Content | Navigation |



Honors, Presentations & Publications

Fall 2014 First-Year Distinguished Writing Award: Winners Announced

The English Department announces the winners of the Fall 2014 First-Year Distinguished Writing Awards.

First Place: Jonathan Pacella, rhetorical analysis, "The Persuasion of Frankenstein," 

Second Place: Dakota Cron, memoir, "My Flashlight, Just Like Dad's,"

Third Place: Brenna Greenwood, commentary, "Is Rape Culture Slowly Making an Appearance at NDSU?"




Brooks, Lindgren, and Warner Publish in Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities

Kevin Brooks (professor of English), Chris Lindgren (MA NDSU English and current PhD Student in Writing Studies at the University of Minnesota) and Matthew Warner (PhD English) published a white paper in the collection, Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities. Their chapter, "Tackling a Fundamental Problem: Using Digital Labs to Build Smarter Computing Cultures” considers what kinds of initiatives and collaborations it would take among higher education, k-12, and a community to build a smarter local computing cultures. 


Brooks, Flute, and Osby Selected for Library and Literacy Development Program

Brooks, Heather Flute (MA English), Katelyn Ostby (English 2014) and a number of librarians, literacy experts, and community organizers from Fargo have been selected to participate in an Otto Bremer Foundation funded program called L3: The Rural Libraries and Literacy Leadership Institute.  The Institute will assign the Fargo team a mentor, the group will convene with other groups from the state three times in 12 months, and the teams will develop a plan for library and literacy program capacity building.  Counsel


Brooks Receives Funding for Local In-Home ELL Program

Brooks received funding from the City of Fargo to support his efforts to re-establish Giving + Learning, an in-home English Language Learning program that supports language acquisition, driver’s literacy, and citizenship test preparation for New Americans in the FM area.  


Maylath Co-Authors and Publishes Chapter in the Handbook of Research on Teaching Methods in Language Translation and Interpretation

Bruce Maylath, professor of English, has published the chapter "Translation Competence: Research Data in Multilateral and Interprofessional Collaborative Learning" in the Handbook of Research on Teaching Methods in Language Translation and Interpretation (IGI Global Press, 2015), with co-authors from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and Italy. The chapter draws on data collected through the Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project, a network of writing, translation, and usability testing instructors linking their classes across four continents and founded by Maylath and co-author Sonia Vandepitte, at Ghent University, Belgium, in the 1999-2000 academic year. Maylath serves as TAPP's coordinator. 


Sassi Receives Grant from National Writing Project

The Red River Valley Writing Project, under direction of associate professor Kelly Sassi, received an Assignments Matter grant from the National Writing Project to provide training for RRVWP Teacher Consultant Karen Taylor to lead the Assignments Matter Task Jam for local teachers on Saturday, January 24 at the Probstfield Center in Moorhead. Assignments Matter invites teachers to collaborate using tools from the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) as well as protocols and processes common in the NWP teacher community to create writing assignments for use in their own classrooms and to share with one another. The NWP grant was made possible by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Sassi Inducted into the Tapestry of Diverse Talents

On February 19, Kelly Sassi was inducted into the Tapestry of Diverse Talents. Sassi’s three nominators cited her work with returning veterans, teacher training and support for those teaching at tribal high schools and colleges, and her commitment to social justice work as key components of her outstanding commitment to diversity at NDSU and in our state.

Sandland Leads Service Learning Project for Local Nonprofits

Julie Sandland, senior lecturer, English,  brought her English 326-Writing in the Design Professions class to The Great Plains Food Bank in Fargo on February 23 for a tour of the space with Heather Schmidt, Donor Relations Manager.  The students, who are architecture and landscape architecture majors, will be completing a service learning project that involves working with local nonprofits on plans to re-design their spaces.

Rupiper Taggart Collaborates on Grant Proposal

Amy Rupiper Taggart, professor of English and director of general education, has collaborated on an interdisciplinary team to produce a grant as senior personnel. The NSF IUSE (Improving Undergraduate STEM Education) design and development grant proposal, supports ongoing professional development for STEM educators teaching in NDSU gateway courses (often general education courses), including pre-semester workshops and ongoing faculty learning communities (FLCs). The proposal was submitted January 2015, in collaboration with Paul Kelter, Mark Hanson, Lisa Montplaisir, James Nyachwaya, Jared Ladbury, Greg Oswald, and Emily Berg.


