University of Mississippi

Paula W. White

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Education:
      Ph.D. English, University of Arkansas, 2017.               
      M.A. English, Jackson State University, 2010.
      B.A., with Distinction, English, Jackson State University, 2007.
 
Teaching and Research Interests: 
      Contemporary African American Literature
      Black Feminist Literary Studies
      Black Masculinity Studies
      Southern Literature
 
Publications: 
     “Individualism and the Pull of Tradition in Things Fall Apart and The Joys of Motherhood” in Achebe’s Women: Imagism and Power African Press, 2012: 301-08. Print.
      White Faces in Black Spaces: The Dilemma of William Styron’s Nat Turner” in Black Magnolias: A Literary Journal. (Vol. 6.1)  Spring 2012: 5-16. Print.
 
Courses:
      Major African American Writers
      African American Literature Survey since 1920
      Studies in Southern Literature
      Survey of Southern Literature
      Women in the South
      Special Topics in Gender and Literature
      Literary Interpretation

Julian Randall, MFA student, awarded Cave Canem Poetry Prize

Cave Canem Poetry Prize

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Launched in 1999 with Rita Dove’s selection of Natasha Trethewey’s Domestic Work, this first-book award is dedicated to the discovery of exceptional manuscripts by black poets of African descent. View previous Prize Winning Books.

Submissions for the 2018 Cave Canem Poetry Prize will open in spring 2018.

2017 Winner

Cave Canem is pleased to announce that Vievee Francis has selected Julian Randall’s manuscript, Refuse, for the 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Julian will receive $1,000, publication by The University of Pittsburgh Press in fall 2018, complimentary copies of the book and a feature reading in New York City.

Julian Randall is a Living Queer Black poet from Chicago. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he has received fellowships from Callaloo, BOAAT and the Watering Hole and was the 2015 National College Slam (CUPSI) Best Poet. Julian is the curator of Winter Tangerine Review’s Lineage of Mirrors and a poetry editor for Freezeray Magazine. He is also a co-founder of the Afrolatinx poetry collective Piel Cafe. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as NepantlaRattleNinth LetterVinylPrairie Schooner and The Adroit Journal among others. He is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Mississippi.

Honorable Mentions:

Darrel Alejandro Holnes for Stepmotherland
Shayla Lawson for Ti Ador(n)o

Funder: National Endowment for the Arts

Ralph Eubanks to Serve as Visiting Professor at UM

Alumnus and author will teach courses in Southern studies and English

Ralph Eubanks

OXFORD, Miss. – Author and journalist Ralph Eubanks returns to the University of Mississippi this fall, this time as a visiting professor. The Mount Olive native will teach a Southern studies course this fall and an English course during the spring semester.

His Southern studies course, SST 598: Special Topics, examines the American South through the art of photography as well as through the work of writers who have found their inspiration in photography. James Agee and Walker Evans’ “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” will serve as a foundational work to examine ways the visual record of the American South is tied to writing about the region, including novels, poetry and journalism, particularly magazine journalism of the 1960s in magazines such as Life and Look.

What connects the reading for this course – and will be the focus of class discussions – is how authors turn to photographs as a way to tie together the region’s visual and verbal traditions, Eubanks said.

“I spoke at the center last year about the work of Walker Evans and James Agee and the impact it was having on my own writing about the Mississippi Delta,” he said. “At the time, I was teaching a class of photography and literature at Millsaps College, but I realized at the end of the class that I spent a great deal of time focused on the South.

“So when I was asked to teach at Ole Miss, I decided to adapt that class to focus exclusively on the South.”

Eubanks said he hopes students will learn how history is embedded in visual images, as well as how to read a photograph.

“Photographs are time capsules of history and can tell us a great deal about how the people and places captured in them,” Eubanks said. “Also, I hope they will see how photographs can be a testament to the relentless melting of time.

“As Susan Sontag said, all photographs are ‘memento mori’ (a Latin phrase meaning ‘remember that you have to die’). A photograph captures another person’s – or a place’s – mortality, vulnerability and mutability.

“I’d like my students to think about how the visual image of the South has evolved over time and reveals time’s impact on the landscape as well as how visual images both crush – and reinforce – Southern myths.”

Second-year Southern studies master’s student Holly Robinson enrolled in the course because she thought it would be a good way to brush up on her image-analysis skills ahead of her thesis research.

“I’m a popular culturist, so I enjoy looking at visual imagery more than books because there’s a lot more to say about an image, and things aren’t as concrete, so you can be really speculative in your analysis, which always leads you to a more interesting idea-place,” Robinson said.

