ENGLISH FACULTY NOTES

Andrew Auge, Ph.D., Professor of English, taught his usual repertoire of courses in Literary Criticism and Irish and World Literature. His book, A Chastened Communion: Modern Irish Poetry and Catholicism, has been accepted for publication by Syracuse University Press.  The publication date is still being negotiated, but will probably be in 2014.

William Jablonsky, MFA, Asst. Professor of English:  Our second edition of Catfish Creek came out in late March, and it's even better than last year's. We also said goodbye to our current crop of editors and recruited four new ones who will no doubt continue our tradition of literary excellence. I also designed a new advanced gen-ed course on superheroes, because I could, and am looking forward to teaching it for the first time this fall. I had a burst of creativity this past year and published three stories in national magazines: one about a zombie whose life is vastly improved as a result of his zombiefication; another about a condo board from hell who become a kind of star chamber; and one involving infidelity and death-rays

Kevin Koch, Ph.D., Professor of English:  In Spring 2012, I had the privilege of being the Faculty Director for the Loras-Ireland Study Abroad program.  I accompanied eleven Loras students—including four English majors—to Dublin for a semester’s study at the Institute of Art, Design, and Technology.  Students took two courses from me and two at the Institute.  One of the courses I developed and taught was The Nature of Nature in Ireland, which focused on the intersection of culture and the natural world in different periods of Irish history (Neolithic, pre-Christian Celtic, early Christian monasticism, colonial, modern). We also read literary nonfiction encounters with nature in Ireland, and students wrote their own accounts as well.  In addition, the class took several weekend and day-trip excursions to places like Connemara, the Burren, and the Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula, the Hill of Tara and Newgrange, and Glendalough.  While in Ireland, I authored four brief nature/travel-writing pieces that were published in The Dubuque Telegraph Herald and The Freeport Standard-Journal.

Jean M. Merrill, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English: Jean Merrill spent the summer of 2011 heaving a sigh of relief that she obtained tenure and celebrated by spending two weeks in London attending a dozen plays.  She was excited to do research with sociology colleague Lisa Garoutte, with whom she presented a talk, “Assessing Interdisciplinary Learning in a Sociology Classroom,” at the Midwest Sociological Society’s annual meeting in Minneapolis, MN.  This spring she was Acting Division Chair while Kevin Koch was in Ireland and thus will spend the summer of 2012 recuperating.

James Pollock, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English read his poetry as part of the first annual creative writing faculty reading at Loras in the fall of 2011, and again at the Carnegie-Stout Public Library in Dubuque in the spring of 2012. He served as Poetry Editor of The Limestone Review, judged two poetry contests, taught the Senior Thesis Seminar, and was thesis advisor for several senior creative writing theses. He participated in the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference in Truchas, New Mexico, in the fall of 2011, although, as it turned out, by then he had already had the manuscript of a book of poems accepted for publication by Able Muse Press in California. The book, entitled Sailing to Babylon, will be published in the summer of 2012. A collection of his critical essays and reviews, entitled You Are Here: Essays on the Art of Poetry in Canada, will be published by The Porcupine’s Quill on November 15, 2012. For details on both books, interested readers are invited to visit his Web site at www.James-Pollock.com.

Susan Stone, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English: Dr. Stone was delighted to spend the majority her year as the O’ Connor Chair of Catholic Thought doing research for her project about the lives of the earliest Native Americans to become Catholic priests and nuns.  As part of her scholarly adventure, she explored the archives and records of churches, reservations, and schools the old-fashioned way—by reading letters, liturgies, bulletins, memoirs, etc. that are not on-line or in any databases.  She also visited with experts at Marquette and the Universities of Washington and Minnesota, as well as descendants and historians at the Newberry Library in Chicago, Sinsinawa, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  Now, Dr. Stone is beginning to piece together the stories of such fascinating figures as Father James Chrysostum Bouchard, S. J. (Delaware/French-Comanche), Father Philip Gordon, S. J. (Ojibwe), Sister Marie-Josephine Nebraska, S. G. M. (Hunkpapa), and Sister Elizabeth Burton, S. B. S. (Seneca), and she will both present an overview of her initial findings and lead a workshop on the importance of historical recovery and documentation of Native American Catholic leadership at the Kateri Tekakwitha meeting this summer. 

In addition to her O’Connor research, Dr. Stone also taught two of her favorite classes, “American Literature: 1820-1860” and “Major Figure: Hawthorne,” presented a paper, “‘Going Against the Bias’: Transcendentalism from Margaret Fuller to Mary Wilkins Freeman,” at the the MLA (Modern Language Association) annual meeting in Seattle, and has an article forthcoming in a book being published U. of Georgia Press entitled Women and Transcendentalism in American Literature.  She continued to work with the “Writers’ Ink” undergraduate writing group, the Literary Society, and Habitat for Humanity.  She is looking forward to teaching “Critical Writing” and “African American Literature” in the fall and is also very excited about being elected to serve as the new Loras Faculty Chairperson. 

Breyan Strickler, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English:  My first MOI class are graduating in a few days--I can't believe I've been here long enough to see them go! I've made some changes to MOI since I started: we now work with Dubuque Art Center's afterschool program at Washington and Jefferson Middle Schools.  This year my students made a short science fiction movie with the middle-schoolers--quite entertaining.  And my Modern poetry students worked with a variety of artists in creating posters that documented the artists' philosophies of activism, linking those ideas to the early Moderns. While all this was going on I was also busy organizing a new J-term on travel writing that will take us to a small, Mayan village in Semachaca, Guatemala, this coming January. And I presented some work on environmental rhetoric in New Mexico in February.  I love what I do!

Erin VanLaningham, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English:  Moving from New York to Iowa isn’t everyone’s idea of heaven, but for me, it really has been.   I’ve felt a great sense of homecoming since my arrival at Loras in August.  I’ve had a chance to stare at the beauty of the river bluffs through all the seasons, read and teach nineteenth century literature all year (that is the definition of heaven for me!) and learn the ins and outs of the Loras community.  In addition to filling the very large shoes of Liz Raschke, I’ve had the chance to nose around in the Rare Books Room to put together my new J-Term course on Charles Dickens’ great novel Bleak House.  I gave a paper on the new Jane Eyre film at the Midwest Modern Language Association in St. Louis (my old stomping ground), and managed to acquaint myself with the Dubuque farmer’s market and restaurant scene to prep for my MOI course on the local food movement.  It is great to be back in Iowa.

Ray Wilson, Ph.D., Professor of English, published two articles this year; one was a Phenomenological analysis of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, and the second was on Roland Barthes’ ideas as applied to James Joyce’s story “Ivy Day in the Committee Room” from his book Dubliners.  Dr. Wilson gave a paper entitled “Jean Racine’s Feud with William Shakespeare” at the Phenomenology and Literature Conference of the World Phenomenology Institute, at which he chaired a session and helped with registration.  He also attended the Phenomenology and Fine Arts and Aesthetics and worked registration at that conference.  Both conferences were held at Harvard University.  He continued his usual teaching and service activities.

 

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