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666-4616

Please include a description of current status in graduate school.

Kahn-Loftus Lands Mini-Grant

Toby Kahn-Loftus has been awarded a Mini-Grant through the National Writing Project's Rural Sites Network for a 2010-2011 project entitled, "Reading the Word and the World: Teaching for Critical Literacy and Social Justice in Rural Michigan." The Rural Sites Network is a national network that links teachers in rural areas together through the sites of the National Writing Project. For more information, contact Toby at:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sigma Tau Delta to induct 27 new members on Sunday, March 14

Laura Citino, Sigma Tau Delta Communications Officer, writes:

The Spring 2010 Sigma Tau Delta Induction Ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 14. The ceremony begins at 3:00 p.m. in 3025 Brown Hall (the Humanities Resource Center).

Please join the Alpha Nu Pi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, in welcoming and celebrating our 27 new Spring 2010 inductees:

Natasha Allen
Lauren Axt
Alison Barna
Katherine Berlin
Brian Bender
Maria Benson
Allison Billedeaux
Victoria Blevins
Eric Braman
Tim Buchanan
Anthony Cerullo
Andrea Douglas
Danielle Favorite
Analiese Grohalski
Christopher Hart
Brett Hershey
Michelle Jeup
Natalie Lang
Lauren Lilly
Victoria Mansberger
Andrew Minegar
Courtney Ochab
Kara Pauley
Candace Pine
Mira Poncin
Elizabeth Schoenborn
Ann Vaught

...and our very special 2010 Faculty Honorary Inductee, Dr. Grace Tiffany.

Special note to friends and faculty of the English department: As was the case for last fall's inductees, the Spring 2010 inductees are all able to join Sigma Tau Delta free of charge because of generous donations by the WMU English Department, the College of Arts and Sciences, and private donations from supporters of WMU's English department and Sigma Tau Delta. Come and see the good use your generosity has sponsored!

And if you'd like to donate to the membership fund, please click here to go to the WMU Foundation online contribution page.

And on Sunday, put on some snazzy duds and bring even more friends and family if you so wish - there will be tons of good vibes, English chatter, and cake!

Alumna Theresa Thomas to Teach for America

Theresa Thomas, 2008 WMU graduate in English, has been accepted to the Teach for America program, which recruits outstanding young college graduates to teach in low-income communities. She will begin teaching in Phoenix, Arizona, in August.

While at WMU, Theresa served as editor-in-chief of The Laureate literary magazine and was an officer in Sigma Tau Delta. She also studied abroad in Egypt and won a Lee Honors College research grant to study language variation in Egyptian Arabic.

Tiffany Reviewing Things

Since September, 2009, Grace Tiffany has reviewed several interesting books and one very good theatrical production. These are: for English Studies, William C. Carroll's new edition of Love's Labor's Lost and Thomas Rist's Revenge Tragedy and the Drama of Commemoration in Early Modern England; for Seventeenth-Century News, Ian McAdam's Magic and Masculinity in Early Modern English Drama; for The Shakespeare Newsletter, Jeanne Addison Roberts's Literary Criticism as Dream Analysis: Essays on Renaissance and Modern Writers and the 2009 Stratford Shakespeare Festival production of Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair; and for Shakespeare Quarterly Robert Hornback's The English Clown Tradition from the Middle Ages to Shakespeare. She continues to write short reviews of articles on a quarterly basis for The Shakespeare Newsletter.

judging black and white presentation

The Institute of Government and Politics invites the WMU and greater Kalamazoo communities to this year's Samuel I. Clark lecture. Dr. Stacia Haynie, chair of the political science department at LSU and scholar of comparative judicial politics will speak on "Judging in Black and White: Decision Making in the South African Appellate Division, 1950-2010" on Wednesday, March 27 at 7pm in the Fetzer Center, room 2020. Synopsis of the talk: Despite increasing recognition of judges as political actors, few studies have explored the role and function of judges and judging in countries transitioning from repressive to democratic regimes. Using the unique circumstances of the South African evolution from apartheid to
constitutional democracy, Dr. Haynie creates a portrait of the individuals who staffed the bench during the rise and fall of apartheid by exploring the dilemma of judging in a system that juxtaposes the formal law with the repressive law. Regardless of adherence to the legal rules, judging cannot be fully separated from the larger moral questions embedded in these systems. Most challenging, how do “impartial” judges who serve during an authoritarian regime transition to a new democratic order?

alumnus turned screenwriter to speak at wmu

Tomorrow, on Tuesday, March 9, we have a chance to welcome one of our wonderful alumni, Michael Daniels, who is now a successful screen writer for One Tree Hill, a teen, young adult television drama on the WB TV Network, currently in its third or forth season.  Michael will speak to students interested in play- and screenwriting in Dr. Casey McKittricks Film class, 2-2:50 p.m., in Sangren 2304. We will also feature him in an interview he will give to us via e-mail in a future issue of Footnotes, our department alumni/ae newsletter.
For information about Michael Daniels and his work, please see the entry in the Internet Movie Database ( For a quick overview of One Tree Hill, see the entry in Wikipedia (

Copyright Law and Fair Use Conference

Dan Royer, chair of the writing department of Grand Valley State
University and a Right to Write Board member extends an invitation to the “Copyright
Law and Fair Use” conference at Grand Valley State University in Grand
Rapids, Michigan.

