Department News

News from the Chair

Dear All, 

As we approach the end of the semester and this year, let us take stock of the lives and doings of those among us, this newsletter being a way of sharing the warmth of other bodies and minds in the department. As I write this, we are all absorbing the news that we will soon lose our Academic Department Administrator Tanesha Fluker Floyd. We wish her well in the next chapter of her career at Emory. We give thanks for her tireless service, and acknowledge the service and labor of all our staff members with gratitude. 

In other news, Professor Geraldine Higgins, Director of the Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature, has announced the return of the series, founded in 1988 by Emeritus faculty, Professor Ron Schuchard. A former Guggenheim Fellow, he is the author of books on W. B. Yeats and T. S. Eliot, including Eliot’s Dark Angel (1999), which received the Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Award, and The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the Revival of the Bardic Arts (2008), which received the Robert Rhodes Prize. He is the editor of Eliot’s unpublished Clark and Turnbull Lectures, The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry (1993). With John Kelly, he is the co-editor of three volumes of Yeats’s letters, one of which received the Modern Language Association’s Morton N. Cohen Award. Schuchard is general editor of the major eight-volume online and print editions of The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition, volume 2 of which won the Modernist Studies Association Edition Prize, volumes 5 and 6 of which won jointly the MLA Prize for a Distinguished Scholarly Edition. 

In honor of the tenth anniversary of Irish Nobel prize winner, Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) who delivered the first Ellmann lectures, the series will be relaunched on March 3th, 4th, and 5th by twodistinguishedspeakers, Fintan O’Toole and poet laureate Natasha Trethewey, who was our colleague in the English department for 15 years till her departure in 2017.

Former Ellmann Lecturers: Seamus Heaney, Denis Donoghue, Helen Vendler, Henry Louis Gates, A.S. Byatt, David Lodge, (our former colleague) Salman Rushdie, Mario Vargas Llosa, Umberto Eco, Margaret Atwood, Paul Simon, Colm Toibin, and Claudia Rankine.

The Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature, now among the most prominent in North America, were established in honor of Richard Ellmann (1918–1987), biographer of James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, and Oscar Wilde, and Robert W. Woodruff Professor in our department from 1980 to 1987.

News of the accompliments of our collegues, students, and alumni follows below.

New Course take Students to the Sea Islands to learn about Gullah Geechee culture.

As part of a one million-dollar Mellon Foundation grant running from 2020-2025 for which she was co-PI, Professor Valerie Babb originated a new study-away course, “Archiving Reconstruction, Civil Rights, and Sea Island Culture.” Students were introduced to the “on-the-ground” history of Reconstruction and Civil Rights movement strategy through classwork, research in the Rose Library archives, and a study away collaboration with the Penn Center National Historic Landmark where they joined students from other area universities: Morehouse, Spelman, University of Georgia, and University of North Carolina, among others on St. Helena Island, South Carolina at the Penn Center. They learned about Gullah Geechee history and culture, and explored Penn Center archives relating to the strategizing meetings held by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Students participated in an indigo-dyeing workshop while learning about this heritage crop’s importance to black culture. They also made excursions to the Barnwell Tabby Archaeological Research and Excavation Project, Mitchelville Freedom Park (located on the site of what was once a self-governed community of the formerly enslaved), and learned about common concerns in Gullah Geechee communities: legal land theft, heirs’ property rights, ownership of cultural production, and sustaining heritage.

Student comments:

“We got to walk down to the dock and see the house the Center built for MLK, but he was never able to stay there because he was assassinated before he was able to return.”

“The first day was filled simply with gratitude, for me, to be amongst such majestic giants, both the trees and the spirits of those who had come before me on the island.”

“As a class, we sat out on the dock, and the water made me feel like I could fully breathe for the first time. There’s something so perfect about being in such loud and active nature. Me and my classmates vowed to go to this dock whenever we could. There’s so much history here, and it’s told to us in stories. First, through the diaries and books we read in preparation, and today through this tour guide, stopping us and telling us to look, to listen.”

Faculty Accomplishments

Daniel Bosch’s poems “Nullius in Verba,” “Swimming at Night,” and “Under the Stalactite the Stalagmite Grows” will appear in the November and December 2023 issues of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Aaron Colton had an article, “From Suspicion to Sincerity in Composition Pedagogy,” published in Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Language, Literature, Composition, and Culture 23.3. The article can be found at the following link by searching  for the journal through the library website:

Geraldine Higgins published an article on “Seamus Heaney’s Desks: Stages of Writing” in ÉIRE-IRELAND (Spring/Summer 2023) and gave a keynote lecture on the same topic at the Boston College Seamus Heaney Afterlives conference in November. She also gave an online lecture at the National Library of Ireland on “Yeats our Contemporary” examining the global reach of W.B. Yeats one hundred years on from his Nobel prize award. 