Steinman Presents Recent Work and Publishes Poetry

Doctoral student Heather Steinman presented "A Rhetoric of Anxiety," at the recent Survive and Thrive conference in St. Cloud, MN. Her poem, "System Failure," accepted to the journal *82 Review. A second poem was accepted by the journal Up the Staircase Quarterly. Her paper "Teaching indigenous literature: Experience as self-instruction" has been accepted for presentation at the 57th annual WSSA Conference held in April in Portland, OR.

Totten Participates in Modern Language Association Conference

Professor Gary Totten, chair of English, attended the Modern Language Association conference in Vancouver, BC, Canada Jan. 8-11, where he was a respondent for a session titled “Multi-Ethnic Film: From Page to Screen.” As the editor of the journal MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the US, he also participated in the “Meet the Editor” event sponsored at the conference by Oxford University Press and the “Chat with an Editor” event sponsored by the Council for Editors of Learned Journals.


National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for North Dakota

The Red River Valley Writing Project at NDSU partnered with the Plains Art Museum to serve as the state affiliate for the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards (grades 7-12). On Saturday, January 3rd, five judges--Susanne Williams, Sabrina Hornung, Zhimin Guan, Sarah Dotzenrod, and Karen Anderson--adjudicated the art entries. There were 38 winning works by 27 students from  Wahpeton, Jamestown, Fargo, Grand Forks, Elgin, Hazen, Tower City, Keene, Williston, Devil's Lake, Argusville, Bottineau, and West Fargo. The 7 gold key winners, will go on to be judged at the national level. The judges also selected the 5 best works and nominated them for the American Visions Award. These works will also be judged at the national level and one of the five will be named the American Visions winner for the state of North Dakota. 


Sassi presented at the NCTE Annual Conference

Kelly Sassi presented with Anne Gere (University of Michigan) and Leila Christenbury (Virginia Commonwealth University) on a panel titled, “Creating Stories on Demand: Time and the Common Core Assessments” at the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. November 21, 2014.

Sassi presented at the NWP Annual Meeting

Kelly Sassi presented with Alana Benoit of the Alliance for Young Writers and Artists and Samuel Reed of the Philadelphia Writing Project on the following presentation at the National Writing Project Annual Meeting on November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC: “Writing Project Site Partnership Opportunities with the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.”

Mara published a chapter in "Steampunk" book

Andrew Mara, associate professor of English, had a chapter entitled, “Steampunk’s Identity Horizon and Contested Memory” published in University Press of Mississippi’s recent book, Clockwork Rhetoric: The Language and Style of Steampunk.

Maylath, Mara, Verzella and Warner formed a panel at the CPTSC

Four members of the English Department—Bruce Maylath, professor; Andrew Mara, associate professor; and Ph.D. students Massimo Verzella and Matthew Warner—formed a panel to deliver papers on the topic “Creating Programmatic Structures to Stabilize Cross-Cultural Translation Teams” at the 2014 meeting of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC). The conference was hosted by the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, September 25-27. 

Bergeson Published in Albino Buffalo's Art Sticker Vending Machine

Brady Bergeson, lecturer in English, had a short story, "The Boy, the Girl, the Goat, and Heidegger," published in five parts on individual stickers as part of Albino Buffalo's art sticker vending machine. Albino Buffalo is a collective of artists who create art stickers and sell them in a refurbished vending machine. This is the second series of stickers produced and will feature five visual artists and one writer. The vending machine was launched at the Artstravaganza event in Moorhead on Sept. 25 and then located at Unglued in downtown Fargo.

Birmingham contributed to an "NEA" project

Betsy Birmingham, professor of English, contributed an article and expertise to an NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) funded project titled Making a Place for Women. This digital archive chronicles the contributions of women to architectural practice, and includes film, historical photographs, sound files, and links to archival resources in addition to biographical material on hundreds of women architects. The project will go live in early 2015. 

Brooks, Birmingham collaborated on McLuhan article

Kevin Brooks and Betsy Birmingham, professors of English, have a collaborative article in press. “Marshall McLuhan in an Age of Labels: The Descriptive Value of Antimodernism” in Finding McLuhan: The Mind, The Man, The Message will be out in early spring 2015.

English Department Recieves 2014 Advance FORWARD Department Award

The NDSU Department of English received the 2014 Advance FORWARD Department Award at the annual FORWARD kick-off event held at the President’s House Sept. 2. The Commission on the Status of Women Faculty presents the award annually to recognize and reward significant department efforts to improve campus climate and gender equity within the faculty ranks. 

A review panel evaluated the award nominations and applications, guided by a weighted rubric reflecting each of FORWARD’s five target areas: climate, recruitment, retention, promotion and leadership. 

