Good News from our Graduate Program


As always, the graduate students in the English department have been busy: see below for recent accomplishments, including three tenure-track jobs!

Nikki Spigner: was awarded a two-year post-doc at Amherst and another from Penn State but instead will begin in fall 2015 a tenure-track job at Columbia College in Chicago.

Emily August has accepted a tenure-track job at Stockton University in New Jersey starting in the fall.

Megan Minarch has received an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship funded through the Mellon Partners for Humanities Education and will begin a two-year appointment at Tennessee State in the fall.

Elizabeth Barnett, currently at Berea College on an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship funded through the Mellon Partners for Humanities Education, will start a tenure-track job at Rockhurst University in Kansas City in the fall.

Petal Samuel received a Robert Penn Warren Dissertation Year Fellowship for next year. She also co-authored a tribute to Stuart Hall with Dr. Ifeoma Nwankwo that was published last October on the online platform for The Black Scholar, andsx salon (SmallAxe‘s digital literary platform) has accepted an interview she conducted with the writer Erna Brodber while studying with her in Jamaica as a Drake Fellow.

Faith Barter received a Robert Penn Warren Dissertation Year Fellowship for next year.

R. J. Boutelle‘s article “Manifest Diaspora: Transamerican Politics and Autoarchiving in Slavery in Cuba” has been accepted for publication at MELUS and will be appearing in a forthcoming special issue on African American Print Culture. He also co-authored with John Bradley and Jane Hirtle, “Entering the Conversation: Voices from the Vanderbilt Writing Studio” in Another Word (from the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Adam Miller‘s article “Ann Radcliffe’s Scientific Romance,” has been accepted for publication byEighteenth-Century Fiction.

Sari Carter has been accepted at both the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell and the Dickens Universe in Santa Cruz and will spend time at both this summer

Kylie Korsnack was also accepted at the Dickens University for this summer

Claudia Ludwig was accepted into a Folger course in Washington DC for the Spring 2015 session, “A Folger Introduction to Research Methods and Agendas”

Deann Armstrong was invited to serve as Vanderbilt’s panelist for the “Inside Out of the Lunchbox” series on the Nashville Shakespeare Festival at TPAC in November 2014 and also served as an academic consultant for the cast and crew during their table work for the Winter 2015 production of Twelfth Night.

Don Rodrigues was accepted as a fellow at Harvard’s metaLAB (a digital media laboratory) and will spend Fall 2015 in residence there. Don was also one of 15 scholars selected nationwide to participate in a three-week NEH Institute on Early Modern Digital Agendas that will be hosted by the Folger Institute in June.

Kirsten Mendozawas accepted into the Institute for World Literature and will spend several weeks at the University of Lisbon this summer.

Congratulations to all!


Comprehensive Exams: Congratulations to our Third-Year Cohort!


Congratulations to our Third-Year Cohort, who all passed their written comprehensive exams–Deann Armstrong, Shelby Johnson, Chelsea Land, Tatiana McInnis, Kristen Navarro, and Don Rodrigues!

News and Accomplishments from Fall 2014 and Forthcoming


The past semester has seen some wonderful accomplishments by the graduate students here in Vanderbilt’s English department. There are many publications forthcoming from our department, many exciting summer programs attended, and countless conferences past and forthcoming.

Firstly, the EGSA would like to congratulate Nikki Spigner, who successfully defended her dissertation, “Niobe Repeating: Black New Women Rewrite Ovid’s Metamorphoses,” in November, 2014, which was written under the direction of Hortense Spillers. Nikki will be joining the department as a lecturer starting in January 2015.

Awards and Prizes:

The EGSA would also like to congratulate our two winners of this year’s Robert Mason Myers First Caper Award:

Faith Barter, for “‘Dead! Dead! Dead!’: David Walker, Nat Turner, and Law’s Consuming Violence”

Petal Samuel, for “‘Ex Tempore’: The Zong Massacre, Sound, and a Critique of Progressive Time”

Kirsten Mendoza won the Susan Ford Wiltshire Best Graduate Student Essay Prize for “Desiring Blackness: Sexuality and Race in the Two Texts of Othello,” written for Leah Marcus’s seminar last fall. She also won the Rocky Mountain MLA Women’s Caucus Award for Best Feminist Convention Presentation for “Imperfection Made Perfect: The Female Humoral Body in Richard Crashaw’s The Weeper.”


Faith Barter’s essay “Bartleby, Barbarians, and the Legality of Literature” is forthcoming in the collection Latour and the Passage of Law, ed. Kyle McGee (U of Edinburgh P)

Annie Castro has an article forthcoming in Afro-Hispanic Review, “Caribbean Collusion: Junot Díaz, Edwidge Danticat, and the New Yorker Fiction podcast” as well as two encyclopedia entries co-authored with Ifeoma Nwankwo

Kat DeGuzman has an essay “The Pleasures of Excerpts: George Lamming, New World Quarterly, and the Novel” forthcoming in Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal.

