Faculty and Student News

Linda Britt reports that the Humanities Department has approved a new minor in Spanish, which will be in place starting Fall 2006. Also, the recent addition of Marta Hernandez Salvan to the department as an assistant professor of Spanish has already made it possible to expand our offerings in Spanish.

This summer, Eric Brown was invited to give the keynote address, “Black Flies and Maine Identity,” at the annual gathering of the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library, in Lovell, ME. For the first time in the library’s history, the presentation was also offered via a sign-language interpreter to community members who were hearing impaired.

In October, Brown presented the Reading Revolutions lecture on Milton’s Areopagitica. He has also organized and will be chairing a Special Session, “Fictional Entomologies,” at the Modern Language Association conference in December. In related news, his book Insect Poetics is forthcoming Spring 2006 from University of Minnesota Press. He also will be contributing the invited essay “Materials of Time in Donne’s Devotions” for Renaissance Tropologies: Essays in Honor of Gale H. Carrithers, ed. Jeanne Shami (Duquesne University Press, forthcoming).

In mid-September, Jonathan Cohen presented a paper entitled “Nietzsche’s Musical Construction of Time” to the annual conference of the Friedrich Nietzsche Society of the United Kingdom and Ireland, held this year at Peterhouse in Cambridge, England. The paper used Nietzsche’s criticism of Wagnerian opera’s reliance on “endless melody” as a springboard for Nietzsche’s philosophical understanding of time.

Christiane Donahue presented “When Copying is not Copying: Plagiarism and French Composition Scholarship” at the “Originality, Imitation, Plagiarism” conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her article “Notes of a Humbled WPA: Dialogue with High School Colleagues” comes out January 2006 in The Writing Instructor, and she is currently serving on a scientific committee for a conference November 17–18, Universiti de Paris V, “L’ilhve et la pluraliti des appartenances: jtre enfant jtre ilhve ` travers les activitis langagihres.” She also recently cohosted with other UMaine system institutions a day-long composition conference: “Sharing What We Know” (October 22).

Creative writing majors Bianca Garber and Emily Wittenhagan are interns this semester with the Beloit Poetry Journal, whose editor is assistant professor of English Lee Sharkey. In addition to screening manuscripts and helping with the day to day business of publishing a literary journal, the students accompanied Sharkey to the weekend-long Festivo Poetry Festival, where they attended readings, helped staff the BPJ book table, and read their own work in an open reading. Sharkey read her poems in conjunction with their exhibition as collages by master calligrapher Jan Owen.

In July, Michael Johnson presented a paper entitled “The Site of Trauma and the Representation of Nature in the Book and Film of Beloved” at the Toni Morrison Society biennial conference. At the Western Literature Association meeting held in Los Angeles in mid-October, his presentation, “The Post-Soul Westerner in Percival Everett’s Short Fiction,” was delivered as part of a panel on “Percival Everett, David Anthony Durham, and the Post-Soul West.” Johnson reports that “we were fortunate to have one of the authors, Percival Everett, attend the panel, and he didn’t run screaming from the room when he heard what we had to say about his work (in fact, he listened politely and attentively). Not too far away from our hotel, Tom Cruise was filming the latest Mission Impossible movie. One of my colleagues took the wrong subway exit and wandered onto the filming location. Already lost, he became more confused when he saw that all the street signs had been replaced with signs in Chinese, as Los Angeles had been transformed into a city in China for the film.”

Gretchen Legler has a new nonfiction book coming out in November from Milkweed Press: On the Ice: An Intimate Portrait of Life in McMurdo Station Antarctica.

Wrapping up his term as Chair, Mark McPherran was elected to the Committee on the Teaching of Philosophy, American Philosophical Association (2005–2008). He also presented “Medicine, Magic, and Religion in Plato’s Symposium,” at the Conference on Plato’s Symposium, Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington, DC, August 17–19, 2005 (and was invited to give the same paper for the Honors College of the University of Maine at Orono, November 1, 2005). His articles “‘What Even a Child Would Know’: Socrates, Luck, and Providence at Euthydemus 277d-282e,” Ancient Philosophy 25.1 (2005), 1–15; and “Introducing a New God: Socrates and His Daimonion,” in P. Destrie and N. D. Smith (eds.), Socrates’ Divine Sign. Religion, Practice, and Value in Socratic Philosophy, Apeiron 38.1: 13–30 (also in Socrates’ Daimonion and Religion, edited by P. Destrie [forthcoming, Presses Universitaires de France]) appeared.

Additionally, McPherran had his paper “Socratic Epagtgj and Socratic Induction,” accepted by Journal of the History of Philosophy for forthcoming publication. He agreed to serve as a commentator on C. D. C. Reeve’s “Plato’s Goat-stag: Philosophers and Cities in the Republic,” for the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy, Dartmouth College, May, 2006; and during the fall he will present “Socratic Epagtgj and Socratic Induction” at the annual meeting of the Society For Ancient Greek Philosophy, at Fordham University, New York City (October, 2005). He continues to plug away on his essays “Santas and Socratic Argumentation” (invited book chapter) and “Socrates and Plato” (invited book chapter) for the History of Western Philosophy of Religion, edited by G. Oppy and N. Trakakis (Chesham, UK: Acumen, 2007).

From May 15 to June 15, 2005, Gari Muller was a guest professor at the Beijing University of Technology, China. He acted as a consultant to their language school and taught in their program.

Pat O’Donnell had a short story called “Helen of Troy” published in Dogwood: A Journal of the Arts, Fairfield University, Spring 2005. This story was a finalist in the journal’s annual fiction contest. She also received the Martin Dibner Award for Fiction, a cash grant to help defray expenses for a semester release to live and write in Cape Town, South Africa.

Two stories by UMF students, “Pentimenti” by Sarah Palmer and “The Six Arms of the Homeless” by Sean Thomas, were published in the Southern Maine Review. “The Six Arms of the Homeless” won the President’s Writing Award.

Jeffrey Thomson’s Blind Desire, a limited edition chapbook of poems printed for Messages & Communication, an installation exhibit by photographer and book artist Dennis Marsico will be published in October. He also has new poems forthcoming in Indiana Review, The Flint Hills Review, and Ginger Hill.

Humanities Department, UMaine Farmington, 270 Main Street, Farmington, ME 04938

Phone: (207) 778-7425 • Fax: (207) 778-7452 • TDD: (207) 778-7000
E-mail contact: aleclair@maine.edu