The Department of English provided evidence of systematic efforts to improve the climate for persons within the department. Modified duties and other work/life accommodations are extended to graduate students as well as faculty to improve climate and productivity. Promotion and tenure guidelines have been made more transparent, recognizing a range of good work, including historically gendered research. Outcomes include a clearer path for advancement of lecturers to senior lecturers, and promotion of women to associate and full professor ranks. 

Proactive recruiting has transformed the department from 10 male and three female faculty in 1997, to eight female and seven male faculty members today. The department encourages and supports faculty members, including women, to take on leadership roles. Presently, department women faculty members have leadership roles at the university, college and department levels. 

The award review panel was especially impressed with spousal/partner accommodation guidelines the department has formally put in place in its bylaws, as well as department collaboration with other departments on campus to support dual career hiring. Embedding initiatives in policy is recognized as one way to facilitate climate change and enhance the sustainability of changes made. 

Gary Totten, department chair, accepted the award on behalf of the department. He credited previous department chairs and faculty for longstanding efforts toward gender equity and climate improvements, noting the broad participation of department faculty involved in diversity initiatives throughout the university as well as in the department. 

Another $5,000 Advance FORWARD Department Award will be given in 2015. In preparation for next year’s award, departments are encouraged to think about strategies, policies and practice, and outcomes that show conscientious and systematic progress toward the five core FORWARD goals:

  • Improve climate: provide strategies to improve department climate and narrow the gap between men’s and women’s perceptions of campus climate.
  • Enhance recruitment: employing recruiting strategies to recruit women, women of color, and women with disabilities. Increase retention: strategies to retain women in the department through the probationary period and the promotion/tenure process. 
  • Promote and advance women: strategies to support women associate professors as they move to full professor, and hire advanced women.
  • Open leadership opportunities: strategies to promote women faculty in academic leadership positions.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

For more NDSU News click here.

Amy Rupiper Taggart to present in Malmo, Sweden

Professor Amy Rupiper Taggart will present “When Feedback Goes Right: Understanding Positive Student Experiences of Instructional Comments” at the International Writing Studies Colloquium in Malmo, Sweden. Nov. 2014. 

Graham-Bertolini discusses Cohen's new book with the Forum

Alison Graham-Bertolini spoke with Meredith Holt of the Forum about Aimee Cohen’s new book, Woman UP! Overcome the 7 Deadly Sins That Sabotage Your Success:

Verzella, Tommaso published in "Changing English"

Massimo Verzella published an article on international collaboration with Laura Tommaso in the international journal Changing English (Routledge).

Brooks Named UND's Spring Visiting Fellow

Kevin Brooks was the spring Visiting Fellow at UND's Center for Human Rights and Genocide Studies, March 4-6. He screened African Soul, American Heart, a documentary he co-wrote and co-produced in 2008, gave a lecture entitled "How To Build a Country from Scratch: Three Examples from South Sudan," and participated in a panel discussion: "The Role of the University in Refugee Resettlement."

Theile Co-Edits Superstition Book

Dr. Verena Theile, NDSU Assistant Professor of Early Modern Literature, is co-editor of Staging the Superstitions of Early Modern Europe. A collection of literary and historical essays on superstitions in performance and early modern drama, the book will be released by Ashgate Publishing in February 2013. Theile co-authored the introduction. Her own, single-authored essay, “Early Modern Engagements with Fear, Witchcraft, the Devil, and that Damned Dr. Faustus” is featured in “Part 1: Early Modern Superstitions: Religion, Reformation, and the History of Fear.”

Sassi Publishes Pedagogical Research

Dr. Kelly Sassi’s research, “A Review of the Literature on Pedagogical Approaches to Native American/American Indian Literatures,” was published in Applied Social Sciences: Education Sciences by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, January 2013. Her research addresses the achievement gap between Native American/American Indian students and majority White students in the United States and teaching strategies to diminish the gap. Sassi is an assistant professor at NDSU with a joint appointment in English and education.

