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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Convocation and...Ted Underwood.

We held our annual departmental convocation this past Saturday--lovely, as always, and my last one as department head!  The weather cooperated, too, so we were all able to mingle on the quad in brisk sunshine after the ceremony was over.

Congratulations to all of our graduating students (including the new PhDs)!  I should get some pictures to post in a couple of weeks and then I'll have put up another post here, including the text of the remarks offered by distinguished departmental alum Darrell Nance.

In the meantime, the University's News Bureau today posted a really nice story today about Ted Underwood, whose innovative, computer-aided analyses of large sets of literary texts have been attracting a lot of scholarly attention recently.  As the article points out, Underwood's successes of late have included both scholarly publications (which are not unusual in a strong English department like ours) and grants (which are rarer for us): Underwood's recent findings "will be included in his book, 'Why Literary Periods Mattered: Historical Contrast and the Prestige of English Studies', to be published this summer by Stanford University Press." And he has also recently been awarded "an $85,000 Digital Innovation fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies and a $57,000 digital humanities startup grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which he is using to expand his research to 470,000 volumes."

Anyway, I strongly urge you to click through above (or here) to read the article in it entirety.  Also, it features a nice photo of the article's subject!

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