Irish Studies’ Nathan Suhr-Sytsma hosted Peter Miller for a wonderful lecture on “Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf and the Limits of Lyric” in October.  In November we welcomed Belfast’s Kabosh Theatre for two nights performing their award-winning play, Green and Blue at Emory’s Performing Arts Studio.

Nathan Suhr-Sytsma has also recently had a chapter on postcolonial poetry published in Decolonizing the English Literary Curriculum, edited by Ato Quayson and Ankhi Mukherjee (Cambridge University Press), which is fully access.

Marina Magloire’s book We Pursue Our Magic: A Spiritual History of Black Feminism (UNC Press 2023) explores the influence of African diasporic spiritualities on the work of Black American feminists.

Dan Sinykin’s book  Big Fiction: How Conglomeration Changed Book Publishing and American Fiction, was officially published on October 24. The same day, an excerpt from the book on Toni Morisson was published in Lit Hub. Dr. Sinykin published two essays related in the book earlier in October: one on the creation of the “fantasy” genre, in Slate; and another on the surprisingly short history of “literary fiction” in The Nation.

Emil’ Keme participated in the following events:

(Virtual) Helped co-organize the II International Conference: Indigenous Peoples Against Racism, and moderated the panel: “Migration, Racism, and Violence Against Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples. Guatemala city, August, 16-18, 2023.

Presented the paper, “‘We Are Also Here’. Maya Migrant Stories From TurtleIsland” at the 2023 Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies Symposium. Amherst College, MA October 12-14, 2023.

Presented work on, “Indigenous Literatures from Abiayala” at the Festa Literária das Periferias / Literary Festival of the Peripheries (FLUP, ), Rio do Janeiro, Brazil, October 20-22, 2023.

(Virtual) Presented work on “Abiayala: Filosofia e expansão dos territórios mentais/ Abiayala: Philosophy and expansion of mental territories” at the Semana de Politização Indígena Urbanizada / Urbanized Indigenous Politicization Week, São Paolo, Brazil, October 27, 2023.

Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

Postdoctoral Fellow Steven Huy Thanh Duong’s debut poetry collection, AT THE END OF THE WORLD THERE IS A POND, was just picked up last week by W. W. Norton and will be published with them in 2025. 

LGS doctoral scholar, Alexis Mayfield, was presented the Kharen Fulton Graduate Diversity Award at the EDGE Annual Diversity Reception for her personal and professional efforts towards diversity, inclusion, and community engagement in the Laney Graduate School at Emory University. The Kharen Fulton Award is given annually and has been created to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Kharen Fulton and her dedication to diversity in graduate education.

Sixth-year PhD candidate Ra’Niqua Lee’s book of fiction, For What Ails You, has just been published!


Oli Turner’s article “Notes from Underground Atlanta’s DIY arts scene” was published in the September 2023 Issue of Atlanta Magazine. It is also available online here.

Easton Lane, Creative Writing and Environmental Science double major, was published for the first time as a poet in two different publications! Easton’s first published poem, “I open,” was published in Impostor: A Poetry Journal’s Issue 3.1, and a second published poem, “Bearbaiting,” was published in the Quarter Press’s Weirder Still Issue! Here are the links:

Alumni News

Maggie Greaves, who received her PhD in English in 2015, has published Lyric Poetry and Space Exploration from Einstein to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2023 – 30% with promotion code AAFLYG6).

Molly Slavin, who received her PhD in English in 2018, has published Criminal Cities: The Postcolonial Novel and Cathartic Crime (University of Virginia Press, 2023).

Former student, Celine Chauviere, just published a piece with Atlanta Studies.  Her work, “Redistricting in Atlanta: The impact of Race, Class, and Community Involvement in the Face of School Closures,” began as an essay in one of the new Writing Program courses, “Writing Atlanta.”  In the wake of recent student protests against public school redistricting in Atlanta, Celine’s piece asks what we can learn about prior successful and unsuccessful protests in Peoplestown and Vine City, and from prior scholarship on community power.  After going through blind peer review, it is now available at Celine is the second undergraduate from the spring 2023 Writing Atlanta course to have work published that began in that course.  The other student, Oli Turner, who also took Hank’s class last spring where most of the writing took place, had her piece, “Notes from Underground Atlanta’s DIY Arts Scene,” published in Atlanta Magazine in September.  Her article is available at

And congratulations to Francis Ittenbach, Anmol Sahni, and Palak Taneja on their weddings this December!

Keep us informed of your good news. If we missed something important, please send us your news for inclusion in the next newsletter.

Parting Words from Maya Angelou for the upcoming break: “Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”

— Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

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