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The English Department at NDSU

The mission of the English Department at North Dakota State University is to cultivate understanding, knowledge, and appreciation of the English language, its speakers and writers, and its literatures and cultures, such that students and department members use the language creatively, critically, and effectively to participate ethically in civic and professional life.

Welcome, Dr. Weaver-Hightower!

I am delighted to be joining the English department at NDSU and am looking forward to learning about my new campus, getting to know my new colleagues, and meeting the new challenges of this leadership position. I am a transplanted North Dakotan—a southerner by birth, as is my spouse, Marcus (professor of Education at UND)—but we have both come to appreciate the Midwestern culture and almost adjust to the Red River Valley weather. For us as much as our children—Harrison, aged 10, and Evelyn, aged 6—North Dakota has become home, and I am excited to continue to serve the people of North Dakota as a Professor of English and Department Chair at North Dakota State University.

I will bring to the NDSU English department a love of travel and interest in global cultures and literatures. I am a postcolonialist by trade, studying the five-hundred-year British colonization of much of the world and the rich literature resulting from that intercultural contact. My books and essays together investigate why people who are engaged in colonization read certain books and how particular repeated stories can help pave the way for empire by making it seem more palatable. My first book, Empire Islands: Castaways, Cannibals and Fantasies of Conquest (Minnesota UP, 2007), for instance, looked at how the archetypal story of the castaway stranded on an island—like Robinson Crusoe—helped to make colonization of non-island spaces seem natural by connecting control of the island space to the natural command of one's body.

My more recent work, Frontier Fiction: Settler Sagas and Postcolonial Guilt (Palgrave 2018), focuses on stories of settlers, examining how the stories that settlers tell themselves and others about their appropriation of land can function like defense mechanisms. In particular, this book reads the 19th century contact settler literatures of Australia, South Africa, Canada, and the United States that helped the colonizing society manage the guilt inherent in displacing indigenous people. I done similar work in two edited collections—Postcolonial Film (Routledge 2014) and Archiving Settlement (Routledge 2019)—and also through my work as coeditor of The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies.  

My work with global literatures occasionally requires travel to work in archives and learn more about the cultures of these places about which I write and teach. I've been lucky to see the world for my work, with trips to Australia, South Africa, Egypt, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy, and China. My hope is to next find some project that will take me to New Zealand, and then maybe the Caribbean and South America.

I aim to bring the cultures of these far flung places to North Dakota, as well, through my teaching of literature and writing on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Though I especially value my work with English majors and English graduate students, I also very much appreciate the opportunity to work with undergraduates from departments across the University through general education and writing courses. I believe that reading texts produced outside of the United States and discussion of global cultures should be a part of the education of every American, for by studying others we not only become more sensitive and responsible neighbors, but we also better ourselves through the comparison.

Again, I am delighted to be joining the English department at NDSU and look forward to helping our students, alumni, and faculty achieve. 

Welcome, Dr. Holly Hassel!

The Department of English is delighted to welcome Dr. Holly Hassel, Professor of English, to our faculty. We invited Holly to tell you a little about herself, and here’s what she shared:

 I earned my PHD in English from the University-Nebraska-Lincoln in 2002, and am currently a Professor of English and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County in Wausau, WI. My scholarly work is pedagogical in nature, focusing on teaching and learning in first-year writing and introductory women’s and gender studies classrooms. As a first-generation college graduate, I am particularly passionate about the social justice function of two-year college English and supporting the successful transition of all students to college writing classrooms. My scholarly work has been published in College Composition and Communication, Feminist Teacher, College English, Pedagogy, Teaching and Learning Inquiry, WPA: Writing Program Administration, and Teaching English in the Two-Year College, among others. From 2013-2016, I authored the regular feature “Inquiry” in Teaching English in the Two-Year College, an introduction to systematic inquiry into student learning aimed at two-year college English teachers. My most recent books include Surviving Sexism in Academia: Strategies for Feminist Leadership (co-edited with Kirsti Cole, Routledge, 2017) and the second edition of Threshold Concepts in Women’s and Gender Studies: Ways of Seeing, Thinking, and Knowing, a textbook for introductory women’s and gender studies courses co-authored with Dr. Christie Launius (Routledge, 2018). I have served as editor of Teaching English in the Two-Year College, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal published through the National Council of Teachers of English, since 2016. I have also delighted in translating my love of Harry Potter by serving with my colleague Jill Stukenberg as co-Headmistress of the annual, week-long summer academic camp for kids, Wizarding Academy, a Hogwarts immersion experience.  

I am thrilled to be joining the English department and its program in Writing, Rhetoric, and Culture at NDSU, and look forward to continuing my work in two-year college English by helping prepare new instructors for teaching in these rewarding educational contexts. I am excited to build partnerships with local two-year college colleagues, to furthering the work that is happening in the field on graduate preparation of two-year college English teachers (see the September 2017 special issue of TETYC on this topic!), and continuing my teaching and research interests on writing assessment, placement of students in first-year writing and learning support courses, the profession, threshold concepts in writing studies (particularly first-year writing) and faculty leadership. On a personal note, the position at NDSU brings me closer to my home stomping grounds in Northern Minnesota (having grown up in Brainerd). In my free time, I enjoy running, yoga, fabric arts (quilting, embroidery, and knitting), science fiction and fantasy films, playing guitar, and spending time with my husband, Ben Schultz, and two children Trixie (12) and Gus (7).



English Education Students @ NDACTE Conference

NDSU English education students Sommer Forkenbrock, Shaylee Thomas and Madi Novacek will be presenting with NDSU graduate student Camille Forlano, Associate Professor Kelly Sassi, and West Fargo 7th grade teacher Alissa Helm about their collaborative field experience teaching Winterdance by Gary Paulsen at the North Dakota Association for Colleges of Teacher Education Annual Conference April 7, 2017 at Minot State University. Here is a photo of Kelly providing teaching feedback to Kerstyn Kutz-Samek and Camille Forlano during the field experience. Photo by NDSU photographer Justin Eiler.

Language Diversity Ambassadors

English lecturers Kellam Barta and Megan Even got some press recently with a Spectrum article on the newly formed Language Diversity Ambassadors group on campus.

Senior Jenna Murphy's Capstone Project Recognition

Senior Jenna Murphy's capstone project got campus wide recognition this month with a banner story. Check it out here.

English Graduate Students Presentation

NDSU English graduate students Tony Albright and Luc Chinwongs presented at the National Writing Project's Annual Meeting, November 16-18, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. Their presentation, "Transformative Narratives of the Journey to and from Soldierhood: What Writing Projects Can Learn from Working with Veterans," was chaired by Associate Professor Kelly Sassi and included a literature review presented via video by NDSU English undergraduate Camille Forlano, a McNair scholar.

Bruce Maylath has Published Two Co-authored Book Chapters

Bruce Maylath has published two co-authored book chapters:

Maylath, Bruce, and Steven Hammer. "The Imperative of Teaching Linguistics to Twenty-First-Century Professional Communicators." Teaching Culture and Communication in Global Contexts. Ed. Kirk St. Amant and Madelyn Flammia. Piscataway, NJ: Wiley-IEEE Press, 2016.

Lisaité, Donata, Sonia Vandepitte, Bruce Maylath, Birthe Mousten, Susana Valdez, Maria Castel-Branco, and Patricia Minacori. "Negotiating Meaning at a Distance: Peer Feedback in Electronic Learning Translation Environments." Translation and Meaning. Ed. Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk and Łukasz Bogucki. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2016. 99-113. Łódź Studies in Language, New Series, vol. 1.


Gordon Fraser Invited to Attend First Book Institute Summer 2016

Gordon Fraser, assistant professor of English, has been awarded a $1,500 fellowship from and invitation to the First-Book Institute at the Center for American Literary Studies at Pennsylvania State University. Hosted by Sean X. Goudie (Penn State) and Priscilla Wald (Duke), the institute aims to help early career faculty complete manuscripts for their first scholarly monographs. About 10 percent of applicants to the institute are invited to the one-week seminar.

Congratulations, Dr. Fraser!

Adam Goldwyn Received Fellowship

Adam Goldwyn received an academic year (September to May) fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard University’s center for Byzantine Studies in Washington, DC, to complete a manuscript of his book project, Byzantine Ecocriticism: Humans, Nature, and Power in the Medieval Greek Romance. The book will analyze environmental ideology in Greek literature of the 12th-15th centuries. He will also complete his translation of the 12th century grammarian John Tzetzes’ Allegories of the Odyssey for Harvard University Press, which follows on his translation of the Allegories of the Iliad (Harvard UP, 2015).

Also, his lecture at the Cambridge Classical Reception Seminar Series in May, entitled "Myth, Misogyny, and Magic: Mansplaining Medea in the Middle Ages” is now officially online (scroll down a bit on the webpage):



Kelly Sassi and Denise Lajimodiere's Article Accepted for Publication

Kelly Sassi and Denise Lajimodiere's article “Culturally Responsive Art and Writing Workshop at a Native American School” has been accepted for publication in Ubiquity: The Journal for Literature, Literacy, and the Arts.


Mailing Address

English Department
NDSU - Dept. 2320
P.O. Box 6050
Fargo, ND  58108-6050
Office Location:
 Minard 318
Office Phone: 701-231-7143

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Published by the NDSU Dept. of English

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 09, 2018 9:44:10 AM
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