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.
Roy Scranton, who joined the Notre Dame faculty in fall 2016, doesn't write about war the way most Americans do. In his acclaimed debut novel War Porn and in his nonfiction writing in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and the LA Review of Books, the Iraq War veteran pushes back against what he calls "the trauma hero" — the trope of making the American soldier the victim of American military aggresion.
Mimi Ensley, a Ph.D. student from the Department of English, won the 2017 Notre Dame Graduate School Shaheen Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) on Monday night in Jordan Auditorium. The Shaheen 3MT is a communication competition where graduate students from the Colleges of Engineering, Science and Arts and Letters try to effectively explain their research in a language appropriate to an audience of specialists and non-specialists alike, in three minutes or less. Competitors addressed a panel of judges in front of a live audience using one static slide as part of their presentation.
“Do what you feel naturally inclined to do, where your skills and abilities are taking you, what you're best at. It really has helped me to narrow down and find the right career,” said Elizabeth Simari ’08. An English and Italian major in the College of Arts and Letters, Simari studied abroad in Rome during her junior year. Her interest in the language, history, and culture of Italy developed into a passion, leading her to move to Sicily after graduation. After teaching English for a year and then earning a master's degree in literature, she wrote for L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s English-language newspaper, and now teaches at the University of Loyola Chicago's campus in Rome.
Valerie Sayers is a professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of six novels as well as numerous short stories, essays, and reviews. In this video, she discusses her approach to writing, the way modern fiction has evolved based on contemporary concerns, and the strength of Notre Dame's Creative Writing Program.
Laura Knoppers, a professor in Notre Dame’s Department of English, has been named the Honored Scholar of the Year for 2016 by the Milton Society of America. Recognizing lifetime achievement in the field of Milton studies, the award places Knoppers among an elite group of the world’s top Miltonists.
Kate Marshall, associate professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, has received a fellowship from the National Humanities Center (NHC) to spend this academic year researching and writing at the center in Durham, North Carolina. The NHC grants up to 40 fellowships annually—from among hundreds of applications—to leading scholars from around the world in all fields of the humanities.
Sarah Childress ’03 didn’t come to Notre Dame planning to become an international journalist. As a freshman, she was unsure what career path she wanted to follow, but she knew she loved to write. Since majoring in English and minoring in the Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy, however, she's found her calling. Childress has covered Iraq for Newsweek, sub-Saharan Africa for the Wall Street Journal, been an editor for the GlobalPost, and written for The New York Times and The Washington Post. She’s now with PBS’s Frontline as a senior digital reporter.
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.
Kathryn Kerby-Fulton studies medieval texts, many of them on sheepskins and fragile after hundreds of years in conditions not always suited for preservation. The Notre Dame Professor of English studies the margins of these medieval texts, which contain thoughts scrawled by some of the brightest minds of the time. They are a layer of interaction and understanding that Kerby-Fulton will spend the next year studying, supported by a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.
Driven by a commitment to Catholic social teaching and a strong belief that a liberal arts education can transform lives, Notre Dame and Holy Cross College faculty are teaching college-level courses for inmates at Indiana’s Westville Correction Facility. Since 2013, nearly 100 inmates have earned college credit and 11 have earned associate degrees as of this month. But developing a strong foundation in reading, writing, research, public speaking, and critical thinking offers benefits that go far beyond the professional opportunities a degree might one day provide.
The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has awarded a prestigious 2016 fellowship to Stephen Fallon, the Rev. John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C., Professor of the Humanities in the Program of Liberal Studies and the Department of English. Fallon will use his fellowship to complete a comparative study of what happens when the poet and theologian John Milton and the scientist and theologian Isaac Newton—towering figures in 17th-century England—address some of the world’s biggest questions and come up with parallel answers.
Digitizing the Irish National Folklore Collection at University College Dublin. Honing Chinese language and cultural skills in Beijing. Uncovering archaeological evidence of the Roman Empire’s influence in northern England. English majors in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters are spending their summers gaining valuable experience in other cultures around the world.
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.
Dr. Patrick Lyons ’08 doesn’t ask his patients if they have questions when he’s finished talking with them about a diagnosis. There’s a good chance they’ll say no. Instead, he asks what questions they have. Looking at how he practices medicine now, especially in his interactions with patients, Lyons realizes his time as an English major had a profound effect on how he communicates. “English prepared me well because I have the ability to think critically and organize and analyze the information in front of me,” he said. “Word choice and the way you’re addressing patients can be really powerful.”
Tim Machan believes the English language is far more than the order of letters and words. It’s the highly personal, situational expressions we use to convey our ideas and feelings. It’s how we connect with or distance ourselves from everyone around us. We use it to define ourselves. Machan, a professor in Notre Dame’s Department of English, has spent 30 years researching and teaching English in its many forms and functions. His journey has pulled him further from grammatical conventions into how people around the world use English in their daily lives.
Barry McCrea, the Donald R. Keough Family Professor of Irish Studies and a professor of English, Irish language and literature, and Romance languages and literatures, has been awarded the René Wellek Prize by the American Comparative Literature Association for the best book in the past year in comparative literature. McCrea’s Languages of the Night: Minor Languages and the Literary Imagination in Twentieth-Century Ireland and Europe explores how the decline of rural languages and dialects in 20th-century Europe shaped ideas about language and literature and exerted a powerful influence on literary modernism. The prize is generally considered to be the most prestigious award in the field of literary studies.
Z’étoile Imma, an assistant professor of English at Notre Dame, has received a prestigious Ford Foundation fellowship in support of her research in South Africa on 20th-century activist Simon Nkoli. Imma is one of 116 top scholars to receive an award through the foundation’s fellowship program, administered by the National Research Council of the National Academies. The program seeks to increase diversity among university faculties, maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and increase the number of professors who use diversity as a resource for enriching education.
Kara Donnelly wants to know why you read what you read. Many people pick up a book because they heard it was great, either from a friend or through the media. But how did they know? Who is it that makes the decisions about which books are worth our time?Donnelly, a post-doctoral fellow in Notre Dame’s Department of English who completed her Ph.D. in 2015, has researched British literature from the 1950s to the present trying to find answers to those questions. Her scholarship has focused largely on the Man Booker Prize, which recognizes excellence in fiction writing published in Britain.
Paul Cunningham, a 2015 graduate of Notre Dame’s Creative Writing MFA program and winner of the Sparks Prize fellowship, showcased his work in February at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore. The fellowship, named for author Nicholas Sparks ’88, awards $20,000 to a new graduate of the program and allows him or her to stay on campus for a year to focus on completing a book. Cunningham founded Radioactive Moat Press in 2009 and is the manager of the online journal Deluge. With past editing positions at Action Books and Action, Yes, he is currently a contributing editor of Fanzine.