Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Illinois Department of English Blog


Welcome to the Department of English blog.

My name is Vicki Mahaffey and I took over as
head of the department on July 1, 2016. I'll be using this site to post updates and information of interest to our faculty, students, and alumni,
along with reflections about our discipline(s) in particular and the humanities in general. As anyone who has ever worked or studied here knows, the Department of English is a vibrant place. If you have something you'd like to see posted here, or if you want to contact me about the content of this blog, drop me an email at

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Unit

I have been remiss about posting here of late. The summer is comparatively slow in EB 208, and (to tell the truth) I've been trying to do some scholarly reading and writing of my own in the gaps between administrative responsibilities and so haven't taken the time to write here. This is likely to continue through mid-August, though I will try to post from time to time.

I couldn't let this pass without comment, however: I am happy to announce that (pending approval of the Trustees) Lauren M. E. Goodlad, who did a terrific job as interim director of the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory last year, has graciously agreed to serve a full term as Director beginning in August. The Unit is not formally affiliated with the English, but its directors have typically been from our faculty and it has been, for more than 25 years, an important source of intellectual and scholarly excitement for faculty and graduate students in English as well as in other humanities fields on campus. Goodlad, whose work perfectly embodies the very best of the kind of historically and materially grounded theoretical work for which the Unit is known, is the perfect person to lead the Unit going forward and I'm very happy that she has agreed to do so.

Now would also be an appropriate time to thank the outgoing Director, Michael Rothberg, for his brilliant work with the Unit during his term. In addition to his tireless administrative work-- planning countless talks, conferences and other events that have been instrumental in fostering our lively culture of interdisciplinary exchange--Rothberg is to be lauded for making a concerted effort to include graduate students in English and other humanities fields in all of the Unit's activities. Rothberg was on leave in 2008-09, and will be working this coming year in English as well as in The Program in Jewish Culture and Society, where he will be the Director of a new initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies.

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