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News of the University of Washington Department of English

Autumn 2001

In English is published annually for alumni and friends of the University of Washington Department of English to encourage interest in and support for the University of Washington. To be put on the mailing list to receive a snailmail copy of In English, e-mail the editor, Cheryl Mathisen (


Chair’s Message
New Faculty
Faculty Notes
In Remembrance
Alumni Notes
Ph.D. Dissertations 2000-2001
IWP Earns Brotman Award
Fall Lecture Series 2001
London Theater and Concert Halls
English Looks to the Future

Chair’s Message

Academia is often referred to as the “Ivory Tower,” implying that those of us in academia are somehow isolated from the real world.  After September 11th, all of us, no matter where we work or live, know that isolation isn’t possible or welcomed.  Our faculty and students focused their energy on understanding how the world changed before our eyes whether we were studying Wordsworth or South Asian literature or composition theory.

On October 11th the University canceled classes and organized a “Day of Reflection and Engagement” and the very best side of how a university responds to the world we live in was on display.  Students, faculty, and staff sought out the substantive information behind the words and sound bytes we read and heard in the news.  I was very proud of the way in which our university responded to world events and to our university community.

This is my fifth and last year as chair of this department.  Everything that can possibly be described as the “real world” has been a part of my years as chair from the tragic to the joyous.  I recently wrote to a friend of mine that “it’s been so long since we’ve seen each other, I now speak Italian.”  I’m sure there’s a joke somewhere in the fact that I’ve learned Italian since I’ve been chair of the English Department.

Being a department chair is the best and most difficult job in the university because a chair serves a well-defined constituency, namely teachers and students.  For that reason, I love the job of being chair despite the fact that the job has often put me at the center of controversy and debate from labor disputes to budget cutbacks to personnel issues.  With almost 70 professors, 90 teaching assistants, 16 staff, 200 graduate students, and 800 undergraduates majors our department is like a small town and every policy decision and discussion in our department affects the people in that community.

Since 1997 we have hired 17 new professors, but lost 24 professors to competitive offers from other universities and retirement.  Last year our department developed a strategic plan for the future and will undergo an extensive ten-year review by external reviewers.  Of all the issues before our department, the most serious is our loss of faculty to competitive offers.  While it is easy to rationalize losing faculty to prestigious private universities with deep pockets like Duke and NYU, it is not as easy to rationalize losing faculty to public universities such as Minnesota, Michigan, CUNY, and the University of Illinois.  Of course it speaks volumes about the excellence of our faculty when other universities recruit from our department.  With the current fiscal difficulties in the state, it will be harder to recruit and retain faculty.  As a result we need to place a high priority on our efforts to raise private funds and endow professorships in order to enhance faculty salaries.  In the pages of this newsletter and future publications you will hear more about our efforts in developing new sources of funding.

When I took on the job of chair, I was ready to take a break from twenty-five years of teaching.  Before my tenure as chair, I served as Director of the Creative Writing Program for two years, and before that I served as Director of the Asian American Studies Program in the Department of American Ethnic Studies.  It’s time for me to set aside administrative work and go back to the classroom because there’s no more important job in the university.

My job would be impossible without the help and guidance and leadership of our administrator, Susan Williams.  I also want to thank my assistant, Cheryl Mathisen, for her flawless work, loyalty, and commitment.  Deserving special thanks is the work of the English Advising Office and director Melissa Wensel and our Senior Computer Specialist Robert Weller.  In addition, I want to thank the entire faculty for their dedication and commitment to teaching and research and especially express my gratitude to the various program directors and program coordinators who worked with me these last five years—Gail Stygall, Mark Patterson, John Coldewey, Linda Bierds, David Shields, Maya Sonenberg, Gregg Crane, Carolyn Allen, Caroline Simpson, Linda Clifton, John Webster, Jack Brenner, Dick Dunn, Laurie George, Kimberlee Gillis-Bridges, Joan Graham, Anis Bawarshi, and Malcolm Griffith.  I join them in thanking their staff for the good work they do every day. Bravo and grazie mille.

Shawn Wong, Chair

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New Faculty

The Department of English welcomes three new faculty members: Nicholas Halmi, Monika Kaup, and Chandan Reddy.

