Rice English Department
September 2016 Newsletter
Welcome to the September 2016 edition of our newsletter!
The weather in Houston is beginning to cool down but the new school year is heating up. In some English classes those first papers are already being revised! As you will see below, in the past few months our faculty have garnered prestigious recognition, and both current and former graduate students are making intellectual and institutional waves.
The month ahead is a busy one: keep an eye out for R2’s new website and be sure not to miss Branka Arsić’s lecture on “Entomological Persons” September 23.
If you have any news you’d like to share with the department,  just email it to Laura Livingston at
Best wishes,

Rosemary Hennessy
Department Chair

Rice recognizes the service milestones of the following faculty from English:
  • Ian Schimmel - 5 years
  • Joseph Campana - 10 years
  • Rosemary Hennessy - 10 years
  • Thad Logan - 30 years
  • Ed Snow - 35 years
Love Among the Archives: Writing the Lives of George Scharf, Victorian Bachelor by Helena Michie and Robyn Warhol (Ohio State University) was recently selected for the Best Book of the Year Award from the North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA). Published by Edinburgh University Press in 2015, the 256-page book is part biography, part detective novel, part love story and a critical evaluation of how people read and interpret others’ lives.
Jeff Falk of Rice News writes, "John Bowen, professor of 19th-century literature at the University of York, called the book “superb” in a review. “Warhol and Michie’s ‘Love Among the Archives’ is a triumph of a book, that reinvents academic biography and tells a compelling story of the passions and mysteries of Victorian lives and archives,” he said. “Inventive, witty and knowing, it is both an important reflection on biographical method and a joy to read.”
See more here.
Tim Morton was named as one of the 50 most influential living philosophers by “Morton has been most influential in the development of the focus on ontology in contemporary philosophy, and is most famous for his book ‘Ecology Without Nature’ (2007), and his major role in the object-oriented ontology (OOO) movement. ‘In Ecology Without Nature,’ Morton has argued that ecological writing typically views ‘nature’ and ‘civilization’ as two separate things, nature being something we emerged from, and have since become removed from. In response to this problem, Morton argues that we dissolve this binary opposition and begin to understand nature as a social construct that is inseparable from civilization.”
See the complete list here.
Kirsten Ostherr was invited to the White House in June to participate in a special workshop on engaging patients as participants in medical research, as part of the Precision Medicine Initiative.
See more here.
Graduate Students
Derek Woods's chapter "Accelerated Reading: Fossil Fuels, 'Infowhelm,' Archival Life" is forthcoming in Anthropocene Reading: Literary History in Geologic Times, from Penn State UP in 2017.
Ecological Humanities Reading and Writing Group

We are an interdisciplinary group of graduate students interested in all things related to the ecological humanities. In addition to workshopping each other's works in progress, we read critical theory, philosophy, literary criticism, and anthropological texts pertaining to ecology, media studies, science and technology studies, and ecocriticism. We meet approximately once a month, go on occasional field trips (our next scheduled outing is a tour of Buffalo Bayou's cistern) and would love to have you join us!

Email Jade Hagan at or Derek Woods at for general questions or more information about our next meeting. 
This year’s graduate representatives are Kevin MacDonnell and Clint Wilson.
Congratulations to Graduate Alumni

Lourdes Alberto, PhD 2008 Rice University, is now a tenured Associate Professor of English and Ethnic Studies at the University of Utah (Dissertation Director: Jose Aranda).
Priscilla Ybarra, PhD 2007 Rice University, is now a tenured Associate Professor of English at the University of North Texas (Dissertation Director: Jose Aranda).

Student News
R2: The Rice Review

"This year in R2, our largest goal is to foster a creative, inclusive environment in which both new and old members can inspire and be inspired by each other in their writing, ideas, and opinions. One example that we are particularly excited about is the launch of our website's blog, on which staff will be able to post articles about literary or artistic content they are interested in, such as book reviews, literary quotes, or interviews with fellow inspiring students. We have received overwhelming interest from new and old members in this endeavor, who are taking a lot of initiative to come up with really cool ideas about what we can put on the blog. I think this is the most exciting thing about R2 this year, this palpable passion for creative work that creates a really open and welcoming club dedicated to sharing our love of literature and art."
– Alison Liu ‘18, R2 Editor in Chief
Upcoming Events & Dates
Friday, September 23
Cagle Lecture Series: Branka Arsić
10:00 AM – Graduate Student Session
    in English Lounge
4:00 PM – Lecture
   “Entomological Persons: Insects & Ahab”
   Humanities Building, Room 119

Branka Arsić is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She specializes in literatures of the nineteenth-century Americas and their scientific, philosophical, and religious contexts. Her most recent book is Bird Relics: Grief and Vitalism in Thoreau (Harvard, 2016). She has also written On Leaving: A Reading in Emerson (Harvard, 2010), and a book on Melville entitled Passive Constitutions or 7½ Times Bartleby (Stanford, 2007). Currently, she is working on a book project entitled Dust Archive: Melville’s Poetics of Matter.
Friday, September 30 at 3:00 -  English Lounge
Faculty Colloquium with Timothy Morton "Perforated Worlds"
Copyright © 2016 Rice University Department of English. All rights reserved.

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