Wednesday, November 18, 2015

2016 Internship Application

The following three internship positions are open:

  1. Word’s Worth Social Media Outreach (Spring 2016)
  2. Word’s Worth Conference Proceedings Publication (Spring and/or Summer 2016)
  3. David Foster Wallace Conference (Spring and/or Summer 2016) (2 interns)
Please click here and then scroll down for additional information about the positions and to view the application form.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Yankee Candle Fundraiser - Fall 2015

The Yankee Candle Fundraiser is up and running!

  1. Visit:
  2. Scroll down a little and look on the right hand side for the box that says "Start Shopping."
  3. Put in our Group Number (990085336) and browse the catalog!
Support ISU Word's Worth in Three Easy Steps:

Orders will be shipped directly to the buyer. Part 2 of the fundraiser (the physical brochure sale) should begin Monday Sept. 28 and will conclude Friday Oct. 9.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Deadline Extended to Feb. 15, 2015

We have recently extended the deadline for proposals to February 15th. If you know any graduate students in English Studies or other fields, we’d love if if you can forward this on to let them know. The conference itself will take place on Friday, April 17th on the ISU campus in Bloomington-Normal. To submit your abstract, please use our online submission form.

About the Conference: Preparing Graduate Students for Academic Conferences
Word’s Worth focuses on professional development, and is an ideal “first conference” for students who would like to practice their presentation skills before submitting proposals for regional or national conferences.

2015 Keynote Speaker: Dr. Emily Hipchen

We’re pleased to announce that this year’s keynote speaker will be Emily Hipchen. Dr. Hipchen is an Associate Professor of English at the University of West Georgia. She is currently on the Executive Committee of the MLA Division on Autobiography, Biography, and Life Writing. She is co-editor of the academic journal a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, and editor of Adoption & Culture. Also, Dr. Hipchen is co-editor of the books Inhabiting La Patria: Identity, Agency, and Antojo in the Work of Julia Alvarez, The Autobiography Studies Reader, and of Autobiography Studies across the Americas. Her poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared in Bayou Magazine, Solstice, Fourth Genre, Arts & Letters, Baltimore Review, and elsewhere. Furthermore, Dr. Hipchen has taught a breadth of courses under the English Studies umbrella, ranging from “New Journalism and Modernist Forms” to “Life Writing and Trauma.”

Monday, February 3, 2014

Elizabeth Williams, Meghann Meeusen, Amy Hicks - English Studies and Children's Literature

Elizabeth Williams, Meghann Meeusen, and Amy Hicks - "More than Child's Play: Children's Literature and Interdisciplinarity"

Our roundtable discussion will open up the idea of interdisciplinary by exploring how each of our diverse perspectives, while all based in children's literature, include elements from a variety of fields, including film studies, cultural-historic activity theory, rhetoric, eco-feminism, etc. We will begin with a brief introduction to how interdisciplinary has affected our research and study, then open the panel to discussion and questions about the role of interdisciplinary approaches in children's literature and beyond.

Emily R. Johnston - trauma theory, feminist theory

Emily R Johnston - "Feminist Geographies: Narrating Trauma Across Borders in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

How does trauma get narrated across borders? What is gained? What is lost? This presentation will explore these questions in relation to the narration of rape in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo phenomenon, drawing from work in trauma theory (Judith Herman, M.D. on sexual abuse and traumatic disorders; Laura S. Brown on feminism and psychic trauma; and Van der Kolk and Van der Hart on memory and trauma), cultural theory (Appadurai on the dimensions of mediascapes and ideascapes in global cultural flows), and theories of globalization (Manfred B. Steger on ideology and globalization; and Brian Larkin on film and globalization). The novel and films of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo erode and cross multiple borders: national borders, with the novel’s translation into almost forty languages (Baker); borders of genre, with two film adaptations of the novel—a Swedish and Hollywood version; and identity borders between conflicting parts of oneself, such as perpetrator/victim. These border crossings illustrate the phenomenon’s tremendous, global capacity for travel; and tracking this phenomenal movement across space, genre, and identities exposes how the narration of rape in Dragon Tattoo refuses hegemonic notions, as well as conceptions in trauma theory, about who rape victims are and how they respond to rape.