Nicholas Halmi joins our department as an Assistant Professor in Romanticism after serving as an Assitant Professor in English at McMaster University, Canada.  He was also Assistant Editor of The Collected Works of Northrop Frye at the University of Toronto’s Northrop Frye Center.

Halmi earned his BA from Cornell University (1988), where he received many prizes and awards, including the English Department’s Class of 1916 Prize for the year’s most distinguished undergraduate honors thesis.  He completed his MA (1989) and PhD (1995) at the University of Toronto, once again winning a number of prestigious scholarships and fellowships.

Halmi returned to Cornell in 1998 as a much sought-after lecturer with an established national and international reputation.  He gave three lectures at Cornell, one for the Department of Psychiatry of Cornell’s Medical College, called “Symbolism, Synechdoche, and the Secrets of the Soul: Freud and His Romantic Predecessors,” another for a Milton seminar entitled “The Cut that Seals: Circumcision as a Symbol in Milton and Protestant Theology.”  In 1999 he was invited to give the James H. Becker Lecture, which is offered once a year by the College of Arts and Sciences to a distinguished Cornell alumnus.

Monika Kaup received her PhD from Ruhr University in German in 1991.  Since that time she has been a Visiting Assistant Professor here in our department, a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Mexican-American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto and Department of English at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Assistant Professor Kaup has published a number of articles on Chicano/a writing, Canadian writing, and madness in women’s literature.  She also has expertise in North American multiculturalism, post-Cold War Cuban-American cultures, utopias and anti-utopias, comparative North American West, Latino culture and identity in the U.S., miscegenation and race mixture in the U.S., literature of the Americas, and wilderness and the national imagination in Canada and the U.S.

Chandan Reddy begins his appointment as an Assistant Professor this fall.  He was awarded a BA (1994) from the University of California, San Diego, and his MA (1995) and PhD (2001) from Columbia University.

Reddy brings to the UW the ability to teach and conduct research in a broad variety of areas such as multi-ethnic literatures, twentieth-century American literature, race and gender theory, queer theory, and transnational cultural studies.  As a graduate student he was the recipient of three fellowships and received the Murietta Pinot Book Award for his MA essay, “Lost Times, Gained Spaces: Interest and Desire in Balzac’s Lost Illusions.”

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Faculty Notes

New Books

Carolyn Allen, Provoking Feminisms, edited with Judy Howard, University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Herbert Blau, Salts of the Herring Fleet: Essays on Beckett, University of Michigan Press, 2000.

Richard Dunn, editor, Jane Eyre, Norton Critical Edition, W. W. Norton, 2001.

Charles Johnson, Soulcatcher and Other Stories, Harcourt Brace, 2000.

Charles Johnson, King: The Photobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., co-authored with Bob Adelman, Viking Studio, 2000.

David Shields, “Baseball is Just Baseball”: The Understated Ichiro, TNI Books, 2001.

James Tollefson, Language Policies in Education: Critical Issues, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001.

Honors and Awards

Jessica Burstein, ACLS Fellowship in the Humanities, 2001-02.

Kate Cummings, Department of English Distinguished Undergraduate Teacher Award.

Charles Johnson, Pacific Northwest Writers Association Achievement Award.

Colleen McElroy, finalist in the PEN research nonfiction category for her book Over the Lip of the World: Among the Story Tellers of Madagascar.

Heather McHugh and Nikolai Popov, Griffin Poetry Prize of Canada for their translations of Paul Celan.  They also received a Washington State Book Award for their book, Glottal Stop.

Joycelyn Moody, 2001-02 Jane Watson Irwin Chair of Women Studies, Hamilton College.

Henry Staten, Visiting Fellowship, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, Fall 2001.

Jim Tollefson, University of Washington Annual Faculty Lecture.

Kathleen Woodward, Distinguished Alumni Award, Department of Literature, University of California, San Diego.

