Santa Clara University English Insider Newsletter

Department News

Congratulations to Colleagues – Simone and John are happy to be able to share with you the good news that Charley Phipps has been named Emeritus Professor by Provost Dennis Jacobs, and  Cynthia Mahamdi's and Tim Myers's applications for promotion to Senior Lecturer have been successful.

For some years now, various students at the University have benefitted from the Lucile D. Phipps scholarship, named in honor of Charles Phipps’s mother.  To honor Charley on his retirement, that scholarship has been renamed the Lucile D. Phipps Memorial and Charles T. Phipps S.J. scholarship.  It will be awarded annually to one Senior English major, who will be selected by the English department.  The department will make a contribution to this newly purposed fund.  Any alumni who would care to honor Fr. Phipps on his retirement by contributing to the scholarship are encouraged to contact Marie Brancati in the Dean’s office (mbracati@scu.edu408 554-2301).

Simone Billings and the Department of English's Writing Program hosted the Spring business meeting of the Northern California-Nevada Affiliate of Writing Program Administrators on April 19, 2013.  The welcome was provided by Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Diane Jonte-Pace, and Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies Phyllis Brown joined the group for lunch.  See below for the showcase presentation in the afternoon given by Noel Radley and her students, a presentation lauded as being worthy of being submitted to national conventions on writing by the WPA's of private and public universities and colleges from Nevada to San Jose.

Co-moderators of the SCU chapter of Sigma Tau Delta Simone Billings and Michael Lasley are proud to announce that Lindsey Nguyen, Joanne Santomauro, and Hallie McKnight won in the competition for blog posts in the Far Western Region competition; individual blogs were judged on creativity, usability of design, and content.  Lindsey won 1st place in the category of Open Topic; Joanne won 2nd place in the Region category, and Hallie won 3rd place in the Review category.  Also announced at the March convention of Sigma Tau Delta was that alumna Tanya Schmidt has received a monetary award for graduate school study at NYU.  She is currently playing volleyball for a Belgium team.

The Department of English was represented in the SCU Iron Bronco Triathalon by a few teams in early May:  Olin Bjork and Jefferson Dela Cruz; Michael Lasley and Simone Billings; and Simone Billings, Patti Simone (Psych), and Weijia Shang (Engineering).  All finished their part of the 26.2 mi run, 112 mi bike, and 2.4 mi swim.  (Two weeks for completion)

Faculty Accomplishments

spacer Olin Bjork
In March, Olin Bjork accepted an offer for a tenure track assistant professor position at the University of Houston-Downtown.  He will join the professional writing faculty and teach courses in technical writing and digital humanities.  Earlier this year, Olin's chapter "Digital Humanities and the First-Year Writing Course" appeared in Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Principles, and Politics, a collection edited by Brett D. Hirsch and published by OpenBook Publishers.  The book is available for free as an eBook or for purchase as a hardback, paperback, or PDF (
spacer Rebekah Bloyd
Rebekah Bloyd was writer-on-foot as part of  the group who set out to "Walk Across California" last June!  In a course developed and led by David Popalisky (Dance), students and artist advisors hoofed it from San Francisco to Yosemite Valley in twelve days, keeping aesthetic reflection journals all the while.  For the full story, see the Spring/Summer issue ofSanta Clara Magazine.
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Michelle Burnham and James Freitas (English, '15) will be giving a paper titled "The Female American, the Problem of Mastery, and the Lost Literary History of Castaway Fiction," at the American Literature Association Convention, May 23-26, in Boston. The paper develops out of the research they've been conducting, which has been supported with a University FSRAP grant, for the upcoming second edition of The Female American (Broadview Press). James was also awarded a University Undergraduate Research Travel grant to support his travel to and participation in the conference.

Michelle also chaired a session on "The Transoceanic Eighteenth Century" at the recent ASECS (American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies) conference in Cleveland in April.

