Faculty News and Notes Fall 2022

Submitted by Henry J Laufenberg on
Professor Suhanthie Motha

English Matters is proud to broadcast a long list of our talented faculty’s recent awards, honors, fellowships, appearances, community involvement, and other such goodness.  Warm thanks to all our faculty for their contributions, as well as to the individuals and agencies that sponsor many of these awards.

Awards and Honors

Habiba Ibrahim has been promoted to the rank of Full Professor and Josephine Walwema to the rank of Associate Teaching Professor. These are well-deserved accomplishments, preceded by decades of dedicated hard work.  Congratulations Habiba and Josie, and thank you for your many contributions to and beyond the English department!

Professor Mark Patterson
The UW English Department’s brand-new Awards and Scholarships Committee, piloted by professors Monika Kaup, Jeff Knight, and Norman Wacker, is pleased to announce the winner of 2022’s Departmental Teaching Award: Professor Mark Patterson.

Mark Patterson is a model of consistent teaching excellence. The award goes to Mark not just on the strength of this year's round of submitted materials, but also on the basis of a lifetime of contributions to teaching--as an instructor in the classroom and in personalized mentoring, as a faculty member advancing curriculum development, and, last not least, as the department's instructional scheduler of many years.

Congratulations, Mark!

Professor Juliet Shields has been elected Vice President of the International Association for the Study of Scottish Literatures, a worldwide academic organization dedicated to cultivating the study of Scottish languages, literatures, and cultures across the globe.

Maya Sonenberg, professor of creative writing in the Department of English, received the Richard Sullivan Prize for her third collection of stories, Bad Mothers, Bad Daughters (University of Notre Dame Press).  Professor Sonenberg has also received a 2022-2023 fellowship through the New York Public Library Short-Term Research Fellowship Program at The Library for the Performing Arts for her project, “Adjacent, Against, Upon, Because: Essays about Merce Cunningham.”

Habiba Ibrahim's new book, Black Age: Oceanic Lifespans and the Time of Black Life, received Honorable Mention for the Harry Shaw and Katrina Hazzard-Donald Award for Outstanding Work in African-American Popular Culture Studies, given by the Pop Culture Association (PCA).  You might enjoy this video interview of Dr. Ibrahim by scholar Nicole King for the Harvard Book Store, or this dialogue with Professor Ibrahim about Black Age hosted by Stephanie Smallwood (History, UW) and Margo Natalie Crawford (English, University of Pennsylvania).

Shawn Wong has been awarded the Fred Yee Citizens Award given by the Chinese American Citizens Alliance to honor a citizen who "develops leadership, serves the community and promotes civil rights."

Rae Paris was awarded a 2021-22 Black Opportunity Grant from the UW to develop a mentoring program for Black students. Professor Paris is also on the organizing committee for the UW Black Opportunity Fund.

Jesse Oak Taylor was elected the Regional Collaboratories Chair for the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment.

Frances McCue was been awarded a Royalty Research Fund grant for Fall 2022.

Nancy Bou Ayash was elected next Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication Transnational Composition Group.

Kate Norako has been elected to the Council for the Medieval Association of the Pacific.

Simpson Center Awards

As with our graduate students, English department faculty claim a fair share of awards and grants from the University of Washington’s Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities.  Simpson Center awards are vital in keeping faculty research compelling and innovative.  Here are our most recent faculty recipients.

Nancy Bou Ayash has been awarded (along with Aria Fani in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Sasha Senderovich in Slavic Languages and Literatures and Jackson School of International Studies) the Simpson Center’s large scale collaboration grant for the project entitled “Institutionalizing Undergraduate Translation Curricula." The award will build on the work of a previous Simpson Center grant that created the UW Translation Studies Hub. The focus of the new project will be to increase translation literacy across the university; invite renowned scholars of translation pedagogy to campus; and enable the creation of new undergraduate courses that focus on translation and the design of modules on translation that can be integrated into any course across UW in both the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Stephanie ClareJeff Knight, and Jesse Oak Taylor have been awarded competitive Simpson Center Second Book Summer Fellowships.

Gillian Harkins secured a Simpson Center Award for Community Engaged Collaboration and Community Grant to support campus-carceral relationships.

Charles LaPorte (along with Beatrice Arduini, Donald Gilbert-Santamaria, Ping Wang, Geoffrey Turnovsky, Zev Handel, and Chris Hamm) has been awarded a Simpson Center Faculty Summer Reading Group grant on Historical Poetry and Poetics.

Anna Preus has been awarded a Simpson Center Digital Humanities Summer Research Fellowship to support her work on Publishing Empire: Colonial Authorship and British Literary Production, 1900-1940.

English Department Collaboration Grants

Several faculty were awarded English Department 2022 Collaboration Grants to lead conversations about the department’s hiring proposals and draft reports about what it means to hire in each of the proposed areas—to lay intellectual groundwork for how to translate the proposals to future ads and criteria, including some of the questions and assumptions that need to be addressed and the relationships and parameters that need to be clarified.

Alys Weinbaum, Eva Cherniavsky, and Doug Ishii: Settler Colonialism: Cultures and Archives hiring proposal.

Monika Kaup, Cristina Sánchez-Martín, Angélica Amezcua (Spanish and Portuguese), Elizabeth Hochberg (Spanish and Portuguese), Donald Gilbert-Santamaria (Spanish and Portuguese), and Ileana M. Rodriguez Silva (History): Latinx Literature and Culture hiring proposal.

Chadwick Allen and Stephanie Clare: American Indian and Indigenous Literary Studies hiring proposal.

