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 28, 2011

Promotion and Tenure

It is almost August, which means that we're heading into the last weeks of summer. The pace is picking up noticeably in the main departmental office, and before too long we'll be up to our necks in the business of the Fall 2011 semester.

As we hurtle headlong towards another semester, I'd like to pause here to acknowledge and congratulate the five faculty members in our department who were promoted and granted tenure as the result of a year-long review process that was concluded at the end of last Spring. When the Fall term begins, in just a few short weeks, each of these distinguished scholar-teachers will officially hold the title of Associate Professor of English.

Five is an unusually large number of people to have come up for promotion and tenure in a given year, even for a comprehensive department like ours. In our case, these promotions can be seen as an echo-effect of a significant generational turnover among the faculty that took place, roughly, between 2003 and 2008. We did a lot of fantastic hiring 5-10 years ago, in other words, and what we are seeing now is that once-junior faculty members are becoming scholarly powerhouses, leaders in their respective fields. As a result, we are quickly ceasing to be the conspicuously young department I joined (as an old fogy!) in 2006, and we are becoming increasingly a department dominated by energetic, accomplished mid-career scholars. I see the past year's promotions (and those of the year before, and the ones I hope to see in the remaining two years of my term in the head's office) not only as occasions to celebrate the achievements of my impressive and deserving colleagues, but also as part of an important watershed moment for the department as a whole.

I say all this by way of context, to explain what it means to me to be able to post this here. But ultimately the achievements that matter are those of our newly-minted Associate Professors. So without further ado, here they are (in alphabetical order):

*Anustup Basu, who specializes in film and theory, works on subjects relating to the intersection of contemporary nationalism and the globalization of information and entertainment. His book Bollywood in the Age of New Media: The Geo-Televisual Aesthetic was published by the University of Edinburgh Press in 2010. Basu is also himself an active film-maker, having been Executive Producer, for example, for the award-winning 2008 film Herbert.

*Jose B. Capino is a scholar of film and theater. His current and recent scholarly work engages post-colonial theory and globalization by examining cross-cultural fantasies and projections in US and Philippine cinema. His book, Dream factories of a Former Colony: American Fantasies, Philippine Cinema, was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2010.

*Eleanor Courtemanche is an expert in Victorian literature and culture whose work emphasizes in particular the relationships between novelistic fiction and economic theory. Courtemanche's book, The 'Invisible Hand' and British Fiction, 1818-1860: Adam Smith, Political Economy, and the Genre of Realism was published in 2011, by Palgrave, as part of their "Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture" book series.

*Hina Nazar specializes in what might be called the intellectual history of the British novel in the 18th and 19th centuries. Even more broadly, her work reads the early history of the novel in order to recast a tradition of moral philosophy that begins with the Enlightenment and remains enshrined in the praxis of contemporary critical theory. Nazar's book, Enlightened Sentiments: Judgment and Autonomy in the Age of Sensibility, is currently in production and will be published by Fordham University Press during the upcoming academic year.

*Spencer Schaffner, a member of our outstanding writing-studies faculty, studies the shaping role that writing practices and technologies play in the production of knowledge and our experiences of the world. His book Binocular Vision: The Politics of Representation in Birdwatching Filed Guides, was published by the University of Massachusetts Press just a few weeks ago (which means, dear reader, that you can find a fuller account just by scrolling down a bit).

Congratulations, one and all!

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