Author: Claire E. Reynolds

Grad Landings: Congratulations!

Congratulations to three of our grad students for landing new jobs:

  • Sara Austin (anticipated ’18), Visiting Assistant Professor in children’s literature, Miami University (Ohio)
  • Tara Harney-Mahajan (’16), Assistant Professor in world literature, Caldwell University (NJ)
  • Laura Wright (’18), Visiting Assistant Professor in writing, Berry College (GA)

The Forms of Authoritarianism

This event is in the process of being RESCHEDULED due to the impending snowstorm!

THE FORMS OF AUTHORITARIANISM
A One-Day Conference

Date: TBD
UCONN HARTFORD, The Hartford Club, 46 Prospect St.
9:00am – 5:00pm

This one-day conference brings together scholars and journalists at the University of Connecticut and across the United States to discuss the various forms that authoritarianism is taking in the world today, from the Philippines to India, to Honduras and Venezuela, to Europe and the United States. It also aims to place this authoritarianism in historical perspective, comparing it to the anti-democratic currents of yesterday, whether in fascist Europe or in the Cold War dictatorships of Latin America.

The keynote speaker will be Ben Kiernan (Yale University). The full program can be found here.

This conference is hosted by American Studies with generous support from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Humanities Institute, the Institute of Asian and Asian American Studies, and the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life.

Questions: contact Chris Vials (Christopher.vials@uconn.edu

Käpylä Translation Prize

The UConn Program in Literary Translation is delighted to announce that the winner of the inaugural Käpylä Translation Prize ($1,000) is J. Kates, for his outstanding translation of Paper-Thin Skin by Aigerim Tazhi, a Kazakhstani woman poet who writes in Russian. The judge, Burton Pike, selected the winner and shortlisted entries from a competitive pool of submissions spanning a striking diversity of genres and languages.

J. Katesis a well-known American poet, literary translator, and the president and co-director of Zephyr Press.

Among the Shortlisted Translators chosen by Burton Pike were three UConn graduate students:

Jeanne Bonner

Pauline Levy-Valensi

Brian Sneeden

 

Other Shortlisted Translators Include: 

Natascha Bruce

Jennifer Croft

Oleksandra Gordynchuk

Catherine Hammond

Jeremy Tiang

 

The Käpylä Translation Prize is an international prize awarded annually for an exceptional book-length translation project in poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction from any language into English. The Prize is hosted by UConn’s Program in Literary Translation, and sponsored by Käpylä Publishing.

Awards for Artwork

Gloriana Gill Awards for Drawing and Cartooning, and for Photography

Deadline: February 5, 2018

Prizes: Varies annually. Last year each prize was $1,000

Two awards given in memory of artist Gloriana Gill for 1) the best work of drawing or cartooning, and 2) the best work of photography (with preference given to B&W) appearing in the Long River Review. Entrants may submit multiple pieces to each prize.

Who’s Eligible

Undergraduates and graduates at the University of Connecticut’s main and regional campuses.

Guidelines

See this page.

Long River Review Art Award

Deadline: February 5, 2018

Prizes: $100 – $200

A cash prize for the best piece of artwork to appear in the Long River Review. Entrants may submit multiple pieces.

Who’s Eligible

Undergraduates and graduates at the University of Connecticut’s main and regional campuses.

Guidelines: See this page.

Sara Austin on Femininity in Dolls

Sara Austin was interviewed for a “UConn Today” article by Ken Best published on December 13, 2017:

From Barbie to Superheroes: The New Femininity in Dolls

A little girl holds up Supergirl, left, and Wonder Woman, two characters from Mattel's DC Super Hero Girls collection. The appearance and dress of the new generation of fashion doll characters is a departure from Barbie’s idealized image and has changed the way children play, according to graduate student Sara Austin. (Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

For more than half a century, Mattel’s Barbie doll served as a cultural icon for young girls, who dressed her up in fashionable clothes and accessories to develop their own fantasy storylines representing American girlhood. But at the dawn of the 21st century, the toy company began to produce princess dolls from Disney film characters with established stories, and soon followed them with fashion doll heroines based on horror, fantasy, and fairy tales.

The introduction of such character fashion dolls based on children or relatives of Frankenstein and Dracula in Monster High, Snow White or Goldilocks in Ever After High, and Superman or Wonder Woman in DC Super Hero Girls has rewritten the cultural depictions of American girlhood and changed child play, according to a doctoral candidate in English at UConn.

“The narratives associated with these dolls further expand narrative possibilities by separating the dolls from the domestic, and placing them in school environments which value female friendship and adventure,” Sara Austin writes in a chapter of the recently published anthology Heroes, Heroines, and Everything In Between: Challenging Gender and Sexuality Stereotypes in Children’s Entertainment Media, CarrieLynn Reinhard and Christopher Olson eds. (Lexington Books, 2017).

