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

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tenure and Promotion

I am very pleased to be able to announce here the following faculty promotions.  New titles take effect in August, 2012.

For those readers of this blog who are not in the academy, this is a big, big deal.  Promotions are based on a successful record as a teacher and scholar, and they often reflects the successful publication of research that the faculty member in question has been working on for many, many years.

In all cases, these promotions involve formal evaluation of the candidate's scholarly work by leading senior experts in his or her field, and careful in-house evaluation and deliberation concerning his or her teaching and research.  A professor on the tenure track basically has only two major promotions in his or her academic career, so each of them is a very important landmark.

The following faculty members in the Department of English have earned promotion to the rank of Associate Professor and tenure:

*Jodi Byrd, who is faculty in English and American Indian Studies.  Her book The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism, was published in 2011 by the University of Minnesota Press. 

*Janice Harrington, a poet and writer of children's books in our Creative Writing program, whose most recent book of poetry is The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home (BOA Editions, 2011).

*Melissa Littlefield, who is on the faculty in English and also in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health.  Her book, The Lying Brain: Lie Detection in Science and Science Fiction, was published by University of Michigan Press in 2011.  For good measure, another book--The Neuroscientific Turn: Transdisciplinarity in the Age of the Brain--that Littlefield has co-edited is due to be published by The University of Michigan Press in about a month. 

*Justine Murison, a scholar of 19th-Century American literature, whose book The Politics of Anxiety in Nineteenth-Century American Literature was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011.

The following faculty members in the Department of English have earned promotion to the rank of Professor (which means, per University guidelines, that they have amassed evidence of national or international stature in their respective scholarly fields and that they are leading scholars and teachers):

*Feisal Mohamed, who is an expert in seventeenth-century literature and especially the poetry and prose of John Milton, and who works on issues pertaining to law, literature, and the history of religious toleration. Mohamed's most recent book--Milton and the Post-Secular Present: Ethics, Politics, Terrorism--was published in 2011 by Stanford University Press.

*Tim Newcomb, a scholar of modern US poetry and of film, whose most recent book How Did Poetry Survive?  The Making of Modern American Verse was just published by the University of Illinois Press this Spring.   

Congratulations, one and all!

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