Birmingham Initiates Grant for Muslim Journeys Bookshelf

Thanks to the collaborative effort of North Dakota State University’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Fargo-Moorhead’s Center for Interfaith Project, and the Fargo Public Library, NDSU Libraries and the Fargo Public Libraries have been awarded a  National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Muslim Journeys Bookshelf. This collection of books, films, and other resources will introduce the complex history and culture of Muslims in the United States and around the world. The libraries are two of only 842 public, academic, and community college libraries across the country selected to receive this grant. Each library will receive 25 books, three films, and access for one year to Oxford Islamic Studies Online. These bookshelf items will be available to the public starting March 1. A complete listing of materials included in the grant can be found on the Fargo Public Library’s website, For information on the award or related events, contact Betsy Birmingham, Associate Dean, Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at

Sassi Publishes Article in "Urban Education"

Dr. Kelly Sassi and Amy Carpenter Ford, coauthored the article, “Authority in Cross-Racial Teaching and Learning: (Re)considering the Transferability of Warm Demander Approaches.” Their article compares a White teacher’s approach to authority with that of an African American warm demander. Ethnographic methods and discourse analysis illuminated how an African American teacher grounded her authority with African American students in shared culture, history, and frame of reference. A comparative analysis makes visible what White teachers need to do differently to establish cross-racial authority with African American students, such as prioritize interpersonal relationships, communicate in culturally congruent ways, link care with justice, develop a critical race consciousness, ally with students, and critique curriculum. The article offers a reconceptualization of the warm demander relevant for White teachers. The article was published in Urban Education, December 2012.

Sassi is an assistant professor at NDSU with a joint appointment in the School of Education and the Department of English.

Sassi Publishes Book Review

Dr. Kelly Sassi's book review of Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life was published in the Winter 2012 issue of Tribal College Journal. The author, Diane Wilson, explores the meaning of the Dakota "hunka," or beloved child ceremony, as a counterpoint to historical trauma. One of the stories in the book is that of NDSU professor, Dr. Clifford Canku. The book was published in 2011 by Borealis Books.

Totten Publishes Two Articles on Wharton

Gary Totten, Associate Professor, English, has published two articles on the American novelist, Edith Wharton.  His essay, “‘Inhospitable Splendour’: Spectacles of Consumer Culture and Race in Wharton’s Summer” was published in the journal Twentieth Century Literature 58.1 (2012): 1-30.  In the article, Totten examines how early-twentieth century consumer practices and attitudes toward race and gender influence Wharton’s depiction of the novel’s female protagonist.  In his book chapter, “Selling Wharton,” in Edith Wharton in Context (ed. Laura Rattray, Cambridge University Press, 2012), Totten examines Wharton’s relationship to book publishing and marketing throughout her career.

Sassi & Laughlin Attend NTCE Conference

Kelly Sassi presented a paper at the National Council for Teachers of English Annual Conference, November 18-20 with NDSU doctoral student M.K. Laughlin and Sitting Bull College instructors, Carla Gerriets, Chad Harrison, and Lorie Hach. The presentation was titled, “Collaborating to Strengthen the Common Core Standards in Writing: Standing Rock Reservation Secondary and College Instructors Assess Writing Together.” Heather Bruce, director of the Montana Writing Project and Professor at the University of Montana, chaired the panel.   The well attended session reported research and reflection on collaborative writing assessment between middle, secondary, and college instructors on an Indian reservation hoping to improve the high school to college transition for Native American students. Presenters suggested ways of supplementing the Common Core Standards to better meet the writing needs of college-bound students.   The work at Sitting Bull College was supported by a grant from the Lilly foundation. The group’s work is being published in the Winter 2013 issue of Tribal College Journal.

Cameron Earns Doctorate

On November 15, 2012 English lecturer Kelly Cameron successfully defended her dissertation, "Imperial Rhetorics: Frances Power Cobbe's Answering of the Irish Question in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press" at Texas Christian University, where she received her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition along with a graduate certificate in Women's Studies. Congratulations Dr. Cameron!

Sassi Awarded ND Humanities Council Grant

Dr. Kelly Sassi has been awarded a grant from the North Dakota Humanities Council for her proposal titled, "Reading Literature/Viewing Art: Moby-Dick, Ahab's Wife, and the paintings of T.L. Solien." The grant will make it possible to bring award-winning author Sena Jeter Naslund to Fargo to read from her best-selling novel Ahab's Wife, or The Stargazer during the Plains Art Museum's exhibit of paintings by T.L. Solien in fall 2013. The paintings are inspired by Naslund's novel and also by Melville's Moby-Dick. Tim Peterson, Associate Dean of the College of Business, will host the reading at Barry Hall. Concurrent with the exhibit and reading, Fargo Public Library is holding a "community read" of the two novels and Fargo Theater is planning a Moby-Dick film series. The grant will also fund a panel presentation on art, history, and literature by Colleen Sheehy, director of the Plains Art Museum; Dr. David Silkenat, NDSU history professor, and Dr. Gary Totten, NDSU American literature professor.  Sassi will lead the Red River Valley Writing Project Open Institute for teachers on the use of art and writing in the classroom.

