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, February 13, 2014

Awards Round-Up

(Updated April 1, 2014)

Things have been busy around the English Department during the first weeks of the semester, and this is my first chance to return to the blog! We have three searches going on for positions in Writing Studies, African American Literature, and Global Anglophone Literatures that we hope will bring several wonderful new colleagues to campus next year. I wish I could tell you more, but really all I can say right now is that we’ve had a string of excellent job talks that have provoked stimulating discussions in the English Building. More news to come as the semester continues…

While we’re in the middle of those searches—and much else!—I did want to take a moment to share some good news about various honors that faculty and graduate students have won in recent weeks. (There's been a lot recently, so if I've inadvertently forgotten something, please let me know!)

*Christopher Freeburg won the Hennig Cohen Prize of The Melville Society. The prize is “an annual award for the best article, book chapter, or essay in a book about Herman Melville.” Chris received the award for his chapter "Embodying the 'Assaults of Time': 'The Encantadas,'" from his book Melville and the Idea of Blackness: Race and Imperialism in Nineteenth-Century America (Cambridge University Press, 2012). As the award committee wrote in their appraisal: “Freeburg’s insistence that Melville’s representations of race are both historically concrete and philosophically abstract (bearing on questions of ontology and epistemology) makes this book crucial for thinking about how Melville’s writings address the complex relation between literature and history.”

*Sandra Ruiz (English & Latina/Latino Studies) and J.B. Capino have been awarded Faculty Fellowships from the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) for the 2014-2015 academic year.

*Ariana Ruiz and Ben Bascom, two of our excellent graduate students, have also been awarded fellowships from the IPRH—our campus humanities center—that will provide a stipend allowing them to focus on their research during the 2014-2015 academic year.

*Catherine Prendergast and David Wright have both been named Associates of the Center for Advanced Study, our most prestigious cross-campus research unit for the 2014-2015 year.

*Four faculty members received Humanities Released Time awards from the Campus Research Board for 2014-2015: Andrew Gaedtke, Hina Nazar, Lori Newcomb, and Richard T. Rodriguez.

*Jordan Sellers, another excellent graduate student, has won the 2013-2014 LAS Humanities Council Teaching Excellence Award.

*Dale Bauer has won the 2013-2014 Lynn M. Martin Award for Distinguished Women Teachers and the campus Undergraduate Teaching Award.

*Charlie Wright has the won the campus award for Graduate Student Mentoring.

Congratulations to all of these deserving honorees! I hope the number and range of awards will give you a sense of how seriously we in the English department take both research and teaching.

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