Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Alexa Huang Joins English Department

The English Department is thrilled to announce that Alexa Huang, previously of Penn State University, will be joining the English department this fall as Associate Professor.
Alexa, who was educated in Taiwan and received her PhD from Stanford, is an internationally recognized expert on Shakespeare in Asia, Shakespeare and performance, and digital humanities. Her monograph, Chinese Shakespeares: Two Centuries of Cultural Exchange (Columbia University Press) won the 2010 MLA Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literature. She is also editor, with Charles Ross, of Shakespeare in Hollywood, Asia, and Cyberspace (Purdue University Press, 2009) and co-founder of Global Shakespeares, an open-access digital video archive of Shakespeare performances. She was recently appointed General Editor of Shakespearean International Yearbook, the international journal of record on Shakespeare.

The recipient of two Penn State teaching awards, Alexa will teach and advise undergraduates and graduate students at GW. Her recent areas of teaching interests include early modern English drama, Shakespeare, intercultural performance, film studies, race and gender identities, Orientalism, modern Asian and Asian American drama, and global literary theory. In fall 2011, she will be teaching two undergraduate courses on Shakespeare.

Alexa's appointment strengthens an already extraordinarily strong cohort of medieval and early modern studies scholars in the English department, including Profs. Jeffrey Cohen, Patrick Cook (who recently published Cinematic Hamlet with the Ohio State University Press), Holly Dugan (whose book The Ephemeral History of Perfume: Scent and Sense in Early Modern England is forthcoming from Johns Hopkins University Press), Jonathan Gil Harris, and Jonathan Hsy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tom Mallon Receives Vursell Prize

Tom Mallon's books on display at the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Last week Prof. Thomas Mallon was honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters with its Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award, a $10,000 prize "given annually to single out recent prose that merits recognition for the quality of its style." Prof. Mallon joins a distinguished list of previous prizewinners, including Amy Hempl, Ann Patchett, and Tom Wolfe.

The award ceremony is a large affair held at the Academy's auditorium on West 156th Street in New York. Each year, winners gather on stage for a group photo. The photo below shows Tom accepting the award from writer Lorrie Moore. If you squint, you can see Edward Albee, to Tom's left, applauding.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jeffrey Cohen Featured in Hatchet for Guggenheim

Read coverage from The Hatchet about Prof. Jeffrey Cohen, winner of a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for 2011-12

Graduation 2011

Our class of M.A. students. As good-looking as they are brainy.

Last week, the English department celebrated the achievements of our graduates with a Ph.D. hooding ceremony, a reception for MA and PhD students, a party for graduating seniors, and, of course, the Columbian College Celebration and Commencement.

This year, 12 students earned Departmental Honors in English: Chelsea Adler, Lauren Black, Joseph Hydoski, Karissa Lake, Zainob Lawal, Deborah Matteliano, Rebecca Mitchell, Amanda Panitch, Zachary Robbins, Andrew Roth, Troy Shamos, and Calder Stembel.

Congratulations, too, to our 2011 departmental prize winners:

The Astere E. Claeyssens Prize for the best original work in playwriting:
Samuel H. Fox Hartin

The DeWitt Clinton Croissant Prize for the best essay on drama or the theatre:
Rebekkah Meyer

The E. K. Cutter Prize for excellence in the study of English:
Tay Tufenkjian

The Alice Douglas Goddard Prize for the student earning the highest cumulative average in American literature courses:
Abigail Dimen-Taylor

‏ The Hassan Hussein Prize for the best theses in the English and Creative Writing Major:
Matthew Nelson-Teutsch (Fiction)
Matthew Mersky (Poetry)

The Student Poetry Contest for best poem:
Daria-Ann Martineau

The Vivian Nellis Memorial Prize for special promise in Creative Writing:
Zach Borenstein

The Sylvia S. Speck Prize in English Literature for exemplary academic achievement in English literature:
Taylor Tibbetts

The Academy of American Poets Prize:
Christina Beasley

Annie-Rose Strasser
(Honorarble Mention)

And here are more photos of the happy celebrants of this year's graduating class:

Prof. Faye Moskowitz (left) read a poem at our celebration for graduating majors.

Prof. Robert Ganz (right) retired this year after more than 45 years at GW.

Prof. Robert McRuer (right), Deputy Chair, presided over the Departmental celebration.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

End-of-Term News Roundup

Our Spring 2011 Newsletter: Clearly something to applaud!
As I write, the English office is quieter than usual, but not because no one getting work done. Rather, everyone is hunkered down: faculty are busy reading and grading; students are even busier writing papers and studying for final exams, which end this Monday, May 9. For graduating students, a round of celebrations culminating in Commencement begins shortly thereafter.

Here is a list of recent highlights concerning English department students and faculty. I'll report in later this spring with news and statistics from our annual department report.

  • GW Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute - Director Jeffrey Cohen reports that GW MEMSI has received two years of additional funding from the office of VP for Research Leo Chalupa, allowing the Institute to continue to offer a robust series of talks, seminars, and other events during 2011-13.
  • So popular was her call for papers on Asian American literature and cinema that Associate Professor Kavita Daiya organized two panels--one on "Gender, Sexuality, and New Perspectives in Asian American Literature and Cinema" and another on "Space, Sexuality, and New Perspectives on Asian American Cinema" for the recent Northeast Modern Language Association annual conference "What was interesting about both panels was an attention to the transnational connections between Asia and the US/North America, political and cultural, that allowed for a new analytic focus beyond labor migrations," she writes.  Among the panelists were former English undergrad Rajiv Menon ("Romancing the Desi Girl: Masculinity and Performance in South Asian Diasporic Film and Culture")  and current English PhD student Marilena Zackheos (“Queer Subjectivity, Ex-isle and Belonging in Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy”).
  • Professor and Deputy Chair Robert McRuer put together an excellent spring newsletter for English department alumni. Check it out on the department website. Thanks to the excellent CCAS staff--including Ryan Dellolio, Anita Ponchione, and Denise St. Ours--for their help.
  • Professor Gayle Wald (that would be me!) won this year's Robert Kenny Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Sadly, I'll be out of town during CCAS Celebration, when the award is usually announced.