Sassi is an assistant professor at NDSU with a joint appointment in the School of Education and the Department of English whose research crosses disciplinary boundaries, studying social justice issues, pedagogy, and writing assessment practices.

Sassi Publishes Methodology Research

Dr. Kelly Sassi's " 'If You Weren't Researching Me and a Friend...': The Mobius of Friendship and Mentorship as Methodological Approaches to Qualitative Research" will appear in Qualitative Inquiry, Volume 18, Issue 10 in December 2012. Her article explores the affordances and risks of practicing friendship and mentorship as methodological approaches in two qualitative studies: (a) the mentor’s study in a diverse 9th grade classroom and (b) the protégé’s subsequent study of teacher professional development in the same school. By including mentorship as an extension of “friendship as method” for qualitative research, Sassi asserts that mentorship as methodology socializes peers into the conventions of qualitative research.

Sassi is an assistant professor at NDSU with a joint appointment in the School of Education and the Department of English whose research crosses disciplinary boundaries, studying social justice issues, pedagogy, and writing assessment practices.

Sassi Earns Best Article Honorable Mention

Dr. Kelly Sassi received a 2012 English Leadership Quarterly Best Article Honorable mention for  her writing, "Misgivings and Opportunities: The Common Core Writing Standards", October 2011 issue themed "Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts." The committee liked Sassi's piece for it's "realistic portrayal of the tensions surrounding the Common Core writing standards."

Sassi is an assistant professor at NDSU with a joint appointment in English and education.  She co-directs the Red River Valley Writing Project. Her research agenda focuses on social justice issues, including race in the classroom, fair practices in writing assessment, feminist research methodologies, pedagogical approaches to Native American literature, multicultural field experiences, and the high school to college transition in writing. Sassi also co-authored two books, Writing on Demand (2005) and A Student Guide to Writing on Demand (2006), with Anne Gere and Leila Christenbury.

A former high school English teacher from Fairbanks, Alaska, Sassi has presented around 50 professional development workshops for teachers on writing and reading strategies. She is a consultant for the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) and is a trainer for Project CRISS, a research-based learning strategies program.

Totten Published, Presented, & Named President of T. Dreiser Society

Gary Totten, associate professor of English, recently published the article, “ ‘Objects Long Preserved:’ Reading and Writing the Shop Window in Edith Wharton’s ‘Bunner Sisters,” in the Winter 2011 issue of the journal, Studies in American Naturalism. In the article, Totten examines the influence of consumer culture on Wharton’s depiction of female characters. Totten also presented papers at two recent conferences. He presented “Zitkala-Sa and the Material Cultures of Citizenship” at the American Literature Association conference May 24-27 in San Francisco. At the conference, Totten also chaired two panel sessions and business meetings for the Edith Wharton Society, which he currently serves as president, and the International Theodore Dreiser Society. Totten was named president of the International Theodore Dreiser Society during its business meeting.
Totten attended the “Edith Wharton in Florence” conference in Florence, Italy, June 6-8, where he presented his paper, “The Politics of Affect in Edith Wharton’s Travel Writing."

Sassi Presented at ICASS in Romania

Kelly Sassi, assistant professor in the School of Education and English, presented a paper at the International Conference of Applied Social Sciences: “A Review of the Literature in Education on Pedagogical Approaches to Native American/American Indian Literatures.” The conference was held in Timisoara, Romania from June 18-19. Her paper will be published in the conference proceedings, to be published by Cambridge Scholars Press.

CJPS named Dr. Gary Totten as Interim Dept. Head

Dr. Gary Totten will serve as interim head of the Department of Criminal Justice and Political Science (CJPS) during the 2012-13 academic year. Totten's success in his service as President of the Faculty Senate and as a member of the University President’s Cabinet, his record of excellence in teaching, research and service, along with his willingness to advocate for the CJPS department, faculty research and pedagogical initiatives while promoting the intellectual and professional development of graduate students assures Totten's continued success as head of CJPS.

Totten Helps Organize ISTW

Gary Totten, Associate Professor of English, co-organized the 7th biennial conference of the International Society for Travel Writing (ISTW) at Georgetown University, Mar. 30-Apr. 1, 2012.  Totten collaborated with colleagues from Georgetown, Nottingham Trent University (UK) and Misericordia University to referee papers and organize the conference program.  Totten presented a paper, “The Politics of Local Color in Dreiser Looks at Russia,” related to his larger book project on Theodore Dreiser’s travel writing, and also delivered the concluding remarks at the conference.  Totten serves on the steering committee for the ISTW, which encourages and fosters the work of scholars, publishers, and practitioners of travel writing through a range of activities including conferences, a monthly newsletter, and affiliation with the peer-reviewed journal Studies in Travel Writing.

Maylath Earns Diversity Award

Dr. Bruce Maylath, NDSU Professor of English, was selected by the Tribal College Liaison to receive a University Green and Golden Globe Diversity Award. Maylath has been instrumental in supporting and promoting Dakota Studies at NDSU. The award ceremony was held April 16th, in the NDSU Memorial Union.

Schell Presents at WRTC Symposium

PhD graduate student, Tatjana Schell presented "Challenges of Teaching College Composition as a Non-Native Speaking Teacher" during the Graduate Symposium held by the School of Writing, Rhetoric, and Tech Communication (WRTC) at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. Graduate students from all over the country attended the event held April 5-6, 2012. Kirk St. Amant from East Carolina University was the keynote speaker for the symposium.    The WRTC will be hosting another graduate symposium in the fall 2012 as they are moving it from very busy April to October, and will gladly welcome more graduate students from NDSU.

Helstern and Totten attend MLA Convention

American literature scholars Gary Totten and Linda Helstern, both associate professors in the NDSU English department, were included on the program of the Modern Language Association’s 127th Annual Convention, held in Seattle, Wash., January 5-8.

As president of the Edith Wharton Society, Totten chaired the session “Wharton at 150,” sponsored by the society. 2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edith Wharton, a major voice in early twentieth-century American fiction. Totten also participated in a pre-convention workshop, “Getting Started in Digital Humanities,” which included break-out sessions on coding and programming, project management, grant funding opportunities, and cross-disciplinary collaboration to support research, archival work, and pedagogy within humanities disciplines.

Helstern presented a paper entitled “Back to Ground Zero: Performing the Fiction of Race in Gerald Vizenor’s Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57” in the first session sponsored jointly by the MLA Divisions on American Indian Literatures and Asian American Literature. “Native Asian Encounters” focused on the representation of Native people in Asian American writing and the representation of Asian Americans in Native-authored texts.Helstern’s paper addressed the ways that the White Earth Anishinaabe novelist Gerald Vizenor works in the most experimental of all his novels to counter the model minority stereotype attached to Asian Americans through a range of performative strategies, including kabuki, protest demonstration, striptease, sexual performance, and the re-enactment of Native history.

With some 140 divisions and discussion groups and more than 120 allied organizations, the Modern Language Association is the world’s largest scholarly organization devoted to language and literature.

Celebrating Marshall McLuhan at 100

Kevin Brooks (Professor and Chair of English, NDSU) and David Beard (Associate Professor of English, University of Minnesota Duluth) launched a special issue of the journal Enculturation on Dec. 31, 2011. The issue's theme, Marshall McLuhan @ 100: Picking Through the Rag and Bone Shop of a Career, invited scholars to consider some of the neglected works of McLuhan (1911-1980),  who coined the now famous phrases, "The Medium is the Message" and "The Global Village."  Scholars from Canada, the US, and Australia contributed to the collection; NDSU PhD student in English, Steven Hammer produced an audio-video remix of McLuhan's 1969 book War and Peace in the Global Village and Associate Professor Andrew Mara added his voice to a multivocal review.  This online, peer-reviewed journal can be accessed at

Birmingham and Burnett Named Associate Deans of AHSS

Elizabeth Birmingham and Ann Burnett have been named associate deans for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at NDSU, effective Jan 9. Birmingham is associate professor of English, and Burnett is professor of communication and director of the Women and Gender Studies Program at NDSU. The entire article is featured on NDSU News.

Kevin Brooks earns Distiguished Alumni Award

Congratulations to English Department Chair, Dr. Kevin Brooks, as recipient of The Distinguished Alumni Award from the English Department of Iowa State University, Ames, IA. Dr. Brooks received one of 17 Iowa State University Distinguished Alumni Awards at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences award banquet on Thursday, October 20, 2011.  His research on computers, writing, and literacy; his work building a non-profit to shelter, feed, and educate girls in South Sudan; and his grant-funded project with Fargo Public School children were all cited as reasons for this honor.  On Friday, October 21, 2011 Brooks spoke to faculty and students about Sugar Labs at NDSU at a luncheon sponsored by the ISU Department of English.

