Ph.D. Student Rachel May Publishes Quilting Book

image-1 This past January, Ph.D. candidate Rachel May celebrated the publication of her first book, Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilting Community.

An exciting and valuable resource for quilters and potential quilters alike, Rachel’s book opens with instructions for making a quilt that even beginners will feel confident following. An illustrated, easy-to-follow, how-to guide, “Six Steps to a Quilt” introduces many tips, tutorials, and offers advice for quilters of all skill levels. Sections of the book discuss quilting in connection to history, politics, and sociopolitical issues surrounding a number of topics, such as domesticity and quilting’s gendered history.

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Talking About the Job Market with Tim Amidon

Few things strike fear into the hearts of many graduate students quite like the prospect of entering into the academic job market. People tend to cope with the looming future in their own unique ways: denial, anger, depression—really any of the five stages of grief apply here. However, one of our own success stories, Tim Amidon, has conquered the job market quite handily, recently landing his dream position at Colorado State University. Tim generously agreed to pass some of his wisdom and advice on to us.

Create a marketable identity: Tim urges graduate students to strive to be both well rounded AND specialized. We all know that our work must be stellar and conferencing is a must, but to enhance future marketability Tim stresses the importance of getting involved here on campus through service and organizations. Also, consider how you can shape your professional identity on a national scale through workshops, publishing, and other professional opportunities. These experiences will boost your marketability and they will also offer the chance to forge vital connections. According to Tim, “Do everything you do well, but do something exceptionally.”

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A Job Talk by Gavin Hurley: “Inclusive Transcendence: Rhetorical Dissociation Within Contemporary Discourse of Spirituality”

On Wednesday, February 19th Rhetoric & Composition Ph.D. Candidate Gavin Hurley delivered his “job talk” to Writing & Rhetoric department faculty and fellow students. The “job talk” is practice for graduating Ph.D. students who are getting ready for the job market. This was Gavin’s opportunity to deliver research from his dissertation, as well as field questions about his work in preparation for upcoming job interviews.  During the presentation, titled “Inclusive Transcendence: Rhetorical Dissociation Within Contemporary Discourse of Spirituality,” Gavin shared the research and results from one chapter of his near-complete dissertation. [br] Continue reading “A Job Talk by Gavin Hurley: “Inclusive Transcendence: Rhetorical Dissociation Within Contemporary Discourse of Spirituality””

URI International Women’s Day Conference: Clarissa J. Walker Explores Activism Rhetoric of Afro-Cuban Women

In a presentation titled “The Rhetoric of Activism: Afro-Cuban Women Tweeting, Blogging, Tracking the Finish of the 59-year-old Castro Regime,” Writing & Rhetoric Ph.D. candidate Clarissa Walker joined American and international scholars to share work that explores the harrowing experiences and celebrated contributions of women from across the globe. On February 28th, the University of Rhode Island held its second annual International Women’s Day Conference, featuring Italian writer Dacia Maraini and a distinguished list of scholars from URI and other universities, including Fordham, Harvard, Texas at Austin, Vermont, and Mount Holyoke College.  Clarissa presented her work as part of a panel focused on women’s issues in the U.S., Cuba, North Africa, and Italy.

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Success at GradCon 2014!

From left: Wendy Grosskopf of Writing and Rhetoric and Meghan Fair, Kara Watts and Jenny Platz of English
From left: Wendy Grosskopf of Writing and Rhetoric and Meghan Fair, Kara Watts and Jenny Platz of English

We are thrilled to announce that our 8th annual Graduate Student Conference, Opening Spaces: Enabling Engagement with Complex Conversations, was a huge success! The event took place Saturday, March 29th and, despite the questionable weather, boasted upwards of 150 attendees and participants. It was hosted in URI’s pharmacy building as a reminder of the conference’s push toward “opening spaces” through interdisciplinary discussion. After signing in, guests were further reminded of this theme as they walked into the beautiful foyer and were greeted by the surprising window display of life-like human dummies lying in mock hospital beds.  This sparked unusual conversation among the guests, thus perfectly setting the tone for what proved to be a highly-engaging, challenging, and fruitful day of presentations and discussion.