Michelle participated this Fall in the newly launched Just Teach One project, designed to recover lost or neglected early American texts by having many instructors simultaneously teach (and then write a blog post about teaching) a particular forgotten text. The text for Fall 2013 was the short novel Amelia; or the Faithless Briton (1787), which Michelle taught in English 14. The Just Teach One site is hosted at Common-place here: and Michelle's post, "Ameliaand Attachment Disorders," is here:

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With his colleague Angela Flury of Depauw University, Alan Clinton just published a special issue of Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, entitled “How Did I Write That? Reflections on Singularity in the Creative Process,” an issue which asked authors to reverse the model of creative writing pedagogy by looking at books they had published and consider the ramifications of singular events and difficulties which could not have been predicted in advance or “prescribed.”  Contributors include GQ author David Bahr and the Bay Area’s own award-winning poet Rusty Morrison, who also runs the vanguard publishing house Omnidawn Books.  Due to the reception of his 2012 book Intuitions in Literature, Technology, and Politics: Parabilities, Clinton will receive an honorarium to give a paper and two lectures at Uppsala University (Sweden) in October.  Confirming his theory that failure is more interesting than success, Kattywompus Press will publish his chapbook Unsuccessful Love Poems this Fall; in addition, New York’s eccolinguistics will be devoting a special issue to the first four sections of his book-length project about his on-again off-again love affair with art that claims to be political (Withdrawal Concerns: Creative Nonfiction in “Verse”).  Finally, the acquisitions editors  for Lexington Book’s “Cultural Studies / Pedagogy / Activism” series have accepted Clinton’s proposal for his monograph Science, Engineering, and Avant-Garde Composition and are now reviewing the completed manuscript.
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Juliana Chang served as an external reviewer for the Asian Pacific American Studies Program at Loyola Marymount University.
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In February, John Espinoza attended the AWP conference held in Boston where he participated on a panel entitled, "NewBorder: Contemporary Voices from the U.S./Mexico Border." He was also pleased to find on the bookshelf at Barnes and Noble, One for the Money: The Sentence as a Poetic Form: A Poetry Workshop Handbook and Anthology, with two of his poems inside.
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On January 27, Andy Garavel gave a talk titled "John Wilson Croker: Irish Conservative" to the Irish Literary and Historical Society of San Francisco.

Also, Andy Garavel's article on JW Croker has been accepted by the journal Eighteenth Century Ireland.

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Kirk Glaser celebrated publication of New California Writing 2013, Heyday/California Legacy, which he co-edited, at a reading on April 11 at the California Historical Society in San Francisco. Juan Velasco, a contributor, read his poem as well. More information on the book at

Kirk was invited to participate in the Fourth Annual Poetry Invitational at the San Jose Museum of Art on Saturday, April 27. He read two ekphrastic poems based on the current collection, works by Eric Fischl. One poem has been published on the museum's website: Click Here to read the poem »

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March 20th, Gail Gradowski and Jill Goodman were invited to speak at the University of Oregon for the Knight Library lecture series. Our talk:  "Using Online Video Oral Histories across Disciplines."

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On April 10th, Ron Hansen received the "Evil Companion Literary Award" from the Denver Public Library in recognition of his fiction about the American West.  Past winners of the award have included Jim Harrison, Thomas McGuane, Annie Proulx, T. C. Boyle, Kent Haruf, and Sandra Cisneros.

The national television channel FX is planning a six-hour miniseries based on Ron's first novel, Desperadoes, with actor Ed Harris directing and starring as Emmett Dalton as he was in his sixties. Harris's own wife, Amy Madegan, will play Emmett's wife Julia.  Most of the other actors will be in their twenties.

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John Hawley is one of two nominees running for the MLA's executive committee on African Literatures.

John Hawley's chapter, "The Gods Who Speak in Many Voices, and in None: African Novelists on Indigenous and Colonial Religion," has appeared in Literary Expressions of African Spirituality, ed. Carol Marsh-Lockett and Elizabeth West.  Lexington Press: 15-34.

spacer Sharon Merritt
Sharon Merritt has been hired as Assistant Professor of Education, and Director of the Masters in Teaching Program at Fresno Pacific University. She will be teaching post-credential students in educational foundations and research methodology, administrating the Masters in Teaching program and mentoring cadres of MA students through their culminating action research projects.
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After his reading Glad to Be Dad, the editors at Parents Magazine have asked Tim Myers to write pieces for them–which he will be submitting one day soon.  He has also been invited to submit a blog to "Motherlode," a blog for The New York Times.

