UMD English news & Updates | Spring 2024

Welcome colleagues and friends to the English Department's Spring 2024 Newsletter,

We close out another banner academic year with stories about all the ways faculty and students are impacting campus and broader communities. As a review of recent accolades and accomplishments, this newsletter serves as a celebration of our shared successes and testament to English as a hub of intellectual dynamism.

Warm regards,

Amanda Bailey, Professor and Chair

Do Good Innovator Award

Peter Mallios

Associate Professor Peter Mallios has been recognized with a Provost’s Do Good Innovator Award, which recognizes excellence by members of the campus community who “create, nurture, expand and amplify social impact through education, programs, and research, both in and outside the classroom.”

Mallios created and co-taught the course ENGL388B: “Mass Incarceration and Prison Education: Academic Writing in Prison.” Over years spent developing the course and building on his experience working with the Goucher Prison Education Partnership, he collaborated with four co-teachers, community partners and undergraduate students to study mass incarceration and develop a pedagogy for teaching people who are incarcerated.

"This award reflects this campus's commitment to doing good, including attention to the crisis of mass incarceration and the ability we have as a university to do something meaningful about that problem," Mallios said.

2024 Teaching Innovation Grant

Marisa Parham

Professor Marisa Parham has won a 2024 Teaching Innovation Grant from the Teaching & Learning Transformation Center.

The three-year $400k grant will fund "NarraSpace XR: Difference, Storytelling, and Embodiment," supporting innovation in digital storytelling and interactive scholarship with a focus on investigating ways to center BIPOC, queer, and transnational perspective through experimental and emergent technologies.

$1.4M Mellon Foundation Grant Expands Black Digital Humanities at UMD

Supported by a three-year, $1.4 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the next phase of the African American Digital and Experimental Humanities Initiative (AADHum) at the University of Maryland will grow and expand work at the intersection of digital studies, digital humanities and Black studies.

“Given that Black studies is so interdisciplinary, AADHum has become a space where many different kinds of energy can converge to produce truly exciting new work,” said Director Marisa Parham, professor of English and the initiative’s principal investigator. “From small projects to multiyear research efforts, we’re expanding Black digital and experimental humanities thinking and modalities.”

Since its official launch in 2017, AADHum has helped scholars and administrators advance the practice and ethics of Black digital humanities through scholarship, training and community building. AADHum fosters research at all levels, from grants and fellowship opportunities for undergraduate students, to residencies for senior scholars and collaborators from a range of disciplines, to community engagement programs.

With a focus on hands-on practice as a path to humanities inquiry, AADHum affiliates and grantees have produced a wide range of work, including websites, podcasts, social media storytelling, digital essays, games, digital publications and more. It recently launched its own studio and makerspace in Taliaferro Hall, designed to further facilitate gatherings, research and creation in digital and experimental humanities.

Graduate English Organization 17th Annual Conference

The 17th annual Graduate English Organization Conference took place on March 8. The theme was displacement, in coordination with the Center for Literary and Comparative Studies. Panels included topics such as spatial and temporal displacement, migrant voices, trauma and women’s stories, and queer identity and community.

Conference organizers and speakers
Eva Wynn (Villanelle) and Andi Sauer (UMD)
Niyanta Sangal (UMD), “Homing Resistance: Space and Kashmiri Literary Afterlives in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider”
Dalton Greene (UMD), Cam Orefice (UMD), Declan Langton (UMD), Alexander Hess (UMD)

Bebe Koch Petrou Displacements Symposium

The Bebe Koch Petrou Displacements Symposium, organized by the Center for Literary and Comparative Studies, brought together an exciting group of speakers to exchange ideas on displacements from March 27–28. Topics included a wide range of interpretations on the theme, from transnatural displacements to Indigenous methodologies and principles of restorative and transformative justice.

Keynote speaker Professor Jodi Byrd (Cornell University), "Accumulated Catastrophes"
Audience members
Professor Chad Infante (UMD), "Witches on the Wing: Anticolonial Revenge and Intramural Violence in Mona Power's The Grass Dancer and Toni Morrison's Sula"
Graduate student workshop with Professor Jodi Byrd
Workshop and reading by Professor Shelbi Nahwilet Meissner (UMD), "Making a Medicine Action Plan: A Social Justice Workshop"

This symposium was organized with the support of the Bebe Koch Petrou Foundation and with additional funding from the Asian American Studies Program, the Department of American Studies, the Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Honors Humanities, and the Graduate School.

