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English Department

Fall 2013 Newsletter

From the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies

12013 has been an exciting year at The Renaissance Center. We have expanded our Residential Scholar program, added new books to our ever-growing collection, partnered with the Stockbridge School of Agriculture to plant an authentic Renaissance vegetable garden, and presented a Renaissance Harvest Banquet.

Read the full Renaissance Center Highlights.


Oxford Summer Program
by Christopher Lindahl (2014)

It was mid-September, and I was sitting in my British Literature class. Weeks after my return from England my head was still overseas. One time, it was a quick glance at my dish rack; I could see just how much more beer a British pint glass held compared to an American pint glass. It was a Bud Light glass at that, which no Brit would actually consider beer. Another time, I was searching for “the bin” when I needed to throw something away. But in this particular case, my time travel was rooted not in the hazy daydreams of procrastination, but my actual schoolwork. My professor had just handed out copies of a critical essay by Sir Christopher Ricks.

Read the full Oxford Summer Program


Professional Writing and Technical Communication Highlights

First, some news about a welcome addition to the program. In Fall semester 2012, UMass English Major (and current graduate student) Jessica Ouellette began duties as the PWTC graduate teaching assistant, taking on a section of ENGL 379. In Spring semester 2013, she taught ENGL 391c. Her teaching received accolades from all around, with students in both courses praising her dedication, enthusiasm and general pedagogical skill. Janine and I count ourselves very fortunate to have Jessica aboard, and we are delighted that she will be teaching both courses again this year. As it happens, Jessica is also instrumental in a new initiative about which we are very excited. In summer 2014, she will teach an online version of ENGL 379 offered through the Office of Continuing and Professional Education.

Read the PWTC Program update.


Western Massachusetts Writing Project Looks to Its Next Twenty Years

On May 16, 2013, the Western Mass Writing Project celebrated its 20th anniversary with a program bringing together over 80 teachers and friends of the Writing Project. The program, “Opening Doors and Re-Inventing Teaching Practices,” featured remarks from Sharon Washington, the Executive Director of the National Writing Project; a digital collage of WMWP over the years; and release of Writing to Go II, a publication featuring the work of WMWP teachers and their students.


Read the WMWP update.


Off The Press

The Library of the Sidneys of Penshurst Place circa 1665 (University of Toronto, 2013) Edited by: Germaine Warkentin, Joseph Black, William Bowen. For two centuries (1540-1740) the Sidney family of Penshurt Place, Kent, produced poets, courtiers, collectors, and at least one revolutionary. Increasingly aware of the cultural ideal of the learned nobleman and of libraries as representations of that ideal, the Sidneys amassed one of the largest gentry libraries in England of their period. This edition of their library catalogue provides a vivid portrait of the birth, growth, and eventual demise of the distinguished family’s library collection.

The Time is Always Now: Black Thought and the Transformation of US Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2013) By: Nicholas Bromell. “Why,” asks Nick Bromell, “should the political thought of white Americans remain the only theory to which Americans of all ethnicities turn when constructing and reconstructing their understanding of democracy? Must Americans remain locked in an apartheid of experience and perception even after whites have become a minority population in this nation? Hasn’t the 2012 presidential election made clear that the time has come to build not just on the votes of citizens of color, but on the varieties of democratic thought their experience has engendered?”



Read About Faculty Publications: Black, Bromell, Gizzi, Harris, Hennessy, Lordi, Phan, Toomey, Welburn, Wier.


Read more: what we're reading, student awards and donor information.

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University of Massachusetts Department of English
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