The Super Hero girls all wear flat shoes, none of them have heels. Their clothes cover a lot more than Barbie clothes do, so you’re also marketing to parents who have a well-developed sense of what girls should be at this moment, or the story we should be telling through toys.
— Sara Austin

Austin focuses on various aspects of 20th-century American literature, including children’s and young adult literature, gender and sexuality, African-American literature, comics, and graphic novels. In the book chapter, titled “Cold, Tactless, Brave, Heroic, Technowizards: The New Feminine of Mattel’s Fashion Dolls,” she describes how children can play with these new doll characters together, allowing them to create their own new stories while also expanding “the narrative possibilities for girlhood play, and, by extension, the cultural possibilities of gendered scripts.”

She says she observed this shift in girlhood play while conducting research for her doctoral dissertation project “The Evolution of Monsters in Contemporary American Children’s and Young Adult Culture.” Dolls based on Monster High began appearing in 2010, and DC Super Heroes arrived within the past two years, soon before Disney moved its licensing for film characters to Mattel’s competitor, Hasbro. Austin says this helped move Mattel toward “a more story-centric” direction for characters.
The appearance and dress of the new generation of fashion doll characters also is a departure from Barbie’s idealized image.

“The Super Hero girls all wear flat shoes, none of them have heels,” Austin says. “Their clothes cover a lot more than Barbie clothes do, so you’re also marketing to parents who have a well-developed sense of what girls should be at this moment, or the story we should be telling through toys.”

The focus on characters in a school environment and the introduction of new characters help with developing stories, compared with the limited world of Barbie and her boyfriend Ken, she says. A prominent example of this is the popular Harry Potter series, with its array of characters.

“Harry revitalizes the school story form, especially for American kids, who didn’t have that tradition until Harry Potter became so very popular,” Austin says. “We have things like Babysitter’s Club and Boxcar Children, which aren’t really school stories. They’re the right age group, but don’t take place in the school. Boarding schools are as much a part of American adolescent life as British life, especially contemporary American adolescet life. Harry Potter revitalized not only school stories but the romanticism of the school story, and allowed for the development of these other lines, which are all school stories. Monster High and Ever After High all take place inside these boarding schools which, like Harry Potter, have this element of magic in them for American children.”

Austin adds that the new fashion doll characters provide expanded reading opportunities for girls under the age of 10, an age group that historically has not had many comic books written for them beyond the Archie series, which is now rebooting on television with “Riverdale.” Since the 1960s, most comic books center on male super heroes through various updated stories for characters of Marvel and DC comics, including Batman, Green Arrow, and Spider-man. Many of these stories – as either comic books or graphic novels – aim at a more adult readership, she notes.

The new fashion doll super hero comic books maintain a link to their origins in past characters, but also clearly exist in today’s world, which allows for collaboration when a storyline requires it, Austin says.

“They literally populate the same world,” she says. “Mattel has been coy in the past about saying they exist in the same world, but now they’re explicitly saying that. They’re actively inviting this kind of play. In some ways you’re teaching young girls how to read comics, to make peace with crossovers. It also points out how play is conducive to comic book reading, which kids do naturally anyway.”

Submit to Creative Writing Contests!

Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize—Deadline: December 8, 2017

Prizes: $1,000 (first); $500 (second); $250 (third)

Each year since 1964, a prominent poet has been invited to give a reading at the University of Connecticut as part of the Wallace Stevens Poetry Program. A student poetry contest is held in conjunction with that program. First, second, and third place cash prizes are awarded. Prize winners read from their work at the annual program, and winning poems will be published in the Long River Review.

Who’s Eligible

Undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Connecticut’s main and regional campuses, except previous first place winners.

Guidelines

Submit a single MS Word document containing the cover sheet followed by 5-8 pages of poems (cleanly typed, only one poem per page). This can be up to eight short poems, or several longer pieces. Please submit your work via e-mail following these guidelines. The subject line of the email must indicate the full name of the contest. Note that while your student ID number should appear on every page, your name should appear only on the cover sheet.

Aetna Translation Award—Deadline: December 8, 2017—Prize: $250

Students may submit one poem or an excerpt from a longer prose piece (maximum 1,500 words) translated into English, along with the original language version. The submission should consist of one Word document attachment: your cover sheet and your translated piece including the original language version.

Collins Literary Prizes—Deadline: December 8, 2017

Prizes: Varies Annually. The 2013–2014 awards were more than $600 each

Awarded in memory of Edward R. and Frances S. Collins for the best undergraduate literary works. Two cash prizes are awarded, one in prose and one in poetry. Prize-winning works will be published in the Long River Review.

Who’s Eligible

Undergraduate students at the University of Connecticut’s main and regional campuses.

Guidelines

Please submit your work via e-mail following these guidelines. The subject line must include the full name of the contest and the genre of your submission (for example: “Collins Literary Prizes: poetry or prose”). The submission should consist of a single MS Word document that contains your cover sheet (see format) followed by your submission. (Note that while your student ID number should appear on every page of the packet, your name should appear only on the cover sheet.) Students may submit work in more than one genre but please do so in separate e-mails (in other words, do not include a short story and a poem in the same e-mail).

For this prize, please submit each piece individually.

Jennie Hackman Memorial Award for Short Fiction—Deadline: Dec. 8, 2017

Prizes: $1,000 (first); $300 (second); $200 (third)

Awarded in memory of Jacob and Jennie Hackman for the best works of undergraduate short fiction. Up to three cash prizes awarded. Winning stories will be published in the Long River Review.

Who’s Eligible

Undergraduate students at the University of Connecticut’s main and regional campuses.

Guidelines

Please submit your work via e-mail following these guidelines. The subject line must include the name of the contest. The submission should consist of a single MS Word document that contains your cover sheet (see format) followed by your submission. Note that while your student ID number should appear on every page of the packet, your name should appear only on the cover sheet.

Aetna Creative Nonfiction Awards—Deadline: December 8, 2017

Prizes: Graduate $200-500; Undergraduate: $200-500

One prize each for the best graduate and undergraduate works of creative nonfiction will be awarded. Winners will receive a cash prize and will read from their work at an evening program featuring a notable guest author. Undergraduate first place winner’s work will also be published in the Long River Review.

Who’s Eligible

Graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Connecticut’s main and regional campuses.

Guidelines

Students may submit one unpublished creative nonfiction work. Please submit your work via e-mail following these guidelines. The subject line must include the name of the contest and your student status (for example: “AETNA Creative Nonfiction Awards – undergraduate”). The submission should be a single MS Word document that contains your cover sheet (see format) followed by your submission. Note that while your student ID number should appear on every page of the packet, your name should appear only on the cover sheet.

Long River Graduate Writing Award—Deadline: December 8, 2017

Prizes: $250

One cash prize awarded for the best piece of creative work in any genre written by a graduate student. The winning piece will be published in the Long River Review.

Who’s Eligible

Graduate students from any University of Connecticut department or campus.

Guidelines

Graduate students may submit prose pieces of up to 2,500 words, or for poetry, 1-3 poems. Please submit your work via e-mail following these guidelines. The subject line must include the full name of the contest and the genre of your submission (for example: “Long River Graduate Writing Award – poetry”). The submission should consist of a single MS Word document that contains your cover sheet (see format) followed by the submission. Note that while your student ID number should appear on every page of the packet, your name should appear only on the cover sheet.

Aetna Children’s Literature Award—Deadline: December 8, 2017

Prize: Graduate or Undergraduate, $200 The winning piece will be published in Long River Review.

Who’s Eligible:

Graduate and Undergraduate students from any University of Connecticut department or campus.

Guidelines

Please indicate whether you are submitting a manuscript for a picture book, a sample of children’s poetry or drama, or an excerpt from a middle-grade chapter book or a young adult novel. Limit of 3,000 words. Submit your work via e-mail following these guidelines. The subject line must include the full name of the contest and the genre of your submission (for example: “Collins Literary Prizes: poetry or prose”). The submission should consist of a single MS Word document that contains your cover sheet (see format) followed by the piece that you are submitting. Note that while your student ID number should appear on every page of the packet, your name should appear only on the cover sheet.

Mollie Kervick to Read Poetry

MOLLIE KERVICK TO READ POETRY DEC. 3 AT ARTS CENTER EAST, VERNON

 VERNON—Poetry Rocks!, a new quarterly poetry series in Vernon, will finish its inaugural year with a reading by award-winning poet, Kate Rushin. The event, hosted by Arts Center East, will take place Sunday, Dec. 3, 2:00 p.m., at 709 Hartford Turnpike. The event is open to the public, and also features UCONN’s Mollie Kervick and Rockville High School’s Tanner Bosse.

Kate Rushin, (BA, Oberlin College; MFA, Brown University) writer, editor and Pushcart Prize-nominated author of The Black Back-Ups, has received fellowships from The Artists Foundation, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Cave Canem, and a tuition scholarship from The Bread Loaf Writers Conference. She has taught at UMASS-Boston, M.I.T., Brown University, Wesleyan University and has led poetry workshops for The Mark Twain House and Poetry Out Loud. Her work is widely anthologized and has been published in Sunken Garden Poetry, “Callaloo” and “The Cape Cod Poetry Review.” Kate performs her poetry with Nat Reeves State of Emergency. She serves on the Poetry Committee of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, the James Merrill House Committee and The CT Poetry Circuit

 Mollie Kervick is a second-year PhD student in English at the University of Connecticut. She is currently researching motherhood and mothering in recent Irish women’s writing. A Connecticut native, Mollie did her undergrad at Bates College in Maine and completed her Masters at Boston College. Her creative writing has been featured in Knee-Jerk magazine, the Paradise Review, Torrid Literary Journal, and on Irishcentral.com.

The poets are co-sponsored by The Vernon Arts Commission. For more information about the poetry series, please call its director, Pegi Deitz Shea, at 860-878-7016, or email pegideitzshea@aol.com.

Arts Center East is a non-profit organization committed to enriching lives and enhancing economic development by bringing the arts to the diverse community east of the river through education, events, exhibits and performances. It is located at 709 Hartford Turnpike. (Rte. 30), Vernon CT www.artscentereast.org (860) 971-8222