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A Talk by Kim Evelyn: “Speaking Home and History: Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and Narratives of National Belonging”

On February 12th, faculty and students were treated to an eloquent and thought-provoking talk from Ph.D. candidate, Kim Evelyn, at an event hosted by the English Graduate Colloquium. Kim’s presentation, titled “Speaking Home and History: Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and Narratives of National Belonging,” highlighted a paradox central to British colonial identity– the incongruity between a British Caribbean individual’s sense of national belonging and the feeling of exclusion. The multigenerational Caribbean characters of Smith’s White Teeth struggle with the difficult idea of “home,” recounting family histories in order to create a narrative of identity foundational to their experiences of diaspora.

Following her talk, I asked Kim to elaborate on what it was like to participate in the Graduate Colloquium.

Q: Can you briefly tell us how your talk fits into your larger project?

KE: The talk came out of my second dissertation chapter on George Lamming’s novel The Emigrants and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth. My project looks at conceptualizations of home (the idea of it, domestic homes, national homes, and the necessary questions of belonging and identity that stem from that) in the literature of the Caribbean diaspora in the UK. Continue reading “A Talk by Kim Evelyn: “Speaking Home and History: Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and Narratives of National Belonging””

Laura Doan on Collective Memory and Alan Turing: “Speaking on the Uses of the Sexual Past: History, Sexuality and Memory”

On Tuesday, January 28th, the English department, Gender and Women’s Studies and the URI LGBTQ IMG_4351Center kicked off our spring speaking series with a presentation by Dr. Laura Doan.  Doan is professor of cultural history and sexuality studies, focusing on modernism World War I and queer historiography at the University of Manchester in England; she is also co-director for the center of sexuality and culture.  Her publications include The Lesbian Postmodern, Sexology Uncensored: the Documents of Sexual Science, Sexology and Culture: Labelling Bodies and Desires, Palatable Poison: Critical Perspectives on the Well of Loneliness, Fashioning Sapphism: the Origins of a Modern English Lesbian Culture, Disturbing Practices: History, Sexuality and Women’s Experience of Modern War.

Professor Doan was introduced by University of Rhode Island’s Jean Walton, Professor of English, Women’s Studies, Film Media and Comparative Literature.  Doan’s visit was a key event for Professor Walton’s course in Feminism, Gender and the Body.  After the talk, Professor Doan visited with the students of ENG 560 to discuss her work and answer questions regarding her most recent book, Disturbing Practices.

Professor Doan began her talk by describing the day on which Turing, British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and computer scientist, was found dead in his home on Tuesday, June 8, 1954.  Two years previous to his death, Turing was charged with gross indecency under the Labouchere Amendment, in effect since 1885, after confessing to having a homosexual relationship with a local working-class man.  Continue reading “Laura Doan on Collective Memory and Alan Turing: “Speaking on the Uses of the Sexual Past: History, Sexuality and Memory””

UPDATE: Alt-Ac’s URI History: An Interview with Donna Bickford

As a follow up to Kim Wickham’s interview with Donna Bickford that appeared on our blog on February 26th, we have learned that Dr. Bickford was recently honored with an Award for the Advancement of Women.  Dr. Bickford’s achievement is featured in the article “Three receive University Award for Advancement of Women,” available on The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s website.  We offer her our congratulations!

Upcoming Graduate Student Conference

With just two weeks to go, preparations for the 8th Annual Graduate Student Conference are well underway. This year’s conference is themed “Opening Spaces: Enabling Engagement with Complex Conversations,” inviting interdisciplinary dialogue from various departments at URI and beyond. Led by Jenna Morton-Aiken, second year Ph.D. student in Writing and Rhetoric at URI, the conference committee has vetted abstracts and proposals, and arranged panels with far-reaching topics. From discussions on mental health in literature to the impact of media on stand-up comedy, from conversations about the utility of video games in academia to exploring environmental practices in hotels, this year’s panels offer something for everyone in this smorgasbord of intellectual conversation.

In addition to the impressive student panels, the accomplished Reverend Dr. L. Weldon Palmer will deliver the keynote address. Reverend Palmer’s own scholarly and professional work spans difficult conversations; with a concentration in religious ethics and American religious traditions in his doctoral work, Reverend Palmer has also co-authored interdisciplinary studies in neonatology, geriatrics and gerontology, and biomedical experimentation.

As plenary speakers, this year’s conference will feature two of URI’s own esteemed professors: Dr. Jose Amador from the Department of Natural Resources Science and Dr. Libby Miles from the Department of Writing and Rhetoric. Professors Amador and Miles recently co-taught an honors-level course on communicating science to the public.

Registration is currently open for the Graduate Conference! Please visit the Graduate Conference website for further details. The conference takes place on Saturday, March 29, 2014.