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, May 6, 2013

Lindsey Rose Russell wins RSA award!

Lindsay Rose Russell, who joined our faculty as an Assistant Professor in August, has just been honored by the Rhetoric Society of America with this year's Rhetoric Society of America Dissertation Award, recognizing it as the best of last year's doctoral dissertations in the field of rhetoric and rhetorical studies.

Here is a lovely paragraph about Russell and the award, pasted in from the RSA's own webpage:

The committee awards the 2013 Rhetoric Society of America Dissertation Award to Lindsay Rose Russell for “Women in the English Language Dictionary” (University of Washington, co-chairs Anis Bawarshi and Colette Moore). This ambitious project, vast in historical scope and rich in historiographical significance, examines women’s participation in the English language dictionary from the early modern period to the present. Committee members variously described it as an “elegant study with astounding historical depth…fascinating and timely, impeccably researched, well theorized, and…beautifully written.” Dr. Russell does not merely recover women’s participation in the history of the dictionary; she asks us to rethink how we conceptualize dictionaries as a rhetorical genre, calling particular attention to both their historical gendering as well as a longstanding but heretofore hidden history of women’s rhetorical critique, from contributions as readers, writers, and patrons of the emerging dictionary genre in the early modern period to contemporary feminist dictionary projects. Applying both feminist and genre theory to a careful archival recovery project, and displaying a deep knowledge of English language history, “Women in the English Language Dictionary” makes a significant contribution to rhetorical studies. 

The Rhetoric Society of America is a large and significant scholarly association, a member of the American Council of Learned Societies, and an organization whose membership spans the whole multi-disciplinary gamut of rhetorical studies.  To win an award like this is therefore a really significant honor.

Congratulations, Lindsay!    

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