Thursday, September 29, 2011

Purdue Conference on the King James Bible

Beth Bradburn and Grace Tiffany presented papers last week at the biannual conference on Renaissance prose at Purdue University, held this year in honor of the 400th anniversary of the first publication of the King James Bible. Beth Bradburn's paper discussed the KJV's status as an (or as the) original seventeenth-century prose poem. Grace Tiffany discussed Shakespeare's adaptation of biblical parables to comedy, history play, and tragedy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Utz reviews Post-Historical Middle Ages

Richard Utz recently reviewed the following volume for the Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 110/4 (2011), 520-22: 

The Post-Historical Middle Ages. Edited by Elizabeth Scala and Sylvia Federico. The New Middle Ages. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. 

The front cover of this essay collection gives equal space to a picture of Karl Marx and a medieval manuscript, but neither of them is at the center of what the editors and contributors really have in mind for their readers. In fact, George Edmondson’s essay on the “Naked Chaucer” in Brian Helgeland’s 2001 movie A Knight’s Tale may serve to explain why Marx and manuscripts can only serve as backdrops to the scholarship presented in this volume....


Monday, September 26, 2011

Arnie Johnston as King Lear

Good Morning All,

We are pleased to share with you early reviews of King Lear. Arnie Johnston returns to the Civic as King Lear! Follow the link for information on Johnston along with dates and times of the show.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dupuis, Tiffany and Witschi Open Scholarly Speakers Series

This semester's keynote talk in the Scholarly Speakers Series will be given by Professors Meg Dupuis, Grace Tiffany and Nic Witschi. Their presentation, entitled "Collecting Wisdom: Editing as Scholarly Work" will be Thursday, September 29 at 7 p.m. in Brown Hall 3025. All members of the English Department community are warmly invited to attend.

Poet William Olsen Reads His Work: Fall 2011 Gwen Frostic Reading Series

We welcome you to join us for our first reading of the Fall 2011 Gwen Frostic Reading Series. We’re honored to have WMU faculty member and poet William Olsen read his work this Thursday, Sept. 22nd. The reading will take place at the WMU Bernhard Center, in room 208-209, starting at 8:00 PM. We look forward to seeing you there.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Queering Paradigms IV Conference (Rio/July 25-28, 2012)

Call for papers

[CFP page in English --]

Character of the conference and contributions:

Following the success of the three international, interdisciplinary Queering Paradigms conferences held thus far on three continents, the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Applied Linguistics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the Graduate Program in Social Memory at the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO) and the Brazilian Association of Applied Linguistics (ALAB) are proud to announce Queering Paradigms IV, to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from the 25th to the 28th of July, 2012.

Our confirmed keynote speakers are Annamarie Jagose (University of Sydney, Australia), José Quiroga (Emory University, USA), Alípio Sousa Filho (Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil), Jack Halberstam (University of Southern California, USA), Luiz Paulo da Moita Lopes (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Jô Gondar (Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).

As in the previous conferences, we use the term 'queer' to refer to an indefinite, borderless domain of non-normative genders, sexualities and bodily practices that is also affiliated with critical analytic approaches, while recognizing that the term does not resonate globally as it emerged from Western experience. 'Queering' thus questions, contrasts, challenges and destabilizes heteronormativity, but is not restricted to it: homo-, class-, religion-, scientific- and academic-normativity are also part of its scope of analysis.

The aim of the conference is thus to analyze the status quo and the future challenges of Queer and LGBTIQ Studies from an ample, inter/multidisciplinary perspective, in order to problematize/destabilize (i.e. to queer) discourses and paradigms. Our intention is to bring together researchers from many countries in an exploration of queer and LGBTIQ social practices, presenting from disciplines as diverse as, but not limited to, anthropology, sociology, language studies, theology, political science, law, social medicine, philosophy, geography and social psychology.

Proposals for Papers and Panels:

Paper and panel proposals are invited on any aspect of Queer or LGBTIQ Studies. They shall be grouped into the following areas:

Queering ethics

Queering institutions

Queering language practices

Queering art and literature

Queering media practices

Queering races and ethnicities

Queering epistemologies and methodologies

Queering activism

Queering temporalities and geographies

Queering bodies, embodiment and identities

The proposals will undergo a peer-review process by our international board of reviewers and should be submitted through our website:, by 15 December 2011.