William Dunlop
Malcolm Griffith
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In Remembrance

Markham Harris, Professor Emeritus, died April 11, 2001.  Harris taught short story and novel writing in both the English Department and UW Extension from 1946 to 1977.  His publications include “Double Solitaire,” a novella, High Morning Fog, a novel, The Case for Tragedy, a volume of criticism, and The Cornish Ordinalia: A Medieval Dramatic Trilogy, a translation.  In honor of his friend and colleague, Professor Harris anonymously funded the James Hall Undergraduate Fiction Award from 1974 to 1999.  Recipients include Marjorie Kennedy, Joyce Kehoe, Phaye Poliakoff-Chen, Daniel Orozco, Sarah Flygare, Lisa Wogan and Danielle Pollack.  Ann Rule (class of 1953) named Markham Harris as her favorite teacher in a recent UW alumni magazine article.  “He listened with genuine interest (and) never criticized in anegative way.  He not only taught us how to write, but he cheered us on.

Harlan M. Reed (BA 1938) died July 30, 2001.  Reed taught writing at the University of Washington as a Graduate Assistant (1938-39) and as a Graduate Fellow (1939-40).  He was a writer, photographer, entrepreneur and longtime resident of Vancouver, Washington.

William Ridgeway Carpenter (MAT 1993, PhD 1999) died August 31, 2001, at Nehalem Beache, Oregon.  Bill drowned after successfully rescuing two of his sons from a riptide.  Carpenter was a professor at Everett Community College where he taught composition and research methods.  He expressed his creative interests through musical composition and performance as a singer/songwriter.  He wrote over 100 songs, performing them with other musicians in both acoustic and electric ensembles.

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Alumni News

Kathleen Alcala’s (MFA 1985) latest book is called Treasures in Heaven.

Brad Benz (PhD 2001) joins the faculty this fall at Fort Lewis College.

Dagni Bredesen (PhD 1999) has accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University.

Matthew Davis (PhD 2001) received a one-year appointment at the University of Puget Sound.

Peter Donahue (BA 1987) recently published The Cornelius Arms, a collection of short stories set in Seattle.  He teaches at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama.

Michael Filas (PhD 2001) is an assistant professor at Westfield State College.

David Francis (MFA 1992, PhD 1996) is a faculty member aboard the Universe Explorer, teaching in the Semester at Sea program through the University of Pittsburgh.

Katherine Frank (PhD 2001) joins the faculty at the University of Southern Colorado.

Leigh Gilmore (PhD 1988) is the author of The Limits of Autobiography: Trauma and Testimony (Cornell 2001).  She is currently an associate professor of English at Ohio State University and a fellow in the Center for Law, Policy, and Social Science.

Ed Harkness (BA 1970), Professor of English at Shoreline Community College, has a new book of poems, Saying the Necessary, published by  Pleasure Boat Studio, Bainbridge Island, WA.

James Hirsch (PhD 1978) is a professor of English at Georgia State University and the author of The Structure of Shakespearean Scenes..

Jennifer Holberg (PhD 1997) and Marcy Taylor (PhD 1997) are the Executive Editors of a new national scholarly journal, Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture, forthcoming from Duke University Press and available at MLA. Christine Chaney (PhD 1998) is the Associate Review Editor.  Holberg teaches at Calvin College, Taylor at Central Michigan University, and Chaney is an assistant professor at Seattle Pacific University.

Stephanie Huston (BA 1998) is the web coordinator for Children’s Hospital in Seattle and has had a poem, “After the Foster Children,” accepted for publication in a journal of the American Medical Association.  This is the first time that the AMA has accepted a creative work for publication in one of its journals.

Daisy Israel (BA 1980), along with Senator Patty Murray and Timmie Faghin, was awarded the National Council of Jewish Women’s Hannah G. Solomon Award, presented to individuals who have changed the lives of others through their leadership efforts and service.

Peter Kvidera (PhD 2000) accepted a one-year post-doctoral appointment at Duke for 2001-02 and will begin a tenure-track appointment at John Carroll University in the fall of 2002.

Robert H. Kono (BA 1963) published The Last Fox, a WWII novel, through ABE Publishing.

Laura Kuske (PhD 2000) is an assistant professor at Alma College.

Susan Landgraf (BA 1985, MA 1987) will teach in Shanghai, spring 2002.

Julie Larios (BA 2993 and current MFA student) has published a children’s book, Have You Ever Done That?, illustrated by Anne Hunter.

Tilar Mazzeo (PhD 1999) and Thaine Stearns (PhD 1999) have accepted positions at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.

