News from Richmond — I just returned from Richmond, Virginia, where I attended the Children’s Literature Association Conference. This year’s conference focused on the “dark side” of children’s literature. This theme seemed fitting to me since Richmond is the home of Edgar Allan Poe, who of course is famous for his dark stories. While in Richmond, I visited the Edgar Allan Poe Museum and Garden, and I marveled at the museum’s extensive collection of Poe’s personal belongings and memorabilia.
I am pleased to report that our English Department was well represented at the conference. Two of our graduate students presented papers. Amanda Loefert delivered a paper on “Fighting in Flats: How Kamala Khan Is Revolutionizing the Female Superhero.” Dina Massachi presented a paper titled “Starving for Readers: The Epidemic of Glamorizing Eating Disorders in Young Adult Fiction.” I attended their sessions, and they both gave excellent presentations. Two of our former graduate students also presented papers. Mary Catherine Miller, who is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at Ohio State University, delivered a paper titled “Exploring Race in Panem from Colonialism to the Present,” and Erika Romero, who is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at Illinois State University, presented a paper titled “Dismantling Boundaries: The Post-Human World of M. T. Anderson’s Feed.” I always feel proud when I our former graduate students achieve success as doctoral students, and Mary Catherine and Erika are two such success stories. Balaka Basu also attended the conference, and she was honored during the awards banquet for winning the Children’s Literature Association’s Best Edited Book Award for her collection titled Contemporary Dystopian Fiction for Young Adults: Brave New Teenagers. This occasion marked the second year in a row that Balaka was recognized at the awards banquet. Last year she was honored for winning the Children’s Literature Association’s Faculty Research Grant.
News from Our Foreign Bureau — When I was a kid, the television networks often ran a public service announcement that said, “It’s 10:00 pm. Do you know where your children are?” This announcement popped into my head the other day as I was trying to keep track of our faculty members’ travel plans for the summer. I found myself asking, “It’s summer. Do you know where your faculty members are?” Many members of our department go on research trips over the summer, so keeping track of everybody can be a challenge. In an effort to participate in these foreign adventures in a vicarious sort of way, I decided to provide some information about our globe trotters in my Monday Missives.
This week I am featuring Sarah Minslow, who recently returned from an extended trip to the United Kingdom and Ireland. I asked her about her adventures, and here is what she had to say: “In May, I visited the UK and Ireland to conduct research for curriculum development for the courses I teach. I visited the British Library, Trinity College Dublin’s exhibition titled Upon the Wild Waves: A Journey through Myth in Children’s Books, Oscar Wilde’s childhood home and the Selfish Giant’s Children’s Playground, which is based on one of Oscar Wilde’s stories. I also visited the Bronte Parsonage, Beatrix Potter World and Beatrix Potter’s house, and Whitby Abbey. I met with faculty at Kingston University and the Chair of their English Department to discuss course requirements and advising our study abroad students and with the Director of the British Human Rights Institute. It was an amazing trip, and I have a lot of reading and curriculum revisions to do now!”
Kudos— As you know, I like to use my Monday Missives to share news about recent accomplishments by members of our department. Here is the latest news:
Lil Brannon and UNC Charlotte’s Writing Project are featured in the Summer 2015 print edition of Exchange. Copies of this magazine are in faculty members’ department mailboxes.
Liz Miller recently presented a paper in a symposium titled “Teacher Identity across Time and Space” at the International Society for Language Studies conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Earlier this summer she had a chapter titled “Power, Resistance and Second Language Learning” appear in the Handbook of Classroom Discourse and Interaction.
Upcoming Events and Deadlines—Here are some dates to keep in mind:
June 22 — Last day of classes for the first summer session.
June 29 — Grades due for classes taught during the first summer session.
June 29 — Classes for the second summer session begin on June 29.
June 30 — Last day to add or drop a class with no grade.
Quirky Quiz Question— Edgar Allan Poe wrote poetry as well as prose. One of his poems begin with the phrase, “Once upon a midnight dreary.” What is the title of this poem?
Last week’s answer: Julian D. Mason