News & Updates From Our Community

Still from a video version of the poem "It took me all those years to remember who I was and why,” written by Lillian-Yvonne Bertram in conversation with GPT2, a Large Language Model (LLM)

Associate Professor Lillian-Yvonne Bertram received a 2024 Grants to Artists award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Bertram was among a select group of four poets to receive an unrestricted $45,000 grant. The Foundation for Contemporary Arts chooses grant recipients from a pool of peer-selected nominees. Nominated artists do not apply themselves, and winners are only informed after they have been awarded the grant. “It’s very special that someone thought enough of my work to nominate me and that the committee was able to see the work and understand the trajectory of my career,” Bertram said. “It means a lot that there are people out there who get what I’m trying to do.”

Dylan Lewis and typography example from Henry Neville’s 1668 “The Isle of Pines,” which uses blackletter typography to illustrate Dutch speakers in contrast to the roman type used to represent English speakers and the English text. (The Isle of Pines, or, A late discovery of a fourth island near Terra Australis, Incognita. Neville, Henry. Shelfmark 838.d.24. Courtesy of the British Library.)

English doctoral candidate Dylan Lewis has been named to the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography, a prestigious community of scholars housed at the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. Members of the society undergo a rigorous, highly selective admission process and are widely recognized among peers as leaders in the bibliography field. Out of hundreds of applications and approximately 20 to 25 finalists, only 10 are chosen each year to join the society. Through the fellowship, he will receive access to resources such as professional networking, exclusive annual research symposiums, free courses at the Rare Book School, and funding for travel, research and conference expenses.

Professor Vessela Valiavitcharska has received a Dumbarton Oaks Fellowship in Byzantine Studies for 2024–25.

Professor Tita Chico was named a 23/24 Senior Global Fellow at the University of St. Andrews. She was hosted by the School of English throughout March.

Distinguished University Professor Robert S. Levine chaired a panel on Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Civil War at the March conference in Pasadena, CA of C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists. A number of Levine’s former and current students also participated in the conference: Rodrigo Lazo (UC Santa Cruz), Jennifer James (George Washington University), Maria Karafilis (Cal State LA), Kelly Wisecup (Northwestern University), Ed Whitley (Lehigh University), Tim Helwig (Furman University), Tim Bruno (Howard Community College), DeLisa Hawkes (University of Tennessee), Sarah Sillin (Central Washington University), Koritha Mitchell (Boston University), Annemarie Mott Ewing (University of Maryland), Autumn Womack (Princeton University) and Klara Boger (doctoral student at the University of Michigan). Levine is speaking next month at the Civil War Institute in Gettysburg; his coedited book, “The New Nineteenth-Century American Literary Studies,” is in production and will be published later this year by Cambridge.

Distinguished University Professor Matthew Kirschenbaum co-directed a seminar (a new session format) at the 2024 MLA Convention on Reading Generative Artificial Intelligence (with Rita Raley, Professor of English, UCSB). Kirschenbaum and Raley have now co-edited a cluster of eight essays from the seminar which, together with their co-authored introduction "AI and the University in Ruination," will appear as a special feature in an issue of PMLA this summer. Kirschenbaum also has a short single-authored essay entitled "Facsimile Machines" forthcoming in Poetics Today; his work continues as a member of the MLA/4Cs joint task force on Writing and AI, which has just released its second public working paper.

Lecturer Sara Faradji published a journal article: “Walking While Black: Can There Be an African Flâneur?” in South Atlantic Review. Faradji was also selected as the winner of the SAR Essay Prize.

M.F.A. student Eliamani Ismail had poems published in Puerto Del Sol, Brittle Paper, Weganda Review, and Hooligan Magazine. Ismail was also chosen as a BIPOC scholar for the Washington Writers Conference.

Senior Lecturer and Director of the Jiménez-Porter Writers' House Ross Angelella has a short story titled "Mi Shebeirach" forthcoming in the crime fiction anthology Eight Very Bad Nights through Soho Press in October 2024.

Assistant Director of English Undergraduate Studies Karen Lewis has been appointed to the leadership position of Annual Conference Co-Chair for NACADA’s 2024 Annual Conference, which will take place October 27–30, 2024 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Professor Brian Richardson is giving a talk, “Unusual Plots in African Diasporic Fiction,” at the International Narrative Conference later this month. He published three articles: “Misreadings, Self-Misconstruals, and Fabricated Resolutions in Joyce’s ‘The Dead,’” in Partial Answers; “Sense Perception and Synaesthesia in Conrad’s Fiction” in Joseph Conrad: Eastern and Western Perspectives; and “Towards a Poetics of Multiversion Narratives” in Fabula. His co-edited anthology, Unnatural Narratology: Extensions, Revisions, and Challenges, has been reissued in paperback.

