They wrote poetry in Dublin coffee shops over plates of scones and artfully embellished cappuccinos — the curl of steam and lilt of Irish conversation rising and fading in the background. They wrote prose on the grassy shores of Lough Pollaacapull, where the towers and crenellations of Kylemore Abbey reflect in the waters below. They wrote in the Abbey’s common room into the wee hours of the morning. And everywhere, the 16 students in Notre Dame’s first Creative Writing Workshop in Ireland found inspiration — in the landscape, in the country’s literary history, and in each other.
The retreat was sponsored by the International Network for Comparative Humanities (INCH), an interdisciplinary group of literary scholars from across the U.S. and Europe dedicated to promoting comparative study. Co-directed by Notre Dame professor Barry McCrea and Maria DiBattista of Princeton University, the organization seeks to develop a new model for networking and scholarly collaboration in the humanities — one that stresses the importance of collaboration across generational, national, and institutional boundaries.
Barry Lopez believes we are on the verge of global upheaval — in the way democracies function, in the way economies work, in the way countries cope with unprecedented numbers of refugees and the effects of climate change. But he also believes that Notre Dame students are “unusually qualified to do something about it.” A renowned essayist, fiction writer, and former Department of American Studies faculty member, Lopez received his bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters in 1966 and a master’s degree in 1968. He returned to his alma mater last month to give a lecture on sustainability — and to offer his encouragement to current students.
César Soto wants to know how the spark of political revolution can transform religious concepts of community and inclusion. To better understand the issue, he’s turning to the literature of England, Ireland, and Mexico in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Soto, a Ph.D. candidate in Notre Dame’s Department of English, has been awarded a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship for 2016-17 to support his project.
When Elizabeth Troyer began diving into her senior thesis research, she wasn’t alone. She was one of 17 seniors in Notre Dame’s Department of English honors concentration—all of whom participated in a colloquium as they embarked on their senior thesis projects. Students in the class discussed their thesis research in small groups, offered feedback, completed outlines and bibliographies, and shared presentations on their main ideas with the class. It’s just one example of how faculty members have worked to build a sense of community in the department and in the honors concentration.
English major Austin Hagwood ’15 doesn’t dream small. He took a train past the Arctic Circle to meet the only living Finnish rune singer. He interned in Paris at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. He taught English courses at Al-Azhar University in Egypt. He ventured to New Zealand to research Maori folklore and literature. And that’s not all.
Laura Dassow Walls, the William P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English, has been awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to complete a biography of Henry David Thoreau. A renowned scholar of American transcendentalism, Walls began working on the book with the support of a John Simon Guggenheim fellowship during the 2010-11 academic year. She plans to publish the book to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Thoreau’s birth in 2017.
John Sitter, the Mary Lee Duda Professor of Literature in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, will be presented with the 2014 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award on December 2. The Sheedy award is the highest teaching honor in the College. It was founded in 1970 in honor of Rev. Charles E. Sheedy, C.S.C., who served as dean of Arts and Letters from 1951–69.
Timothy Miller, a Ph.D. student in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, was awarded a Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Dissertation Completion Fellowship for the 2013-14 academic year.
José Limón, the Notre Dame Professor of American Literature and Julian Samora Professor of Latino Studies, has been elected to the Fellows of the American Folklore Society in recognition of his outstanding work in the field of folklore studies.
Joyelle McSweeney, associate professor in Notre Dame’s Department of English recently won the inaugural Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Women Playwrights for her new play, Dead Youth, or, the Leaks.