Ray Horton, Assistant Professor at Murray State University

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12248233_10153580860950971_4767178336502532497_oCongratulations to Ph.D. Dean’s Fellow Ray Horton, who has accepted a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of English at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. The position begins in Fall 2017. Horton (whose dissertation is titled “American Literature’s Secular Faith”) will have opportunities to teach courses in his field, 20th Century American Literature, and across the English and Humanities curriculum.

“The position strikes the exact balance between teaching and research that I’ve been hoping for since the day I started on my Ph.D. This department is dedicated to its students and highly supportive of faculty scholarship,” Horton says. “I feel incredibly fortunate, and I am so grateful to everyone who has stood by me and helped me to reach this moment. I get to spend my career reading books, talking about them with students, and writing about them for very smart colleagues.”

Melissa Pompili Selected as Baker-Nord Center Graduate Affiliate

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img_16181Congratulations to Ph.D. student Melissa Pompili, who has been selected as a Spring 2017 Graduate Affiliate of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities.

Graduate Affiliates deliver a public presentation in the Center on their work-in-progress and submit a brief written report at the end of their terms. The position includes a stipend of $500.

Melissa Pompili is pursuing a Ph.D. in the Writing History and Theory (WHiT) concentration. She holds an M.A. in Literature from Eastern Michigan University, and a B.A. in English from Lourdes University. Her research focuses on the sometimes contradictory subjectivities that are required by the biopolitical State from the early twentieth century to the present moment. Her theoretical investments include biopolitics and affect theory, and her work falls under the domains of medical rhetoric and the medical humanities.

Pompili’s dissertation, Internal Medicine: Bioaffect, Medical Memoir, and the Making of a Physician, examines the texts and aesthetic products that medical students produce about their time in medical school in order to investigate the ways that medical education practices encourage both the public and the physician to see the physician as a subject that has both institutional agency and (incorrectly, Pompili argues) a limited capacity for empathy. She delineates the ways this subject position is formed and maintained, and eventually revealed and resisted, by employing writing practices during medical school. Pompili produces readings of these aesthetic products – memoirs, photographs, essay collections, and short stories – and regards them as mediators between the physicians who create them and the power that is acting on those subjects in order to form them both into a configuration that serves the needs of the Biopolitical State. Arguing that the presence, conventions, and forms of these works can provide insight into the way that humanities have played a major (and somewhat overlooked) role during the late twentieth century rise of the healthcare industry as an emerging site of capital accumulation, Pompili attempts to answer the question “How are human beings made into actors who are both subjected to the disciplining of the State and those who also must carry out its work alongside their own under biopolitical articulations of power?” She hopes to shed some light on the way physicians in training are affectively (as in, emotionally and psychologically) bound to the structure of power that creates their subjectivities – all through her examination of the ways that the aesthetic facilitates, mediates, and reveals this process. As such, Pompili’s work makes scholarly contributions to the fields of Medical Rhetoric and Discourse Analysis, Biopolitics and Affect Theory, and the Medical Humanities.

Pompili’s presentation of her work-in-progress will take place during the Spring 2017 semester.

Megan Griffin Wins the 2016 Neil MacIntyre Essay Prize

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Illustration of a 1776 “Oroonoko” Performance

The winner of the 2016 Neil MacIntyre Essay Prize is Megan Griffin!

Congratulations go to Griffin, a fourth-year Ph.D. student, for her essay “Unbearable Representations: Dismembering the Sovereign in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko.”

Please join the entire Department on Friday, December 9, 2016, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Clark 206, for a presentation and celebration of the winning essay.

Megan Griffin’s main area of specialization is in Early Modern literature, with a particular focus on issues of genre and on the development of the rhetoric of sovereignty from the English Reformation to the English Civil War. She also has secondary interests in 20th and 21st century sci-fi/fantasy literature and television.

Ray Horton Conducts Dean’s Fellow Research in the Mark Twain Papers

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Ph.D. student Ray Horton is spending two weeks at the University of California, Berkeley, conducting research in the Mark Twain Papers collection of the Bancroft Library. His research is made possible by the Dean’s Fellows program, which is designed to put interdisciplinary study and work in collections in Cleveland in dialogue with comparable institutions of national and international import and to expand the resource base for doctoral dissertation projects in English

The Mark Twain Papers contain the voluminous private papers of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain).