Author: Claire E. Reynolds

Grad Landings

Wonderful news–Melissa Rohrer, Alaina Kaus, and George Moore have recently accepted some fabulous jobs.

Melissa has a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of English at Kansas Wesleyan University.

Alaina has accepted a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of English at Georgia Southwestern State University.

George has accepted a position as Development Writer for the Office of Advancement at the University of Bridgeport, CT.


Honor for Cathy Schlund-Vials

Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Cathy Schlund-Vials is a professor of English and Asian and Asian American studies. She is associate dean for Humanities and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and interim director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. She served as the director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute from 2009-2018 and has been the chair of the UConn Reads committee since 2015. She was the recipient of the Association for Asian American Studies’ Early Career Award in 2013 and served as the organization’s president from 2016-2018.

A Cambodian-American scholar, Schlund-Vials’s work is rooted in a personal history marked by statelessness, migration, and diaspora, and her scholarship examines moments of dislocation, rupture, and movement. Schlund-Vials is recognized as one of the leading and most productive scholars in the fields of Asian American studies, ethnic American literary studies, critical refugee studies, Southeast Asian American studies, and comparative ethnic studies.

Schlund-Vials is the author of two monographs and has edited or co-edited 11 collections. Her first book, Modeling Citizenship: Jewish and Asian American Writing, was a well-reviewed comparison of two “model minority groups.” Her second monograph, War, Genocide, and Justice: Cambodian American Memory Work, accentuated refugee subjectivity, international law, and human rights.

Schlund-Vials received the 2016 Faculty Excellence in Research Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the American Association of University Professors’ Teaching Promise award in 2011. She has supervised seven undergraduate university scholar projects and five IDEA grant initiatives; she has also served as the major thesis advisor for 13 honors students. At the graduate level, she has served as a major advisor for 17 graduate students and has been an associate advisor on 35 committees.

Congratulations to Suli Serrano-Haynes (’20)

Suli Serrano-Haynes ’20 (English, CLAS; English Education, ED) has won a 2019 UConn IDEA Grant for her project, “Bridging the Gap: Empowering the Voices of Black Women in University Classrooms.

 Suli is examining Black female experiences as part of university-based classroom discussions. The goal is to participate in the greater conversation–supporting Black Women pursuing higher education–and provide university stakeholders with information to better serve their students.

The UConn IDEA Grant program awards funding to support self-designed projects including artistic endeavors, community service initiatives, entrepreneurial ventures, research projects, and other creative and innovative projects. Undergraduates in all majors at all campuses can apply. Applications are accepted from individuals and from small groups who plan to work collaboratively on a project.

Mary Burke: “Pagan Parcels”

Mary Burke:  “Pagan parcels”: Tom Murphy’s drama and the Tuam Mother and Baby Home Mass Grave”

The research that recently uncovered the unmarked and unregistered remains of hundreds of infants in an underground septic system on the former site of St. Mary’s religious-run institution for unmarried mothers in Tuam, County Galway (1925-61) was spurred by (inaccurate) local rumor of it as a ‘lisheen,’ or unconsecrated burial site for stillborns. The rarely-discussed ‘lisheen’ was a folk response to Catholic doctrine that the unbaptized could not be buried in consecrated ground and was practiced into the 1950s in alternative ‘sacred’ sites (e.g. ‘pagan’ forts). Playwright Tom Murphy was born in 1935 in St. Mary’s vicinity and emigrated in 1962, a near overlap with that institution’s years of operation. Murphy’s plays with Tuam settings are read for coded traces of these two quasi-secret containment regimes: Tuam’s church and state-endorsed carceral infrastructure for unmarried mothers alongside its potentially subversive lisheen custom, which arguably allowed women to circumvent the doctrinal rigidities that produced that carceral infrastructure.

Burke’s talk will read the drama of Tuam playwright Tom Murphy for coded references to both lisheens (the local folk practice of unconsecrated burial sites for stillborns) and the recently-uncovered mass grave containing the unregistered remains of infants in the town’s former institution for unmarried mothers.

Long River Review takes over the Benton

Third time’s the charm with the William Benton Museum of Art’s monthly “First Thursday at the Benton” event, this time in collaboration with the university’s literary magazine, Long River Review, and as usual, the Beanery Cafe. This semester, the Benton will be open until 8 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. The April edition is the first this semester with the museum’s new art exhibit based on the HBO hit series, “Game of Thrones.”

The exhibition features 13 chairs “created by some of the key artists affiliated with the American Studio Furniture movement, the leader of which was Wendell Castle,” the description for the exhibition reads. The works on display are meant to question the balance of the chairs serving as functional pieces of furniture as opposed to pieces of fine art, and more specifically, showcase different interpretations of series’ author George R. R. Martin’s imagining of the Iron Throne, an integral part of the world.

In the cafe, the Beanery’s drink special of the night was 25 percent of all Italian sodas. They also hosted their usual Open Mic event, where students are able to show off their talents in instrumental music, song or poetry.

Upstairs, the Long River Review had taken over the exhibition area. The museum staff chose to use an I-Spy game to explore the exhibition. Previous activities included scavenger hunts and trivia questions. The Review hosted two rounds of Literary Trivia, including questions from classic novels such as “1984,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Frankenstein,” “Lord of the Flies” and countless others to keep bibliophiles occupied. I was lucky enough to win a Long River Review shirt in second while other winners collected tote bags.

“It’s been a lot of fun, I think, learning about how the literary process actually works,” Allison Rosaci, an eighth-semester English major, said about her time with the Long River Review. She serves as the Review’s Literary Events Coordinator. “The thing about the course is that it’s really front-loaded, where in the beginning, you’re reading all the submissions. I was on the non-fiction multimedia panel, so we didn’t get too swamped, but I would sometimes help out with fiction and poetry, because they got hundreds of submissions.”

The hands-on activity of the night was a DIY bookmark station, featuring piles of colorful scrapbook paper, washi tape, stamps and ribbon. My favorite feature of the night was the poems on demand, where you could request a poem on any topic or for any recipient, and a poem was written on the spot with a vintage typewriter. I was able to chat with much of the staff as they typed me up a lovely poem for my roommate.

“I was involved last year as fiction year editor, and I decided to come back this year as editor in chief,” Brianna McNish, an eight-semester English major, said. She serves as co-Editor-in-Chief with Siobhan Dale. “It’s great that we’re forming this collaboration with the Benton. I feel like this a very innovative way to spread the word about the magazine. It’s a great way to reach to people.”

The Benton’s collaborations with student groups on campus have resonated well with members as well as with students, creating fun and innovative activities each and every “First Thursday.”

“The Benton first approached us and we got together to brainstorm a list of activities to do for tonight,” Rosaci explained. “We’re going to have our launch party partnered with the AETNA Celebration of Student Writing on April 30 in the Wilbur Cross North Reading Room. We’ll going to have some of our published writers and poets come in and read some of their work. We’re going to have food and we’re just going to kind of hang out and sell copies of the Long River Review for the year.”

–Hollie Lao, The Daily Campus, 5 April 2019

Hollie Lao is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at