Danielle L Cochran, Evan Nave, and Dr. Ricardo Cruz - "Traveling Theory" by Edward Said and Wai Chee Dimock's "Multilateral Theory"

Danielle L Cochran, Evan Nave, and Dr. Ricardo Cruz - "Check The Rhyme: Cross-Cultural Literary Influences"

Hip-hop has become a recent academic aesthetic due to the influx of former practitioners and current educators whom have been inspired by its cultural movement. However, there are certain questions that arise with the power of this cultural movement from a literary and cultural perspective. Is hip-hop a form of cultural exceptionalism that serves as a gate-keeping between academic and social discourse? Meaning has the ideology of what hip-hop is perceived affected its’ reception or disclusion in educational and socio-economic communities? Has this anti-systematic culture secretly matriculated its way through to our classroom as a successful connecting point to our students? In order to answer these questions the panel will look at Edward Said’s “Traveling Theory” and Wai Chee Dimock concept of “Multilateralism” as a foundation to address the following concerns regarding Hip-Hop in the academia:

• Personal motivations for connections with the culture
• How has hip-hop manifested as narratives in writing or area of study
• Current relevance of hip-hop in English literature/studies
• Intellectual limitations
• Issues of inclusion
• Classroom practices which can assist or bridge the intellectual gap with popular culture driven generation of students.

The purpose of this panel is to engage in discourse that aligns old and new practices in the field of English studies through theory,creative writing, fiction and pedagogy.

Ryan Edel - Neurosemiotics and Pedagogy

Ryan Edel - "On the Writer’s Brain: A Neurosemiotic Approach to Creativity, Language, and Social Justice"

In the age of Facebook and MRI machines, “defining” writing has become a troubled occupation for teachers. While fMRI studies are now beginning to differentiate those areas of the brain which generate ideas from those which recall words and move the hand, scholars such as Favareau argue that such positivist approaches ignore the semiotic nature of intellect – neurologists might envision the mind as a machine, but literary scholars still favor the evolving response to signs and signification as a model for intellect. However, bridging these two approaches may help us understand how the social disconnection between students and teachers leads to pervasive – and seemingly irreparable – differences between academic expectations and student performance. Theories from both camps depend heavily upon the concept of mirror neurons – specialized cells which selectively mimic observed reality via mental rehearsal. I argue that the socialized differences in values among social groups (particularly between students and teachers) leads language learners to mentally disconnect from the classroom in ways which prevents the uptake of new skills.

Jeff Rients - book history, systems theory, game studies

Jeff Rients - "Read/Play: A Brief History of Nonlinear Textual Practices"

"In this presentation I will survey the field of ergodic literature, the term coined by Espen Aarseth for texts that demand nonlinear reading strategies, ranging from Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books, Milorad Pavić’s Dictionary of the Khazars, Nabokov’s Pale Fire and Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves. Although Aarseth posits ergodic literature as a new form born of the information age, a successor to the linear texts of preceding eras, I will argue that reading ergodic literature can be placed on a continuum with normative linear reading practices. In support of this continuum hypothesis the output of William Morris’s Kelmscott Press will be examined as works that occupy the middle space between strictly linear text and Aarseth’s ergodic literature. Finally, the economic and political ramifications of linear/ergodic continuum will be touched upon. "

Cristina Sanchez-Martin - TESOL

Cristina Sanchez-Martin - "The Corpus of Contemporary American English: a tool for ESL learners to perform agency"

The aim of this paper is to propose learning tools for ESL learners that can help them develop and perform their agency in real life communicative exchanges in an Anglo-American context. In particular, I claim that the Corpus of Contemporary American English can be a supportive tool to use both in the ESL classroom by teachers and outside the classroom by the students themselves, especially for those with a high level of English, like international students at American universities. I will focus on three grammatical aspects of the English language as linguistic items that, once seen in the classroom, students can further explore by looking at the Corpus of Contemporary American English.

