Rutgers English Department News

Congratulations Maurice Wallace, recipient of a Presidential Outstanding Faculty Scholar Award

Congratulations to Maurice Wallace, recipient of a Presidential Outstanding Faculty Scholar Award. The award honors newly promoted full professors whose breadth of academic portfolios reflect outstanding research, scholarship, or creative work, as well as truly outstanding contributions to teaching along with extensive service to the Rutgers community and beyond.  Maurice's new book King's Vibrato is due out in September. 

King’s Vibrato explores the sonic character of Martin Luther King Jr.’s voice and its power to move the world. Providing a cultural history and critical theory of the black modernist soundscapes that helped inform King’s vocal timbre, Wallace shows how the qualities of King’s voice depended on a mix of ecclesial architecture and acoustics, musical instrumentation and sound technology, audience and song. He examines the acoustical architectures of the African American churches where King spoke and the centrality of the pipe organ in these churches, offers a black feminist critique of the influence of gospel on King, and outlines how variations in natural environments and sound amplifications made each of King’s three deliveries of the “I Have a Dream” speech unique. By mapping the vocal timbre of one of the most important figures of black hope and protest in American history, Wallace presents King as the embodiment of the sound of modern black thought. Duke University Press

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Congratulations to Named Chair Faculty

Three named chairs have been awarded by the Board of Governors:  Elin Diamond has been awarded the Marius Bewley Chair, Evie Shockley has been awarded the Zora Neale Hurston Chair, and Carolyn Williams has been awarded the Kenneth Burke Chair.

Elin Diamond

Elin Diamond, Marius Bewley Chair

Evie Shockley

Evie Shockley, Zora Neale Hurston Chair

Carolyn Williams

Carolyn Williams, Kenneth Burke Chair


David Orr's review of Rhyme’s Rooms in NY Times

Cover of of Rhyme’s Rooms The Architecture of Poetry by Brad LeithauserDavid Orr’s article In Defense of Poetry, a review of Rhyme’s Rooms: The Architecture of Poetry by Brad Leithauser was printed in the March 17, 2022 issue of The New York Times.

If you write about poetry, you will at some point consider putting together a book introducing the art to general readers. “Poetry is so wonderful and yet so unpopular,” you will say to yourself. “If only more people understood how worthwhile it really is.” So you will collect your thoughts, make a couple of outlines, and then do your best to nudge our country’s most recalcitrant cultural practice just slightly closer to the audiences whose attention might — what? Help it? Help them? Surely both, you will think, even if only a little.

Read full review.



Jeffrey Lawrence - The Story of a Notebook: Sergio Chejfec

chejfeccoverJeffrey Lawrence ‘s article The Story of a Notebook: Sergio Chejfec on Writing by Hand is in the online magazine WORDS without BORDERS. It has an excerpt of Forgotten Manuscript (2015) by Chejfec with a 2022 translation from Spanish by Lawrence.

At the time of Sergio Chejfec’s death last Saturday, I had recently completed a translation of his 2015 book on writing and technology, "Forgotten Manuscript." The original version of the work, titled Últimas noticias de la escritura, already enjoys a cult status in the Spanish-speaking world, and Sergio and I had high hopes that its appearance in English would meet with a similar reception among Anglophone writers and readers. "Forgotten Manuscript" is a difficult text to categorize, existing somewhere between the genres of autobiography and literary theory, scholarly monograph and ruminative essay, diagnosis of the digital and homage to the vanishing art of handwritten composition.

 Read full article and excerpt of translation.


Feminists in Film - Letter in The New Yorker

176 5a3d30e5a3e1fDr. Sandy Flitterman-Lewis wrote about Jean Benoît-Lévy and Marie Epstein’s film La Maternelle in her letter printed in the March 14, 2022 edition of The New Yorker.

"As a feminist film scholar and an associate professor at Rutgers University, I greatly appreciated Elif Batuman’s Profile of the director Céline Sciamma (“Now You See Me,” February 7th). Sciamma speaks about the strong impression that Jean Benoît-Lévy and Marie Epstein’s film “La Maternelle” made on her grandmother. I felt similarly when I first saw the film, in 1977, at the urging of Epstein herself. Since then, I have devoted a significant part of my scholarship to Epstein’s work, and to “La Maternelle” in particular."

Read the full letter here.

Women's History Month: She embodied Black feminist thought

CWallDr. Evie Shockley's opinion piece honoring the late Dr. Cheryl Wall contributions to African American literary and cultural study is published on

"Her values shaped her objects of study and her analytical frameworks. She recognized the contributions of Black women’s voices and perspectives as essential to the culture, and her work reflected this understanding from the start." Read full article.

Dr. Wall's work will also be honored at the Changing Our Own Futures: Black Feminist Theory & Criticism symposium being held April 21st and 22nd.

The Ethics of Algorithms article in Rutgers Magazine

Lauren M.E. Goodlad, chair of Critical AI, is featured in an article on the Ethics of Algorithms in Rutgers Magazine.