Eubanks’ class for the English department is “Civil Rights and Activism in Literature,” which is slightly different from a class he taught at Millsaps. It will examine works of literature that turn their focus on the image, life and reality of black life during the civil rights movement as well as in today’s second wave of activism.

“One change this time is that I am teaching Richard Wright’s ‘Native Son,’” Eubanks said. “I believe that Richard Wright’s work, particularly the social realism of his work, deserves a re-examination.”

Eubanks is the author of “Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past” (Basic Books, 2003), which Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley named as one of the best nonfiction books of the year. He has contributed articles to the Washington Post Outlook and Style sections, the Chicago Tribune, Preservation and National Public Radio.

He is a recipient of a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and has been a fellow at the New America Foundation. He is the former editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review at the University of Virginia and served as director of publishing at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. from 1995 to 2013.

Last year, he was the Eudora Welty Visiting Scholar in Southern Studies at Millsaps College in Jackson.

Eubanks, who received his bachelor’s degree at UM before earning a master’s degree in English language and literature at the University of Michigan, is looking forward to spending an extended amount of time on the Ole Miss campus.

“Although I spend a great deal of time in Oxford, it is different being a resident of the university community and being a visitor,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being a part of the community for a while.

“Plus, this academic year is exactly 40 years after my senior year at Ole Miss, which was the last time I spent an extended amount of time on campus. It’s good to come full circle.”

Ralph Eubanks

Ralph Eubanks is the author of The House at the End of the Road:  The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South (HarperCollins, 2009) and Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past (Basic Books, 2003), which Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley named as one of the best nonfiction books of the year. He has contributed articles to the Washington Post Outlook and Style sections, the Chicago Tribune, Preservation and National Public Radio.  He is a recipient of a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and has been a fellow at the New America Foundation. He is the former editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review at the University of Virginia and served as director of publishing at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. from 1995 to 2013.

Prison-to-College Pipeline Program Helps Participants Build Futures

UM-Mississippi College partnership supports pursuit of college education at correctional facilities

Co-directors Otis Pickett (back row, left) and Patrick Alexander (back row, right) with 16 graduates of the summer 2016 Prison-to-College Pipeline course at the Mississippi State Penitentiary. Submitted photo/Mississippi Department of Corrections

OXFORD, Miss. – A partnership between the University of Mississippi and Mississippi College is promoting higher education in prison and helping incarcerated men and women transform their lives as they earn credits toward a college education.

The Prison-to-College Pipeline Programbegan in summer 2014 with 17 students at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. Since then, 61 men have completed a PTCPP course at the facility. Twenty of those have earned English credits from Ole Miss and several have received history credits from Mississippi College.

“Working with men who have been participants in and graduates of the Prison-to-College Pipeline Program has been one of the greatest joys of my life,” said Patrick Alexander, UM assistant professor of English and African American studies. “To have the opportunity to play a small role in encouraging and advancing the very large educational goals, intellectual curiosities, and college and post-college dreams of men of all ages who are serving time at Parchman in particular has been an unprecedented honor.”

Alexander, who has taught African-American literature courses in prison systems in North Carolina and Mississippi for the past decade, partnered with Otis Pickett, Mississippi College assistant professor of history, to create the program. Pickett said it has been the singular greatest experience of his career.

“To have the opportunity to address a social justice issue through my profession and as part of my teaching role is a unique opportunity and one that I am incredibly proud of,” he said. “I thought I was coming to teach these students, but they are the ones teaching me.”

Last summer, the program expanded to the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility for women in Pearl. Pickett and Stephanie Rolph, associate professor of history at Millsaps College, team-taught a course there on “Turning Oppression into Opportunity.”

Eighteen students completed that for-credit college course, which was likely the first one taught at a women’s prison by Mississippi university faculty members.

Co-teachers Otis Pickett (back row, left) and Stephanie Rolph (back row, second from right) with the 18 graduates of the summer 2016 Prison-to-College Pipeline course at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. Submitted photo/Mississippi Department of Corrections.

“The most valuable part of this experience for me has been the enthusiasm with which these women participate,” Rolph said. “You don’t have to explain to them why history matters; they already know. As an instructor, that is one of the most satisfying experiences I can hope for.”

In fall 2016, the PTCPP offered its first-ever course during the regular academic calendar at Parchman. The course, titled “Freedom: Literature and Creative Writing,” was team-taught by Alexander and Ann Fisher-Wirth, UM professor of English and director of the environmental studies minor who won the 2014 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award.

“I have been very moved by my experience teaching in the PTCP program and I am so proud of the students in this class, many of whom had not really studied poetry before, but all of whom approached it with interest and curiosity,” she said.