Tim was also the featured author on the Cricket Magazine website:

Tim was in an interview on KKUP, 91.5 FM, on April 3.  It's the "Out of Our Minds" poetry show, and he talked with the host, poet J.P. Dancing Bear, and read from his new book Dear Beast Loveliness:  Poems of the Body.  The show was from 8-9 p.m.

spacer Aparajita Nanda
Apara Nanda's article "Re-Living Motherhood: Vocalizing Grief, Trauma and Loss in Butler’s Lilith’s Brood" has just been published in the e-book: Is This a Culture of Trauma? edited Jessica Aliaga-Lavrijsen and Michael Bick. Oxford, UK: ID Press, 2013.
spacer Noel Radley
Together with her inspiring students Sean Roe (sophomore) and Katharine Lin (first-year), Noel Radley presented on using ePortfolios to the Northern California Writing Program Administrators (WPA) April 19.  Nor-Cal WPA was on Santa Clara Campus for their spring meeting, which was hosted by the Writing Program. 

Noel Radley is planning with Christine Bachen (Director of Assessment), Charlotta Kratz (Communication) and Rob Michalski (English) for a Varsi Cafe workshop "ePortfolios: More Than a New Technology" on Wednesday May 15 11:45-12:50 in Varsi 114.

Noel Radley attended the Renaissance Society of America in San Diego, CA, April 5, presenting on a new series of panels on "Cognition and Affect" and gave a presentation on the sixteenth-century Calvinist translator and poet, Anne Vaughan Lock.

On April 24, Noel Radley defended her dissertation "Embodied Mind and Sixteenth-Century Poetry: Wyatt, Vaughan Lock, and Shakespeare." Her dissertation bridges historicist criticism and cognitive cultural studies, identifying intersections between embodied cognition, print technology, and religious reform. Noel will participate in UT-Austin commencement and receive her degree May 18.
spacer Roxanne Rashedi
Roxanne Rashedi's "A Ritual--Secret Between Sisters" was selected for publication in the anthology Her Own Worst Enemy: The External Internal Gender Wars of Our Sisters.Her short story "No Such Thing" was published here and "My First Power Yoga Class" was published here Roxanne's abstract on Persepolis: Too Graphic to be Taught? was accepted for the Young Rhetoricians' Conference. She is interested in chatting with faculty who have taught this novel before and other graphic novels in first-year writing classes.

Faculty Work in Progress

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Michelle Burnham will be moving from the associate editor to the editor position of the scholarly journal Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture beginning July 1st. The CFP for the new volume of the journal and other updates can be found on SECC's Facebook page (StudiesInEighteenthCenturyCulture), and you can follow SECC on Twitter @StudiesC18C
spacer Juliana Chang
Juliana Chang is working on an article on racial femininity, the Cold War, and the 1961 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Flower Drum Song.
spacer Diane Dreher
Diane Dreher has a forthcoming chapter, “Abnormal Psychology in the Renaissance,” in the volume, Abnormal Psychology across the Ages, coming out from ABC-Clio in June 2013. This Spring, she has been running experiments on stress, motivation, hope, and mindfulness in college students with Dave Feldman, Shauna Shapiro, and Bob Numan, funding by a university internal grant.  Diane has begun a new study of the concept of beauty in Renaissance literature and philosophy, and continues to blog for Psychology Today and share a blog with Juan Velasco on writing as spiritual practice.
spacer Marilyn Edelstein
Marilyn Edelstein is working on a paper that's been accepted for the next MLA (Jan. 2014 in Chicago), called "Narrative Strategies for Developing Cross-Racial and Cross-Cultural Empathy in Contemporary American Short Stories by Sandra Cisneros and Jhumpa Lahiri." It's for a session on "Narrative Empathy for 'the Other,'" sponsored by the International Society for the Study of Narrative. Her conference paper is part of her larger project on multicultural fiction, ethics, and empathy.

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Meetings and Events: Mark Your Calendar!

Department Meeting Tue. May 14, 13 3:45 pm – 5pm A&S 133
Senior/Awards Dinner Reception Tue. May 21, 13 5pm – 8pm Adobe Lodge
Charley Phipps's Retirement Party Wed. May 29, 13 4:30 – 6:20pm Adobe Lodge
Champagne Reception Fri. Jun. 14, 13 1pm – 3pm Grassy Area next to St. Joseph's Hall

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