New edition of works by Elizabeth Oakes Smith, edited by Caroline Woidat, out from Broadview Press

cover of Woidat edition of works by Oakes SmithProfessor Caroline Woidat’s edition of works by nineteenth-century American author Elizabeth Oakes Smith, The Western Captive and Other Indian Stories, has just been published by Broadview Press.

From the Broadview website:

This edition recovers Elizabeth Oakes Smith’s successful 1842 novel The Western Captive; or, The Times of Tecumseh and includes many of Oakes Smith’s other writings about Native Americans, including short stories, legends, and autobiographical and biographical sketches. The Western Captive portrays the Shawnee leader as an American hero and the white heroine’s spiritual soulmate; in contrast to the later popular legend of Tecumseh’s rejected marriage proposal to a white woman, Margaret, the “captive” of the title, returns Tecumseh’s love and embraces life apart from white society.

These texts are accompanied by selections from Oakes Smith’s Woman and Her Needs and her unpublished autobiography, from contemporary captivity narratives and biographies of William Henry Harrison depicting the Shawnee, and from writings by her colleagues Jane Johnston Schoolcraft and Henry Rowe Schoolcraft.

New Okada book on Asian-American film and video out from Rutgers

Assistant Professor of English and Film Studies Jun Okada’s book Making Asian American Film and Video: History, Institutions, Movements was published this spring by Rutgers University Press.

81cLLvBLsGLFrom the Rutgers website:

Making Asian American Film and Video explores how the genre has served as a flashpoint for debates about what constitutes Asian American identity. Tracing a history of how Asian American film was initially conceived as a form of public-interest media, part of a broader effort to give voice to underrepresented American minorities, Okada shows why this seemingly well-intentioned project inspired deeply ambivalent responses. In addition, she considers a number of Asian American filmmakers who have opted out of producing state-funded films, from Wayne Wang to Gregg Araki to Justin Lin.

Okada gives us a unique behind-the-scenes look at the various institutions that have bankrolled and distributed Asian American films, revealing the dynamic interplay between commercial and state-run media. More than just a history of Asian Americans in film, Making Asian American Film and Video is an insightful meditation on both the achievements and the limitations of institutionalized multiculturalism.

The SUNY Geneseo Lamron published an interview with Prof. Okada in April.

Spend Mother’s Day at the tenth annual Peace Poetry Reading

The tenth annual Genesee Valley Peace Poetry Reading will be held this Sunday, May 10, at 2 p.m. in Wadsworth Auditorium on the campus of SUNY Geneseo. Over 1,500 area students in grades K-8 submitted poems on the theme of peace for this year’s Peace Poetry contest, and over 60 of those students were selected as winners. They’ll read their poems on stage and receive prizes. Cuteness is guaranteed.

The event is free and open to the public.

According to English professor Dr. Rob Doggett who has run the Geneseo contest since its inception, “The goal of the contest is to give students the opportunity to reflect creatively on the theme of peace at a time when so much of what they encounter in the media is dominated by images of violence.”

Professor Doggett, aided by student judges and organizers at SUNY Geneseo, has grown this event into a major feature of the community calendar within the Genesee Valley: a Mother’s Day celebration at which contest winners read their poems to an audience that includes family, teachers, and area residents.

Peace_Cover2015“I honestly feel that this contest can help change the lives of students because it helps them to discover a talent that they didn’t know they had,” says Doggett. The contest has helped thousands of young people explore, reflect on and communicate about large ideas that shape their daily lives: What does peace mean to them? What brings them peace in their lives? How might young people help to create a more peaceful world? At times the students’ poems deal with domestic strife, or loved ones in war zones; at times they elegize hunting trips or calm moments with friends. The Peace Poetry Contest sparks conversations on all these topics, with the presentation chapbook a memorial for students to take home—and an inspiration to their peers.

2015 English department scholarships and graduating senior awards

Our previous post listed winners of the 2015 writing awards in English and Africana/Black Studies.

