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Scholars' Symposium

The Scholars’ Symposium is a monthly gathering of English Department faculty and students working on various projects that span the spectrum of English studies. The Scholars’ Symposium offers our students and faculty an intimate environment and a receptive audience that is at once critically stimulating and encouraging of the work of thinkers and writers of diverse expertise and varied levels of experience. For more information contact Dr. J. Daniel Hasty.

March 2017: Howes & Smith, and Kellogg

Dr. Emma Howes and Dr. Christian Smith present a talk entitled “Contemplative Reading | Social Justice.”  In this presentation Howes and Smith revisit their interest in contemplative practices as anti-racist pedagogies, and they present us with not only an updated theory of contemplative practices but also an example of how to put this into practice in the classroom.  They lead us through a reading activity which encourages contemplative practices through extended periods of silence and controlled responses as a way to more thoughtfully approach and more objectively address the difficult issues of race in the classroom.

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Dr. David Kellogg presents a poetry reading from his manuscript “Twin Lens Reflex.” Poems from this manuscript have been published in journals including One, Chain, The Ohio Review, Samizdat, and COMBO. 

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February 2017: Oldfield and Thomas

Dr. Anna Oldfield presents a talk entitled “Memories Don’t Burn: Soviet Censorship and the Azerbaijani Bard.”  In this presentation she investigates how censorship both represses and encourages artistic expression, particularly in the former USSR.  Dr. Oldfield looks at the oral epic singers in Soviet Azerbaijan and the methods these bards used to evade and defy the mechanisms of state censorship. Focusing on Azerbaijan, the presentation discusses how bardic arts targeted as rural, uneducated “people’s culture,” and made to comply with state dictates still kept non-Soviet histories and cultures alive.

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Zach Thomas, CCU English Major, presents a talk entitled “Toggling the Switches: A Rhetorical Analysis of Multilingualism and Code Switching.”  In this presentation, Thomas uses Richard Lanham’s framework of looking “at” or “through” language established in The Electronic Word to explore multilingualism and code switching from a rhetorical perspective.  Thomas explores our basic assumptions surrounding the employment of a foreign language: How might using a foreign language and the presence of different dialects within that language cause a speaker to reconsider their native tongue or language more generally? What might the presence of numerous regional peculiarities and nonstandard varieties within languages say about our desire for “ideal” or “standard” speech?

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December 2016: Reid and Port

Dr. Alan Reid presents a talk entitled “Knowing what you know: Improving meta-comprehension and calibration accuracy in digital texts.”  In this presentation, he discusses a study of students’ interaction with reading in digital environments.  Despite predictions of the death of print culture given the rise of more and more digital access to texts, Dr. Reid discusses how statistically most students still prefer to read in hard copy.  Reading digital texts, then, has been shown to be less appealing to students, and part of his study is how to alleviate some of these issues.  His primary interest was in improving students’ meta-comprehension, their ability to assess their level of understanding of a text, as well as improving their calibration, their discernment of their performance verses how they actually perform on an assessment.  In a controlled experiment involving students reading digital texts, Dr. Reid presented different groups of students with metacognitive questions throughout the text or with a request for a summary of what had been read or a mixture of these two strategies.  The results indicate that a mixture of metacognitive questions along with summary increased students’ calibration accuracy overall.  Additionally, the study found that asking metacognitive questions throughout helped alleviate some of the cognitive load associated with reading digital texts while students who were only asked to summarize saw an increase in cognitive load.

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Dr. Cindy Port presented a different type of symposium presentation in which she lead an interactive discussion relating to her work as the co-editor of the interdisciplinary journal Age, Culture, and the Humanities.  Many of the topics discussed centered around issues that arise from cross-disciplinary interactions.  Some of these issues included: how research is conducted and evaluated across disciplines, what issues arise from the different end goals of different disciplines studying age (e.g., the goals of researchers in the humanities versus the goals of social works or doctors), the tensions between “helping” and “studying” the elderly, as well as issues related to the cultural construction of age.