Proposals for individual papers: These should take the form of abstracts with a minimum of 1500 and a maximum of 3500 characters, followed by three keywords.

Panel proposals: Panels may have between four and six participants, one of whom shall be the organizer. The submission must include a panel rationale of between 1500 and 3500 characters followed by three keywords, as well as four to six paper abstracts of the same length, each also including three keywords. The organizer is responsible for writing the panel rationale, collecting the participants' abstracts, and submitting everything together through our website.

Proposals may be submitted, and papers may be presented, in English, Portuguese or Spanish, but due to the international nature of the conference, the use of English is highly encouraged. Abstracts should be written in the intended language of presentation. For those who use English as a second/foreign language, please note that what matters for our conference is not so-called near-native fluency, but rather the ability to communicate ideas clearly, which may be further enhanced by visual props such as slides. Papers may be single- or co-authored. Potential participants may submit up to two proposals.

The proceedings of this conference will be prepared for peer-reviewed publication in the Queering Paradigms Series, made available by the international academic publishers Peter Lang.

Requests for further information can be sent by email to:

You can also learn more on our website (, and follow us on Twitter (@QueeringP4) and on our Facebook page (Queering Paradigms 4).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Newberry Grad Student Conference (deadline Oct.15)

Center for Renaissance Studies 2012 Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Conference Conference Dates: Thursday, January 26 – Saturday, January 28, 2012 Call for Papers Submission Deadline: Saturday, October 15, 2011
The Center for Renaissance Studies annual graduate student conference, organized and run by advanced doctoral students, has become a premier opportunity for maturing scholars to present papers, participate in discussions, and develop collaborations across the field of medieval, Renaissance, and early modern studies. Participants from a wide variety of disciplines find a supportive and collegial forum for their work, meet future colleagues from other institutions and disciplines, and become familiar with the Newberry Library and its resources. Each year since 2007, selected papers have been published in a peer-edited online conference proceedings. Call for Papers We invite abstracts for 15-minute papers from master’s or Ph.D. students on any medieval, Renaissance, or early modern topic, in Europe or the Mediterranean or Atlantic worlds. We encourage submissions from disciplines as varied as the literature of any language, history, classics, art history, music, comparative literature, theater arts, philosophy, religious studies, transatlantic studies, disability studies, and manuscript studies. Eligibility ♦ Presenters must be enrolled students in a master’s or Ph.D. program at the time of the conference, at a member institution of the Center for Renaissance Studies consortium. ♦ Submissions from presenters at last year's conference will be given lower priority. ♦ Due to the multidisciplinary nature of the conference, all papers must be read in English. Note that students from consortium schools may be eligibile to apply for travel funding to attend this program Submit a proposal Submissions must be made online. The submission form will require a paper title, an abstract of not more than 300 words, and a biographical paragraph, also of not more than 300 words. Complete the online submission form here no later than October 15, 2011. Organizers Partial list (three more to come): ♦ Lara Apps, History, University of Alberta ♦ Mary Channen Caldwell, Music, University of Chicago ♦ Julia Finch,History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh ♦ Abigail Stahl, French and Francophone Studies, Northwestern University ♦ Jenny Toms, English, Michigan State University Conference registration Online conference registration, for presenters and organizers and for those simply attending the conference will be available by late fall 2011. Faculty and graduate students from Center for Renaissance Studies consortium schools are eligible to apply for travel funding to attend CRS programs or to do research at the Newberry Library. Contact your school's faculty representative in advance for details.

Arnie Johns on as King Lear

A tragedy of consuming force, King Lear is widely regarded as Shakespeare’s crowning artistic achievement. Lear, the aging King of Britain, decides to step down from the throne and divide his kingdom among his three daughters. In an attempt to give the “largest bounty” to the one who loves him most, he puts his daughters through a test, asking each to tell him how much she loves him. Lear’s older daughters, in an attempt to gain his favor, shower their father with flattering answers. But Cordelia, Lear’s youngest and favorite daughter, remains silent, saying that she has no words to describe how much she loves her father. Lear flies into a rage and disowns Cordelia. Ultimately, to his great cost, the King learns which of his daughters has loved him most dearly.


