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Recent Faculty Activity And Awards

Recent Faculty Activity and Awards

2022

Shirley Moody-Turner

Cover of The Portable Anna Julia CooperShirley Moody-Turner, Associate Professor of English and African American Studies and co-director of Penn State's Center for Black Digital Research, has edited a new collection of public and private writings by Anna Julia Cooper, a central figure in 19th- and 20th-century Black intellectual life and politics. Moody-Turner's The Portable Anna Julia Cooper is part of the Penguin Classics series of African American works (edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.) and has received positive notice from The New York Times, which named it one of "6 Paperbacks to Read This Week."

Congratulations to Shirley for this well-deserved recognition, which acknowledges her important work bringing renewed attention to Cooper's life and legacy!

Richard Matthew Doyle

Richard Doyle, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English, has won the 2022 Excellence in Honors Teaching Award. This award is presented annually by the Schreyer Honors College to an honors faculty member who has been nominated by their students for "exceptional commitment to honors instruction." Congratulations, Richard, on this outstanding recognition!

Manini Samarth publishes new short-fiction collection

Manini Samarth, Associate Teaching Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, has published Being Here out of the University Press of Kentucky. Samarth’s collection was chosen in 2020 as the prose entry to be published in the press’s New Poetry & Prose Series, which every year “seeks manuscripts of contemporary poetry and fiction that exhibit a profound attention to language, strong imagination, formal inventiveness, and awareness of one’s literary roots.” Being Here features eleven stories focusing on immigrant women’s experiences “making their way in the world as mothers, as wives, as outliers, and as rebels.” Reviewing the volume in the New York Times, Samantha Hunt observes that it “ends up reading like a generational novel, with twisting strands of DNA” revolving around the recurring character Nina, whose story of “Broken hearts must be told in broken ways.” And yet, as Hunt writes, it is through this fragmentation that the collection “reveals the invisible details that unite us.” Congratulations, Manini!

Aldon Nielsen

Aldon Nielsen has published a new book of poetry, Sufferhead (Bottlecap Press). Inspired by the music of Fela Aníkúlápó Kuti, Nielsen’s latest chapbook is shaped by and responds to the volatile socio-political conditions of the past two years, and “finds lyric hope in the midst of roiling forces unleashed by politics and pandemic.” Congratulations, Aldon!

John "Jack" Selzer

Jack Selzer, Paterno Family Liberal Arts Professor Emeritus of Literature, has won the 2022 Emeritus Distinction Award given by the College of Liberal Arts. This award recognizes an emeritus faculty member who demonstrates excellent work in every dimension of the profession, from research and teaching, to service within the university community and the general public. Jack has been an emeritus professor since 2013, and has spent more than four decades as part of the English department. Congratulations to Jack for continuing his substantial contributions to our academic community!

Shirley Moody-Turner

Shirley Moody-Turner, Associate Professor of English and African American Studies, has won the 2022 Stephanie J. Pavouček Shields Faculty Award. Sponsored by the College of the Liberal Arts, this award recognizes tenured faculty members who engage in “professionally oriented service and mentoring on behalf of women at the university.” She is the fourth CALS-affiliated faculty member to win this award since 2015. Congratulations to Shirley for achieving this college-wide distinction!

Michael Bérubé

The Association of Departments of English (ADE) named Michael Bérubé the recipient of the thirtieth annual Francis Andrew March Award, which each year seeks to highlight "as an ideal the scholar and teacher who accepts responsibility for strengthening the life and work of departments, the field, and the English studies community considered as a whole." In awarding Michael, the ADE recognizes his field-defining scholarship in the creation of disability studies as a humanities discipline and his service to the profession both at Penn State University, as chair of the Faculty Senate (2018-19), and beyond, in his tenure as MLA President (2012-13) and as a leading public voice supporting academic freedom. The ADE specifically cites Michael's staunch support, in these and other various roles, of contingent faculty members and students and faculty members with disability. Congratulations to Michael for such a momentous recognition!

2021

The Colored Conventions Movement: Black Organizing in the Nineteenth Century
Gabrielle Foreman, Jim Casey, and Sarah Patterson’s edited collection is now out from the University of North Carolina Press.

