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Clubs, Colloquia, and Workshops News

Creative Writing New Student Reading

New Student Reading
Student reader O-Jeemiah Agbaakin and Professor LeAnne Howe

On August 24th, the Creative Writing Program invited our communities to gather in Park Hall, formally welcome, and celebrate three new PhD students: O-Jeemiah Agbaakin, Erik B. Brown, and Colin Bishoff. Free and open to the public, this year’s inaugural reading drew an exciting and engaged crowd to the Park Hall auditorium. Celebrants, authors, and mentors enjoyed a catering spread and fellowship with one another after the summer holidays before taking their seats. First, the audience enjoyed a gripping cluster of poetry from O-Jeemiah Agbaakin. Up next, Erik B. Brown treated the group to some of his own captivating verse. Finally, Colin Bishoff pivoted to prose and delighted the crowd with selections from one of his short stories. This event displayed the incredible range of talents in our CWP program and indicated an inspiring year to come.

Georgia Colloquium in Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century British Literature

In October, the Georgia Colloquium in Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century British Literature hosted Dr. Nasser Mufti (University of Illinois-Chicago), a highly regarded expert on the intersections between nineteenth-century British literature and postcolonial studies. Dr. Mufti gave a fascinating and well-attended talk on “The Victorians at Decolonization,” which was followed by a lively reception. The Colloquium in Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century British Literature is co-directed by David Diamond and Casie LeGette, and supported by the Willson Center and the Rodney Baine Lecture Fund.



Sigma Tau DeltaSTD members

The UGA Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the National English Honors Society, welcomed twelve new members at its annual induction ceremony on Thursday, November 9th at 5 p.m. in the Park Hall Library.  Sigma Tau Delta is dedicated to creating community within the English Department by organizing volunteer opportunities and holding formal and informal get-togethers throughout the school year.  

The newest class of members includes: Ava Allred, Whitney Bramlett, Katherine Burch, Cacie Cummings, Kate Gottsman, Jason Hawkins, Nico Houser, Audrey Kirkland, Anna Sears, Shelby Williams, and Autumn Rose Young. 

Sigma Tau Delta President Kai Spencer and Treasurer Brienne Heinssen also graduated in December 2023.  We thank them for their leadership and service and know they will continue to do great things! 

Undergradute English Association 
It was a big day for the UEA when an owl visited Park Hall. They named him Percy.

An unhinged powerpoint night. A Halloween costume party. A poetry reading in the style of Dead Poets Society. Study halls where studying is definitely done. A craft party where fall leaves are transformed into art by gentle hands. At the Undergraduate English Association, all of these nights of whimsy are possible.

“Last spring, we still felt like we were figuring out what we wanted this club to be,” says Nina Meier, the UEA’s president. “This semester was all about building up that foundation.”

Core philosophies were kept, such as the need to build a community within Park Hall, but now that the UEA was established there was room to experiment with events and activities. Some weeks were planned meticulously in advance, such as the UEA’s discussion with Time Out of Joint, an organization that does Shakespeare workshops in prisons. Members were able to ask formerly incarcerated educators questions about their mission to make Shakespeare accessible and their individual pedagogies. Other weeks had more room for spontaneity, such as the fall crafts meeting. Outside of Park Hall Library, the UEA goes to Rook and Pawn in downtown Athens the first Friday of every month, for hours of elevated tomfoolery. 

Now wrapping up its second semester since its (re?)founding, the Undergraduate English Association has come into its own. They have regular speakers, such as Dr. Lasek-White, who gave an in-depth presentation about career preparation and professionalization. The board ensured that most weeks had activities that promote socialization and new connections between English majors. The integration of freshmen into the club was of particular concern, as many senior members remembered what it had been like to be a freshman English major, still isolated from the department and having few, if any, friends within it. 

The club’s president, Nina Meier, graduated this fall (GO NINA!!) and her absence will be felt and suffered. Nina’s efforts to coordinate events, connect with club members, and her general effervescent personality will be sorely missed. But the club is in the capable hands of Dani Garcia-Pozo, the current vice president. Next semester, Dani plans to continue Nina’s legacy by doing more fun events, expanding the outreach of the club, and endeavoring to make the UEA’s meetings something that all English majors look forward to attending.


UGA Symposium on the Book 

The ongoing UGA Symposium on the Book (co-curated by Profs. Miriam Jacobson, Sujata Iyengar, and librarian Anne Meyers DeVine) held two meetings this year. The first, featuring Professor Kim Coles (University of Maryland), formed part of the year-long Phillis Wheatley Peters Project run by Drs. Barbara McCaskill, Sarah Ruffing Robbins (TCU) and Mona Narain (TCU) and comprised a keynote by Dr. Coles, "The Blood of Christians: Phillis Wheatley Peters and White Christianity" that offered a new reading of Coles' famous poem "On Being Brought from Africa to America" and a workshop with Coles and Dr. David Diamond (UGA), on early printed books in the UGA Special Collections Libraries, including our first edition of Wheatley Peters' Poems (1773). Sponsors included the Willson Center, the Department of English, and the Bibliographical Society of America.

Our second meeting, "Unbinding Book History," unspooled over two days of events in early September 2023 that exploredFlyer the intricate connections among literature, book arts, and history. The symposium, sponsored by the Willson Center, Departments of English and Romance Languages, the Office of Institutional Diversity, the Institutes for African American Studies and for Women's Studies, and the Bibliographical Society of America, featured a keynote address by acclaimed artist Suzanne Coley and a panel with special guest Professor Jennifer Low (Florida Atlantic University), an early modern scholar and apprentice book artist. Coley's presentation intricately wove together historical African, American, and African American textiles, investigating gender, race, and memory through exquisitely sewn, embroidered, and printed books.

The symposium also included two faculty panels, one with Drs. James Sargan, Julie Mattison, and Jacobson, and another with Drs. Iyengar and Nora Benedict with featured invited speaker Professor Jennifer Low. Drs. Sargan, Mattison, and Jacobson shared scholarship on new ways to read medieval and Renaissance book bindings through Queer and Trans theory, attention to fragments, and historical fantasies about binding. Drs. Iyengar and Low responded to Coley's work by analyzing the relationship between Shakespeare and contemporary book arts; Dr. Benedict considered artists' books from contemporary Latin America.  The symposium concluded with a Masterclass with Cynthia Camp on a unique Book of Hours held by UGA's Special Collections Libraries that examined one part of the book, the calendar, for idiosyncratic local saints. Collectively, these events blended creative practice with scholarly expertise, contemporary and theoretical approaches with historical perspectives, and cross-disciplinary conversations with hands-on learning.

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