Carnegie Mellon University

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June 20, 2019

Spotlighting Graduate Students: Spring and Summer 2019

By Angela Januzzi

It may be summer on-campus at Carnegie Mellon University, but the last few weeks of spring and coming summer months continue to be filled with the accomplishments of the Department of English's graduate students, both M.A. and Ph.D.

In May, M.A. in Professional Writing John Zoppina was chosen as the 2019 recipient of the Erwin R. Steinberg MAPW Scholarship, in support of the Fall 2019 semester. The award is in honor of Dr. Erwin Steinberg, who founded the professional and technical writing programs in the English Department. The award recognizes a third semester MAPW student who has excelled in Style and who also exemplifies the values that characterized Erwin’s career in scholarship, teaching, and administration at CMU.

In late March, Literary & Cultural Studies Ph.D. student Robyn Rowley presented a paper developed in Professor Jon Klancher's "History of Books and Reading" course in Fall 2018, at the University of Virginia graduate conference on the theme of Attachment and Affect. The analysis works to interrogate the literary celebrity of writer Oscar Wilde, and seeks to understand how a socially-authored mythos has made Wilde an icon in the contemporary period. Rowley participated in several segments of the conference, including a workshop with UVA’s Dr. Rita Felski.

In April, along with new Assistant Professor of Rhetoric Stephanie Larson, Ph.D. student Maggie Goss co-authored a book review of rhetorical scholar Cheryl Glenn’s book Rhetorical Feminism and This Thing Called Hope. The review was published in Rhetoric Society Quarterly.

In May, Rhetoric Ph.D. student Ryan Mitchell published the article “Decoupling Sex and Intimacy: The Role of Dissociation in Early AIDS Prevention Campaignsin Argumentation and AdvocacyThe research explores the early years of AIDS epidemic prevention and the relationship between gaps in medical knowledge and encouraged social values.

Literary & Cultural Studies Ph.D. student Kitty Shropshire was named a doctoral fellow by the Centre for the Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR), an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars researching the radical right. She also received a grant from the University of Kansas to visit the Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library.  

This coming summer, Literary & Cultural Studies Ph.D. students Steven Gotzler and Avery J. Wiscomb will present new work on minimal computing, specifically on how to deploy lightweight digital reading editions of texts at the Association for Computers and the Humanities Conference in Pittsburgh, in late July 2019. The presentation focuses on MARXdown, an online digital edition they have developed using the markup language Markdown, in coordination with Carnegie Mellon University’s Contemporary Marxist Reading Group (CMRG).

Digital reading editions such as this are designed to support group annotation of texts in the classroom, and function as an accessible online space for communities of readers to critically engage with texts. Gotzler and Wiscomb say editions like MARXdown are an effort “to leverage minimal computing principles to imagine projects that help give us what we need in the spaces of our work, while continuing to unsettle and question the consequential dimension of technology for our labor as workers in the humanities.”

Finally, this spring marked the completion of the second year’s “season” of the CMU English graduate student-produced podcast show “re:verb.” Started in the Spring 2018 semester, “re:verb” is focused on how rhetoric, communication and language shape contemporary politics and culture. The show is also partially inspired by its predecessor, the English graduate-run blog The Silver Tongue. For the 2019-20 school year episodes, “re:verb” is accepting ideas here.