More from Susan Greenfield on Jane Austen (but this time, also on health care!)

Professor Susan Greenfield published "Postmortem: Jane Austen and Repealing the Affordable Care Act" in the August 9. 2017 Los Angeles Review of Books blog.


For now, it appears the Republican Senators’ attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act is dead. But key provisions (like cost-sharing reductions for insurers) remain in doubt, Vice President Pence has said, “We won’t rest until we end […] ObamaCare,” and Trump still wants to sabotage the law.  In July, the vast majority of Republican Senators were prepared to do just that.

At about the same time that Republicans were busy attacking the ACA, Austen fans throughout America (and the world) were celebrating the author’s bicentenary. Few people, I suspect, saw any connection between the subjects..... [Click here to read the full article]

Susan Greenfield talks about Jane Austen--on the radio!

Though July 2017 marks the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death, she is more alive than ever as a popular culture icon. Click here to listen to Professor Susan Greenfield’s exciting debate about the author’s enduring significance with the movie director Whit Stillman, hosted by Meghna Chakrabarti on her WBUR show Radio Boston. Among other things, Greenfield discusses Austen’s complicated politics and her skeptical position about the manipulative power of romance. Hollywood may celebrate Austen for her love stories, but her novels show that romantic love is often a surprisingly solitary experience. Many thanks to Greenfield’s former student and Fordham alum Kathleen McNerney (2007), who is senior associate producer of Radio Boston, for arranging the interview. 

Here's the full link in case you want to share it:

Join the Summer Book Group on A.S. King's *Ask the Passengers*


Looking for some good summer reading to share and talk about with others? Read Ask the Passengers, a work of Young Adult fiction by acclaimed writer A..S. King. She'll be visiting Fordham the week of October 2, 2017 as the Mary Higgins Clark Chair to give a reading and lead workshops. Professors Stacey D'Erasmo and Glenn Hendler are leading a loose, open, summer-long book group with this book on Blackboard, and we'd love for you to join in. 

  • First: buy the book and start reading it
    • Then: log into Blackboard.
    • If you're an English major, you're already enrolled in the "Ask the Passengers Summer Book Group." Just log in to Blackboard, click on "Organizations," and you'll see the name of the group. 

There are at least three ways to participate:

  1. Talk. Go to the discussion board and you can either respond to one of the questions there or start a discussion thread of your own.
  2. Write. Go to "Letters to Passengers" and you can join the novel's main character, Astrid Jones, by writing something to anonymous passengers in airplanes (or the subway or bus or in cars on the won't make sense until you've started reading the book, but then you'll see what we mean).
  3. Read. Click on "interesting stuff" and read some of the web links and documents posted there. We'll keep adding more over the course of the summer. And you can suggest items to be added, too!

Also: invite your friends to join the group (even if they're not English majors)! Anyone with a e-mail address can join the discussion by going to You can also go in to Blackboard to adjust your notifications so that you get e-mails whenever others post...or so you don't. 

The Backstory

Celebrated author Mary Higgins Clark, a Fordham alum, recently endowed a visiting professorship in creative writing, the Mary Higgins Clark Chair, which will bring to campus a distinguished writer who will do a public reading as well as lead workshops, seminars, and master classes. To honor Mary Higgins Clark's storied career as a writer of genre fiction, the English department is inviting writers who work in popular genres as our first Clark chairs. 

So, A.S. King will be visiting Fordham the week of October 2, 2017, as this year's Mary Higgins Clark Chair. A.S. King has been called “One of the best Y.A. writers working today” by the New York Times Book Review. King is the author of highly-acclaimed novels including her 2016 release Still Life with Tornado, 2015’s surrealist I Crawl Through It, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future, Reality Boy, the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner Ask the Passengers, Everybody Sees the Ants, 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book Please Ignore Vera Dietz among others. She is a faculty member of the Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and spends many months of the year traveling the country speaking to high school students. After fifteen years living self-sufficiently and teaching literacy to adults in Ireland, she now lives in Pennsylvania.

PhD Candidate Wins Two Prestigious Awards

English Ph.D candidate Olivia Badoi has recently been awarded two prestigious awards: the Swann Foundation Fellowship at the Library of Congress and the Princeton University Library Research Grant. These highly competitive fellowships are awarded to scholars who make use of the two Libraries' extensive collections.

Badoi will use these research opportunities to conduct archival work for her dissertation, Picturing Modernity: Modernism and Graphic Narrative, which establishes a conversation between the woodcut novel (a book-length work of fiction composed entirely of sequential wood engravings), the contemporary graphic novel, and the modernist novel. Badoi argues that, taken together, these three genres can alter our understanding of both modernist and contemporary fiction and visual culture.  