Friday, September 30, 8:00pm
Saturday, October 1, 8:00pm
Thursday, October 6, 7:30pm
Friday, October 7, 8:00pm (Interpreted performance date)
Saturday, October 8, 8:00pm
Sunday, October 9, 2:00pm
Friday, October 14, 8:00pm
Saturday, October 15, 8:00pm

“King Lear is perhaps the greatest of all Shakespeare’s dramas…”
– The Telegraph

For TICKETS call 269-343-1313 or visit

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fall 2011 Gwen Frostic Reading Series

The WMU Creative Writing Program would like to invite you to the Fall 2011 Gwen Frostic Reading Series. This semester, we'll host five different readings featuring eight readers. All of the readings are free and open to the public. We look forward to seeing you there.

Schedule of Events:

Poet and WMU Faculty Member, William Olsen:
September 22nd, 8:00 PM, WMU Bernhard Center 208-209

Fiction Writer, Sterling Watson:
October 13th, 8:00 PM, WMU Bernhard Center 157-158

Poets, Gerald Stern & Anne Marie Macari:
November 3rd, 8:00 PM, The Little Theatre

Playwright, Carlos Murillo:
November 17th, 8:00 PM, Bernhard Center 157-158

Alumni Reading: Elizabeth Knapp, Melinda Moustakis & Jason Skipper:
December 1st, 8:00 PM, Bernhard Center 157-158

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Graphic Narratives Poster Presentation Event - 12/7/11

SAVE THE DATE: Wednesday, December 7, 2011, from 4:00-6:00 pm in 4002 Brown Hall. The entire WMU English Studies community is invited to a poster presentation event showcasing the work of students enrolled this fall in Dr. Gwen Tarbox's course, ENGL 4100, Graphic Narratives. You'll have the opportunity to ask students questions about their research into the comics medium and to enjoy light refreshments. Please mark your calendars and join us.

To learn more about the course, visit the ENGL 4100 blog.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gazette showcases University Center for the Humanities

KALAMAZOO — The provost of Western Michigan University is calling it “a living room for conversation.”

A professor of Islamic studies says it can “help us come to grips with the social and economic challenges we face today in the U.S.”

Its founding director sees it as “kind of an incubator for ideas and projects” and a way to “take up intellectual and social questions that can’t be answered by any one discipline.”

All three say they want it to bring together faculty, staff, students and the broader Kalamazoo community.

They’re talking about the new University Center for the Humanities, which is scheduled to have its grand opening Oct. 5 and whose official founding is up for a vote by the WMU Board of Trustees on Sept. 28.

The center is in Room 2500 of Knauss Hall, a renovated space that was once the Space Gallery. Its organizers already have a full slate of lectures and other free events planned for the new academic year.

“Our speakers will be talking about big issues of interest to the community and to the wider world and showing how the humanities has an impact on real-world issues,” said Katherine Joslin, a longtime WMU English professor and the center’s founding director.

For example, prominent bioethicist Arthur Caplan will discuss health-care rationing, and New York University professor Richard Arum will talk about his study revealing that some undergraduates on the nation’s campuses are learning very little during their college years.

Humanities centers have grown in number at colleges and universities, and the WMU center was proposed two years ago by three new faculty members:

* Blain Auer, who teaches Islamic studies in the Department of Comparative Religion
* Natalio Ohanna, of the Spanish Department
* Lofton Durham, who teaches theater history.

They went to Provost Timothy Greene with the idea, and he was very supportive, Joslin said.

Greene said Joslin is being modest in not taking some credit for the idea. She made a similar proposal several years ago, he said. Joslin and two other employees — one full time and the other part time — are staffing the center, which also has a 10-member advisory board composed of faculty members. The center is funded through the Office of Academic Affairs.

Joslin said she was thrilled the new faculty members “were energized to bring the humanities back to the fore at Western.”