Nov 2016: Pillai and Griffin

Dr. Tripthi Pillai presents a talk entitled “Feeling and Talking, or Love and Fearing: Affective Contagion and Infection in Othello.”  In this presentation, she utilizes the framework of contagion theory to track the ways in which feelings of love and fear are generated or heightened through the rhetoric of contagion and infection.  Dr. Pillai explains how contagion represents the fear of the spread of diseases from the mixing of different people groups and the resulting transformation of society.  Additionally, she cautions us to not limit our view to fear as the only affect capable of being framed within the rhetoric of contagion, and she goes on to explain how affects like love are equally capable of being viewed through the lens of contagion and infection.  Dr. Pillai then explicates how love is a critical ingredient in Othello’s relationships with various characters throughout the play and how language is used as a source of contagion to infect others with love.

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Jeremy Griffin (MFA) presents a creative nonfiction reading entitled “A Good Laugh.”  Griffin recounts a failed attempt at stand-up comedy and muses on the rhetoric of what make something funny.  He notes how good humor always comes at a cost and how it allows us to confront the darkness of the world in a way that we are not usually comfortable doing directly. 

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Oct 2016: Paster, Hasty, & Childs and Taylor, Powell, and Minton

Dr. Denise Paster, Dr. J. Daniel Hasty, and Dr. Becky Childs present a talk entitled “Valuing a Variety of Voices: Using Digital Badges to Support Linguistic Diversity in a First-Year Composition Program.”  In this presentation, they discuss the development of two of the badges developed for the digital badging initiative at Coastal Carolina University, which emphasize linguistic diversity and style-shifting central to the rhetorical use of language. These badges invite students and instructors alike to see language as a socially situated and materially bound literate activity. This promotes an academic culture that honors the diverse home languages students bring to the classroom as it calls for students to build upon their existing linguistic repertoires as they develop the reading and writing strategies central to academic and public discourse. The presentation shows how the badges work to support students who might otherwise feel alienated by the homogeneous and prescriptive approaches to language frequently found in the classroom, as they push both instructors and students to find value in a variety of voices. Additionally, this approach provides instructors with scaffolding to avoid inappropriately valuing the language of the institution over or in place of the language of the home. Thus, they establish a program-wide attitude that values the multitude of voices students bring to the university.

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MAW students Nick Powell, Ronda Taylor, and Tom Minton share from their work produced for the CCU MAW program.  Nick Powell reads from his developing poems dealing with the importance and constraints of writing in a received poetic form like the Ghazal.  Ronda Taylor presents an overview of her work with the Athenaeum Press on digital products including Gullah: The Voice of an Island on the preservation of Gullah Spirituals from Saint Helena Island, SC.  Tom Minton shares excerpts from his thesis project, a set of creative non-fiction essays called Crossing Dad’s Wake dealing with both Minton’s own Navy service as well as his father’s World War II career. 

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Mar 2016: Howes & Smith and K. Turner

Dr. Emma Howes and Dr. Christian Smith present a talk entitled “Antiracist and Contemplative Pedagogies in Writing Instruction.” In this presentation, they consider the relationship between antiracist and contemplative pedagogies by reflecting on a course taught at Coastal Carolina University in the fall of 2015.  In this course, Dr. Smith and Dr. Howes attempted to bring conversations and questions about Race to the forefront of four sections of first-year writing. They begin by talking a bit about their motivations for the course theme, providing theoretical background grounded in multicultural and antiracist pedagogies, and touch briefly on expansions of the project. Specifically, they discuss the practices of deep and rhetorical listening as contemplative praxis aimed at cultivating a recognition of privilege and marginalization amongst first-year writers as they engage with and produce texts within and beyond the classroom.

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Dr. Keaghan Turner presents a talk entitled, “Complete and Dead Things in London: Galsworthy, Carlyle, & Literary House Museums.” Turner makes use of emergent taxonomies of object and collections studies to analyze the literary house museum as a fulcrum for nationalistic nostalgia, material collection, artifactual preservation, and commercial enterprise in John Galsworthy’s novel To Let (1921). Turner suggests reading Galsworthy’s museal novel as a parallel to the literary shrine it invokes insofar as both structures memorialize and exhibit a particular atmosphere of curated Victorianness. The presentation focuses on the ultimate critique of cultural nostalgia inherent in Galsworthy’s allusion to Thomas Carlyle’s house museum, while speaking to historical tensions between privately housed collections and public museum holdings. Furthermore, the 1894 rescue and transformation of 24 Cheyne Row, Chelsea—Carlyle’s address from 1834-1881—into Carlyle’s House (which is still operational) suggests how literary tourism, then and now, has been remediated as part of the nineteenth-century nostalgia industry. 