Picturing Modernity is also a project of recuperation, as it aims to bring the all-but-forgotten genre of the woodcut novel back into the public eye. As such, during her time at the Library of Congress and the Princeton Library, Badoi will look at previously unexamined works by the American graphic artist Lynd Ward. Acclaimed by many as precursors to today's graphic novels, Ward's 'novels in woodcuts' (which he produced between 1929 and 1937) are sophisticated, entirely wordless explorations of complex themes such as labor unrest and urban alienation. Drawing on these archives, Badoi's aim is to show that woodcut novels both echo the anxieties that populate the works of established modernists such as Virginia Woolf and T.S Eliot and look forward to the contemporary genre of the graphic novel.

2017 - 2018 Reid Writer: Rigoberto González

We are thrilled to announce that Rigoberto González has been selected as next year's Reid writer. We have also chosen his memoir Autobiography of My Hungers as the Reid book. Rigoberto will be joining us at this Fall's Mullarkey Forum and will give a reading and craft class this Spring. More on the Reid events can be found here.

Rigoberto González is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Unpeopled Eden, which won the Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. His ten books of prose include two bilingual children's books, the three young adult novels in the Mariposa Club series, the novel Crossing Vines, the story collection Men Without Bliss, and three books of nonfiction, including Autobiography of My Hungers and Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa, which received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. He also edited Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing and Alurista's new and selected volume Xicano Duende: A Select Anthology. The recipient of Guggenheim, NEA and USA Rolón fellowships, a NYFA grant in poetry, the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, The Poetry Center Book Award, and the Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award, he is contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine and writes a monthly column for NBC-Latino online. Currently, he is professor of English at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey, and the inaugural Stan Rubin Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the Rainier Writing Workshop. In 2015, he received The Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Publishing Triangle. As of 2016, he serves as critic-at-large with the L.A. Times and sits on the Board of Trustees of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).

Reid Book: Autobiography of My Hungers

Rigoberto González, author of the critically acclaimed memoir Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa, takes a second piercing look at his past through a startling new lens: hunger.

The need for sustenance originating in childhood poverty, the adolescent emotional need for solace and comfort, the adult desire for a larger world, another lover, a different body—all are explored by González in a series of heartbreaking and poetic vignettes.

Each vignette is a defining moment of self-awareness, every moment an important step in a lifelong journey toward clarity, knowledge, and the nourishment that comes in various forms—even “the smallest biggest joys” help piece together a complex portrait of a gay man of color who at last defines himself by what he learns, not by what he yearns for.

2017 Mary Higgins Clark Chair: Young Adult Novelist, A.S. King

 Our 2017 Mary Higgins Clark Chair will be the wonderful young adult novelist A.S. King, who has been called “one of the best Y.A. writers working today” by The New York Times Book Review. But we know that some of you knew that already, as fans of her novels Still Life with Tornado, I Crawl Through It, Reality Boy, and others. This summer, join us for the Summer Read of her 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner, Ask the Passengers. In Ask the Passengers, high school senior Astrid Jones finds that strangers might be the best people to confide in, especially when you find yourself with so many secrets to keep. As it turns out, some of those strangers have secrets of their own to share.

Faculty members Glenn Hendler and Stacey D’Erasmo will be setting up an online book club space where students and faculty can discuss their reactions to the book—thoughts, ideas, feelings, and questions all welcome. We’ll let you know when it’s set up, and we look forward to turning the pages together. 

Farewell and Congratulations to Graduating Seniors

All of us on the English Department faculty are proud to have had you as students. You’ve thrilled us with your critical and creative writing; you’ve challenged and stimulated us in class discussion; you’ve impressed us with your imaginations, your drive, your social engagement, your political activism. In the four years you’ve been here—and especially in a year that has been difficult and divisive both locally and nationally--having you in our classrooms has kept us sane and reminded us why we chose the academic profession.

So, while we congratulate you and wish you well, we also want to thank you for all of this and more. We hope you use the critical thinking skills you’ve honed as English majors, along with the knowledge you’ve developed of diverse cultures and different historical periods, to make the world a better place. 

And keep in touch with us! Whether it’s by sending us news through English Connect, or by writing your favorite English professors, we want to know what you’re doing. We are especially interested in hearing, as you move forward in life, about moments in your lives and careers when you realize how things you learned as English majors are serving you well, and are helping you to serve others well.

Enjoy this weekend…and the rest of your lives!


English Department Chair Glenn Hendler

On behalf of the entire English faculty