Discussing, solving issues

The term humanities refers to subjects such as literature, philosophy, ethics, history, religion, archeology, anthropology, geography, economics, political science and sociology. But no matter what area you might be working in, “the minute you step back to ask why you’re doing it, what the implications are, what the social impact is,” that is when you are dealing with the humanities, Joslin said.
Humanities events at WMU

These events planned by the University Center for the Humanities are free and open to the public:

Keynote speakers

David Carrasco, of Harvard University — “Borderlands and Cultural Encounters: Stories and Rhythms of Latin(o) American Lives,” a multimedia presentation on the cultural encounters among Spanish, Aztec and African people that formed the Mexican Americas, 4 p.m. Oct. 27, Room 2008, Richmond Center.

Jim Torczyner, of McGill University — “Fifteen Years Creating Engaged Citizenry in the Middle East: Building Strong Communities in Jordan, Israel and Palestine through Rights Advocacy,” 4 p.m. Jan. 26, Room 2008, Richmond Center.

Other events

Amanda Katherine Rath, of Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany — A talk on “Artworld(s) in Indonesia,” 5:30 p.m. Sept. 22, Room 2008, Richmond Center. Related to an exhibit called “Installation Arts: Indonesia” at the Richmond Center.

Opening reception for University Center for the Humanities — “Barbecue and Books,” Room 2500, Knauss Hall, 4-6 p.m. Oct. 5. WMU humanities scholars and writers are asked to donate signed copies of their books and articles for the center’s collection.

Film: “Alambrista” — About a Mexican man who enters the United States to find work to support his family, 7 p.m. Oct. 7, Little Theater.

Richard Arum, of New York University — An analysis of four years of student data by the author of “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” and a look at how students are faring in the current U.S. economic crisis, 5 p.m. Nov. 3, Room 2000, Schneider Hall.

Claudia Stevens, of Boston University — “Pigeon,” a theatrical performance and discussion about famed environmentalist and animal-rights champion Dame Miriam Rothschild, 7 p.m. Nov. 8, Dalton Center Lecture Hall.

Arthur Caplan, of the University of Pennsylvania, health care talk on “The Inevitability of Rationing and How to Be Fair About It,” 4 p.m. Feb. 23, Room 2008, Richmond Center.

Sonya Bernard-Hollins, journalist and WMU graduate — “How to Uncover the Hidden Treasures in Your Archives and Bring Them to Life,” 4 p.m. March 22, Room 2500, Knauss Hall.

Merze Tate Exhibit — Photographs, letters and tickets that document Tate’s travels and accomplishments, March 1-30, Room 2500, Knauss Hall.

Jen Bervin, poet and visual artist — “Small Infinities — Emily Dickinson’s Manuscripts,” 4 p.m. March 28, Meader Rare Book Room. Her large-scale works will be on exhibit at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, Suite 103A, Park Trades Center, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., where she will present her own poems at 7 p.m. March 29.

At WMU, about 4,000 of approximately 20,000 undergraduates major in the humanities, but all students take humanities courses as part of general education requirements, Auer said.

The humanities “contribute greatly to critical thinking and creativity and provide a basis for common discussion,” Greene said.

Auer voiced a similar view. “The humanities provide a grounding for a civil and civic society,” he said. “ ... They can provide the kind of forum that is essential to democracy. It’s not just the five-minute sound bite you get in a newscast. It’s deeper, more concerted efforts to understand the core issues of the day and how we can solve these, not just in the short term but in the long term.”

Auer said he would like the center to facilitate discussions on issues such as the economy, globalization, politics, democracy and representation, the media and information technology. And he’d like to see discussions about providing adequate education for all American citizens and preventing environmental catastrophes like the oil spill in the Kalamazoo River.

In October, the center is planning a free screening of the film “Alambrista,” which is about a Mexican man who slips across the border into the United States to find work to support his family back home. Auer said he has been talking with Hispanic organizations, farm workers and immigration-rights lawyers to let them know about the event.

Last year, when about 10 people were working on getting the humanities center started, they brought Martha Nussbaum, professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago Law School, to WMU to talk about why democracy needs the humanities.