Ph.D. student Carina Jiaxing Shi has won a 2024 CCCC Scholars for the Dream Travel Award. The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) is a constituent organization within the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Shi is one of 20 recipients of this award.

Professor Orrin Wang's "Recent Studies in Nineteenth Century Literature," a review of over ninety books on nineteenth-century literature published in 2001, was published in November 2023 in Studies in English Literature. Wang's address to the Keats-Shelley Association of America after receiving the 2020 Distinguished Scholar Award was also published in fall 2023 in the Keats-Shelley Journal. Wang also gave "Criticism as Viewing and Viewing as the Double Take" at the panel for William Galperin at the 2024 MLA conference in Philadelphia on January 4, 2024.

Ph.D. student Dalton Greene was recently offered a summer internship with Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop through the university's Impact Interns program.

M.F.A. student Ava Serra's poem "The Sei Whale" will be published in LandLocked later this year. Serra's poem "This is Not a Conversation About My Body" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the editorial staff at Jelly Bucket.

M.F.A. student Edward Daschle received an acceptance to Clarion Workshop this summer. Additionally, Daschle's short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Reincarnation” was included in “After Dinner Conversation’s” Best of 2023 Anthology.

Senior Lecturers Kisa Lape, Sarah Dammeyer, and Daune O'Brien (The Anti-Ableist Classroom Faculty Research and Writing Group) are awarded a Teaching and Learning Innovation grant to develop the English Department's Disability Resource and Technology Hub for writing instructors and students.

M.A. student Rose Botaish had an article published in Public Seminar titled "Why the Study of History Belongs to the Public."

Lecturer Aysha Jawed co-authored the article “Lessons Learned From Telltale Testimonies: A Descriptive Study Assessing Coverage of the Tips From Former Smokers Campaign on YouTube” in the American Journal of Health Education. She also co-authored the article "Is Social Media Our New Quitline?" for the Journal of Preventative Medicine and Hygiene.

Alum Nicolette Polek MFA '19 celebrated the launch of her new novel Bitter Water Opera in conversation with Professor Maud Casey at Politics and Prose in Washington, DC.

Professor Emerita Merle Collins' book Ocean Stirrings was longlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature

Professor Marisa Parham published a book chapter, “Digital and New Media Cultures of Protest," in an edited collection from Cambridge. Her longform interactive scholarship pieces, .break .dance (2019) was exhibited for Women’s History Month as part of Vision Unbound at The Next : digital museum, library, and preservation space. Parham also published an article with Kim Gallon (Brown, Africana Studies) and Kaiama Glover (Yale, African American Studies) in Debates in Digital Humanities 2023, “How This Helps Us Get Free: Telling Black Stories through Technology.”

Professor Gershun Avilez published a book chapter, "Queer Bodies in Time," in an edited collection from Cambridge.

Professor John Drabinski published “Creolization as Decolonial Theory” in Research in Phenomenology and “Social Death as a Kind of Deconstruction: The Figure of the Slave Under Erasure” in Philosophy, Politics, and Critique. He started a book series with Michael Sawyer (U of Pittsburgh) with Cambridge University Press titled "Critical Black Global Thought” with titles due in late 2025. He is co-PI with Ashley Newby on a Mellon-funded grant for a podcast and speaker series titled "Pasts and Futures of Black Studies."

Join UMD English at Maryland Day!

Activities include...

Banned Book Giveaway, beginning at 10:00 am, while supplies last

  • Challenged! Censored! Banned! Curious to see what the fuss is about? Pick up some controversial contraband and discover the power of literature.

Chalk Talk 10:00 am-2:00 pm

  • Inscribe your favorite quotations on Tawes Plaza in chalk. ARHU, ENGL

Lit Ink with Temporary Tattoos 10:00 am-2:00 pm

  • Emboss & inspire yourself with a literary temporary tattoo using already printed special temporary tattoo paper! Choose from some of the English department’s favorite authors and quotations. ARHU, ENGL

Make Your Mark! 11:00 am-1:00 pm

  • Typeset a bookmark on BookLab's Gutenberg-style letterpress. ARHU, ENGL

WordPlay 10:00 am-2:00 pm

  • Literary MadLibs! Quotation Station! Writers Blocks! Have fun with words. ARHU, ENGL

Speedy Shakespeare. 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

  • Join the Maryland Shakespeare Players as they perform a compressed, 40-minute, fun-filled version of one of Shakespeare's plays. Starts hourly on the hour.

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