Each of Fisher-Wirth’s 11 PTCPP students had an original poem or prose work included in the Parchman Portfolio, which she edited for the online journal About Place.

“Their work has been read by thousands of people,” she said. “In my 40 years of college-level teaching, I’ve never had a teaching experience that meant more to me.”

Comments from anonymous students about the program have been equally positive.

“I took the first course with Dr. Alexander and Dr. Pickett, which was an awesome experience, and this course (with Alexander/Fisher-Wirth) was awesome as well. The professors actually care about teaching us.”

Another student reported that the course “exceeded my expectations because I gained enormous skills that were hidden deep within me.”

“Your time and dedication to the service of men, who many people feel aren’t deserving of this level of education, shows that there are genuinely good people still in this world,” another student said. “The lessons I’ve learned are invaluable.

“When I become a published author, I will be certain to put the names of Dr. Fisher-Wirth and Dr. Alexander at the top of my acknowledgement page.”

Since the program’s inception, Alexander and Pickett have continued to teach their inaugural course, titled “Justice Everywhere.” Its original content, which focused on speeches and/or writings of Martin Luther King Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer and Barack Obama, has expanded to include Ida B. Wells and Maya Angelou.

“I am so thankful for the support of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi, to Mississippi College and to the Mississippi Humanities Council for funding this work,” Pickett said. “I am also thankful for Parchman and Central Mississippi Correctional, who have allowed us to come in, offer courses and to teach students.

“My greatest thanks go to the students, whose hard work in the most difficult of conditions proves what the human spirit is capable of.”

Sarah Baechle

Sarah Baechle specializes in Middle English language and literature and history of the medieval book. Her research interests include Chaucer, particularly manuscript traditions of his work within the larger cultural nexus of late fourteenth-century English-French interaction; Latin marginalia in copies of vernacular poetry; and medieval poets’ figurative strategies for representing emotion. She is currently working on a book project, Makeres in Their Margins: Latin Glossing in Chaucer’s Cross-Channel Literary Milieu, which explores the function of Latin marginalia in manuscripts of Chaucer’s poetry and their role in shaping medieval practices of literary criticism in the fourteenth century. She also is co-editing theessay collection Subjects of Violence: Women, Consent, and Resistance in the Late Middle Ages, and coedited New Directions in Medieval Manuscript Studies and Reading Practices: Essays in Honor of Derek Pearsall (U. Notre Dame Press, 2014) with Kathryn Kerby-Fulton and John Thompson.  

 

Education:

Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2015

M.A., University of New Mexico, 2007; University of Notre Dame, 2011

B.A., University of New Mexico, 2004

 

Teaching and Research Interests:

Middle English and Old and Middle French languages and literatures

Medieval manuscript and print culture

Cognition and literature

Medieval authorship theories and literary criticism

Gender and sexuality in the Middle Ages

 

Office:
Bondurant Hall W212
sebaechl@olemiss.edu

English Professor Wins Pushcart Prize for Best Essay

Chris Offutt also won Kentucky Literary Award for nonfiction this year

Chris Offutt. Photo by Sandra Dyas

OXFORD, Miss. – Even for someone who is already a respected, prize-winning author and screenwriter, winning the prestigious Pushcart Prize is a rewarding experience.

“The Pushcart Prize is a personal milestone,” said Chris Offutt, associate professor of English and screenwriting at the University of Mississippi. Offutt won the top annual literary honor for his essay “Trash Food,” originally published in Oxford American magazine.

“When I first started writing seriously, I read several volumes of the Pushcart Prize anthology in a public library,” he said. “It seemed far-fetched to imagine that one day I’d write something that would be in there. I’m still surprised that my commitment to writing has worked out.”

The Pushcart Prize is an American literary prize that honors the best “poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot” published in the small presses over the previous year. Awarded annually since 1976, the prize is considered one of the most prestigious in its field.

Magazine and small press editors are invited to submit up to six works for consideration. Pushcart Press publishes annual anthologies of the winners. 

Offutt wrote the essay at the request of John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, which is part of the university’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. The essay is about race and class in the South – an issue of great importance to Offutt – and how it plays out in the food people eat.

“The award meant that I’d gotten my points across well,” he said. “It also meant more people would read it. According to the editor at Oxford American, the essay went viral online.”

Ivo Kamps, UM chair and professor of English, praised Offutt’s latest achievement.

“We’re very happy, though not surprised, that Chris Offutt has been chosen for the honor,” Kamps said. “Mr. Offutt is an accomplished and prolific writer, and winning a Pushcart Prize on the heels of the 2017 Kentucky Literary Award for a memoir about his father further underscores the power and far-reaching impact of his prose.

“For the last six years, he has been an enormous asset to our English department. It’s truly wonderful that our aspiring young writers can study with someone of his caliber and dedication.”

Offutt worked on the HBO drama “True Blood” and the Showtime series “Weeds.” His books include “Kentucky Straight,” “The Same River Twice,” “The Good Brother,” “Out of the Woods” and “No Heroes: A Memoir of Coming Home.”

His work has appeared in such anthologies as “The Best American Essays” and “The Best American Short Stories.”

“I’d like to express my deep appreciation to Ivo Kamps and to all my colleagues in literature and creative writing,” Offutt said. “I have found a home here – physically and intellectually. My experience of teaching here for the past six years has been terrific in every way.”

UM Liberal Arts Graduate Programs Jump in Rankings: English, History and Political Science doctoral programs named among nation’s best

OXFORD, Miss. – On the heels of achieving the university’s highest-ever standing in the 2017 U.S. News & World Report annual rankings of Best (Undergraduate) Colleges and Universities, the publication’s most recent graduate academic program rankings confirm the university’s commitment to academic excellence.

Doctoral programs in English, history and political science all made significant strides in the 2018 graduate program rankings, indication of the growing strength and upward trend for UM’s graduate programs in social sciences and humanities.

The U.S. News & World Report graduate rankings for the three programs were last updated in 2013.

“We are proud of the faculty who have worked hard to distinguish our graduate programs, and these new rankings clearly indicate that they are gaining recognition for their efforts,” said Noel Wilkin, UM interim provost and executive vice chancellor. “We have encouraged each of our programs to pursue excellence and I am pleased that this pursuit is bringing recognition to our faculty, our university and our state.”

The English doctoral program demonstrated the biggest jump as it improved 16 spots, where it tied for No. 40 in the nation among public universities with fellow Southeastern Conference institutions the universities of Florida and Missouri.

A Ph.D. in history from the university has never been more valued, as the graduate program cracked the Top 40 for the first time. UM tied for No. 37 in the category – up nine spots from 2013 – and shares the position with fellow SEC and Carnegie R1 research universities Texas A&M and Kentucky.

The political science graduate program entered the rankings for the first time and tied for No. 58 among public institutions.

Lee Cohen, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, says the rankings are a testament to the university’s strong faculty, staff and students.

“These rankings demonstrate what we have believed for some time: that we have strong, competitive doctoral programs on our campus that are well-respected at the national level,” Cohen said. “Of course, without the hard work of our faculty, staff and students, and the support of university administration, none of this would be attainable.”

The rankings are based on data collected last fall via surveys sent to administrators or faculty members at schools that granted five or more doctorates in each discipline from 2011 to 2015.

“Graduate education is increasingly important and valued in today’s competitive global marketplace,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “A UM graduate degree marks someone as a leader who will exceed employer expectations and be a real-world change maker.

“In order to continue the rise of our graduate programs, we are committed to enhancing our R1 standing as well as faculty excellence, research and scholarship.”

http://english.olemiss.edu/2017/03/22/4119/

English Major, Olivia Davis, who was recently awarded a Fulbright ETA in Greece!  See the full article here.
        

http://english.olemiss.edu/2017/03/21/4112/

Olivia Davis Wins Fulbright ETA to Greece

SMBHC senior Olivia Davis has been awarded a 2017 Fulbright US Student Program English Teaching Assistantship to Greece.

Olivia was born in Montgomery, Alabama, but grew up in different cities and states throughout the south and went to high school in Jackson, Mississippi. She will graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in English, with minors in chemistry, music, and classics, with an emphasis in ancient Greek. She hopes to study Byzantine chanting and Christian hymnody in the Greek Orthodox Church as a side research project while she teaches English as a second language. Her senior thesis advisor is Dr. Daniel Stout.

Olivia’s Fulbright Campus Committee wrote: Olivia is an experienced piano teacher, musician, artist, and writer. She has worked with beginning and intermediate students. She has researched Byzantine liturgical music and postmodern literature. She has excellent communication skills and is mature and respectful in her interactions with others. She is highly organized and able to work on complex tasks independently.  Olivia is an excellent writer and public speaker. She is a patient teacher, a good listener, and has an eclectic and interesting set of interests in art, literature, music and philosophy. One of the most intelligent candidates we’ve interviewed.

Congratulations, Olivia!

olivia-davis-copy

For more information on the Fulbright ETA or other major scholarships, please visit the Office of National Scholarship Advisement, or contact ONSA Director Tim Dolan.

http://english.olemiss.edu/2017/03/21/english-major-olivia-davis-wins-fulbright-eta-to-greece/