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, October 28, 2010


Every year, as Hallowe'en approaches, the English department staff holds a pumpkin decorating contest. In a blog post about this tradition last year, I dubbed it the Pumpkinification of English (in the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that this is an allusion to a satirical book called The Pumpkinification of Claudius probably written by the Roman playwright, politician, and philosopher Seneca, a writer I find endlessly fascinating. But I digress). Anyway, the time has come again once again for our annual re-pumkinification. The pumpkins are set out on display in the department's main office, and people who pass through are invited to vote for their favorite. This kicks off what is usually a pretty festive couple of days around here, since the children of department-members will traipse through the office in costume to trick-or-treat today and tomorrow as well.

Here are this year's contestants. I'll update in a few days when the smoke clears and the votes have been tallied.

Update, Friday late afternoon. Votes have been cast and tallied. Now, at last, the results can be revealed to a breathless public. This year's winner is...

[wait for it...]

[building suspense...]

...Deb Stauffer, for the black cat pumpkin in the center of the table! This is, as they say in the NBA, a 3-peat!

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