The Ethics of Algorithms

By Paula Derrow

Artificial intelligence (AI) has made aspects of life more convenient and even safer, courtesy of services such as Siri and Alexa. “There are tremendous benefits to AI,” says Fred S. Roberts, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) and director of the Command, Control, and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis (CCICADA). The center is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in which Rutgers is the lead partner of this university consortium. “We can use facial recognition technology to identify missing children, for instance, or diagnose rare diseases. But you have to keep the trade-offs in mind.”

One of those trade-offs is that the powerful, predictive algorithms fueling everything from facial recognition technology to who gets a bank loan or a traffic ticket can adversely affect your privacy, health, well-being, and personal finances—and are leading to inequities in American society.

“With AI, people tend to worry about things like super-intelligent computers turned evil like in The Terminator,” says Lauren M.E. Goodlad, a professor in the Department of English at SAS and chair of Critical AI, a new interdisciplinary initiative examining the ethics of artificial intelligence. What is worrisome, she says, “is how this technology can be used in an opaque way to manipulate our behavior, as we’ve seen with Facebook, along with other problems that are making our country more unequal than it has been since the Gilded Age.”

Read full article.

Congratulations to Recipients of 2021 SAS Staff Excellence Awards

Congratulations to Marie Freibergs, Grace Kincaid, Christopher Wolfe, and Alessandra Sperling who were honored with 2021 SAS Staff Excellence Awards. Each year Peter March, Executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, recognizes staff who have distinguished themselves in service excellence, dedication to the School of Arts and Sciences, and our students and constituents.

2021 Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Student Experience:

The Rutgers Writing Center Team: Marie Freibergs, Grace Kincaid, Christopher Wolfe. In a typical semester, the Writing Center schedules 1000 undergraduates who will be working with 130 peer writing tutors. Marie, Grace, and Christopher were singled out for their flexibility in helping the Center pivot under pandemic conditions while maintaining the highest levels of efficiency, professionalism, and care. This is underscored by the comments of the tutors and tutees, who marvel at the speed with which their inquiries are answered and the respect they receive from these caring and dedicated staff members.

2021 Award for Outstanding Contributions to Operational Excellence:

Alessandra Sperling, Administrator, English Writing Program. According to her nominators, Alessandra was “exemplary and heroic” amid the disruption caused by the pandemic allowed the scheduling process for EWP to actually improve in terms of efficiency, communication, and adherence to deadlines in comparison with pre-COVID times. She is praised for her positive attitude, work ethic, responsiveness, and accountability in helping the Program manage the complexities of the changing directives on course offerings and modalities that COVID has induced.

Congratulations to Recipients of 2021 Awards for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education

Congratulations to Sal Ayala Camarillo, Erin Kelly, Daniel Walsh, and Alicia Williams who were honored with 2021 Awards for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education. Each year, awards for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education are given to professors and teaching assistants in the School of Arts and Sciences to recognize their outstanding achievements in and beyond the classroom, their engagement with their students and pedagogic communities, and their overall commitment to the undergraduate education mission. And, each year, the theme that inevitably shines through in each nomination is the students’ understanding that these instructors “genuinely want us to learn.”

This year a new, special category has been added: Pandemic Pedagogy. Since March 10, 2020—when the pandemic necessitated online instruction—there have been so many extraordinary contributions to under education. This special category, open to any full-time SAS faculty or staff, or group of faculty and staff, recognizes outstanding work in supporting others during the pandemic in developing instruction that meets the highest standards for online pedagogy.

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Congratulations Nela Navarro, recipient of 2021 Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching

Congratulations to Nela Navarro who is honored with a 2021 Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. Nela is the Associate Director Rutgers English Language Institute (RELI) and Associate Director for the Rutgers Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights (GGHR). Each year, the award is awarded to non-tenure-track, full-time faculty members in the arts and humanities, sciences, and social sciences who have demonstrated outstanding teaching skills in classroom instruction, clinical instruction, curriculum development, or mentoring.

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Chair's Message July 1, 2021

Summer 2021

Welcome to the Department of English at Rutgers!

We are a vibrant group of scholars, teachers, students, and staff who are dedicated to the study of literature in English and to the arts of careful reading and effective writing. The largest unit in the School of Arts and Sciences, the English department encompasses multilingual language learners and those pursuing doctoral research, undergraduates taking their first courses in literary study and renowned poets and scholars at the forefront of their fields. Our department includes creative writers, book historians, literary theorists, film and media specialists, and experts in writing in English from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present, in the British Isles, the Americas, and across the globe.

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2021 Undergraduate Research Writing Conference Launches May 13th!

Flyer for URWC 2021The 2021 URWC launches Thursday, May 13th as a permanent site through Rutgers Libraries and showcases the outstanding work completed by research writing students in the Rutgers Writing Program. Organized into 9 panels ranging in topics from psychology and mental health, to feminism, environmental justice, politics, the arts, education, and more, the 90 presentations represent the many disciplines and programs at the University, as well as the contemporary issues that our students are passionate about.

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Two English faculty win 2020 Awards for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education

Congratulations to Douglas Jones and Eagan Dean who were honored with 2020 Awards for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education. Each year, these awards are given to professors and teaching assistants in the School of Arts and Sciences to recognize their outstanding achievements in and beyond the classroom, their engagement with their students and pedagogic communities, and their overall commitment to the undergraduate education mission

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