Professor/Chair, Department of English
AUTHOR

Mark West

Monday Missive – February 11, 2019

Games People Play — For the members of the Children’s Literature Graduate Organization (CLGO) this spring semester is barely long enough to fit in all of the events and projects that they have planned.  The biggest of these events is their annual Graduate Student Colloquium, which will take place on March 21 in Cone 111 from 9:30 to 2:30. The title for this year’s colloquium is “Modern Authors, Historic Influences:  Framing Children’s Literature...

Monday Missive – January 28, 2019

Agency and the EGSA Conference — Toward the beginning of last semester, my coffee cup and I wandered into the faculty/staff lounge in search of coffee, for a coffee cup without coffee is about as bad as a bookshelf without books.  Anyway, there I ran into the officers of the English Graduate Student Association (EGSA) all huddled around a table.  I asked what they were up to, and Sara Eudy, the president of the EGSA, informed me that they were discussing possible themes...

Monday Missive – January 14, 2019

Coming of Age Day — Today is Coming of Age Day in Japan.  Celebrated on the second Monday in January, Coming of Age Day is a national holiday honoring all young adults who reach the age of 20 at any point during the year.  In Japan, 20 is considered the age of majority, which means that young people gain the right to vote and drink alcoholic beverages on their 20th birthday.  Throughout Japan, local governments hold a ceremony called Seijin-shiki on Coming of Age Day.  ...

Monday Missive – December 31, 2018

The Power of Songs — There are two songs that I associate with the celebration of the New Year:  “Auld Lang Syne,” attributed to Robert Burns, and “Imagine,” co-written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.  These songs capture two of our common responses to the arrival of the New Year.   “Auld Lang Syne” reflects our impulse to look backward and remember and honor our long-standing friendships.  “Imagine” asks us...

Monday Missive – December 17, 2018

Commencement— Last Saturday the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences held its winter commencement ceremony.  Jen Munroe, Lara Vetter and I took responsibility for lining up our graduating students in alphabetical order before they filed into the Dale F. Halton Arena.  Thanks to Jen’s organizing efforts, our students made quite an impression when they they all participated in a makeshift “wave” while they were waiting to enter the arena....

Monday Missive – February 4, 2019

African American History Month — Throughout the history of UNC Charlotte’s English Department, various members of our department have taught courses and conducted scholarship on African American literature and culture, but there are two retired faculty members who played especially important roles in this part of our department’s history:  Mary Harper and Sandra Govan.  Given that February is African American History Month, I have decided to...

Monday Missive – January 21, 2019

Honoring the Foremothers of the Civil Rights Movement — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. played a pivotal role in America’s civil rights movement beginning in 1955, when he led the Montgomery bus boycott, and continuing until his death in 1968.  However, King was not a lone voice in the wilderness.  He was part of a larger movement that had its origins in the nineteenth century.   Today, as we honor King’s many contributions to the civil rights movement, I think...

Monday Missive – January 7, 2019

The Inclusion of Science in English Courses-– Last semester I recorded an episode for the NPR program called “The Academic Minute” in which I argued that the humanities and the sciences should be seen as overlapping circles on a Venn diagram.  I went on to discuss how professors in our English Department draw on insights from the sciences in their research.  Since I had less than two minutes to make my points, I did not discuss how our faculty also incorporate...

Monday Missive – December 24, 2018

Dickens and the Creation of A Christmas Carol — While I was on the plane flying back from a conference at Oxford University earlier this month, I watched a film that was perfectly suited for the season.  Titled The Man Who Invented Christmas, this 2017 film tells the story of how Charles Dickens came to write A Christmas Carol.  The film stars Dan Stevens as Dickens and Christopher Plummer as Ebenezer Scrooge.

In the film, Dickens moves among three overlapping...

Monday Missive – December 10, 2018

International Accord — My Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary provides the following definition for the word accord:  “to bring into agreement; … to be consistent or in harmony.”  This word popped into my mind as I was leaving the Oxford Education Research Symposium last Friday afternoon.  Of the many conferences that I have attended over the decades, this one is by far the most international in nature.  This year’s Oxford Education...

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