Fordham UP Publishes Traditions of Eloquence

Fordham University Press has recently published Traditions of Eloquence: The Jesuits and Modern Rhetorical Studies, a collection that discusses the past, present, and future of Jesuit rhetorical traditions. Edited by Fairfield University’s Cinthia Gannett and UMass Boston’s John Brereton, the work features a chapter entitled "The New Eloquentia Perfecta Curriculum at Fordham" by Fordham's Professor Anne Fernald and recent PhD graduate Kate Nash.

Anne Fernald and Kate Nash

Anne Fernald and Kate Nash

“This groundbreaking collection explores the important ways Jesuits have employed rhetoric, the ancient art of persuasion and the current art of communications, from the sixteenth century to the present. Much of the history of how Jesuit traditions contributed to the development of rhetorical theory and pedagogy has been lost, effaced, or dispersed. As a result, those interested in Jesuit education and higher education in the United States, as well as scholars and teachers of rhetoric, are often unaware of this living 450-year-old tradition. Written by highly regarded scholars of rhetoric, composition, education, philosophy, and history, many based at Jesuit colleges and universities, the essays in this volume explore the tradition of Jesuit rhetorical education—that is, constructing ‘a more usable past’ and a viable future for eloquentia perfecta, the Jesuits’ chief aim for the liberal arts. Intended to foster eloquence across the curriculum and into the world beyond, Jesuit rhetoric integrates intellectual rigor, broad knowledge, civic action, and spiritual discernment as the chief goals of the educational experience.”

Traditions of Eloquence can be purchased on Fordham UP’s website, on Oxford UP's website, or on Amazon.

Undergrads Dance Like Jane Austen

Fordham undergraduate students are learning to dance “like Jane Austen.”

For the past four years, Dr. Vlasta Vranjes has taken students from her Texts & Contexts: Afterlife of Austen classes and from her Nineteenth-Century Novel of Manners class for lessons in English country dancing. The lessons familiarize students with the dances that appear in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century novels.

“Scenes that involve dancing are an important structural feature in Austen,” said Vranjes. “They also provide insight into characters and social relations.”

The English country dance is a social dance intended for several couples. The couples perform this type of dance in one of three formations: circularly, longways (double-file line with men on one side and women on the other), or “geometrically” (square or triangular configurations). Members of these dances execute a series of varied patterns of figures, which are sometimes quite complex.

Vranjes’s group learns its steps with Country Dance*New York, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization in the Village that hosts contra dancing and English country dancing events. This year the students learned basic steps in a beginners’ workshop led by Susan and Tom Amessé, the former of whom is a Fordham alumna.

Performing the dances helps the students understand the complex social dynamics in Austen’s world. According to Vranjes, students come to learn why, for instance, dancing masters used to be in demand, and why the character Emma Woodhouse grows upset that she must “stand second” to Mrs. Elton, her rival of sorts. Students are also surprised, Vranjes remarked, to discover that men and women usually dance the same steps.

“One also gets a sense of how easy or how difficult it was to carry on a conversation during a dance and what a large amount of eye contact but a small amount of physical contact meant for courtship,” said Vranjes.

And most of all, it is a fun way for students to bring to life the dances they have only read about or seen in movie adaptations.

“Every trip has been a wonderful experience,” said Vranjes.

Rankine Featured at Reid Writers of Color Reading Series

On Friday, April 15 the Fordham English department hosted the 2016 Reid Family Writers of Color Reading Series. The 2016 Reid Writer was award-winning author of Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine.

The series featured a number of events at Fordham Law School including an invitation-only workshop with the author, a writing workshop for local high school students taught by Fordham creative writing concentrators, and readings by Rankine and the 2016 Reid Prize winner, Kat Sommers.

The day began with the Racial Imaginary workshop. Rankine asked participating undergrads, graduate students, and professors to freewrite about a micro-aggression that they had either experienced themselves or witnessed first-hand. The participants shared their experiences and Rankine guided the conversation, encouraging others to respond and think deeply about the implications of everyday micro-aggressions.

At the same time, two creative writing concentrators led a workshop for local high school students. With Citizen as inspiration, the high schoolers wrote about their own experiences with race.

The two groups had the opportunity to mingle and continue discussion with a reception following the workshops.

When it came time for the day's main event, the Bateman Room was filled to capacity with students, professors, and fans who came to hear Rankine's reading. 