Jessica Zhang - Biopolitical Theory & Communicative Capitalism

Jessica Zhang - "Rethinking What Culture Means in Intercultural Professional Communications "

In the field of Intercultural Technical and Professional Communication, many scholars and practitioners tend to rely on Geert Hofstede's cultural model. This model is one of the first models of culture in the field of Intercultural communication and it accommodates and reinforces a anti-historical and culture-free work culture during transnational interactions in the workplace. This paper will examine the workplace problems that this work culture generates that has been overlooked by both scholars and practitioners. This paper will also explore ethical and efficient solutions for this dilemma.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kelsey Forkner, Susan George, Josette Lorig - Pedagogy, Literature, WAC

Kelsey Forkner, Susan George, Josette Lorig - "Making Ends Meet: Literature Pedagogy, Faculty-Graduate Student Teamwork, and Undergraduate Literacy"

Presentation Focus
Literature Pedagogy, Writing Across the Curriculum, TA-Faculty relations, 'scaffolding', General Education, Writing in Lit Courses, Unorthodox teaching practice

"Under the direction of Dr. Weeks, our panel conducted a semester-long Independent Study in pedagogical practices sought, found and developed in ENG 125, a G.E. Literature course. Discussions of best teaching practices often presuppose optimal circumstances. But real courses are usually implemented under conditions which are given rather than chosen. Learning how to reconcile the conflicting ends of an actual course can help build confidence and develop strategies for future use. In this presentation—a project group of three graduate assistant teachers—describe and evaluate strategies and techniques for implementing a large multipurpose lecture-discussion literature course taught to non-literature majors in the General Education sequence of a middle-sized state university. We will discuss 1. the contingencies of the course, 2. sources of guidance consulted, 3. the practical methods or devices we developed, and 4. the more general lessons we learned not only about teaching literature but also about student literacy, which is defined here as advanced skill in reading and writing, as well as an understanding of literature and the language in which it is expressed or discussed. Concisely put, we asked ourselves what could be done to reach more students and provide a useful takeaway for non-majors. In other words, what's in it for them? We were after a literature pedagogy that could help us teach a more balanced class without pandering or oversimplifying. "

Irene Taylor - computer literacy; feminist and ageist theories

M. Irene Taylor - "An Examination of Studies of Computer Literacy Acquisition among Older Adults"

When looking at the impact of computer technology on composition studies, it is the young adult who has been the primary subject of study. In comparison, concerns of the older adult in the acquisition of computer literacy have not seen the level of attention that the growth of an aging population warrants. This paper addresses the need for research in the field of computer literacy among the older adult population while considering the risk posed by ageist bias in the design of studies as well as the interpretation of their results. The call for these studies stems from the inherent presence of computers in the lives of people starting in childhood through their senior years. While I look primarily at studies conducted by researchers in the field of rhetoric and composition, I also consider work by scholars in gerontology, sociology, and computer sciences. Relying on both feminist and ageist theories as a framework for my findings, I conclude that even the most well-intentioned scholar (myself included) is at risk of making assumptions based on an ageist bias. As an increasing number of older adults return to school to develop the skills to either advance in their current careers or embark on new ones, it is critical that we equip educators with both the hardware design and pedagogical theory that best meets the needs of this growing cohort.

Ana Roncero Bellido - code meshing, contact zone, Latina identity, Mestiza Consciousness

Ana Roncero Bellido - "Telling to Live, Telling to Survive"

Mary Louise Pratt underscores the political character of testimonios as she posits them as “a contemporary creation of the contact zone” where “autoethnography, critique, and resistance have reconnected with writing” (35). Indeed, in their collection of testimonios, Telling to Live, The Latina Feminist Group embraces this use of testimonio, particularly through the juxtaposition of English and Spanish and her refusal to adapt to Standard versions of these languages and traditional modes of autobiography. Thus, this presentation argues that code switching and code meshing entail an act of rhetorical resistance, hence underscoring the power of testimonio to challenge the patriarchal, imperialistic forces oppressing Latinas. To do so, this presentation posits the following questions: What motivates The Latina Feminist Group to code mesh? How does the use of Spanish affect the comprehensibility of the texts? How do these testimonios become representative of the “text(s) of the contact zone”? And consequently, how does the use of code meshing contribute to the construction of the Mestiza Consciousness (Anzaldúa) and the Decolonial Imaginary (Pérez)? Ultimately, this presentation concludes that this use of testimonio participates in the rhetorics of survivance as explained by Malea Powell: “survival” of the Latina feminist epistemology and experience, and “resistance” to imperialism