Maylath Delivers Paper at Technical Communications Conference

Bruce Maylath, professor of English, delivered the paper “Responding to Field Convergence: Updating Curricula and Programs as the Roles of Technical Communicators and Technical Translators Merge” at the 2011 meeting of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC). The conference was hosted by James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., Oct. 6-8. A past president of CPTSC, Maylath also moderated the meeting’s program administrators’ roundtable and chaired the CPTSC Distinguished Service Award Committee.

Totten publishes essay on "South of Freedom"

Gary Totten’s essay, “Geographies of Race and Mobility in Carl Rowan’s South of Freedom,” was recently published in the new anthology, Riding/Writing Across Borders in North American Travelogues and Fiction, edited by Waldemar Zacharasiewicz and published by the Austrian Academy of Sciences Press.  In the essay, Totten examines Rowan’s travel narrative, South of Freedom, an account of his trip through the US South in 1951 as an African American journalist for the Minneapolis Morning Tribune, and discusses how US attitudes about race affected both his travel experiences and the resulting travel narrative.

David Lemke presents at Society of Utopian Studies

Graduate student, David Lemke, presented his paper "Through The Looking Glass: Examining Utopian Dialogue in Oryx and Crake" at the 36th annual Society for Utopian Studies Conference held from October 20th to 23rd at Penn State University. Lemke's paper used the utopian frame of argument and counterargument put forth by Fredric Jameson and other utopian critics to examine Oryx and Crake. He specifically analyzed the role of the Crakers, a post-human tribal culture, in opposition with the dystopian scientific compounds. This reading allows for a more positive view of Atwood's message rather than focusing on the outwardly negative aspect of the novel.

National Feminism(s) and Rhetoric(s) Conference

English department members Rebecca Hayes, Heather Steinmann, Kelly Cameron, Kelly Sassi, and Amy Rupiper Taggart presented recently at the national Feminism(s) and Rhetoric(s) conference, held this year in Mankato, MN from October 12-15. The theme of the conference was Feminist Challenges or Feminist Rhetorics? Locations, Scholarship, and Discourse. Cameron, Hayes, Rupiper Taggart, and Sassi formed a panel titled "Four Women Who Wrote for the Sake of Social Change," which emphasized feminist historiography, recovering important women writers and highlighting their distinctive rhetorical responses to challenging socio-political conditions of their times.

Cameron, former MA student and current lecturer in English (ABD, Texas Christian University), presented "An Irish Mother India: Margaret Cousins' Rhetoric of Witnessing in We Two Together." The paper suggested that Margaret Cousins, an Irish woman working in India, used a rhetoric of witnessing, acting as a medium to advance Indian women's rights.

Hayes, current MA student in English, presented on her archival research on Aloha Eagles letters. Eagles was a North Dakota legislator who worked on a bill that would have legalized abortion, and Hayes suggests that Eagles and her correspondents used the rhetorics of identity to navigate the socially sensitive topic of abortion. Her presentation was titled "Who Are You and I…?; Rhetoric of Identity in the Aloha Eagles Letters."

Rupiper Taggart, Associate Professor, presented "The Axis of Agency and Social Control: Jessie Fauset's Rhetorical Space and the Rhetoric of Respectability," which examines a Harlem Renaissance literary figure and Progressive era leader from a rhetorical perspective, suggesting she participated in both highlighting images of a rising African American middle class and in a rhetoric of respectable behavior rooted in the Baptist Women's Convention, all with the goal of race "uplift."

Sassi presented her work on S. Alice Callahan's novel Wynema and its reception. The presentation, titled "She Wrote It, BUT . . . It's 'Assimilationist Dogma': Indigenous Feminist Spatial Rhetoric in the First Novel by a Native American Woman," suggests that rather than being assimilationist, Wynema uses indigenous rhetorics of dual voicing, among other techniques, to reach white audiences.

Heather Steinmann, Ph.D. student, joined a panel on "Rhetoric and Fictions: Interpretation and Collaboration," and she presented her work "Victimization in Dorothy Allison's Bastard out of Carolina: Turning the Inside out." In this presentation, Steinmann suggests that Allison uses fictional writing techniques to expose readers to the experience of oppression that cannot be fully realized in purely academic writing.

Helstern Presents at WLA

Linda Helstern, associate professor of English, presented a paper on the work of contemporary Blackfeet novelist Stephen Graham Jones at the 46th Annual Conference of the Western Literature Association, which met in Missoula, Mont., Oct. 5-8. The conference brings together scholars from across Europe, Canada, and the United States to focus on the literature and culture of the trans-Mississippi West.