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Feb 2016: Hamelman and Hasty

Dr. Steven Hamelman presents a talk entitled “The Eco-Periodization of American Literature.” The commonplace that human beings use nature as a screen to project particular worldviews is the starting-point for this critique of periodization and American literature. Iconic forest scenes in American fiction and non-fiction seem to encode definitive themes about American culture that parallel the periods into which literary history has been grouped—colonialism, the Enlightenment, romanticism, realism, modernism, and postmodernism. But nature is negatively affected by culture’s need to classify and periodize genres, historical epochs, and themes. First, American writers harness nature for images or analogies to convey feelings or ideas; second, the best representations are eventually periodized; third, nature becomes enclosed within authorial, stylistic, and generic borders. Nature, initially abstracted into words, becomes doubly abstracted by periodization. To dissect American writing about nature through iconic samples taken from all six periods reveals the limitations of eco-periodization while freeing readers to interpret representations of nature without being bound to self-fulfilling expectations.

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Dr. J. Daniel Hasty presents a talk entitled "I love me some Southern English: The structure of the Southern Personal Dative." Dr. Hasty begins by explaining the problem that the SPD presents for Binding Theory, and then moves on to explain the problems encountered when explaining the apparent structure.  He review previous accounts of the SPD’s structure as an idiomatic expression and an SE annaphor and discuss their downfalls with evidence from the meaning of the SPD, its themantic roles, and WH movement.  He then propose a new structure for the SPD related to self-intensifiers (c.f. Gast and Siemund 2006) and attempts to account for the apparent violation of Binding Theory with evidence from external indirect objects, passivization, VP elipsis, and subject control sentences.  Hasty argues that the SPD is not in fact functioning as a dative which would receive the goaltheta role but as a non-thematic intensifier particle which is located in Spec-VP.  Implementing a version of the Binding Theory that centers on co-arguments advocated by Reinhart and Reuland (1993) and Pollard and Sag (1992), Hasty argues that the SPD does not violate Principle B because it is not a co-argument with its c-commanding antecedent.

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Jan 2016: Childs and Paster & Canter

Dr. Denise Paster and Ashley Canter (an advanced undergraduate English major) present a talk entitled “Exploring New Literacies to Foster Critical Inquiry in the Composition Classroom” to discuss their work on a first-year composition textbook. Dr. Paster discusses this text as one of its co-authors, and Ms. Canter speaks from the perspective of a student who used the book in her ENGL 101 course and later composed a digital literacy narrative central to the second chapter. Paster and Canter explore the ways in which this text invites students into a systematic and critical examination of the contexts that surround and support digital literacy practices. After Dr. Paster provides an overview of the book, Ms. Canter reads her digital literacy narrative to give a concrete sense of how this book puts composition theory in practice to model a sound pedagogical approach for all using it, instructors and students alike.

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Dr. Becky Childs presents a talk entitled “Social Motivations for a Structural Sound Change: The Canadian Shift in Four Communities.”  Dr. Childs takes up the question whether all communities participate in large scale dialect changes identically, that is, once a supposed vowel chain shift begins in a community, will it continue until completion or can there be resistance and alteration to this change.  She explores this theoretical question looking at the Canadian Shift in four distinct communities: Thunderbay, Ontario; Lakefield, Ontario; Cape Breton, Nova Scotia; and Petty Harbour, Newfoundland.  While the two sites in Ontario are experiencing the Canadian Shift as the theory would suggest, there is resistance to the change in Cape Breton and no evidence of the change progressing in Petty Harbour.  These findings lead Dr. Childs to question the relationship between structural and social influences on the start and progression of a vowel chain shift in general and the Canadian Shift specifically.

