New Faculty, More to Come

Author: Lynn McCormack

In a time of academic contraction, the Notre Dame English Department has this year made four new faculty appointments and could make as many as six more by spring.

Two of this year’s appointments become effective in January. Declan Kiberd, currently chair of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at University College Dublin, will join the Notre Dame faculty in the spring as Donald and Marilyn Keough Professor of Irish Studies and professor of English. Regarded by many as the world’s foremost authority on modern Irish literature, Kiberd will teach each spring in the Keough-Naughton Notre Dame Study Center in Dublin and each fall on campus. His many books include Synge and the Irish Language, Men and Feminism in Irish Literature, Irish Classics, The Irish Writer and the World, Inventing Ireland, and, most recently, Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Living. Kiberd has published scores of articles and book reviews in the Irish Times, the Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books and the New York Times.

Yasmin Solomonescu, a specialist in British Romanticism and assistant professor, also joins the Department in early 2011. She is currently a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow at York University in Toronto, where she is revising her Cambridge dissertation on the radical intellectual John Thelwall for book publication. An article on Thelwall appeared this summer in Romanticism.

Elliott Visconsi joins the Department from Yale University as an associate professor. Visconsi specializes in 17th- and 18th-century English and American literature and has particular interests in law and literature. His first book Lines of Equity: Literature and the Origins of Law in Later Stuart England was published by Cornell University Press in 2008, and he is now working on a second, “The Invention of Civil Religion: Church and State in Post-Revolutionary England and America.” He recently earned a master’s degree in legal studies at Yale Law School while a Mellon New Directions Fellow.

No stranger to Notre Dame, Johannes Göransson joins the faculty full-time as an assistant professor specializing in creative writing and modern literature. Göransson earned his MFA degree from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. In addition to his work as a writer in several genres and as a critic, Göransson is a translator of modern Swedish poetry.

During the coming year the Department will mount searches in four fields within American literature: nineteenth-century, twentieth-century, Latino, and African-American literature. The first three appointments will be made at the assistant professor level, and the fourth is open rank. The Department will also continue searches to fill two chaired professorships, one of these in conjunction with the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies.

“We are extremely fortunate to be able to move forward at a time when even many of the very best universities have stalled,” said English Department chair John Sitter.  “It is an extraordinary opportunity, at just the right time.”