The Colored Conventions Movement: Black Organizing in the Nineteenth Century is the first volume of essays to focus on the Colored Conventions movement, the nineteenth century's longest campaign for Black civil rights. Well before the founding of the NAACP and other twentieth-century pillars of the civil rights movement, tens of thousands of Black leaders organized state and national conventions across North America. Over seven decades, they advocated for social justice and against slavery, protesting state-sanctioned and mob violence while demanding voting, legal, labor, and educational rights. While Black-led activism in this era is often overshadowed by the attention paid to the abolition movement, this collection centers Black activist networks, influence, and institution building. Collectively, these essays highlight the vital role of the Colored Conventions in the lives of thousands of early organizers, including many of the most famous writers, ministers, politicians, and entrepreneurs in the long history of Black activism.

The volume was included on Ms. Magazine's anticipated books of March 2021 list.

Cheryl Sterling

Cheryl Sterling's edited volume, Transnational Africana Women’s Fiction, was published by Routledge in September 2021. Featuring contributions on writers and filmmakers across the African and African diaspora world, this collection explores how “the transnational sphere can serve to highlight voices at the margins of gender and race hierarchies.” The totality of work included in this volume focuses on Africana women as “the centers of their own knowledge production and agency,” accomplishing in turn an update to the “canon on women in the African and African Diaspora literary sphere” that adds “substantive nuance to diasporic subjectivity.” Congratulations to Cheryl for bringing together this significant volume!

Sandra Spanier and Verna Kale

Sandra Spanier and Verna Kale were involved in advising award-winning filmmakers Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, and Sarah Botstein for the documentary "Hemingway," which premiered on PBS in April 2021. Congratulations to the Hemingway Letters Project for continuing to garner much media interest!

Keith Gilyard

Keith Gilyard has published a new book of poetry, Impressions: New and Selected Poems (Third World Press). This collection finds its linguistic and ethical core in the “application of ‘chord inversions’ in the use of serving the urgent needs of Black lives.” In delighting readers with “dances with words, ideas, real life, practical clarifications, and humor,” Dr. Gilyard’s poetry also “challenges his readers to act.”

Aldon Nielsen

Aldon Nielsen's poetry has been published in a new collected volume, Back Pages: Selected Poems of A. L. Nielsen (BlazeVOX)Edited by Jean Philippe-Marcoux, Back Pages includes poems from Dr. Nielsen’s previous nine poetry collections, a body of work spanning across four decades. Together, reviews Beth Joselow, these poems comprise an “Artful, musical, and deceptively gentle” collection with “an uncompromising moral purpose.”

Tina Chen

Tina Chen has been awarded the 2021 Excellence in Mentorship Award from the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS). This award recognizes her indefatigable mentorship of graduate students, tenure-line faculty, and non-tenure line faculty at Penn State and beyond (AAAS and Verge: Studies in Global Asias).

No Ruined Stone

Shara's latest collection of poetry, No Ruined Stone, was published by Alice James Books in August 2021.

As the 2021-22 Penn State Laureate, Liberal Arts Professor of English Shara McCallum has been busy fulfilling the position’s purpose “to bring greater visibility to the arts, humanities, the honoree's work, and the University.” Shara’s Laureate year was celebrated by English students and faculty on September 13th in a virtual launch webinar, a year that will feature McCallum in regular events around the Commonwealth. One such event is a weekly radio program on WPSU hosted by Shara. Running from September 2021 through June 2022, “Poetry Moment” will highlight the work of contemporary Pennsylvania poets by featuring one poem from a select author each week.

But that's not all! Shara’s most recent book of poetry, No Ruined Stone, is out now from Alice James Books. Through dramatic and lyric modes, the collection imagines a counterfactual historical moment in which the Scottish poet Robert Burns follows through on a plan to migrate to Jamaica and work as an assistant overseer on a slave plantation. Rooted in the voices that emerge from this speculative rewriting, No Ruined Stone wrestles with colonialism, Romanticism, and the burdens of inheritance. For more on the book's conception and themes, check out Shara's reflection in the New England Review.