“That was an excellent example of an activity that the center would host that drew a very large crowd into the Bernhard Center, with people from the community and faculty and staff attending,” Greene said.

The center also is involved in two work groups, one planning a two-day conference for medical professionals and the other planning to teach humanities classes to low-income people for free.

Joslin said to have the center up and running just two years after it was proposed is quite unusual.

“Normally, it’s hard to make things happen that fast at the university,” she said. “I think it indicates a pent-up desire for it.”

Monday, September 5, 2011

Makers of the Middle Ages now available online

Richard Utz and Elizabeth Emery, eds. Cahier Calin. Makers of the Middle Ages. Essays in Honor of William Calin. Print: Kalamazoo, MI: Studies in Medievalism, 2011, is now available in electronic format. You can access a .pdf of the complete volume at: (please be patient since it is a huge file).

Here is the Table of Contents:

Jesse G. Swan: Erasmus, Calin, Reading and Living -2 Alicia C. Montoya: Madame de Sévigné’s Aristocratic Medievalism -3 William Paden: Pound’s Troubadours -5 Roy Rosenstein: Helen Waddell at Columbia: Maker of Medievalists -6 M. Jane Toswell: Seamus Heaney and Beowulf -9 Tom Shippey: Rudyard Kipling -10 Gwendolyn Morgan: J.R.R. Tolkien: Medievalism and Middle Earth -12 Edward Risden: Shakespeare: Making Medieval Character -13 Barbara K. Altmann: Christine de Pizan as Maker of the Middle Ages -15 Nils Holger Petersen: B.S. Ingemann: Danish Medievalism of the Early Nineteenth Century -17 Veronica West-Harling: Errol le Cain’s Fairy Tales as Manuscript Illustration -18 Carol Robinson: Edna Edith Sayers (f.k.a. Lois Bragg) -20 Pam Clements: Margaret Atwood and Chaucer: Truth and Lies -21 Richard Utz: Bernhard ten Brink and German English Studies in Lotharingia -23 Gayle Zachmann: Marcel Schwob’s Archeologies and Medievalism -24 Elizabeth Emery: Albert Robida, Medieval Publicist -26 Gina Psaki: C.S. Lewis: More Maiorum -29 Kathleen Verduin: The Medievalism of Charles Eliot Norton -30 Karl Fugelso: Tom Phillips’ Dante -32 Caroline Jewers: Six Views of William Morris -33 List of Contributors -35.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Issue of Comparative Drama

The summer 2011 issue of Comparative Drama, volume 45.2, was published online at Project MUSE in August. Hard copies of this issue will begin mailing by mid-September.

This issue includes the following contributions:

How to Do Witchcraft Tragedy with Speech Acts
Eric Byville

A “Birthright into a New World”: Representing the Town on Brome’s Stage
Denys Van Renen

Remaking the Chorus: Charles Mee Jr.’s Orestes 2.0
Peter Campbell

Fear Mongering, Media Intimidation, and Political Machinations: Tracing the Agendas Behind the All God’s Chillun Got Wings Controversy
Jeffrey Ullom

Performative Reading and Receiving a Performance of the Jour du Jugement in MS Besançon 579
Karlyn Griffith

The Ethos of Drama; Rhetorical Theory and Dramatic Worth
by Robert L. King
reviewed by Martin J. Plax

Philosophers and Thespians: Thinking Performance
by Freddie Rokem
reviewed by Lydia Goehr

Shakespeare, Sex, and Love
by Stanley Wells
reviewed by Elizabeth Klett

Shakespeare and Biography
by David Bevington
reviewed by R. A. Foakes

Don Pedro Calderón
by Don W. Cruikshank
reviewed by Hilaire Kallendorf

Staging Spectatorship in the Plays of Philip Massinger
by Joanne Rochester
reviewed by Julie Sanders

Shakespeare’s Opposites: The Admiral’s Company 1594-1625
by Andrew Gurr
reviewed by Melissa D. Aaron

Shakespeare, Politics, and Italy: Intertexuality on the Jacobean Stage
by Michael J. Redmond
reviewed by Jason Lawrence

Euripides: Suppliant Women
by Ian C. Storey
reviewed by Eric Dugdale