by Victoria Dekle
(Sept. 27, 2013) — It was an excellent summer for the Department of English as six faculty members published books in highly-regarded presses. “The English Department had an exceptional summer, but hardly an unprecedented one,” said Professor and Chairman of the English Department, Jeff Clymer. “Faculty from all areas of our department – Creative Writing, Literary Studies and Linguistics – routinely publish in the most prominent and visible presses.”
And these scholars use their knowledge and research skills to the benefit of their students. “We push our research directly into our courses,” said Clymer. “As professors at a large university, it’s the fusion of our teaching and research that we find especially exciting.”
Mark Kornbluh, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences agreed. “The connection of teaching and research is so significant to the educational experience for undergraduates, and our English faculty continues to push that critical connection.”
Follow the links below to learn more about the English faculty and their prestigious publications, but also the questions and themes that will be studied by thousands of UK students this fall.
The New Death: American Modernism and World War I. University of Virginia Press. By Pearl James, Associate Professor of English at the University of Kentucky.
With the final hurrah of trench warfare and the introduction of chemical and other modern weapons, the First World War resulted in unprecedented and gruesome causalities and forced the West to confront new conceptualizations of death. Professor James studies this ‘new death’ through the works of writers such as Hemingway, Cather, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner. Her close reading of these texts illuminates the profound influence that this widespread loss had on the literary figures of the time and how their work provides cultural insight into changing conceptualization of death.
Camp Sites: Sex, Politics, and Academic Style in Postwar America. Stanford University Press. By Michael Trask, Associate Professor of English at the University of Kentucky.
In this ground-breaking text, Professor Trask examines the negative attitudes within the mid-century university on homosexuality within the academy. Camp was the term for underground pre-Stonewall gay life in America, which, Trask argues, partially resulted from the academic exclusion of homosexuality within both Cold War liberal and radical philosophy.
Commonwealth of Letters: British Literary Culture and the Emergence of Postcolonial Aesthetics. Oxford University Press. By Peter J. Kalliney, Associate Professor of English at the University of Kentucky.
Professor Kalliney explores the traditions of British literature and literary culture in postcolonial regions and introduces the reader to the dynamic relationships that developed between many of these areas. Through close study of influential institutions such as the BBC, publishers, and university English departments, the text features a wealth of archival research, especially on the history of publishing and radio. Kalliney questions not only how the British literary tradition influences colonial and early postcolonial writers but also why these authors would look toward the academies of their colonizers.
The Embattled Wilderness: The Natural and Human History of Robinson Forest and the Fight for Its Future. University of Georgia Press. By Erik Reece, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Kentucky and James J. Krupa, Professor of Biology at the University of Kentucky.
Professor Reece teamed up with biology professor James Krupa to document the struggle for conservation and development in Robinson Forest, an ecologically diverse landscape in eastern Kentucky owned by the University of Kentucky since 1923. With recent budget cuts and declining state support, UK has considered selling logging and mining rights in Robison Forest, sparking protest amongst students and other individuals against this activity. Reece and Krupa alternate chapters on cultural and natural conceptions of this contested forest, illustrating the multiple ways that these fourteen thousand acres are valuable to humans and other organisms.
Guy Davenport, Professor Emeritus from the University of Kentucky and MacArthur Foundation fellow, is the subject and voice within Erik Reece’s reader published by Counterpoint Press. Reece studied under Davenport at UK and used this close relationship with Davenport to select some definitive selections from this Modernist’s body of work, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry and translations.
Morphological Typology: From Word to Paradigm. Cambridge University Press. By Gregory Stump, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Kentucky, and Raphael A. Finkel, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Kentucky.
Professor Stump collaborated with Raphael Finkel of UK’s computer science department to present a new approach to morphological typology of languages. They present a cross-linguistic study of languages including but not limited to Sanskrit, Dakota, French, Chinatec and Icelandic and this new method is already receiving strong praise from the linguistics community.
Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evars: Poems by Frank X Walker. University of Georgia Press. By Frank X Walker, Associate Professor of English at the University of Kentucky and the 2013-2014 poet laureate of Kentucky.
Professor Walker examines the tragic assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers in this collection of poems. The poems are written from different temporal moments during this historical event, providing perspectives from everyone but Evers himself; Evers’ widow, his brother, his assassin and the assassin’s two wives are all voices imagined in this collection. Neither fiction nor factual biography, Walker’s project is an attempt to illuminate the experiences and emotions surrounding Evers’ death that only such a unique literary approach can achieve.