Jeff Knight, Colette Moore, and Josie Walwema: Shakespeare and Global Performance hiring proposal.

Charles LaPorte, Anna Preus, and Jesse Oak Taylor: Milton and/or Romanticist with a World Literature Focus hiring proposal

We are thankful to these colleagues for helping us secure wider buy-in, learn from and about each other’s fields, and identify shared interests and stakes in department hiring.

Community Involvement

Colette Moore
Join the English Department in congratulating Colette Moore for leading and hosting the Studies in the History of the English Language conference last spring.  By all accounts, the three-day conference, which brought together language scholars from all over the world, was a great success.  Thanks to the Simpson Center and other sponsors for their support.  And bravo Colette!

Eva Cherniavsky, has been elected president of the University of Washington’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).  Scroll down to the Featured Articles section for a link to Cherniavsky’s new essay on academic freedom.

Habiba Ibrahim is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Washington Institute for the Study of Inequality and Race.

Douglas Ishii is a member of the National Tsuru for Solidarity Scholars Committee.

Emeritus Professor Charles Johnson stays characteristically busy in the community.  He received an honorary degree during the May commencement ceremony at Skidmore College. Professor Johnson delivered the keynote lecture, "Let Your Talent Be Your Guide," on March 3 at Washington University, where his literary archive is located.   On April 25, the play adaptation of his novel, Middle Passage, directed Ilesa Duncan, resumed at Lifeline Theater in Chicago after a hiatus due to Covid, and officers of the Charles Johnson Society at the American Literature Association attended a performance on May 29 after delivering papers on Johnson's work.  Professor Johnson has also just been elected to the Society of American Historians.

Richard Kenney works with the Pegasus Poetry Project in Port Townsend public schools.

Carrie Matthews is now on the board of directors of an organization she’s worked with for a long time, University Beyond Bars.

And now, if for some reason you are reading this out loud, take a deep breath.  Suhanthie Motha is co-organizer of the BIPOC Pre-College English Teachers’ Faculty Community of Practice and Care, a year-long professional development program for BIPOC teachers at colleges across WA state.  Dr. Motha also gave a series of talks on antiracism in English Language teaching to English teachers at Seattle Central College, South Seattle College, and Highline Community College.  Suhanthie Motha delivered the keynote address at the American Association of Applied Linguistics conference.  Finally, along with Rae Paris, Motha is a co-organizer of the UW Abolition Institute.

Michelle Liu and Anu Taranath continue their participation in the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau lectures.

Michelle Liu also continues her involvement with Reflection Point (formerly Books@Work), an organization that uses shared stories and deep dialogue to help teams and organizations become more inclusive, innovative, and collaborative.

Rae Paris is a member of the organizing committee for the Sacred Breath Writing and Storytelling series.

Candice Rai is a founding member of Rhetoric, Politics & Culture, a new peer-reviewed rhetoric journal.  Professor Rai also continues to work with the UW in the High Schools English program.

Shawn Wong continues his long-standing involvement in the Red Badge Project, an organization that uses the creative process of storytelling that helped veterans begin to rebuild their individual sense of purpose and individuality.

Featured Essays

English Matters has curated a short list of public-facing essays from our abundant pool of faculty articles.  These essays are posted not just to recognize their authors, but also so that our alumni and wider community might read and enjoy them.

Check out Eva Cherniavsky's essay, "Against the Common Sense: Academic Freedom as a Collective Right," recently printed in the Journal of Academic Freedom.  From the article’s abstract:

“This essay argues that the common sense of “academic freedom” in US universities today represents a historically anemic version of the concept that is markedly misaligned with contemporary political culture and its bearing on higher education. In this commonsense view, academic freedom is distinct from and yet fundamentally analogous to free speech rights: it is a principle that protects the free expression (spoken or printed) of individual faculty. This common sense privileges only the third principle (of three) in the AAUP’s 1940 codification of academic freedom—the principle concerning a faculty member’s civic freedom—and, moreover, erroneously conceives the first two principles, regarding research and teaching, as operating on the same model of individual liberties as the third. We need to resuscitate an understanding of academic freedom as the collective right of faculty to set the norms of academic debate, free from interference by administration, governing boards, or the state.”

Rush Daniel published his essay, "Austin is Ground Zero for a Different Kind of Neoliberalism" in Jacobin.  Professor Daniel recently took a tenure-track position at Seton Hall, so we are thrilled for him, but will certainly miss his presence as a colleague.  English Matters editorial staff has read all of Daniel’s recently published essays.  We hope that he takes our comparison to David Brooks as a compliment!  The two are politically distant, but share the ability to write engaging analytic prose pitched precisely at an interested, non-expert audience.  Nothing is simplified; concepts are made accessible in a flowing, conversationally-erudite style that must certainly be much harder to reproduce than its grace makes it seem.  You can read another half dozen of Rush Daniel’s excellent articles at Jacobin.

Professor Frances McCue has published a long form story in Indian Country Today about finding the lost poems of Wilma Mankiller. “The Lost Poems of Wilma Mankiller” recounts how during the summer of  2021, Mankiller's widower, Charlie Soap, Professor McCue, and their friend Greg Shaw searched a barn in Northeastern Oklahoma and came away with a treasure trove of poems.

And last but certainly not least, Jesse Oak Taylor's very interesting article "A Great Fire Somewhere? Synchronous Living in Epochal Times" was published in a Publications of the Modern Language Association of America (PMLA). “A Great Fire Somewhere?,” part of a PMLA cluster of essays about 2020, unpacks the visceral, novel reality of seemingly ubiquitous summer wildfire smoke in the Western United States.