April 2023


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

I hope your semester is wrapping up well and that you are looking forward to the summer. It has been a busy year but, thankfully, one that has seemed almost normal compared to the previous two years. Thank you for your ongoing dedication to our students, your service to the department’s governance and academic programs, and your efforts in making the English Department such a collegial place to be. Also, I greatly appreciate the help that directors Liz Miller and Lara Vetter have provided in making sure the undergraduate and graduate programs run smoothly and the tremendous staff support by Angie Williams, Jennie Mussington, and Monica Burke. Thank you all.

As a reminder, we have a department meeting on Friday, April 21, at 11:00 AM in Atkins 271 (Angie has sent out a map to help you find the room).  The Awards Ceremony will follow the department meeting in the Halton Room, starting at 1:00 PM.


Janaka Lewis and Mark West served on a Charlotte Ideas Festival panel titled “A Discussion through the Lens of Literature: Should Classic Texts Be Rewritten for Modern Audiences?” The event was held at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Here is a link to the event:  https://www.charlotteshout.com/events/detail/a-discussion-through-the-lens-of-literature. Here is a link to an article about the University’s role in the event:  https://inside.charlotte.edu/news-features/2023-03-16/university-joins-charlotte-shout-ideas-pillar-sponsor

Paula Martinac received the Historical Novel Society Diversity Grant, which will fund her attendance at their virtual conference in June. She is also the recipient of the 2023 William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant for an unpublished traditional mystery novel. This grant comes with a cash prize and will fund her attendance at the Malice Domestic conference in Bethesda, Maryland, this month.

Dina Massachi and Mark West received a $20,000 grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council for “CharlOZ: Charlotte celebrates the evolutions of America’s Fairy Tale—The Wizard of Oz Process.”

Juan Meneses presented a paper titled “Chronicle of a Death Foretold: Postcoloniality and the End of Politics” at the American Comparative Literature Associations conference in Chicago.

Liz Miller attended the American Association of Applied Linguistics conference in Portland, Oregon. She served as the Discussant for two colloquia, one titled “Bridging linguistic and emotional repertoires: Engaging emotions to positively support new conceptions of language teaching” and the other titled “The emotional impact of English medium instruction (EMI) in higher education.” The conference also marked the beginning of her three-year term as an elected member of the Executive Committee. Her first assignment is to chair an Ad Hoc committee charged with reassessing accessibility needs for participants with disabilities

Jen Munroe gave the Hermanns Lecture for University of Texas, Arlington. Her talk was titled “Beyond Food: Colonial Botany, Knowledge Making, and Environmental Justice.” She also published a co-authored book chapter (with Rebecca Laroche) titled “Pest Control” in Lesser Living Creatures: Insect Life in the Renaissance. Ed. Keith Botelho and Joseph Campana. Penn State University Press (49-61).

Ralf Thiede presented a talk entitled ‘Defining Language Nutrition as a Human Right’ at the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics, hosted at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi.   

Mark West gave a salon presentation titled “Theodore Roosevelt as an Activist Reader” at The Barclay at South Park. Next week he will speak at the Children’s Literature Symposium: Building Literacy Connections for K-8 Educators, sponsored by the Virginia Association of Independent School. Here is a link to the symposium: https://www.vais.org/children-s-literature-symposium


M.A. student Britt Olson was a featured writer in the ekphrastic exhibit “Evolution of Words and Art” at the Charlotte Art League gallery. Chris Arvidson curated the exhibit, which features writers paired with visual artists.

Bre Weber (B.A., 2014; M.A., 2016) is graduating from UC-Davis with a Ph.D. in Literature.  She has accepted a three-year postdoc with the University of Virginia.

MA student Justina Vasquez has been accepted into the prestigious Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program to teach English in Japan.

Rhonda Waterhouse, a former student in our M.A. program, is publishing “Rohypnol for Dummies” in the Black Warrior Review.

Best wishes for the end of the semester and for a restful, restorative, productive, or invigorating summer—whatever you need it to be!