Category Archives: News

Conference Opportunity for FMU English Majors

Calling All English Majors!

Apply for a full-funded trip to the Dickens Universe Conference at the University of California, Santa Cruz from August 2-9, 2014. 

Email letters of interest to Dr. England by April 24th! More information on the application process and the Dickens Universe can be found below and on this flyer.

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The Dickens Universe

The Dickens Universe is a unique week-long conference that focuses on one work by the Victorian writer Charles Dickens each year. This format allows its participants to fully prepare for an in-depth, scholarly experience that will include lectures by outstanding professionals in the field, discussions groups, and even Victorian-themed activities (yes, there will be lots of tea and even a ball).

For FMU English majors interested in increasing their knowledge of English Studies and who have experience reading nineteenth-century literature, this is an incomparable opportunity to learn from leading scholars while also experiencing the Pacific Ocean views, redwood forests, and California culture of Santa Cruz.

For more information, visit the Dickens Universe website or watch “The Dickens Project Mini Documentary” on YouTube.

Dr. England, Trip Coordinator

Dr. England (a three-time veteran of the Universe) will be accompanying selected students and preparing them for this year’s conference on Our Mutual Friend through reading and writing activities.

Application Process

To apply, send a short email to c e n g l a n d [at] f m a r i o n [dot] e d u by April 24th. Your email should briefly describe your career goals and past experience with British nineteenth-century literature. Strong candidates will be asked for an interview. All majors (including graduating seniors) are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Apply today! The application deadline is April 24th.

Dr. Edwins Wins Carrie McCray Nickens Poetry Fellowship

Dr. Jo Angela Edwins, who teaches creative writing courses in poetry, is the winner of the 2014 Carrie McCray Nickens Poetry Fellowship. Dr. Edwins will be honored in April at the annual induction ceremony for the South Carolina Academy of Authors. She also will be awarded a cash prize.

CC-licensed photo by flickr user the learnedfoot_

CC-licensed photo by flickr user the learnedfoot_

According to the South Carolina Academy of Authors website, the fellowship  ”was established in 2009 to support South Carolina poets whose work employs skilled verse composition and reflects a heightened awareness of the human condition.” The competition is held annually, and submissions are accepted each fall.

Writer and professor Lavonne Adams, who judged this year’s competition, praised Dr. Edwins’ winning poetry collection as

hav[ing] a coherence of voice—poems that speak to one another, that echo… The author exhibits mastery of form—a gracious breaking of line and stanza—which enhances the language, the imagery, and the sound devices, all delightfully tactile. [1]

Congratulations, Dr. Edwins, on this fine accomplishment!

[1] http://www.scacademyofauthors.org/Fellows/2014NickensWinner.html

FMU’s Writing Center Opens for Tutorials on Jan. 14

Conveniently located in Founders Hall, the FMU Writing Center offers free, one-to-one writing help. FMU students can receive assistance during any stage of the writing process–from brainstorming, to crafting thesis statements, to revising, to understanding citation and grammar rules.

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HOURS OF OPERATION

The Writing Center (FH 114C) will open for Spring 2014 tutorials on Tuesday, January 14. Their hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Friday 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  They also offer online tutorials on weekday and Sunday evenings. For drop-in assistance (no appointment needed), a Writing Center Consultant will be available in the Tutoring Center (LSF L107) Monday through Thursday evenings from 5:00-8:00 p.m. 

The Writing Center launched an online scheduling system last fall: Students can schedule a face-to-face or online appointments through the Writing Center’s website: http://www.fmarion.edu/academics/wcenter. Students will need to register on the site the first time they book an appointment. Faculty will receive notification via email about students’ completed tutorials for projects in their classes.

WORKSHOPS AND WORKOUTS

Workshops and workouts are interactive group sessions. In workshops, students address common writing situations, such as avoiding plagiarism. No reservation is required. All workshops are held in Lowrimore Auditorium (CEMC 114).

Workouts are small-group interactive sessions that combine the fun of a game show with the rigor of a boot camp to help students strengthen their writing skills. No reservation is required, though participation is limited to fifteen attendees. Each workshop will meet in FH 114B.