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Nov 2015: Boyle, Oldfield, and Moye

Dr. Jen Boyle presents a talk entitled “Observations upon a Blazing World; virtual things and “hermaphrodite”texts.  Dr. Boyle explores the mediating potentials of objects as entities not for human consumption but as reproducers of meaning, utilizing the theoretical framework of object oriented ontology.  Dr. Boyle explores the ecologies of perception and addresses the question of what might our engagement with digital things look like if they are properly viewed as objects in the mode of “telematics art” where meaning is the product of interaction between the observer and the object.  The talk ends with Dr. Boyle’s practical exemplar of this view of objects through (re)producing Margarete Cavendish’s never published experiment with what Cavendish called a “hermaphrodite” text in the simultaneous publication of a work of scientific nonfiction Observations Upon an Experimental Philosophy and a work of fiction The Description of a New Blazing World.  Dr. Boyle produces this text, Observations upon a Blazing World, in digital form employing a split screen view allowing the two works to appear side by side and the reader to interact with the texts simultaneously as well as to create their own ordering and navigation of the two texts.

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Dr. Anna Oldfield presents a talk entitled “Found in Translation” in which she explores the transgressions of boundaries in the central Asian borderlands.  Dr. Oldfield discusses a view of cultural interaction as cooperation in the evolutionary sense, where cooperating systems yield a more complex system.  Dr. Oldfield explores this cooperation in the musical project Borderlands where the Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man comes together with Uyghar musicians from central Asia to try to play together and merge their different musical traditions.  Despite the different cultural and musical backgrounds (different instruments, keys, musical scales, and musical traditions), Dr. Oldfield shows that what’s found in translation is the surprise when the two cultural waves come together and create something new and unique.  

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Dr. Ray Moye presents a talk entitled “The surprise in translation: Beowulf in borderlands” in which he highlights the cultural and linguistic parallels found between Old English and Mandarin when translating Beowulf.  Dr. Moye notes the similarities between Chinese cultural and heroic traditions and the Old English epic Beowulf.  From his frustration with teaching Modern English translations of Beowulf in China, which had traditionally only been taught in small pieces and mainly with summary, Dr. Moye set about to translate the graphic novel of Beowulf by Gareth Hinds into Mandarin to help his Chinese students fully understand the text.  During the translation process Dr. Moye found that the Old English often translated much more naturally into Chinese than it does into Modern English and that the sounds and rhythms of the Mandarin translation of Beowulf captures the rhythms and alliterations of the original Old English much better than does Modern English.

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Oct 2015: Hensel and Reid

Poet Hastings Hensel (MFA) presents a craft talk entitled “The Joke of the Punchline Poem,” including close readings of James Wright’s “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” and Robert Frost’s “Out, Out—”.  Hensel presents a critique of the punch line poem which presents a memorable last line that, according to Hensel, makes the poem “memorable and complete or stunted and prankish” depending on whether the last line arises naturally, logically, and clearly from the plot and elements within the poem.

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Dr. Alan Reid presents preliminary results from his research project “Go On, I’m Listening: Smartphone Usage, Multitasking, and Narcissism.”  The ongoing project tracks the smartphone usage of college freshman through an the app Moment and looks at what gratifications are most commonly satisfied by smart phone usage and how this usage relates to social factors like narcissism and gender.  The major findings presented in this talk show an inverse relationship between smartphone usage and narcissism, with more narcissistic students (as measured on the Narcissism Personality Index, NPI) checking their phone significantly le‌than less narcissistic students.  Additionally, Reid shows that gender has a significant effect on smartphone usage with females surpassing males on every aspect of smartphone gratification, number of minutes of use, and average number of checks.  Further, Reid shows that while females in the study are at the general population average for narcissism on the NPI, males in the study far surpass females with an NPI well above the average.

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Sept 2015: Zhaparova and Pillai & D. Turner

Assamzhan Zhaparova, a visiting scholar from Kazakhstan who is completing her Ph.D. under Dr. Anna Oldfield’s supervision, presents work on metaphor and translation focusing on the works of 19th century Kazakhstani poet Abay Kunanbay.

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Dr. Tripthi Pillai and Dr. Daniel Turner share work from their book chapter looking at autopoietic and allopoietic remediations of Macbeth in Ron Rash's Serena with an emphasis on object oriented ontologies.

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