Josette Lorig - Gender and Sexuality Studies

Josette Lorig - "The Representation of Female Desire in Alan Moore's Lost Girls"

This paper investigates the representation of female desire in Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie’s pornographic comic, Lost Girls, reading it up against other pornographic comics, Japanese josei (“ladies comics”) and the graphic narratives of Phoebe Glockner and Kominskey-Krumb. The paper ultimately criticizes the way in which the text reinscribes this desire into a set of pornographic conventions that reaffirm male-identified viewers, crediting the latter texts for their willingness to construct a multifaceted depiction of women’s sexual lives that is not always ascetically ideal. Lost Girls is exemplary for the way in which it puts women into productive dialogue with other women, conceptualizes women as both sexual and sexualized, and refuses to imagine adolescent sexual experiences as only abusive and predatory. However, in focusing explicitly on the lost girls’ flash back sequences and the full size splash pages within them, this paper sets out to argue that Lost Girls is so deeply immersed in a world that appeals to fantasies of masculine power and the idealization of women’s bodies that any truths of women’s actual sexual lives or erotic pleasure are obscured. The comic ultimately undermines any attempts to create a fully fleshed out feminist text or a pornographic text for women. "

Francesco Levato - Poetry, Creative Writing

Francesco Levato - "Semi-peripheral: Spaces of Deviation, Abjection, Madness"

"Semi-peripheral: Spaces of Deviation, Abjection, Madness" is a mash up of critical theory, poetry, science, and an examination of the works of H.P. Lovecraft as an (other)world-system, through the theoretical frames of world-systems analysis (Immanuel Wallerstein), heterotopic spaces (Michel Foucault), and abjection (Julia Kristeva). The work is a move towards blending creative and critical texts into a more seamless whole; creating resonances between different texts, paratexts, practices and entities, while simultaneously attending to creative, critical, and materialist concerns. The poems are based on chance operations (a variation/combination of Bernstein’s Acrostic Chance method and John Cage’s Mesostics) that use (other)world texts (fictional books located in Lovecraft’s mythological system) as seed texts, and a series of source texts including the Collected Works of H. P. Lovecraft, and a combination of obscure books referenced in Lovecraft’s stories. Language from the source texts is collected via procedure, then reworked to shape the final poems. The prose sections blend critical theory with quotations from Lovecraft’s short story, The Call of Cthulhu."

Kate Brown - Feminist disability studies, fat studies, cyber feminist rhetoric

Kate Brown - "Temper, Temper: Diet Talk as Legitimacy in Women's Food Memoir"

In her memoir Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites, Kate Christensen writes passionately about favorite foods, memorable meals, and their connection to her often troubled childhood. She describes in detail the tastes and sensations that tie food and eating to these moments. Despite the book's focus on the role of food and eating in her life, Christensen includes explanations of how dieting corrected moments when her love of food became too intense. Caloric restriction acts as a rhetorical metaphor that authorizes Christensen to love food because the reader knows she didn't go far enough to get fat. This demonstration of self-control, in turn, increases her rhetorical agency as a rational, disciplined subject. In this presentation, I will use _Blue Plate Special_ to show how food memoirists use dieting for weight loss as an authorizing move to adhere to a cultural script that only allows certain bodies to write about enjoying food.

Kayla A. Bruce - Food memoirs, identity formation, rhetorical analysis, embodiment in texts

Kayla A. Bruce - "Embodied Rhetoric: Women’s Food Writing"

I think that the explosion in food memoir is saying and doing something significant in our current cultural and societal climate. I believe that the work that food memoirs are doing in the field of life writing is significant in three ways. The first is the way that writing about food can help the author, and the reader, process experiences and memories by giving them a tangible object on which to focus thoughts and emotions. The second is that they legitimize these everyday personal and communal experiences, and reveal that the truths of those situations are worth being communicated to a larger audience. The third is that they challenge different cultural scripts than other texts such as: pleasurable experiences are not valuable experiences to study, or experiences of food do not significantly impact our constructions of self and the world. They way that food memoirs help “consumers” process, legitimize, and challenge their own experiences and identities is significant because few texts allow this kind of exploration in such a seemingly familiar space that readers can relate to. I want to examine the significance of food memoirs in general by looking at two specific texts: Kate Christensen’s Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites and Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes From My Kitchen Table. These two texts are significant to the food memoir explosion through their autobiographical food experiences that show the construction, as well as construct, their individual and communal identities.

Evan J. Syverson - Feminism, Historical Perspectives

Evan J. Syverson - "Changing Portraits: Feminism, Masculine Failure, and the Virgin-Whore Dichotomy in Twentieth Century American War Literature"

Several major American authors of 20th century war fiction utilize the motifs of the enemy and women. The depiction of these motifs, however, changes with each successive author, from William Faulkner to Ernest Hemingway to Joseph Heller. These authors represent a shift in the portrayal of women's roles, from traditional, domestic roles to empowered, independent roles. The enemy, meanwhile, is transformed from a foreign “other” into an internal “us,” as individual complacency begins to be characterized as the biggest threat to one's life. Examination of the primary texts, secondary scholarship, and historical information all suggest that the growing sense of agency among women actually represents the answer to the moral questions these authors raise regarding complacency. Women are the vanguard of these authors' shared worldview.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Terri F. Coleman - Postcolonial Theory, Feminist Theory, Linguistic Anthropolgy

Terri F. Coleman - "The Name Game: Confronting Colonial Language and Naming in Contemporary Native American Literature"

Presenter Bio
Terri Coleman is a first year master’s student in the area of English Literature at Eastern Illinois University. She is interested in how language reflects and reinforces cultural norms, especially in reference to race, class and gender. Her current research focuses on portrayals of mixed-race characters, especially women, in historical and fictional texts.

Return to 2014 Schedule

Thursday, February 21, 2013

New Directions Proposal: Oppositional Appropriation: Toward an Ethics of Appositional Writing

Ryan Clark will present "Toward an Ethics of Appositional Writing."

Drawing heavily from the work of various feminist moral philosophers, I make an argument for what I call appositional writing, which uses appropriative methods (cut-up, erasure, collage, homophonic translation) to craft ethically reparative poetry, and which places emphasis on considerateness and an awareness of power relations within each specific act of appropriation. As I illustrate the central tenets of appositional writing, I will explain three risks that may lead such a project to become ethically problematic, or even outright damaging to the overall climate of trust; I refer to these risks as the Risk of Arrogance in Appropriation (or the Risk of Exceeding Permissions), the Risk of Asymmetrical Power Relations, and the Risk of Exceeding Reasonable Responsibility. Appositional writing runs the risk of damaging the climate of trust by assuming more than what one might reasonably expect to claim as one’s own. Asymmetrical power relations along sociopolitical lines between author and source material may magnify this issue. The case of Raymond McDaniel’s Saltwater Empire will serve as an example of an ethically problematic work of appropriative writing that fails to adequately consider these risks. McDaniel’s book is but part of a larger and compelling trend toward documentarian investigation in contemporary poetry, and as more and more writers turn toward appropriation and documentary as a means toward political opposition and advocacy for disempowered populations, it becomes important to consider the ethical impact of these practices--both positive and negative.

Ryan Clark wants to make a pun. He thinks about puns while working on his dissertation, while teaching and studying at Illinois State University, while eating cereal (Cheery Hose?). In his poetry he is largely concerned with homophonic translation, the reparative potential of appropriative writing, and how poetry responds to violence and subjugation, symbolic and otherwise. Ryan is a 4th year doctoral student in English Studies specializing in creative writing, although, understandably, part of him wishes he'd just settle down and be a linguist. His poetry has appeared in Fact-Simile, Monkey Puzzle, and Seven Corners, and is forthcoming from Tenderloin.

New Directions Proposal: Literary and Film Examples of Mimicry and Hybridity

Curt Hagegeorge will present "Literary and Film Examples of Mimicry and Hybridity."

Three primary literary texts including The Mimic Men (1967) by Vidiadhar Surajprasad “V. S.” Naipaul (1932-Present), The Satanic Verses (1988) by Salman Rushdie (1947-Present), and My Son the Fanatic (1994) by Hanif Kureishi (1954-Present), are considered to be premier literary works that relate to aspects of cultural mimicry within hybrid spaces. Mimicry occurs within the hybrid spaces due to an immigration pattern where the people who are arriving in Britain from the post-colonial periphery nations are typically arriving to begin their lives at the bottom of the social strata. In effect, these hybridized spaces become places of cultural conflict and thus resistance to the secular ways of the West. This dichotomous essentialist approach to what is portrayed as being polar opposites, between cultural worlds of East and West, a continuum exists, and within this continuum is where hybridity emerges and resistance resides. In each work, the characters are struggling to find an acceptable form of resistance within the hybrid spaces of the post-modern world.  Perhaps it is this globalized diversity that has ushered in such profound social changes is what the fundamentalists are striking against the most within these works. Basically, the quest for cultural purity is a problematic proposition within a world of increasing hybridity. Each story portrays characters who find their own way towards an acceptable form of resistance within the hybrid spaces of the post-modern world as a form of hybrid resistance. "   
Curt Hagegeorge: English Studies, TESOL

Thursday, February 7, 2013

New Directions Proposal: "Beaming the Dream" Holocaust Memory as Gendered Intergenerational Trauma in a Digital Age

Susan M. George will present "'Beaming the Dream' Holocaust Memory as Gendered Intergenerational Trauma in a Digital Age."

This paper explores the relevance of gendered Holocaust trauma as a cross-generational phenomenon in literature. Utilizing Nava Semel's 2009 hybrid novel "And the Rat Laughed," I explore how her revolutionary work transcends conventional, linear narrativity and the "Holocaust script" in order to transfer an authentic telling of trauma for contemporary audiences. I address the importance of trauma temporality as digital hybridity frameworked by Semel's use of prose, poetry, song, screenplay, blog post, email and even the material body in an attempt to transfer meaning. Semel's work forms a springboard to disproving the  supposed "impossibility" of speaking intergenerational Holocaust trauma. Through this non-linear, hybridized telling, memory repeatedly "reclaims" the body as it is transferred across genres of writing. Through my analysis, I re-evaluate the role of the digital-material body at intersections of silenced and speaking traumatic memory in this
unusual work.  
Susan M. George: I am an MA student in English Studies at ISU focusing on the unexpected uniqueness of women's Modernist literature and culture. I research especially gendered perceptions of the narrated body in time and space and the place of memory, love & trauma in women's literature.

Monday, December 3, 2012

New Directions Proposal: Rhetorical Realities: Native American Resistance to the Bering Strait Migration Theory and the Political Appropriation of Knowledge

Ryan Edel will present "Rhetorical Realities: Native American Resistance to the Bering Strait Migration Theory and the Political Appropriation of Knowledge"

Abstract: In Red Earth, White Lies, Vine Deloria, Jr., actively challenges the Bering Strait migration theory on the grounds that it is not only insufficiently supported by scientific evidence, but that the theory itself has been used to label the Native American presence in the Western Hemisphere as mere immigration, hence devaluing Native American rights in relation to the later Euro-American colonists.  The resulting dispute with scientists is emblematic of a larger cultural disconnect between scientists, nonscientists, and those who appropriate scientific data in order to promote political aims.

I argue that scientists' attempts to position themselves as apolitical has prevented them from resisting (and has at times caused them to actively participate in) the Euro-American misappropriation of scientific evidence to justify the oppression of Native Americans.  As a result, Native Americans who would resist the imposed ethos of Euro-American colonization are forced to also to reject the logos of science.

My methodology involves extending Thomas Kuhn's conception of the scientific paradigm to Sharon Crowley's consideration of Christian fundamentalism in order to examine the rhetorical disconnect between scientists of the Francis Bacon tradition and strict followers of Native American and Judeo-Christian creation narratives.  I will then discuss resistance to the Bering Strait theory as compared to the Christian-sponsored promotion of intelligent design.

Ryan Edel is a second-year Ph.D. student in creative writing and rhetoric at Illinois State University.  In his creative works, he explores science fiction as a way to develop the ""coming-of-age"" story in a rapidly-changing society.  His rhetorical focus is on examining the uses of political rhetoric to establish and reinforce common cultural realities.

Ryan is currently the Technology Coordinator for the ISU Writing Program, and his pedagogical goals include utilizing technology to increase and enhance student-to-teacher and student-to-student interactions outside the classroom.

Previously, he earned his MFA in creative writing from Johns Hopkins.  He also served five years in the U.S. Army, including three years with the 82nd Airborne Division and a ten-month deployment to Afghanistan.

New Directions Proposal: Bounded Learning: Systems Theories and the Issue of Transfer

Moria M. Torrington will present "Bounded Learning: Systems Theories and the Issue of Transfer"

Abstract: Sharon Crowley has argued that “[c]ommonplaces are part of the discursive machinery that hides the flow of difference, that firms up identity and sameness within a community."" In the field of writing studies, and, more broadly, rhetoric, commonplaces concerning the existence and nature of learning transfer concretize the community’s identity as one that is able to “help students learn how to write,” and thus, contribute to the shape and efficacy of the general university. Most transfer scholarship in this vein can be traced back to David Bartholomae’s seminal argument that students learning to write must “invent the university” by performing understanding in appropriating both the language and forms suitable to the particular disciplinary contexts of the academy. Though this scholarship enables me to join the conversation on transfer in this presentation, the weight of the learning-in-context commonplace suggests that as a field, our notions have transfer have become, as Crowley puts it, too firm in shoring up our identity. Loosening this commonplace requires attention to other, less dominant discourses of transfer circulating in the field. As such, at issue here are not questions such as “Does transfer happen?” and “If so, how?” but rather how we might theorize this concept in ways that account for the complexities of learning in multiple situations. Given that exigency, my presentation seeks to provide not a framework from which to understand if and how writing students use skills across contexts, but more broadly to bring together general systems theories and activity theories in order to provide a basis for observing how boundaries mediate instances where writers repurpose knowledge and actions.

Moria Torrington is a second year Ph.D. student in composition and rhetoric, with a focus on writing studies, activity theories, and learning transfer.

New Directions Proposal: Text and Paratext in the Literary Hoax

Jeffrey D. Reints will present "Text and Paratext in the Literary Hoax"

Abstract: Can a fake have real value?  Two poetic forgeries appearing in the first half of the twentieth century, the Darkening Ecliptic of Australian prodigy Ern Malley and the avante garde Spectric School of verse, challenge our notions of authenticity by their achievement of literary fame despite their dubious origins.  Often dismissed as “crimes” against literature or pranks at the expense of the reading public, these works call into question the implicit trust in the relationship between author and reader.

This paper proposes the rehabilitation of the literary hoax as a legitimate genre, reclaiming these "phony" texts from the dustbin of history.  Literary hoaxes will be distinguished from the genres they imitate by their unique features, rather than the purported ethical boundaries that are used to distance them from similar works enshrined in the literary canon.  The primary mode of inquiry will be an examination of deployment of prefaces, introductions, and other paratextual elements.  The interaction between poem and preface creates a totality of text that is both fiction and nonfiction, verse and prose, thereby problematizing the relationship between author, reader, and text,

Following Bakhtin's theory of the literary chronotope, I will offer a working definition of the genre of the literary hoax that focuses on this uniquely entangled relationship between text and paratext.  The continuity of the genre will be established by touching upon it roots in ancient pseudoedpigraphia, its prototypes in early first person novels, and the grand literary hoaxes of the late eighteenth century.

Jeff Rients is a master's student in the area of English literature with a focus on the study of hoaxes literary and otherwise.  His interest in this area dates to 2006 when he was the ‘victim’ of a hoax.  Ask him about it some time.  Since then he has been grappling with why hoaxes bother some people (and not others) and why authenticity is so valued in our heavily constructed and mediated culture.

New Directions Proposal: Experiencing English Studies: An Interactive Roundtable Discussion

Meghann Meeusen, Kathleen E. Miller, Hilary Selznick, and Sarah Hercula will present "Experiencing English Studies:  An Interactive Roundtable Discussion"

Abstract: An English Studies model that encourages students to explore the hybridity of their scholarship can provide valuable opportunities, but can also ask students to rise to new challenges in their graduate study.  As graduate students from diverse fields, we think it would be valuable to share our experiences with this model and facilitate a group discussion of the ways it has benefited us and enriched our research, while also being candid about the challenges we face in attempting to integrate an English Studies perspective into our academic pursuits.

We propose facilitating a round-table discussion about our experiences with English Studies at the 2013 New Direction Conference.  Rather than each presenting a more formal paper, we would begin by each spending just a few minutes informally describing our experiences.  We would then open the session to questions from the audience about our perspectives, while also hoping to create more of a discussion atmosphere within the session where we can also learn from the ideas and experiences of those who attend the session.  Although we hope to answer questions from our audience, we also will have prepared questions for them and will work to facilitate a round-table style panel that offers an interactive experience for participants.

Each member of our panel represents a distinctive sub-discipline of English Studies:  Meghann studies children’s literature, Sarah works in linguistics, Hilary’s focus is rhetoric and composition and Kathleen is completing her graduate work in creative writing.  What is more, we each are situated within different stages of our graduate work and represent various perspectives in our educational backgrounds.  Yet we have something in common—we have been able to develop our scholarship in meaningful ways through forays into other fields, while also acknowledging the challenges of doing so effectively.  Thus, we believe we would represent a strong collaborative effort to speak to these issues in meaningful ways.

Meghann Meeusen studies children’s literature at ISU as a third year doctoral student, but also uses genre and CHAT theory coming out of rhetoric and composition studies to shape her pedagogy and develop her research into children’s adaptation and visual texts.  Before coming to ISU, she began by exploring career paths in elementary education, followed by receiving an MA in literature.  Meghann will speak to these diverse background experiences and research interests in the roundtable discussion, as well as discuss her recently completed English Studies comprehensive exam.

Kathleen E. Miller is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate specializing in creative writing at Illinois State University.  She has taught first year composition and creative writing courses at ISU and has worked as the Professional Development Coordinator for the Writing Program. She received her B.A. from Saint Mary’s College and her M.A. from the University of Dayton.  Her most recent work was accepted as a part of Jaded Ibis Press’s anthology The Dirty Dirty, which will be published later this year.  Kathleen’s research interests include innovative writing, creative writing and FYC pedagogy, genre studies, theories of authorship, and postmodernism. 

Hilary Selznick is a third-year PhD specializing in rhetoric and composition with an emphasis on rhetorical disability studies and medical rhetoric. Her primary focus is on normalizing discourses, which she uses as the theme of her composition courses. Previously, Hilary received an MFA in Creative Writing (creative nonfiction) at Western Michigan University and has a Master’s in Education. Her work if forthcoming in JAC and has appeared in Technocultre: An Online Journal of Technology and Culture, New South, Brevity, and Passages North.

Sarah Hercula is in her second year of doctoral study pursuing a specialization in linguistics. Specifically, she is interested in the sociolinguistic situations of marginalized varieties of English and is drawing upon the work of scholars in fields as diverse as TESOL, Second Language Writing, English Education, and Composition Studies for her research. Sarah has a B.A. and an M.A. in English Education from Western Michigan University. Sarah has taught in a variety of different educational settings including middle school mathematics, high school English, first-year composition, and English as a Second Language.