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Literature, Language, Culture: A Dialogue Series

Submitted by Henry J Laufenberg on May 24, 2021 - 1:35pm
Language Literature Culture Walwema

Literature, Language, Culture: A Dialogue Series is quite likely the UW English Department’s boldest and most successful foray into new media.  A video and podcast series, each episode highlights a faculty member’s research and teaching, along with resources to support viewers’ learning.  Subjects covered are compelling, diverse, and important, each episode showcasing the range of questions we ask, the texts we study, the art we create, and how all these can help us understand the challenges we face, imagine a more just future, and give us hope.  Might we even call the LLC Series “learnfotainment?” If portmanteau is good enough for Lewis Carroll, then it is certainly good enough for English Matters, particularly if, dear alumni, you are stimulated to click the top link and give our fabulous faculty a listen.

C. R. Grimmer, Project Director and LLC Series Editor, hosts. In their role as interlocutor and editor, Grimmer is polished, expertly walks the line between asking the right questions and staying out of the way when an interesting answer is off and running. “What I love about this project is that with each dialogue, I get to collaboratively learn a new way to build hope in a more just, caring world across topics from COVID-19 to queer care ethics. It is a privilege to be entrusted with sharing the myriad lenses our faculty offer; it fosters a deep sense of hope for building a more just, caring world.”

Project Manager and Lead Video Editor, Jake Huebsch and Social Media Student Intern Reagan Welsh keep the wheels turning, or, more accurately, the guests booked, website up to date and content streaming. Here’s Huebsch’s take on the pleasure of producing LLC: "This project holds a special place for me. Working closely with such stellar colleagues and collaborating with our faculty has provided me with moments of clarity in such challenging, chaotic times. It is a privilege to develop and share the inspirational messages of our faculty; it cultivates and invites us into a robust, intellectual community that continues to grow and flourish.”  Huebsch also notes that Intern Reagan Welsh “has been a leading force for developing our social media presence. It was with her help that we managed to create functioning, sustainable social media channels that can be passed on in the future.”

English Chair Anis Bawarshi has been fundamental in shepherding the LLC project from idea to burgeoning institution. “We conceived these video and podcast episodes early during the pandemic, as a way to highlight how the work of the humanities contributes to how we experience and seek to understand this time of global crisis, its many tragedies, and the underlying inequities it helps expose.  This work is part of a larger effort in the department to communicate our mission, values, and accomplishments to ourselves, the university, and the wider public, as well as to enable and support public research, advocacy, and partnership.  The series became reality because of C.R. Grimmer and Jake Huebsch’s extraordinary leadership, talents, and dedication to the project.  I am delighted that we are now in the process of developing teaching materials to accompany the episodes.  Through this work, along with collaborations with local educators, we hope to make the episodes useful to local schools while also helping us connect the department and language arts classrooms.”

Finally and paramount, the Literature, Language, and Culture Dialogue Series is generously supported by benefactor and alumna Lee Scheingold, author of One Silken Thread: Poetry's Presence in GriefEnglish Matters encourage you to please visit the English Department’s support page to learn the myriad ways in which you can direct donations, including scholarships and exciting new initiatives like Literature, Language and Culture: A Dialogue Series.  Heartfelt thanks for your support!