Month: December 2014

UConn Undergrads at the 2015 SDS Conference

Congratulations to several of our undergraduate students who were accepted to present at the 2015 Society for Disability Studies Conference this June in Atlanta, GA. The Society for Disability Studies Student Interest Group organizes a panel of the most exciting research done by undergraduates in disability studies’ programs across the country.  All applicants must be nominated by a faculty member, and this year saw fierce competition with the most applications to date.


Three students in Erin Eighan’s fall course, ENGL 2274W: “Disability in American Literature and Culture,” were nominated. All three were accepted!  Congratulations to Annmarie Bonin (, Noah Bukowski (, and Tory Sylvestre (


Annmarie Bonin’s project, “The Internet Is Blind: A Case for Human Identity” posits that social media forums like Tumblr, as a virtual space, can lead to the practical “end of identity politics” for which Lennard J. Davis has advocated.  As such, this project is at the intersection of technology, disability, and identity politics.


Noah Bukowski’s project, “Benjy and Quentin Compson: Combating Enfreakment through Mutual Autistic Savanthood,” brings a truly innovative reading of Benjy Compson and Quentin Compson to light — something incredibly difficult to do with a canonical author like William Faulkner.  Noah directs his efforts to subverting the traditional value system that recognizes Benjy as inferior to his normative kin.  Noah highlights the intellectual capacity on display in the Benjy narrative and, thereby, reclaims the value of a subject position of cognitive difference.


Tory Sylvestre’s project, “Type 1 Diabetes: The Liminal Space Between Ability and Disability,” examines how the medical model of disability thrusts people with diabetes into an existential crisis as they regularly straddle the line between ability and disability based on a quantitative evaluation of glucose levels. In order to understand this phenomenon, Tory performs a rhetorical analysis of posts from online diabetes support communities.


Their outstanding accomplishments are a testament to our students’ great capacity for intellectual and professional success. 

Dissertation Boot Camp

The Writing Center is continuing this year with its successful dissertation boot camps. The last one was during the Winter break: January 13-16.

These can be helpful for dissertators who are on pace and want to maintain momentum and for those who have lost momentum and need to respark.  Last year one participant from English reported generating 30+ pages over the 4 days.

To create an incentive for you to write for all 4 days, applicants must submit a $100 check made payable to the University of Connecticut. ***If they attend at least the morning session (9am – 12pm) for all four days, the check is returned, uncashed, making the retreat free.*** If they do not attend for all four days, we cash the check and put the funds toward food and coffee for future retreats.

Space is limited, and these fill up quickly, usually within a couple of days of our going live with the registration. Stay tuned for the next one!


Feel free to contact

UConn Welcomes Common-Place

Common-place, a premier online journal of Early American history and culture sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society, will be produced and edited by an interdisciplinary team of UConn scholars, beginning with issue 15.2 of the publication, due out December 2014.

Associate Professor of English Anna Mae Duane and Associate Professor of History and Connecticut State Historian Walter Woodward will co-edit the journal, which is one of the most widely read publications on early American history and culture. This marks the first time that an interdisciplinary team from literary and historical studies will be heading the journal, which was founded by historians Jill Lepore (then at Boston University) and Jane Kamensky (then at Brandeis University) in 2000. Since that time, Common-place has been housed at the American Antiquarian Society and published in partnership with Florida State University (under the editorship of Ed Gray) and the University of Oklahoma (under the editorship of Catherine Kelly).

“Walt and I are genuinely excited about working together on Common-place,” said Anna Mae Duane. “Its often edgy, always thoughtful, and richly engaging approach to presenting early American history is an inspiration and motivator to both of us. Our goal is to insure that Common-place remains an innovative publication that people will look to for history of interest, creativity, and excellence. ”

“From its inception,” noted Paul Erickson, Director of Academic Programs at the American Antiquarian Society, “Common-place has expanded the definition of and approaches to early American history and culture, and broadened its reach to include both scholarly audiences and the public community of thought. Formally acknowledging our interdisciplinary approaches at the editor-level is a natural evolution of that ongoing process.”

In addition to the editorial team, Associate Professor of Digital Media & Design and Director of Digital Humanities Tom Scheinfeldt will work with colleagues and students in the School of Fine Arts Digital Media Center (DMC) to redesign the journal’s online presence. In close collaboration with the editors and American Antiquarian Society, the DMC will update the website’s design and upgrade its technical infrastructure, stabilizing its back issues and improving the user experience for readers.”

“The University of Connecticut is pleased to be the new editorial home of Commonplace,” says Jeremy Teitelbaum, dean of the University of Connecticut’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “It is a superb publication that reflects many of the best innovations in the rapidly evolving worlds of academic publishing and civic engagement. We have been pleased to draw together a team of university scholars to continue and expand on these approaches.”