Dorothy M. Meyers (BA 1966, MAT 1973) retired from teaching and has published nearly two dozen poems over the last three years.  She was named International Poet of Merit by the International Library of Poetry for 1999 and 2000.

Deborah Miranda (PhD 2001) accepted a teaching position at Pacific Lutheran University.

Kirby Olson (PhD 1994) is an assistant professor at State University of New York, Delhi.  His new book, Comedy After Postmodernism: Rereading Comedy from Edward Lear to Charles Willeford, was published by Texas Tech University Press (2001).

Peter Pereira (BA English 1983, BS Biology 1983, MD 1987, Family Medicine 1990), a family physician in Seattle, was a winner of the 1997 Discovery, The National Award for poetry, and a finalist in the 1998 National Poetry Series.  He has since been awarded a 1999 Artist Trust Poetry Fellowship and a 2000 Seattle Arts Commission Poetry Fellowship.  His first chapbook, The Lost Twin, a King County Arts Commission Award winner, was published this year by Grey Spider Press.

Russell Prather (PhD 1999) will begin his teaching career at the University of Northern Michigan in 2002 after he completes his Fulbright in Morocco this year.

Mike Shanahan (MA 1994) is the Planetarium Manager at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii.

Jeff Shelley (BA 1979) is editorial director of Cybergolf, a national golf Web site.  He also oversees content for,, and is media director for the Fred Couples Invitational Tournament.

Laura Dassow Walls (BA 1976, MA 1978), an associate professor of English at Lafayette College, received a $24,000 research fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Christopher Wheatley (BA 1978) received the Rhodes Prize for best book published on Irish literature from the American Conference for Irish Studies for his book, Beneath Ierne’s Banners: Irish Protestant Drama of the Restoration and 18th Century.

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Ph.D. Dissertations 2000-2001

Maria Amonette, “Beyond the ESL Grammar Classroom: A Descriptive Study of Transfer of Grammatical Instruction” (Heidi Riggenbach)

Rachael Barnett, “The Representation of Internal Colonialism in Contemporary American Ethnic Fiction” (Johnnella Butler)

Bradley Benz, “'ESL Trouble Spots': Composition Handbooks, Ideology and the Politics of ESL Writing and English as a Global Language” (George Dillon)

Matthew Davis, “Nineteenth-Century Rhetorics of American Brotherhood” (Mark Patterson)

Michael Filas, “Cyborg Subjectivity” (Malcolm Griffith)

Lydia Fisher, “Domesticating the Nation: American Narratives of Home Culture” (Mark Patterson)

Katherine Frank, "Seen Through Glass Town: The Brontë Juvenilia, Collaboration, and Victorian Authorship” (Leroy Searle)

Jason Harris, “Folklore, Fantasy and Fiction: The Function of Supernatural Folklore in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century British Prose Narratives of Literary Fantastic” (Marshall Brown)

David Hennessee, “Male Masochistic Fantasy in Carlyle, Tennyson, Dickens, and Swinburne” (Kathleen Blake)

Jing Liu, “Mini-lectures of Chinese Native Speakers of English: A Comparative Discourse Analysis” (Sandra Silberstein)

Jeremy Lowe, “Desiring Truth: The Process of Judgment in Fourteenth-Century Art and Literature” (Miceal Vaughan)

Deborah Miranda, “'In My Subversive Country': Searching for American Indian Women’s Love” (Juan Guerra)

Davis Oldham, “The Idea of Trust in the Age of Trusts” (Priscilla Wald)

Arlene Plevin, “Writing, Self, and Community: The Ethical Rhetoric of Place” (Gail Stygall)

Tabitha Sparks, “Family Practices: Medicine, Gender, and Literature in Victorian Literature” (Lauren Goodlad)

Ann Tandy, “The Human Sublime and the Problems of Relation in Nineteenth-Century Fiction” (Richard Dunn)

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IWP Earns Brotman Award

The English Department’s Interdisciplinary Writing Program received the 2001 Brotman Award for Instructional Excellence.  This award recognizes collaboration within and among departments, programs, and groups to improve the quality of undergraduate education.  The award is made possible by a donation from Jeffrey and Susan Brotman, with awardees receiving $17,500.

