To Be, Or Not To Be… An English Major

WONKAIn a recent piece titled “The Ideal English Major” in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Mark Edmundson, Professor of English at the University of Virginia, explains the numerous benefits of majoring in English.  He begins, “Soon college students all over America will be trundling to their advisers’ offices to choose a major. In this moment of financial insecurity, students are naturally drawn to economics, business, and the hard sciences. But students ought to resist the temptation of those purportedly money-ensuring options and even of history and philosophy, marvelous though they may be. All students—and I mean all—ought to think seriously about majoring in English. Becoming an English major means pursuing the most important subject of all—being a human being.”

→ Click here to read the rest of Professor Edmundson’s article.

English Faculty Contribute to 12th Annual Humanities Symposium

GirlBeforeAMirror

In less than a month, the School of Humanities will kick off its Annual Humanities Symposium, now in its twelfth year.  The Symposium will take place from Monday, September 23 to Monday, September 30. This year’s theme is Encountering Othernessa complement to the larger university theme of Through the Eyes of Others.  This year’s event was coordinated by Dr. Cynthia Cox, who bills it as follows:

Regardless of origin or location, we often assume our own cultural practices are the norm, and the only way to dislodge such belief is to invest in another person’s viewpoint. In doing so, we are able to stand outside ourselves and look critically upon our own experiences. Belmont University’s 2013 Humanities Symposium, Encountering Otherness, will explore the contexts and the benefits associated with understanding divergent perspectives. Interactions with otherness can teach us much about ourselves, and we often learn, quickly and without reproach, that our assumptions are more dangerous than our ignorance.  In approaching this multifaceted topic and connecting it to our essential humanity, the symposium will draw on diverse fields such as philosophy, foreign language studies, literary studies, poetry, folklore, psychology, sociology, history, and others. 

A complete list of Symposium events can be found on the schedule at this link:  2013 Humanities Symposium MailerCheck out the complete schedule and come support the Symposium all week long!

As in past years, numerous English faculty members will participate in the Symposium in a variety of rolesas individual presenters, panel presenters, workshop facilitators, service organizers, contest judges, introductory speakers, and convocation scanners.  Below is a list of scheduled events associated with the English faculty:

Monday, September 23, 2013

IDENTITY, EMPATHY, AND FRANKLIN’S “OTHERS”
Dr. David Curtis, Department of English,
Belmont University
Beaman A & B, 11-11:50 a.m. {AL}

“A PERSON IN HISTORY”: FEMINIST STANDPOINT THEORY AND LITERATURE
Dr. Caresse John, Department of English,
Belmont University
Beaman A & B, 1-1:50 p.m. {AL}

“JESUS WILL MAKE YOU ITCH”: ENCOUNTERING OTHER IN BARBARA KINGSOLVER’S THE POISONWOOD BIBLE
Professor Sue Trout, Department of English,
Belmont University
Beaman A & B, 2-2:50 p.m. {AL}

PANEL: THE ETHICS OF CREATIVE NONFICTION… ARE THERE ANY?
Dr. Gary McDowell, Department of English,
Belmont University
Beaman A & B, 3-4:30 p.m. {AL}

Tuesday September 24, 2013

PANEL: WHO AM I IN THE SERVICE LEARNING CLASSROOM? STUDENT CONNECTION AND PERSPECTIVE TRANSFORMATION
Dr. Jason Lovvorn, Dr. Linda Holt, Dr. Charmion Gustke, Department of English; Dr. Donovan McAbee, School of Religion,
Belmont University
Beaman A & B, 10-10:50 a.m. {AL}

SHAMROCKS, SHILLELAGHS, AND SEANCHAIS: ENCOUNTERING OTHERNESS IN IRELAND
Ms. Kimberly Balding, Department of English, Belmont University
Beaman A & B, 2-2:50 p.m. {AL}

Thursday, September 26, 2013

PANEL: “I DIDN’T SAY THAT—YOU SAID THAT!”: FAMILY STORIES AS ENCOUNTERS WITH “OTHERNESS”
Dr. Cynthia Cox, Department of English, Belmont University; Stacey Hume, Alicia Mendez, and Misty Wellman, Master of Arts students in English, Belmont University
Beaman A & B, 3-4:30 pm {AL}

Saturday, September 28, 2013

HELPING OTHERS THROUGH COMMUNITY SERVICE: HUMANITIES SYMPOSIUM VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES
Cynthia Cox and Misty Wellman, College of Arts and Sciences, Belmont University
TBA, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. {CS}
To register, please email cynthia.cox@belmont.edu or or misty.wellman@belmont.edu.

HUMANITIES SYMPOSIUM WRITING WORKSHOP I: STORIES OF THE “OTHER”—BEARING WITNESS THROUGH WRITING
Dr. Robbie Pinter, Department of English, Belmont University
Beaman A & B, 2-4 p.m. {PPG}
Please call the Writing Center at 615.460.6241 to reserve a seat.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

WRITING WORKSHOP II: WRITING OTHER VOICES—HOW TO BE WHO YOU ARE WHILE BEING SOMEONE ELSE
Dr. Gary McDowell, Department of English, Belmont University
Beaman A & B, 2-4 p.m. {PPG}
Please call the Writing Center at 615.460.6241 to reserve a seat.

