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.
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, assistant professor in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of English, has been named one the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. The honor is bestowed to top young fiction writers selected by past National Book Award winners and finalists. Van der Vliet Oloomi, the author of Fra Keeler, was chosen for the list by novelist Dinaw Mengestu, who was a 5 Under 35 honoree after publishing The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears in 2007.
A football game isn’t the only thing Notre Dame is bringing to Boston in late November. As part of a weekend of events surrounding the Shamrock Series, Notre Dame’s annual home-away-from-home football game, the College of Arts and Letters will host a pair of academic conversations the day before the Fighting Irish face Boston College at Fenway Park. Notre Dame historians will offer an interdisciplinary look at the impact of Irish immigration on American religious and political structures, as well as the role of the U.S. in the 1916 Easter Rising, while economists will discuss research initiatives that aim to change the way humanitarian services help the poor both domestically and abroad.
Notre Dame sophomore Olivia May has been interested in classical cultures for a long time. This past summer she was able to experience one in a new way—by physically sifting through its remains. The Wisconsin native received an award from the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission to study in Northern Britain, including two weeks digging at the site of an ancient Roman fort, helping to uncover evidence of the Roman Empire’s influence in England.
The University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS), in close collaboration with the Creative Writing Program, will present a conference, “Angels of the Americlypse,” on October 28 and 29, 2015, featuring Latino/a poetry readings, literary translation, and roundtable discussions. The event—held in conjunction with Letras Latinas, the ILS literary initiative—will include readings by acclaimed poets Rosa Alcalá, Carmen Giménez Smith, Roberto Tejada, and Rodrigo Toscano.
“Scholars who have worked on Charles II have tended to back away from the sensational side of the Restoration," said Laura Knoppers, professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. “When I come to Charles II, I see that mode of luxury as central to his political power and is essential to the way that that monarchy is representing itself in England.” Knoppers’ research centers on the 17th century and intersections between literature, visual culture, politics, and religion.
Joyelle McSweeney is an associate professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program at Notre Dame. She is the author of six books of poetry and prose, as well as a critical book, The Necropastoral: Poetry, Media, Occults, which was published in December 2014.
Jarvis C. McInnis, a scholar whose research blends African American and African diaspora literature with music and visual culture, will join Notre Dame’s Department of English as an assistant professor in fall 2016. In studying what he has deemed the “global black South,” McInnis examines the looming sociopolitical and cultural presence of the plantation in the U.S. South and the Caribbean in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
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.