Faculty achievements highlighted

CenturiumThe 2012-2013 academic year was another busy and productive one for the faculty of the Department of English, Foreign Languages, and Philosophy at Henderson State University. Currently composed of 21 full-time and nine adjunct faculty members, the department is a vital part of the intellectual and artistic life of Henderson and the surrounding community. Selected highlights of the department’s individual faculty activities and achievements appear below.

Dr. Wayne McGinnis, professor of English, read a paper at the 39th annual meeting of the Arkansas Philological Association in Hot Springs in October 2012 entitled “Hemingway, Tolstoy and ‘The Woman Question.’” That same month, he attended the annual meeting of the Arkansas Conference of the AAUP in Little Rock and reported on it to the Henderson faculty. In February 2013, he conducted an Ellis College Community Class on the topic “Historical Aspects of the Game of Golf.”

During his sabbatical leave (Spring 2013), Dr. Henry Pérez, professor of Spanish, was fortunate to find a Cuban-American novel by Achy Obejas, entitled Ruins, which he considers to be a gold mine of material for further research. Ruins has already met with critical acclaim; however, Pérez pursued other areas that have not yet been explored. At the Arkansas Philological Association Conference, to be held in Little Rock this fall, he will be presenting one of his articles entitled “Cuba in Ruins and The Old Man and the Sea: The Influence of Hemingway in Ruins by Achy Obejas.” Pérez also wrote a second article: “The Concept of the New Man by Che (Guevara) in Cuba.” A third study, still in the research stage, deals with the topic of ruins in literature in general and specifically how it is portrayed during the Special Period in Cuba after the fall of the Soviet Union when the economy was left in shambles.

In the past year, Dr. Marck Beggs, professor of English, was the featured poet at Maxine’s in Hot Springs and Pulaski Tech’s Big Rock Reading Series. He also read as part of a group of Salmon poets at the AWP conference in Boston, published a poem (“Helen of Troy”) in the Excelsior Review, completed editing the 80th Anniversary Anthology for the Arkansas Poets of the Roundtable (which will be published in September), and moderated a poetry panel at the Arkansas Literary Festival.

Dr. Peggy Dunn Bailey, professor of English and chair of English, Foreign Languages, and Philosophy, continues work in her two primary areas of interest and specialization, British Romanticism and contemporary Southern Gothic fiction of the Americas. In February 2013, Bailey presented a paper, “‘The Matrix of Many Things’: Forms of the Female Gothic in Contemporary American Literature and Erna Brodber’s Louisiana,” at an American Literature Association Symposium in Savannah, Ga. She has also recently completed “Constructive Remorse” (forthcoming in North Carolina Literary Review), a review of Gail Godwin’s most recent novel, Flora. Bailey will present her paper, “‘[R]elations in the Unseen’: Oracular Romanticism and ‘The Cry of the Children,’” at the International Conference on Romanticism in Rochester, Mi., in September (2013).

Last Spring, Dr. Vernon G. Miles, professor of English, traveled to Savannah, Ga., to present a paper entitled, “Ghostly Garments: The Rise of Gothic Feminine Psychological Power in (Harriet Beecher Stowe’s) Uncle Tom’s Cabin and (Harriet Jacobs’) Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” at the national meeting of the American Literature Association symposium on the Gothic in American literature and culture.

As part of her ongoing research on American women writers, Dr. Stephanie K. Barron, associate professor of English, presented a conference paper entitled “Exaltadas and New Mestizas: Reading Margaret Fuller through the Border Theory of Gloria Anzaldúa” at the Transatlantic Women Writers II Conference in June 2013 in Florence, Italy (an earlier draft of the paper appeared at the 39th annual Arkansas Philological Association Conference in October 2012). To complete additional work on this project, Barron will research collections of both writers’ works during a sabbatical leave for the spring semester of 2014. In addition, she continues to participate in the Faculty Peer Mentoring Program, a mini-grant project designed to improve pedagogy through filming in the classroom.
Martha Dale Cooley, assistant professor of English and Writing Center director, is the Arkansas representative to South Central Writing Centers Association. On the SCWCA Executive Board and Scholarship Committee, she attended the SCWCA conference at Corpus Christi, Texas, Feb. 21-23, 2013.