Congratulations, Shara, on these wonderful accomplishments!

Hemingway Letters Project

The Hemingway Letters Project received its largest grant to date from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which will support the Project’s work over the next three years. This latest grant comes as part of the NEH’s “A More Perfect Union” Initiative, which endeavors to assist projects that help commemorate the upcoming 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The grant will fund work on volumes six through eight of Hemingway’s letters, which continues apace under the direction of Sandra Spanier and her dedicated team. Congratulations to the Hemingway Letters Project for its ongoing work on one of American literary history’s most influential icons, and for the continued recognition of its efforts in pursuing that work!

2020

Shara McCallum

Shara McCallum's essay, "Through a Glass, Darkly," published in the Autumn 2020 issue of The Southern Review, has won the annual Oran Robert Perry Burke Award. The essay is about racial identity, passing, and a father's death and is the titular essay from a collection in progress that explores race, migration, memory, and loss. A link to an interview where she discusses the essay can be found here. Congratulations, Shara!

Jonathan P. Eburne

Jonathan Eburne has won the prestigious James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association for his monograph Outsider Theory: Intellectual Histories of Unorthodox Ideas, published in 2018 by the University of Minnesota Press.  Outsider Theory traces the history of "bad" ideas as a way of helping make sense of our present moment.  The prize committee's citation lauds Outsider Theory as "an original and extremely erudite book with a fresh perspective on a wide range of movements, texts, and ideas that fall outside traditional investigations of intellectual histories."  A link to the MLA's press release announcing the prize can be found here.  Congratulations, Jonathan!

Hester Blum

Hester Blum's newest book, The News at the Ends of the Earth: The Print Culture of Polar Exploration, details the various media produced by sailors on Arctic and Antarctic expeditions and is just out from Duke University Press. Hester has also been awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for 2019-20, which will support work on her next book project. Congratulations, Hester, on both of these tremendous accomplishments!

Tina Chen

Tina Chen has been awarded the 2020 Outstanding Teaching Award for Tenure Line Faculty by the College of the Liberal Arts in recognition of her contributions to the undergraduate teaching program.  Professor Chen is a past recipient of the Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching at Vanderbilt University, where she taught prior to coming to Penn State.  Congratulations, Tina!

lisa mcgunigal

Lisa McGunigal, a 2016-17 CALS Travel Grant award winner, has an article published in the Fall 2019 issue of American Literary Realism. "From Salonnière to Author: Clover Adams’s Salon and Henry Adams’s Democracy as Salon Realism" is based on research she conducted during her CALS-funded visit to the Massachusetts Historical Society. Lisa has also been awarded two more honors: she received a Quarry Farm Fellowship from the Center for Mark Twain Studies to live and write in Mark Twain's original summer home in Elmira, NY as she conducts research at the Mark Twain Archive at Elmira College, and she received a Wallis Annenberg Research Grant from the University of Southern California's Special Collections.

2019

Christian Haines

In A Desire Called America: Biopolitics, Utopia, and the Literary Commons, Christian P. Haines confronts a troubling paradox: Some of the most provocative political projects in the United States are remarkably invested in American exceptionalism. Through Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, William S. Burroughs, and Thomas Pynchon, Haines brings to light a radically different version of the American dream—one in which political subjects value an organization of social life that includes democratic self-governance, egalitarian cooperation, and communal property.  A Desire Called America brings utopian studies and the critical discourse of biopolitics to bear upon each other, suggesting that utopia might be less another place than our best hope for confronting authoritarianism, neoliberalism, and a resurgent exclusionary nationalism.  Congratulations, Christian!

Matt Tierney

Dismantlings (2019) is a study of literary, political, and philosophical critiques of the utopian claims about technology in the Long Seventies, the decade and a half before 1980. Dismantlings opposes the language of technological idealism with radical thought of the Long Seventies.  The book restores revolutionary language of the radical Long Seventies for reuse in the digital present against emergent technologies of exploitation, subjugation, and death. Congratulations, Matt!