On April 3, the Right to Write Fund is cosponsoring a “Copyright Law and
Fair Use” conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan with the Michigan Bar
Association, Stanford, and Grand Valley State University. Please join us
for this 10 a.m. to 3p.m. program at the DeVos Center Lecture Hall 136
E, 401 West Fulton on the Grand Valley campus in downtown Grand Rapids.

Speakers include attorney Julie Ahrens, of the Stanford Law School Fair
Use Project and Michigan intellectual property attorney Matthew Bower.
/Lee Van Orsdel,/ Dean of University Libraries at Grand Valley State
University will be giving the opening remarks. There will also be a
timely panel on the Fair Use case brought by J.K. Rowling and Warner
Bros. against RDR Books of Muskegon, publishers of Grand Rapids author
Steve Vander Ark's Lexicon on the Harry Potter series. Ahrens, one of
the attorneys on the Lexicon case will discuss how the ruling of New
York Federal Court Judge Robert Patterson and publication of this
reference guide has impacted fair use across the country. The sessions
will be of special interest to Michigan creative artists and lawyers on
important issues of copyright law, fair use, and the First Amendment.

You are also welcome to join a reception following the conference
cosponsored by the Right to Write Fund and the Arts, Communications,
Entertainment & Sports (“ACES”) Law Section of the State Bar of

Please RSVP to Megan Trank at megan@rdrbooks or Matthew Bower of the
Michigan Bar Association at by March 24th. The conference fee is
$30 ($20 for students) with lunch provided. If you can’t join us but
would like more information email or call Megan at (231)-740-0283.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Richardson Next Distinguished Visiting Speaker—Lecture & Seminar, 3/11-12

The WMU English Department’s Scholarly Speakers Series is pleased to welcome


Please join us for his lecture:



which draws from his forthcoming book, The Neural Sublime: Cognitive Theories and Romantic Texts
(Johns Hopkins UP, 2010)

PLACE: Brown 3025
TIME: 7:00 PM

The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session and a light reception. An abstract for the talk is available via the link below, as well as the official flyer advertising the event (which you should see around the halls when returning from Spring Break).

Those interested in attending the LUNCH SEMINAR ON FRIDAY with Prof. Richardson are invited to prepare for the discussion by reading the two essays available via the link below (PDF files: "Apostrophe" and "CognitiveLitCrit"). After the discussion those who are interested may join us for lunch (dutch treat) at a nearby restaurant TBA. The informal seminar is open to all and will be HELD IN THE MEADER READING ROOM ON THE 3RD FLOOR OF WALDO LIBRARY AT 11:30 AM.

Prof. Richardson (Ph.D., Harvard University) specializes in British Romantic literature and culture, literature and empire, early children’s literature, and the application of cognitive science to literary studies. His publications include the forthcoming The Neural Sublime: Cognitive Theories and Romantic Texts (Johns Hopkins, 2010), British Romanticism and the Science of the Mind (Cambridge UP, 2001), Literature, Education, and Romanticism: Reading as Social Practice, 1780-1832 (Cambridge University Press, 1994), and the edited collections Early Black British Writing (Houghton Mifflin, 2004), The Work of Fiction: Cognition, Culture, and Complexity, with Ellen Spolsky (Ashgate, 2004), and Romanticism, Race, and Imperial Culture, 1780-1834, with Sonia Hofkosh (Indiana UP, 1996). He maintains the award-winning website “Literature, Cognition, and the Brain.”

Please feel free to contact Chris Nagle for more information:


Gender and the Academy discussion on March 12

This week's English Graduate Program brown bag will focus on Gender and the Academy.

Dr. Lisa Minnick and doctoral candidate Melinda Moustakis will lead a discussion about the ways that inequality based on gender and/or sexuality is institutionalized in the academic workplace and about how to succeed within that culture while working actively to change it.

When: Friday, March 12, at 12 noon
Where: TBA

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Heading over

English Department:

I've wrapped up all my refresher training and I'm just about to head overseas. Thanks for all the support and good thoughts. The Kindle has been a godsend. I'll post my address when I get settled in at my assignment. Good luck with the rest of the semester. I'll be sure to stay in touch.



Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Visitors discuss Malcolm X and the Hajj from diverse perspectives

Last week, in Eve Salisbury and Grace Tiffany's collaboratively taught seminar on "Holy Road Trips," a panel of guests discussed Malcolm X, peace pilgrims, Nation of Islam, pilgrimage to Mecca, orthodox and alternative stories about the Ka'ba, women on the pilgrimage, and many other topics. Presenters and guest discussants in the seminar included John Saillant, Professor of English and History, Hafiz Akbar, Imam of the Mosque at WMU, Mariam Deme, Professor of Africana Studies, Mustafa Mirzeler, Professor of English/Comparative Religion, and Richard Utz, English Department Chair.