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

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy new year!

I have not posted here for a few weeks, so it is time to catch up!  This past weekend, many faculty members (including me!) and grad students in our department were in Boston for the annual Modern Language Association conference, a huge conference that combines thousands of scholarly presentations and roundtable discussions with professional business of other kinds pertaining to teaching and scholarship in modern language fields and the inevitable socializing that happens around the edges of any large conference.  Exhausting, stimulating, etc., etc.  

As it happens, the current president of the Modern Language Association (and former faculty member in our department), Michael Bérubé, also published this piece on the value of a humanistic degree over at CNN on January 4th.  I strongly encourage you to click through and give it a read.  Then come right back, of course--I have other things to share with you here as well.  


Welcome back!  Here's item #2.  Our wonderful, award-winning, innovative literary magazine Ninth Letter is now supplementing its print edition (which I posted about a few weeks ago) with a separate online edition that you can find here.  If you click through that link you will find the "first-ever complete online issue of 9L" showcasing "our favorite poetry and fiction by creative writing students across the continent."  How can you pass that up, eh?  I'll wait.


 Last but not least, subscribers to the Chronicle of Higher Education may have already seen this profile of Gordon Hutner, entitled "The Editor as Power Broker."  That link requires a subscription, so you may not be able to get to the full profile. The piece does a nice job of describing the work that a journal like American Literary History, which Hutner edits, does to shape a scholarly field.  Check it out if you can.

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