In January and February of 2013, Dr. Waltraud Gudrian, assistant professor of German and French, participated in the Caddo River Art Guild Exhibition at Henderson’s Russell Fine Arts Gallery. One of her original poems, “The Last Earth Child,” was displayed in needlepoint on felted fiber; in March 2013, this piece was one of 41 works selected (out of 142 submitted) for the Finalist Exhibition in the Hot Springs Regional Art Competition. Also in March, Gudrian attended the International Colloquium of 20th and 21st Century French and Francophone Studies in Atlanta, Ga.; this colloquium, attended by a number of renowned French and Francophone writers (e.g., Pascal Quignard, winner of the Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie Française, 2000) inspired her to finish her literary article about the writer Elias Canetti, “Language Beyond Language and the Acoustic Mask,” which she will present at the Arkansas Philological Association Conference in October 2013.

Dr. Steven J. Todd, assistant professor of Philosophy, gave three presentations over the last year. Two presentations were at professional conferences, and the third presentation was the keynote address at the induction banquet for the HSU Chapter of the International Honor Society in Psychology. Todd was also a referee for the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology as well as the Society for Philosophy and Psychology. Further, Todd continues to head the Faculty Peer Mentoring Program, which he helped start a year and a half ago. Finally, Todd is very pleased to announce that this past spring a core group of philosophy students launched the first ever HSU Philosophy Club with reportedly the largest number of charter members within the last five years.

Dr. Maryjane Dunn, assistant professor of Spanish, was the keynote speaker (“Staff and satchel. Trekking poles and backpacks: Allegory and reality of pilgrim garb”) at the Symposium for Pilgrimage Studies: Traveling Traditions held at the College of William and Mary. She also spoke at the Ellis College Community Class series on “Following the ‘Stars’ to Santiago.” Her summer travels took her to Galicia, Spain, where she walked two of the medieval pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela (approximately 200 miles), gave a guest lecture to the students of the Pilgrimage Consortium Summer Program, and spent two weeks in various Galician museum and university libraries doing research for her current project on depictions of pilgrims and pilgrimage in 16th-19th century literature.

Dr. Suzanne M. Tartamella, assistant professor of English, has just begun her second year at Henderson. Her article on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew will appear in the September issue of English Literary Renaissance. Her monograph, Rethinking Shakespeare’s Skepticism: The Aesthetics of Doubt in the Sonnets and Plays, is forthcoming this winter from Duquesne University Press.

Dr. Beth Maxfield, assistant professor of English, was elected to the Faculty Senate and subsequently to the position of executive secretary. Her academic activities include serving on the Editorial Advisory Board for The Bedford Anthology of American Literature, 2nd ed, Volume 2 and working with the Freshman English Sequence Committee.

Greg Gibson begins his sixth year at Henderson with promotion from instructor to assistant professor of English. During the past academic year, he also completed his fourth year with the Southwest Arkansas Preparatory Academy and gave a presentation entitled “The Civil War in American Literature” as part of Henderson’s Civil War Lecture Series. He looks forward this year to another year as a member of the Prep Academy as well as his joining the department’s Faculty Peer Mentoring group.

A fan of comics and graphic novels, Eric Bailey, instructor of English, recently met his childhood hero Stan “The Man” Lee while appearing with his friend and colleague Travis Langley (author of Batman and Psychology) at the 2012 New Orleans Comic Con in December to talk about “Marvel’s Modern Myths” and “The Psychology of Superheroes.” Bailey discussed the importance of heroes through time, drawing parallels between popular comic books and ancient myths like Gilgamesh. Bailey also appeared at the Chicago Comic Con in August of this year to discuss “The Psychology of Super Villains” or why we love our bad guys.

Elisabeth Parrish Doggett, adjunct instructor of English, is a member of the Fine Arts Center of Hot Springs, and her artwork was chosen from a juried panel of judges to be included in the Diamond National Arts Competition. The Fine Arts Center gallery has been displaying her work for most of the 2012-13 year. She has also been accepted as a member of the National Museum for Women in the Arts (Arkansas Committee), and her work is currently being displayed on their website.