We’re also pleased to announce this year’s winners of the English department’s scholarships and graduating senior awards:


  • Natalie Selser Freed Memorial Scholarship: Meghan Barrett
  • Rita K. Gollin Senior Year Scholarship for Excellence in American Literature: Jeremy Jackson
  • Rita K. Gollin Junior Year Scholarship for Excellence in American Literature: Thomas McCarthy
  • Hans Gottschalk Award: KiayaRose Dilsner-Lopez
  • Joseph M. O’Brien Transfer Scholarship: Sarah Smith
  • Don Watt Memorial Scholarship: Kristen Druse

Graduating Senior Awards

  • William T. Beauchamp Literature Award: Christina Mortellaro
  • Patricia Conrad Lindsay Memorial Award: Sean Neill
  • Calvin Israel Award in the Humanities: Rebecca Miller and Liam Cody
  • Joseph M. O’Brien Memorial Award: Harrison Dole

We’ll be celebrating winners of scholarships, graduating senior awards, and writing awards today at 2:30 p.m. today in the Walter Harding Room, Welles 111.

2015 English department writing awards

Congratulations to the SUNY Geneseo students who took first, second, and third place this year in the categories of critical essay, diversity studies, first-year critical writing, research, creative non-fiction, literary fiction, and poetry. Congratulations as well to the students who won in each of three categories for work in Africana/Black studies.

John H. Parry Award: Critical Essay

  1. Sean Neill, “Towards a Theory of Auto Horror”
  2. Sarah Simon, “Erupt/Endure”
  3. Liam Cody, “Repurposing Bodies in ‘The Grauballe Man'” and Zachary Muhlbauer, “Tom Wolfe’s Never-Never Land (What?)”

Jérome de Rômanet de Beaune Award: Diversity Studies

  1. Meghan Kearns, “No Magic Here: Archival Violence and the Body”
  2. Kyle Parnell, “Disability as Metaphor in Curricular Literature: A Case Study on Of Mice and Men
  3. Emily Ercolano, “Kramer vs. Kramer: The Subversion and Affirmation of Masculine Hegemony in the Male Mother”

Irene E. Smith Award: First-Year Critical Writing

  1. Noah Chichester, “We Shall Overcome: Ferguson and the History of Black Protest in America”
  2. Sophie Boka, “Destabilizing Definitions”
  3. Halee Finn, “Optimism Can Influence Perspective”

Research Paper Award

  1. Harrison Hartsough, “Constitutional Rights as an Unfunded Mandate: The Problems with the Implementation of Gideon v. Wainwright in New York State”
  2. Connor Valvo, “The Place of Theory of Mind in The Catcher in the Rye
  3. Sean Fischer and Benjamin Wach, “United We Stand: An Ethical Framework for Literary Criticism, A Case Study Analysis”

Creative Non-Fiction Award

  1. Erin Koehler, “The Phototroph”
  2. Kathryn Waring, “Open Diary”
  3. Lara Elmayan, “Scavengers”

Lucy Harmon Award: Literary Fiction

  1. Katie Soares, “Kill the Carrier”
  2. Sophie Boka, “To Know One”
  3. Marissa Canarelli, “The Magpie”

Mary Thomas Award: Poetry

  1. Chrissy Montelli, “Aftermath of: Twin Mental Health Evaluations”
  2. Lara Elmayan, “Last Prayer to Mack Wolford”
  3. Codie Hazen, “[Unspecified Endocrine Disorder]”

Africana/Black Studies Award

  • Best Critical/Analytical Essay: Sean Neill
  • Best Research Paper: Cassandra Nicol
  • Best Creative Writing: Devon Poniatowski

Poet M. NourbeSe Philip to perform here April 28 at 7 p.m.

Afro-Canadian poet, writer, and activist M. NourbeSe Philip will perform from her recent book, Zong!, a radical collection of poetry that tries to come to terms with the 1781 tragedy of the slave-ship Zong, from which ship over 150 African men, women, and children were thrown overboard as part of an insurance claim. Zong colorNo one was ever tried for their murder, and all that survives recording the incident is a two-page legal decision, Gregson v. Gilbert, named for and concerned with the ship’s owners and insurers, not the Africans onboard. It has been described by Juliana Spahr as “exceptional and uniquely moving.”

Philip’s performance will be accompanied by an original musical composition by SUNY Geneseo’s Glenn McClure.

The event, which will be held at Doty Hall on the SUNY Geneseo campus, is free and open to the public; books will be available for

M. NourbeSe Philip is the acclaimed author of four books of poetry, two collections of essays, a play, a novel, several short stories, and other writings; her work features in the Norton Anthology of English Literature. The recipient of many illustrious international awards, including the Casa de las Americas prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a McDowell Fellowship, a Chalmers Fellowship, and a Rockefeller Foundation residency, Philip has read and performed her work internationally, including as writer-in-residence at the University of the West Indies and as part of The Scream Literary Festival. She lives and writes in Toronto, where she has previously been the writer-in-residence at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore.