Undergraduate English Symposium a Success

Undergraduate Student Panel Participants 

The English Department and the Lambda Delta Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta presented the Twelfth Annual Undergraduate English Studies Symposium on March 26. This year’s Symposium featured a joint faculty keynote speech by Dr. Susan Kim and Dr. Aaron Smith and an event celebrating literacy titled “Everybody has a literacy story…tell us yours!” The Symposium began with two student panels, each featuring research in various areas of English Studies, including pedagogy, literary analysis, and gender studies.

Rachel Johnson, a senior Publishing Studies major, presented a paper titled “The Uncanny: Subculture and the Abject Image.” Johnson was followed by Kate Norcross, a junior transfer student majoring in English with a Creative Writing concentration and a Writing Minor, who presented a paper titled “Let’s Get Political: Evaluating the Efficacy of Critical/Cultural Studies Pedagogies for First-Year Writing Courses.” The first panel concluded with a presentation by Rebecca Straple, a senior Publishing Studies major, titled “Children of the Waste Land: Connecting T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, Medieval Romances, and Punk Music.”

The second student panel, moderated by Erica Wills, featured two returning graduates to present work they completed as senior undergraduate students. Micheal William Coons, who graduated in December of 2008 with a Theatre Education major and English minor, presented a paper titled “Institutional Prohibition of the Fluid Text: A Critique of a Third Version of Life of Pi.” Jenna Goldsmith, a 2008 English graduate who is now a graduate student in English at Illinois State, presented “The Consequence of Gender: An Examination of Sharon Block’s Rape and Sexual Power in Early America.” Ken Earl, a senior Publishing Studies major, ended the second student panel with “Jazz, Buddhism, and the Postmodern in Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues.”

Following the student panels, Dr. Susan Kim and Dr. Aaron Smith presented a joint keynote speech titled, “The Spoor of Our Ancestors: Literacies and the History of English,” in which they addressed the early history of English and the unique literacies that the eventual marriage of Latin, Old English, and Norman French created.

The Symposium was also host to a national literacy event titled “Everybody has a literacy story…tell us yours!” The event was open throughout the day and the Symposium ended with time for guests to take part in this national event. This event, taking place in more than twenty institutions around the country, was designed to collect literacy stories from students, faculty, staff, community members, and guests in various forms—for example, writing, video, audio, and images. Literacy narratives are about composing letters, lyrics, websites, blogs, social networking pages, and maps and can include photographs of letters, diaries, family, drawings, or any other form of communication.


Audience members enjoying the
student panels


Dr. Susan Kim and Dr. Aaron Smith

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