The first Writing Center workshop of the semester will be “Avoiding Plagiarism” on Thursday, January 16, at 2:30 p.m. in CEMC 114. The full workshop/workout schedule is  available online. The Writing Center will email professors notification forms to inform them of students’ attendance at these events. 

TOURS

Dr. Kunka, Director of the Writing Center, and Dr. Reynolds, Assistant Director of the Writing Center, invite faculty to bring their classes to Founders Hall for a tour of the Center. During the tour, they will offer a brief introduction of their services (10 to 15 minutes). Faculty who are interested in this orientation activity can contact Dr. Kunka by email at j k u n k a [at] f m a r i o n [dot] e d u to make arrangements. Tours will be conducted from January 13-27.

Reflections of a Senior English Major in Professional Writing

Senior English major Shanae Giles reflects on her second English internship, which took her from FMU’s Florence, South Carolina campus all the way to Ecuador. Shanae completed the internship through the department’s professional writing program. Dr. Hanson directs the professional writing program and oversees all professional writing internships.

As a senior here at FMU who is preparing to graduate this upcoming December, I am faced with that one, constant, looming question:

“So, what do you plan to do after you graduate?”

This used to be an easy question for me to answer. My answer was finite and simple; it fell right in line with my goal of achieving the American Dream. My answer was acceptable and understandable.

Well, until I traveled to Ecuador, South America, for my second English internship.

I’d always wanted to study abroad, but I was already in my senior year and I needed to start gaining real work experience. I never imagined that I could travel to Ecuador to create technical writing documents for the Wildsumaco Biological Station.

And suddenly, the world was round.

That was when I realized that English majors and writers are needed everywhere. We can write about anything and can convince anyone to pay us to write for them. I love nature and biology and I was finally able to combine that with my love for writing. Despite popular belief, the career options for an English major are endless. All you have to do is prove that you’re needed.

So now when I’m faced with that inevitable question:

“So, what do you plan to do after you graduate?”

I simply reply:

“Anything I want to do.”

–Shanae Giles, senior English major (Professional Writing)

How to Deal: An English Major, in a Spanish Country, with Biology Majors?

Senior English major Shanae Giles traveled to Ecuador this summer to complete a professional writing internship at the Wildsumaco Biological Station. In this post, Shanae describes how she overcame an unexpected language barrier: scientific jargon.

When I was first told that I had the opportunity to do my second English internship in Ecuador (of all of the places in the world), I literally cried from excitement. I’ve always loved the Spanish language and culture and I just couldn’t believe that my first travel abroad experience was going to be in a Spanish-speaking country. “Excited” doesn’t even begin to describe what I was feeling!

Signage from Ecuador. Photo courtesy of Shanae Giles.

I immediately began brushing up on my Spanish. I was thankful that I’d taken a Spanish Conversation course the semester before, so I knew I was at least more fluent than my other travel companions. You know the term “social butterfly”? Well, I’d consider myself a more hyperactive version of that, like a social squirrel, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy myself as much if I couldn’t talk to everyone that I met, regardless of the language barrier.

Time zoomed by, as it always does, and before I knew it I was in line with my travel companions boarding our first flight on U.S. Airways. Our group consisted of myself, Stenetta (another English intern), Travis (the biology professor), and four other biology majors who were taking the Tropical Ecology class. We were all nervous, we were all excited, and we were all deep in thought of what was ahead of us.

Two hours later…”Welcome to Miami!!!”

Four hours later…”Bienvenidos a Quito!!!”

I remember the feeling that swept over me when I looked out of the window as we were approaching South America and saw the burnt orange horizon of the sunset along the edges of the country. I knew, of course, that it was not my America, but I couldn’t have imagined how “not my America” it was going to actually turn out to be.

We spent two days soaking up the culture in Quito before heading up the bumpy, scenic road through the Andes Mountains to get to the Wildsumaco Biological Station. I immediately absorbed myself in the research and biodiversity around the station and quickly realized one of the most important lessons I’d end up learning at Wildsumaco. I’d spent so much time brushing up on my Spanish language that I never realized I would be faced with another language completely foreign to me: the language of biology majors and scientists.

Instead of letting this new language overwhelm me, I tried twice as hard to remember terminology, I went to every lecture, and I asked as many questions as I could. After just a few short days, I found myself able to identify new bird species and categorize fungi almost as well as the 300-level biology majors. I went to Ecuador thinking that I would learn to be more fluent in one language, but I came back to the States more fluent in two.

Now I just wish I had taken this trip my freshman year; it sure would’ve helped me ace Biology 105!

–Shanae Giles, senior English major (Professional Writing)

Resurrecting Forgotten Literary Texts Widens Notions of Genre, History

In this post, Dr. Chris Johnson, chair of the department, discusses a forthcoming publication about a little-known eighteenth-century biography. Although the biography commanded a huge following for decades after its publication, it’s been largely forgotten today, but studying it and other overlooked literary texts has its own rewards. 

Much of my scholarly work involves recovering old texts that may have enjoyed considerable popularity in their own day, but that have been largely forgotten by literary historians and critics. These works, I’ve discovered are often quite readable, and they give us an opportunity to reconsider some of our assumptions concerning a particular genre or time period.

For the past few months, I have been working with a nearly forgotten text, Philip Doddridge’s Some Remarkable Passages in the Life of the Honourable Col. James Gardiner, which was first published in 1747. The biography, which was enormously popular throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, records the life of a famous solider who endured horrific wounds as a young man, repented and early life of sin, and fought valiantly in the Battle of Preston pans, where he was killed.

Although readers of the biography will learn a bit about eighteenth-century weapons and tactics, Doddridge does not focus on Gardiner’s military career. Instead, he directs our attention to his subject’s spiritual life. This focus seems logical when one considers the author. Doddridge himself was a dissenting minister, who published dozens of sermons and theological works, including the tremendously successful Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul.

For Doddridge, the important part of Gardiner’s life is his transition from sinfulness to redemption, and his work follows many of the conventions of spiritual autobiography, which English majors will remember from John Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. Doddridge’s work, however, is notable for the quality of its writing. Reading very much like a novel, the work is a rhetorical masterpiece, and it contains many of the features that Doddridge incorporated in his sermons and that he taught to young ministers. Particularly noteworthy are Doddridge’s many appeals to his reader’s emotions, which align his work with later eighteenth-century sentimental literature.

In the end, I argue that the biography helps us understand the complicated dynamics that exist among novelistic fiction, biography, homiletics, and hymns.

–Dr. Johnson

Dr. Johnson’s article about Doddridge’s biography, “Artful Instruction: Philip Doddridge’s The Life of Colonel James Gardiner” is forthcoming in Beyond Sense and Sensibility: New Perspectives on Moral Education in the Late Eighteenth Century, ed. Peggy Thompson (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press).

 

“Foreplays” Playwriting Contest Held in Conjuction with V-Week

FMU students are encouraged to submit an original, 5-12 minute play about topics pertaining to student sexual health, such as STDs, HIV/AIDS, date rape, promiscuity, unplanned pregnancy, virginity, fetishism, gender-identity, and sexual self-image.

“No topic is taboo,” say this year’s contest organizers Dr. Tuttle and Ms. Ivins, but the play should “cast[] a true or useful light on a touchy subject pertaining to student sexual health and respect.”

CC-licensed photo by flickr user sniggie

Like last year’s Foreplays, this year’s winning plays will be produced on campus in March during FMU’s annual V-Week. V-Week events include, among other activities, staged readings of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues and a “Take Back the Night” gathering. V-Week endeavors to make students more aware of domestic violence and sexual assault, give victims of these crimes a voice, and raise money for local organizations that are devoted to such causes.

Plays must be submitted by November 22, or the Friday before Thanksgiving Break. More information, including length and formatting requirements, can be found below.

Student playwrights retain copyright ownership of any plays submitted or performed and are encouraged to submit their plays elsewhere for production or publication, including FMU’s literary and arts journal, Snow Island Review. Plays will not be changed without permission of the playwright. Plays selected may remain part of the Foreplays Repertory and could be produced in subsequent years.