READING AND CELEBRATION OF WINNING ENTRIES, 2013 SANDRA HUTCHINS HUMANITIES SYMPOSIUM WRITING COMPETITION
Dr. Gary McDowell and Dr. Susan Finch, Department of English, Belmont University
Beaman A & B, 4-6 p.m. {C&A}

Monday, September 30, 2013

WRAP-UP PANEL
Dr. Cynthia Cox, Dr. Jason Lovvorn, Dr. Gary McDowell, Department of English; Dr. Melanie Walton, Department of Philosophy; Dr. Regine Schwarzmeier and Dr. Mitch McCoy, Department of Foreign Languages; Belmont University
Beaman A & B, 10-10:50 a.m. {AL}

English Faculty Publish in Service-Learning Journal

Serve InDEEDIn the most recent issue of Serve InDEED: Tennessee Journal of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, three members of the English faculty published work connected to their service-learning practices in the classroom.  In a piece entitled “This Isn’t Your Mother’s English Class: Using Service-Learning Experiences to Improve Writing in the Composition Classroom,” Dr. Jason Lovvorn, Dr. Linda Holt, and Dr. Charmion Gustke unpack an interactive workshop they conducted at the 2013 Tennessee Conference on Volunteerism and Service-Learning, held in Franklin, Tennessee.   In the workshop, they shared ideas about the impact of service-learning in their writing classes, and they guided participants through a simulation and two writing exercises that showcased connections between service encounters, empathy, learning, and writing.  The article details this workshop experience and analyzes response data from workshop participants in terms of  social justice, experiential knowledge, and authentic writing.

In the same issue, Dr. Lovvorn published an article entitled, “‘Knowing the Why’: Personal Writing and Its Value in the Service-Learning Classroom.”  In it, he argues for the merits of personal, expressive writing because it encourages service-learning students to “synthesize intimate experience and more abstract academic knowledge. ”  Using examples of student work from past service-learning classes, he shows how students can use personal writing to make important intellectual connections at the same time they produce engaging written work.

Belmont English Graduate Student Profile

JKMeet one of the newest members of the English Graduate program, Jenifer Kirila, who began graduate studies at Belmont in January, 2013:

Jennifer graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2012 with an undergraduate degree in psychology. She is on the writing track in the program and enjoys writing fiction. Her favorite authors are Ernest Hemingway, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, and Orson Scott Card.  Currently, she works as a freelance writer but hopes to become a fiction writer one day.

When asked why she decided to pursue her M.A. in English at Belmont, Jennifer responded, “I chose Belmont because I really liked the school. I want to get a M.A. for career advancement.” Regarding the most notable thing about the program so far, Jennifer stated, “I like how students are given freedom to express their own creativity and experiment with fiction.”

– profile by Misty Wellman

Creative Writing Club to Host First Meeting of Year

With the new semester begins a new series of meetings for Belmont’s Creative Writing Club, now in its third year. Dr. Gary McDowell, the faculty mentor/sponsor of the club, and English major Erin Turberville, the club’s president, would like to invite students to this year’s first meeting.  It will take place on Wednesday, August 28th at 11:00-11:50 a.m. in the Dean’s Conference Room, Wheeler 101D.

This fall, the club will be meeting every Wednesday morning in Wheeler 101D.  Last semester, the club focused solely on generating new work using prompts.  This year, efforts will again involve generating material, but the club is branching out to concentrate efforts, talks, and workshops on the student-writer.

If you enjoy creative writing, you should stop by and meet other writers who share your passion!

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Belmont English Graduates Three at Summer Commencement

MeganGraduationOn Friday, August 9, three students received degrees through the English Department during Belmont’s graduation exercises.  Megan Steele from Ashland City earned her Bachelor’s degree in English, and at right, Megan is shown receiving her diploma from President Fisher during the commencement ceremony.

Also receiving degrees were Allison Belt of Murfreesboro and Courtney Fedou of Nashville—each earning  her Master’s degree in English. During graduation week, Allison and Courtney participated in two other events celebrating their achievements.

In the Leu Art Gallery on Thursday, August 8, each M.A. graduate read from her work during a Master’s in English celebration hosted by Dr. Annette Sisson, the Director of Graduate English Studies.  Allison delivered a portion of her thesis entitled “Thought, Word, and Deed: A Study in Connection,” and Courtney read from her critical analysis of Shakespeare’s Henry V entitled “But If It Be a Sin to Covet Honour, I Am the Most Offending Soul Alive.”

On Friday, August 9, prior to graduation, Allison and Courtney also participated in the Master’s Hooding Ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences.  Left to right in the photos below are the graduates and their advisors at this event:  (first photo) Allison Belt  with  Dr. Annette Sisson, and (second photo) Dr. Maggie Monteverde with Courtney Fedou.

Congratulations to these graduates!

Allison&Annette     Courtney&Maggie.JPG