Cheryl Glenn

Congratulations to Cheryl Glenn, Distinguished Professor of English and Women's Studies and Director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, for winning the 2019 Exemplar Award from the Conference on College Composition & Communication. This award recognizes “a person whose years of service as an exemplar for our organization represents the highest ideals of scholarship, teaching, and service to the entire profession.” Well done, Cheryl!

Elizabeth Kadetsky

Best wishes to Elizabeth Kadetsky, whose collection The Memory Eaters has been awarded the inaugural Juniper Prize for Creative Nonfiction! The Juniper Prize recognizes "fresh and innovative projects in memoir, essay, or biography," which certainly describes Elizabeth's work. Congratulations!

Julia Spicher Kasdorf

Congratulations to Julia Kasdorf, who received a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for the creation of a folk opera--in collaboration with Open Music and composer Bruce Trinkley--titled _aMUSEment, Play in the Workshop_. The musical drama is based on the life and work of Vernon Garbrick, inventor of the collapsible ferris wheel in Centre Hall. Well done, Julia!

Ebony Coletu

Ebony Coletu has been selected for a Fulbright award to the African Regional Research Program. The Fulbright award will provide support for three trips over two years to West Africa to develop her second book project, "Pan-African Logistics: Chief Sam and the Undocumented Origins of African American Migration to Ghana.”  In addition she published her article “Descendant Epistemology” in Ghana Studies in 2019.

Cheryl Glenn

Cheryl Glenn, Distinguished Professor of English and Women's Studies, released her new monograph, Rhetorical Feminism and This Thing Called Hope, in September 2018. Published by Southern Illinois University Press, this book works to develop a theory of rhetorical feminism that might serve as an alternative to the hegemonic practices of traditional rhetorical theory. Congratulations, Cheryl!

Jonathan P. Eburne

Jonathan Eburne has won the prestigious James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association for his monograph Outsider Theory: Intellectual Histories of Unorthodox Ideas, published in 2018 by the University of Minnesota Press.  Outsider Theory traces the history of "bad" ideas as a way of helping make sense of our present moment.  The prize committee's citation lauds Outsider Theory as "an original and extremely erudite book with a fresh perspective on a wide range of movements, texts, and ideas that fall outside traditional investigations of intellectual histories."  A link to the MLA's press release announcing the prize can be found here.  Congratulations, Jonathan!

2018

Julia Spicher Kasdorf

Congratulations to Julia Kasdorf and photographer Steve Rubin on the publication of Shale Play: Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields, which explores the effects of fracking on Appalachian Pennsylvania. The collection was released by Penn State University Press in summer 2018.

Michael Anesko

Penn State Americanist faculty Michael Anesko's sixth book was published in September 2018 by Palgrave Pivot. Henry James and Queer Filiation: Hardened Bachelors of the Edwardian Era explores the lives of James and his contemporaries through the lens of class privilege. Well done, Michael!

Shara McCallum

Liberal Arts Professor of English Shara McCallum's fifth poetry collection, Madwoman (Peepal Tree Press/Alice James Books), was named to the shortlist of the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize, the Caribbean's top literary award. Madwoman was named the top poetry entry for 2018. Congratulations to Shara on this honor!

Debbie Hawhee

Debbie Hawhee received the Rhetoric Society of America’s 2018 Book Award, which honors the best book in rhetorical study in a given year, for Tooth and Claw: Animals, Language, Sensation, published by the University of Chicago Press in 2017.

Charlotte Holmes

Congratulations to Charlotte Holmes for her promotion to Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies!

Ben Schreier

Congratulations to Ben Schreier for being named the Mitrani Professor of English and Jewish Studies!

Kay Boyle

Sandy Spanier's recent Kay Boyle: A Twentieth Century Life in Letters (University of Illinois Press, 2015), won honorable mention for the Morton N. Cohen Award of the MLA. She has also won Penn State's Class of 1933 Distinction in the Humanities Award.

John Marsh

John Marsh has won the Outstanding Teacher Award for Tenure Line Faculty.

Jonathan P. Eburne

Jonathan Eburne's ASAP/Journal won the 2018 Best New Journal award from the Council for Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ).