Monday, December 3, 2012

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.


  1. Your post is very informational and you sounded really good following so much intellectual people in English studies. I learnt a lot from your it so thank you :)

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