Common-place (htts:// currently reaches 35,000 unique users per month. Both the University and the AAS are eager to embrace the opportunities that their partnership will provide to engage in innovative digital humanities scholarship, to deepen the journal’s engagement with the interdisciplinary community of early American scholarship.

Amber West’s Puppet Organization Noted in The New Yorker

The New Yorker has listed Puppets & Poets, a performance extravaganza started by Dr. Amber West while she was doing her PhD here with us, in its Above and Beyond events section. Those familiar with Amber’s work will not be surprised to learn that the show includes a Dickinson poem re-imagined as “a Parisian-style puppet circus” and “a feminist-inspired performance that uses live plants as puppets.”

Susan Stewart: 2015 Wallace Stevens Poet

52nd Annual Wallace Stevens Poetry Program hosts Susan Stewart April 1 and 2, 2015.

The University of Connecticut’s English Department and The Hartford are pleased to announce that Susan Stewart, the 52nd Annual Wallace Stevens Poet, will give readings from her work on April 1 and 2, 2015:

Wednesday April 1, Reception 6 p.m., Dodd Center Lounge; Poetry reading 7 p.m., Konover Auditorium of the Dodd Center, 405 Babbidge Road, Storrs, CT 06269;

Thursday April 2, 10 a.m., Poetry reading at Hartford Classical Magnet School, 85 Woodland Street, Hartford, CT 06103.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Poet, critic, and translator Susan Stewart is the Avalon Foundation University Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at Princeton University. Stewart’s most recent books of poems (all published by the University of Chicago Press) are Red Rover (2008), Columbarium, which won a 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award, and The Forest (1995). Her translations and co-translations include Love Lessons: Selected Poems of Alda Merini (Princeton, 2009), Euripides’s Andromache (Oxford, 2001), and the poetry and prose of the Scuola Romana painter Scipione. In 2013 she published two co-translations with Chicago: Laudomia Bonanni’s novel The Reprisal and Milo De Angelis’s most recent books of poetry, Theme of Farewell and After-Poems. Stewart’s most recent books of criticism (also with the University of Chicago Press) are The Poet’s Freedom: A Notebook on Making (2011); Poetry and the Fate of the Senses (2002), which won the Christian Gauss Award for Literary Criticism in 2003 from the Phi Beta Kappa Society and the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in 2004; and The Open Studio: Essays on Art and Aesthetics (2005), a collection of her writings on contemporary art.

A 1997 MacArthur Fellow, Stewart recently served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005, and four years later she received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has collaborated with contemporary artists Ann Hamilton and Sandro Chia, among others. In October 2009, Stewart’s song cycle, Songs for Adam, commissioned by the Chicago Symphony with music by composer James Primosch, was premiered by the CSO with baritone Brian Mulligan and Sir Andrew Davis conducting.

Marya Fratoni Honored

Undergraduate Marya Fratoni (’15) received Honorable Mention for the UConn Intern of the Year Award. According to Ruth Fairbanks, Writing Internship Director, this is a “well deserved award for an extremely talented student and intern.” Congratulations, Marya!

Joel Kaye: The History of Ideas, 1250-1375

Humanities Institute: On December 5, Joel Kaye of Barnard College presented “The History of Ideas, c. 1250-1375, through the Lens of the History of Balance.” The discussion centered on Kaye’s new book, A History of Balance, c.1250-1375: The Emergence of a New Model of Equilibrium and Its Impact on Thought. We are excited about bringing a prominent scholar of the history of ideas who is eager to engage a broader audience beyond his own field. Sponsored by History, Philosophy, UCHI, and English.

Kate Monica selected for CT Poetry Circuit

poetry-circuitWe are honored to announce that undergraduate English major Kate Monica has been selected to represent the University of Connecticut on the Connecticut Poetry Circuit. Congratulations, Kate!

Each year the Connecticut Poetry Circuit holds a contest for undergraduate students. Each college in the state of Connecticut is eligible to nominate one undergraduate poet for consideration. The nominated students are selected by the Connecticut Poetry Circuit board members (Dick Allen, Randall Horton, Clare Rossini, Kate Rushin, and Vivian Shipley).

Kate will read her work on the Poetry Circuit reading tour from January 26 to March 6, 2015, at various colleges and universities in Connecticut.

Sam Pickering: Teaching Excellence

Great Universities have Great Teachers and the University of Connecticut is blessed with more than its fair share. The President’s series on Teaching Excellence is designed to provide a forum to facilitate discussion and reflection on the journey from good teaching to great teaching. Come join your faculty and staff colleagues for a lively and engaging discussion as we explore the essence of being a great teacher. The inaugural address in this series ‘From My Side of the Desk’ will be given by Professor Emeritus Sam Pickering. Introductory remarks by President Susan Herbst.