Helstern’s paper, entitled ’Not the Same Elk’: The Return of Native Agency in Stephen Graham Jones’ Ledfeather, considers how this highly experimental text, a rewriting of the history of the Blackfeet starvation winter of 1883-84, reinforces key principles of Native thought through the play of language and story. It is part of an ongoing research project on historiography and Native American literature.

Also presenting at the conference was Joshua T. Anderson, a 2011 NDSU English graduate. Winner of the 2011-12 Western American Literature Editorial Fellowship at Utah State University, Anderson is currently pursuing his master’s degree in American Studies.

Theile uses grant for European Collaborative Project

Thanks to the support of a FORWARD mentor travel award, Verena Theile, Assistant Professor of English at NDSU, was able to spend the summer at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbuettel, Germany, where she completed work on a collaborative project, Performance and medicine in the writings of three early modern physicians: the brothers Felix and Thomas Platter and Hippolytus Guarinonius by M A Katritzky (The Open University), for which Theile and Katritzky translated middle high German travel literature by the brothers Platter and Guarinonius into English. The book is forthcoming with Ashgate Publishing.

During her stay in Europe, Theile participated in the Ninth World Shakespeare Congress in Prague from July 17-22. Since the first meeting of Shakespeare scholars from around the world, this congress has convened every five years and traveled across four continents. Past sites include Stratford-upon-Avon, Berlin, Valencia, Tokyo, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Brisbane. This year’s gathering, with its setting in the beautiful city of Prague, presented participants with an international, culturally-rich, academic environment that placed special emphasis on Shakespeare’s European reception, the impact his work has had on intercultural communication, and the roles it has played in national emancipation.image

Theile’s paper, “‘By the pricking of my thumbs, / Something wicked this way comes’: Demonizing Macbeth,” is forthcoming as part of the seminar proceedings for the special topic session “Magic and the Occult in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries” (Organizers: Lisa Hopkins and Helen Ostovich). This paper is part of Theile’s ongoing research on the supernatural in the early modern period. Her own edited collection, with Andrew McCarthy (University of Tennessee-Chattanooga), entitled Staging the Superstitions of Early Modern Europe, is under contract and forthcoming with Ashgate Publishing.

Recent Publications

Birmingham, Elizabeth.  “Making and Playing Cooperative Games: Feminist Aesthetics and Values in Prairie Prose.” Feminist Media Studies 11.2 (2011): 20-26. 

Helstern, Linda Lizut. “Museum Survivance: Vizenor Before and After Repatriation.” Gerald Vizenor: Texts and Contexts. Ed. Deborah Madsen and A. Robert Lee. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2010. 231-48. Pub. 2011. 

Maylath, Bruce, Marusca Gnecchi, Federica Scarpa, Birthe Mousten, and Sonia Vandepitte. "Field Convergence: Merging Roles of Technical Writers and Technical Translators." IEEE-Transactions on Professional Communication 54 (2011): 168-184.
Maylath, Bruce, John Humbley, Birthe Mousten, and Sonia Vandepitte. "Communicating Pragmatics about Content and Culture in Virtually Mediated Educational Environments." Computer-Mediated Communication across Cultures: International Interactions in Online Environments. Ed. Kirk St. Amant and Sigrid Kelsey. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2012. 312-327. 
O'Connor, Robert.
“Beauty or Truth?: Ayesha's Faustian Dilemma in H. Rider Haggard's She." The Lamar Journal of Humanities, forthcoming.

O'Connor, Robert. “Review of Romantic Interactions: Social Being and the Turns of  Literary Action, by Susan J. Wolfson." Keats-Shelley Journal. Fall 2011, Issue 60.

Rupiper-Taggart, Amy, and H. Brooke Hessler. "What's Stalling Learning? Using a Formative Assessment Tool to Address Critical Incidents in Class." International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 5 (January 2011): <>

Rupiper-Taggert, Amy, and Margaret Lowry. "On Program Transitions and TA Training: What TAs Say Makes the Difference." WPA Journal. (Spring 2011): 89-114 (With Margaret Lowry). 

Sassi, Kelly. "Are We Aligned Yet? Opportunities and Misgivings in Working with the Common Core Writing Standards." English Leadership Quarterly. 34.2 (October 2011) 4-9 .

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

Follow NDSU
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Google Maps

Site Managers: Kevin Brooks and Andrew Mara
Published by the NDSU Dept. of English

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 01, 2015 11:11:10 PM