In between reading and discussing passages from Citizen, Rankine elaborated on the artwork in the book, her own everyday experiences with racism, and the conditions that perpetuate racism in the United States. She concluded her presentation with a short film about the mistreatment of people of color during interactions with police officers.

When the event was over, Rankine generously answered questions from the audience and signed attendees' copies of Citizen.

The Reid Family Writers of Color Reading Series is made possible through the generosity of Kenneth and Frances K. Reid and the sponsorship of the Graduate Student Association, and the English department and Creative Writing Program. 

 

CURA Launches Issue No. 17 with Harlem Speakeasy

CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art & Action celebrated the launch of Issue No. 17 "Breaking Stone" with a Harlem Renaissance themed speakeasy last Thursday. The Spring 2016 issue features poetry by Pulitzer Prize winner, Tracy K. Smith, an experimental short film by Ruth Ellen Kocher and more. 

The event featured poetry readings by Quincy Scott Jones, Laura Swearingen-Steadwell, and the winner of the 2016 Reid Prize Kat Sommers. Guests enjoyed a chocolate fountain and artisanal chocolate tasting and toasted to "Breaking Stone" with an open wine bar. Fordham students Marla Louissaint and the Fordham Jazz Collective set the speakeasy mood with their musical performances.

To learn more about CURA and the 2015 - 2016 issues dedicated to Black Lives Matter, visit curamag.com.

April 27: Creative Writing Prizes Reading

Join us on Wednesday, April 27th at 7 p.m. in Fordham Lincoln Center's 12th Floor Lounge for the Creative Writing Prizes Reading. The winners of this year's prizes will read and a cupcake reception will follow. See below for a full list of the prizes and this year's winners.

ACADEMY OF AMERICAN POETS
Wallis Monday for selections from Mythmaking — "Hemingway and John Wayne Walk into a Bar" and "To the Cemetery Voices"

ULLY HIRSCH / ROBERT F. NETTLETON POETRY PRIZES
Danni Hu for "Female Perversion"
Wallis Monday for selections from Mythmaking — "Mapmaking" and "Inventory"

BERNICE KILDUFF WHITE & JOHN J. WHITE CREATIVE WRITING PRIZE (FICTION)
Diana Shao for "Shadow Play"

MARGARET LAMB WRITING TO THE RIGHT-HAND MARGIN (FICTION)
Connor Mannion for "Mojave Whiskey Weather"
Adam Fales for "Between-ness"
Bo Fisher for "Washing Jean Jackets in West Jeff"
Elizabeth Shew for "The Distance Between Two Skins"

THE REID FAMILY PRIZE
Katharine Sommers for "Development"

John Bugg on Joseph Johnson and William Godwin

Professor John Bugg has written an article on the friendship between Joseph Johnson and William Godwin. An excerpt is below:

"What might be more surprising is that about a decade after Wollstonecraft’s death, Johnson became not only Godwin’s friend but also his vocational adviser, as Godwin worked to get his own publishing venture up and running. Together with his second wife, Mary Jane Godwin, he launched a publishing imprint and bookstore dedicated to children’s and educational books, a subspecialty of Johnson’s and a lucrative market. The Godwins’ ‘Juvenile Library’ was located first in Hanway Street, a few blocks from the British Museum’s original Montagu House site, and later at 41 Skinner Street (near the present-day Holborn Viaduct), very close – perhaps too close – to Newgate Prison."

Read the full article here.

Fordham Student Christy Pottroff Wins Prestigious Dissertation Fellowship

English Ph.D. candidate Christy Pottroff has been named an Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellow in Early American Literature and Material Texts at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  Chosen as one of thirteen fellows from a highly competitive international pool, Pottroff will use her nine-month residential fellowship to complete her dissertation, “The Mail Gaze: Early American Literature, Letters, and the Post Office”and to work on a digital mapping project, "The US Goes Postal."

Established as the Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies in 1978, and renamed in honor of its benefactor Robert L. McNeil, Jr., in 1998, the McNeil Center facilitates scholarly inquiry into the histories and cultures of North America in the Atlantic world before
1850, with a particular but by no means exclusive emphasis on the mid-Atlantic region.

The Center offers pre- and post-doctoral fellowships to encourage use of the Philadelphia area’s magnificent manuscript, rare book, and museum collections, conducts a seminar series to promote intellectual community among local and visiting faculty and graduate students, and organizes occasional national conferences to foster interdisciplinary research. To disseminate the best new scholarship in the field, it publishes Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and sponsors the Early American Studies monograph series published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.