Rutgers English Department News

Family of Cheryl Wall Donates Personal Library to Paul Robeson Cultural Center

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The personal library of the late Cheryl Wall, a scholar recognized for advancing the conversation about African American literature, will be available for a new generation of research and examination at Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s Paul Robeson Cultural Center following a donation from her family. This gift is meant to encourage student analysis and appreciation of Black writers.

Read the full article in Rutgers Today

Cheryl A. Wall's Faculty Profile »

Staff Recipients of SAS Awards

The English Department congratulates Leandra Cain, Courtney Borack, and Cheryl Robinson, recipients of Staff COVID-19 Response Awards and Aimee LaBrie, recipient of a 2020 Staff Excellence Award.

Leandra Cain, Department of English
With the hiring freeze leaving the department unable to replace a staff member who left just as the pandemic hit, Leandra took up the slack in order to keep the administrative operations humming. The transition to remote learning in English, as for everyone, involved a great deal of administrative juggling – but the sheer number of courses that had to be reimagined for remote instruction was daunting. Leandra managed to coordinate the transition for well over eighty classes with fifty different instructors. Quietly, meticulously, compassionately – all while doing the work of two people -- she has simply made undergraduate instruction during COVID possible in the department.

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Lynn Festa Wins Lowell Award

Lynn FestaThe Modern Language Association of America has awarded its fifty-first annual James Russell Lowell Prize to Lynn Festa for her book Fiction without Humanity: Person, Animal, Thing in Early Enlightenment Literature and Culture, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. The prize is awarded annually for an outstanding book—a literary or linguistic study, a critical edition of an important work, or a critical biography—written by a member of the association.

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Cheryl Wall Named Hubbell Medal Winner

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The late Cheryl Wall, Board of Governors Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English, was selected as this year’s winner of the American Literature Society’s highest honor, the Jay B. Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement in American Literary Studies. The medal is sponsored by the American Literature Society, an allied organization of the Modern Language Association, and is awarded annually to one “scholar whose lifetime of scholarly work has significantly advanced the study of American literature.”

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Congratulations to RELI Director Nicole Houser for Rutgers Global 2020 International Collaborative Research Grant

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Congratulations to Dr. Nicole Houser, Rutgers English Language Institute Director and Faculty, who was awarded a Rutgers Global 2020 International Collaborative Research Grant. Grant funds will support Dr. Houser's research titled, Neurodiversity and English Language Learners: Creating a Pedagogy of Inclusion for the Global Classroom, an international project between Rutgers English Language Institute (RELI) and the Language School at San Miguel de Allende, ENES León, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).

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English Department Statement in Support of August 31 Letter by BIPOC Faculty to President Holloway

We, the members of the English department, collectively express our support for the 31 August 2020 letter to the university’s President and Chancellor authored by Black/Indigenous/Person of Color faculty specializing in race at Rutgers University, in this department and beyond it. We understand and value the necessity of designing institutional structures, programs, and inquiries for the study of race as a means of addressing the systemic inequities that persist within our institution. 

Understanding the Fall 2020 Class Schedule

210 5a4be69ce536e a3323August 3, 2020

Greetings SAS Students!

 We are a month away from the start of the Fall 2020 semester – we hope you’re enjoying the summer! We know that students are anxious about the new, remote semester format, so we’re writing to you early to help you plan for a successful term.

There are quite a few changes to the registration deadlines and policies for the fall 2020 term, all designed to facilitate a smooth transition into your remote classes, as well as assure continued success throughout the term. Here is some guidance from SAS that you can refer to it for information as we approach the first day of classes (Tuesday September 1).

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Statement Regarding International Students

To our students and colleagues,

Most of you will by now have heard about the Trump administration’s most recent outrage: a change to immigration policy that makes it more difficult for F-1 visa-holders to retain their immigration status at universities that have decided to go primarily or fully online this coming semester.

We denounce this cynical and abhorrent attempt to force universities into line with the administration’s destructive down-playing of the epidemic, and the xenophobia that stands so transparently behind the policy. We reiterate our support for the international students who are a central component of our community and our excellence.

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Chair's Message July 1, 2020

Dear Colleagues, Staff, Students, and Friends,

Today marks the first day of a new academic year, and I write to you with gratitude and admiration for your ingenuity, your dedication, and your good will. It’s been a very challenging time. It continues to be challenging with every new announcement. I am proud of how our students, our staff, and our colleagues have stood and acted together: for social justice, economic security, anti-racist education, institutional change, and health equity.

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Congratulations to Jackie Miller for the 2020 Dean's Advisory Council Award for the Mentoring of Graduate Students

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The English Department congratulates Jackie Miller, who has won the 2020 Dean's Advisory Council Award for the Mentoring of Graduate Students. 

The citation reads: "Prof. Jacqueline Miller (English) joined Rutgers in 1980.  She has served as a mentor or advisor to more than 20 doctoral students, is author of the book Poetic License: Authority and Authorship in Medieval and Renaissance Contexts (1986) as well as numerous journal publications and reviews, and has an exemplary record of service to the graduate program in English. Her former students include faculty members at the University of Connecticut and Pomona College.  Jackie is known to her students and colleagues for the ways in which she transformed mentoring in the English program. She is valued for the deep and insightful analyses of the students’ work, often leading many to change their approaches or interpretations.  One former student commented:  “The quality of Jackie s feedback is legendary among her current and former graduate students: we’ve sometimes joked that she must read our work with a microscope, because she can find every logical gap in the argument, no matter how small, ...It can be daunting to have your work read so carefully, but it is also an incredible gift.”  


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Department actions in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

June 19, 2020

Dear Staff, Students, and Faculty,

I am writing to you today, Juneteenth, to report on the ongoing and future initiatives the English Department has planned as a way to stand with and respond to the Black Lives Matter movement; to create and promote an anti-racist environment in our workplace, our classes, our department, our university, and our communities; and to contribute to the eradication of the violence and systemic inequities facing black, indigenous, and people of color members of our community, to which the #BLM movement and ongoing protests have drawn our attention in pointed and necessary ways.

This is a very long email, but please make sure to read right away at least the department section, which contains information about workshops that will be required of all Fall 2020 instructors and information about two department-wide teach-ins held remotely in the month of August.

As many of you will know, Juneteenth commemorates the day, June 19, 1865, when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas.  As Dr. Lacey Hunter, a lecturer in the Department of African-American and African Studies at Rutgers-Newark, explains in an interview posted yesterday on the Rutgers-Newark web site, it took two and half years for the news to travel across the territories of the United States.  On this day, 155 years ago, African Americans in Texas learned “that the system of slavery had been legally abolished.” 

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Department of English Statement on the murder of George Floyd, systemic racism, and our community

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty,

We write as the leadership of the English Department at Rutgers University and the members of the department's Committee on Bias Awareness and Prevention to strongly condemn the murder of George Floyd, racist police brutality, and other expressions of white supremacy.  We stand in solidarity with the protests calling for transformation in this country and in the full recognition that black, brown, and indigenous citizens and noncitizens (inside and well beyond the department) continue to bear the brunt of this nation’s systemic racism.  We too join calls for a new normal that requires transformative justice.  This means advocating for—now and well into the future—substantive changes in the ways that education, housing, health care, distribution of wealth, policing, and governance function (or fail to function) in this country.

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