IWP Director Joan Graham and her colleagues have been helping undergraduates develop their abilities as writers within specific disciplinary contexts for 24 years.  Teaching writing processes as they are relevant to the materials and purposes that define a particular lecture course, IWP teachers design inquiry-fostering activities.  Their aim is to show students how to generate, focus and refine their observations and ideas, which means foregrounding the relations between writing and thinking.  Students are asked to write as (apprentice) participants in discipline-shaped inquiries, so they learn to read contexts as the basis for evaluating written work.  This demanding yet pragmatic approach is widely valued: most students find that pairing a writing course with a lecture course enhances their learning in both.

IWP teachers prepare for their writing classes by attending the linked lecture classes, and they meet regularly with lecturing faculty and their TAs.  They also meet amongst themselves in IWP mentor groups that bring together teachers working with lecture courses in the same discipline.

This fall IWP faculty and TAs are teaching 25 sections of English 197 and 198.  These “Writing Links” accompany a wide variety of lecture courses, including “Survey of Native American Art,” “Introduction to the Philosophy of Science,” “Introduction to Comparative Politics,” and “States and Capitalism: The Origins of the Modern Global System.”  Some lectures accompanied by Writing Links change every quarter so, for example, during Winter 2002 only, IWP classes will accompany the History Department’s course called “The Peoples of the United States,” the Philosophy Department’s “Introduction to Ethics,” and the Music Department’s “History of Jazz.”  Last spring experimental Writing Links were offered for the first time with CHEM 162, “Genreal Chemistry,” and the program may soon make available more links with lectures in the sciences.

IWP faculty: Bob McNamara, Norman Wacker, John O'Neill, Elizabeth Simmons-O'Neill,
Joan Graham (Director), Karena Reiten (Program Assistant)

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Fall Lecture Series 2001

The University of Washington Alumni Association and the College of Arts and Sciences in cooperation with the UW Simpson Center for the Humanities present: Scholarly Adventure and Creative Process: UW MacArthur Fellows in the Humanities, Tuesdays, 7-9 p.m., Kane Hall Room 220, UW Seattle Campus.

October 16: Linda Bierds, poet, professor and former director of the English Department’s Creative Writing Program, 1998 Fellow.

October 23: Suzanne Lebsock, historian, professor of history, 1992 Fellow.

October 30: Richard Kenney, poet, professor of English, 1987 Fellow.

November 6: Charles Johnson, novelist, Pollock Professor of English, 1998 Fellow.

November 13: John Toews, historian, chair of the Comparative History of Ideas Program, 1992 Fellow.

Contact UWAA for tickets at (206) 543-3839 or via the internet:
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London Theater and Concert Halls

Professor John Webster will lead his 12th London tour March 14-29, 2002, through the University of Washington Extension Travel-Study Program.  This popular program centers on performance, including a wide sampling of London theater and concert halls.  Tour participants attend 12 events in 14 days.  Evenings are devoted to performances.  Morning sessions feature Professor Webster discussing the preceding day’s event along with a preview of the event to come.  Days are free to explore London and relax.

For further information and registration forms please contact: UW Extension Registration Services, 5001 - 25th Ave NE, Seattle, WA  98105-4190, or call (206) 543-2310 and ask for registration.

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English Looks to the Future

If one continues the trend of past decades, state funds for the Department of English – funds which meet over 90% of our budget needs – will reach zero by 2027.  While no one expects the state to completely eliminate support for the humanities, the trend is clear: steady decline in state revenue means that additional support is essential to create and maintain excellence for the English Department.

In the past, private gifts to the department have enabled our faculty and students to achieve excellence not otherwise possible.  Now, the faculty and staff of the department are working with community leaders, alumni, and other individuals concerned for the department’s future to develop a comprehensive Development Plan to put the department on a path of new growth and stability.

This important effort can benefit greatly from your guidance and input.  Should you wish to get involved, please call Donald Summers, Director of Development for the Humanities, at (206) 616-0632.  Also, you can direct gifts to the English Department through the Annual Fund appeal already mailed to alumni and friends.

Help us join together to steward this essential cultural and intellectual resource for present and future generations.  We hope to hear from you.

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Except where otherwise noted, all photos are by Cheryl Mathisen.