Andy Hines has had an essay accepted for publication in Criticism, “Melvin B. Tolson, Allen Tate, and the New Critical Police.”

Kylie Korsnack has chapter “GTAs and the Writing Studio: An Experimental Space for Increased Learning and Pedagogical Growth” forthcoming in the book Innovative Developments in Studio Practice, ed. Mark Sutton and Sally Chandler (New York, Hampton Press). (GTA does not stand for “Grand Theft Auto” but for “graduate teaching assistants.”)

Tatiana McInnis has a publication forthcoming in Small-Screen Souths

Jesse Montgomery has an essay “On Philly Schools” forthcoming in the book City by City, n+1 / Faber and Faber, 2015


RJ Boutelle chairs a panel, “Sensing Cuba,” at the American Studies Association, November 6-9, 2014

Anne Margaret Castro presents a conference paper entitles “Rewording Spiritual Time in the Caribbean: Zora Neale Hurston’s Tell My Horse” at the American Studies Association, November 6-9, 2014

Kirsten Mendoza presents “‘Thou maiest inforce my baby but not mee’: Masochistic Pleasure of the Bounded Subject in John Marston’s The Wonder of Women” at the CUNY Abiding Cities, Remnant Sites conference

Petal Samuel presents a paper at West Indian Literature conference in October 2014

Wietske Smeele will be presenting a paper at the Dickens Universe Winter Conference in February 2015. She is also presenting at The Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900 in February 2015, and at the Nineteenth Century Studies Association conference in March 2015.

Stephanie Straub will present a paper at the University of Toronto’s Comparative Literature conference in March 2014

Other News:

Deann Armstrong and Anne Margaret Castro attended the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornel, June/July 2014

Faith Barter attended the Futures of American Studies Institute, Dartmouth College, June 2014

  1. J. Boutelle has received a Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship, a short-term summer research fellowship, at the American Antiquarian Society for research he will do in this spring 2015.

Dan Fang was chosen as a HASTAC Scholar representing the Robert Penn Warren Center for this academic year

Well done to Kylie Korsnack, who, on October 19, won the women’s division of Music City Half Marathon, finishing 11th overall, with a time of 1:26:14 (shaving 4 minutes off her personal best)!

Lauren Mitchell was interviewed on the Canadian Broadcasting Company radio show “The Current” on Sept 30; she spoke about the non-profit she founded: Narrative Care.

James Phelan this past summer received a summer fellowship to study at the Dublin James Joyce Summer School, as well as a fellowship to study at the Trieste Joyce School

Hashim Pipkin, who left the program after earning his M.A. last year, was recently hired as the Coordinator of Teacher Recruitment and Selection in the DC Public School system.

Stephanie Straub attended the London Graduate Student Summer Academy in Critical Theory in the summer 2014

Wietske Smeele and Dan Fang were participants at Dickens Camp in August, 2014

Vanderbilt 2014 THATcamp


Registration for Vanderbilt’s 2014 THATcamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp) it now open! THATcamp will be held from Friday, October 24 – Saturday, October 25, 2015, and is designed to bring together people from a variety of fields and with various skill levels with interests in Digital Humanities. Space is limited, so register now!

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Fall 2014 Rheney Lecture


The EGSA, in conjunction with the English Department, is sponsoring Dr. Eve Dunbar (Vassar College) as the Fall 2014 Rheney Lecturer. Dr. Dunbar’s talk, entitled “Monstrous Work: Zora Neale Hurston, Zombies, and the Art of Critiquing the Academy,” will be held on Friday October 24th. Dr. Dunbar specializes in African American literature and cultural expression, black feminism, and theories of black diaspora.  She is the author of Black Regions of the Imagination: African American Writers Between the Nation and the World (Temple University Press 2012), which explores the aesthetic and political ties that bind literary genre, American nationalism, and black cultural nationalism in the literary works of mid-20th century African American writers. See below for more information.

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Fall 2014 Conferences


As the semester grinds once more into gear, many of us Vanderbilt English graduate students will be traveling across and out of the country to share our work at conferences. Here is a list of the conferences we will be attending this Fall:

Petal Samuel will be presenting her research at the 33rd Annual West Indian Literature Conference at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill in Barbados, October 2-4, 2014.

Kirsten Mendoza will be presenting her research at the Rocky Mountain MLA Conference in Boise, ID, October 9-11, 2014.

Andy Hines will be presenting a paper on a panel that he organized at the Modernist Studies Association Conference in Pittsburgh, PA, November 6-9, 2014. The panel explores “African-American Criticism and the Institutionalization of Modernism” and his paper looks to Langston Hughes’s testimony before the McCarthy Commission for a model of critical reading.

Dan Fang and Stephanie Higgs will be presenting their research at the North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA) Conference in London, Canada, November 13-16, 2014.

DeGuzman Publication


Kathleen DeGuzman has an article entitled “The Pleasures of Excerpts: George Lamming, New World Quarterly, and the Novel” forthcoming in Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal.

Congratulations, Kathleen!