Category Archives: Faculty News

Recent Faculty Activity (Publications, Presentations, Etc.)

For those curious, here are some of the things that some of your MA faculty have been up to/will be up to soon, professionally speaking:

Dr. Miriam Gogol, Professor of Literature, will be participating in the MS Screen Arts and Culture Forum at the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) 2018 Annual Convention in New York City. This session will examine Lois Weber’s newly restored silent film Shoes (1916) in relation to American naturalism, early-twentieth-century consumer culture, the working girl, and sexual mores. Dr. Gogol, editor of and contributor to Working Women: New Essays in American Realisms (forthcoming 2017) will compare the film to depictions of prostitutes and kept women in the American naturalistic fiction of that day (Stephen Crane’s Maggie: A Girl of the Streets [1893]; Theodore Dreiser’s Jennie Gerhardt [1911]; David Graham Phillips’s Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise [1917]; and Rachel Crothers’s Ourselves [1913], the only prostitute play by a woman performed in that era).

Anyone looking for a reason to see New York City and to gain some experience at professional conferences (see the post just below this one for more on why you might want to do that) should look into visiting the MLA conference here during the first week of January 2018 and attending Dr. Gogol’s presentation.

Dr. Celia Reissig-Vasile, Chair of the Dept. of Literature and Language in which the MA program is housed, received sabbatical leave last year to conduct research on historical memory and cultural production in the post-dictatorial period in Argentina and is now in the process of preparing her manuscript for publication. Her book will focus on Argentine film and literature as cultural manifestations of historical memory.

Her most recent publication is a chapter in the book Home: An Imagined Landscape (Solis Press 2016) edited by renowned writer and scholar Dr. Marjorie Agosin. Dr. Reissig-Vasile has also been invited to read her creative work at various events and venues in the past year: e.g. Po’Jazz at the Hudson Valley Writers Center in Sleepy Hollow, NY (May 2016); Art Speak at Blue Door Art Gallery in Yonkers, NY (June 2016); Writing to the Wall at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, NY (July 2016); Mercy College Writers Corner at Mercy College (March 2017); and as part of Grupo Quetzal at the Stamford CT Library’s International Women’s Day (March 2017).

Cover art for Home (2016) and The Oxford Handbook of Animal Studies (2017).

Dr. Boria Sax, who teaches a range of courses in the MA program including his self-designed Animals in Literature and Magic in Literature courses, has had a typically busy and prolific year. Recent articles include “Animals in Folklore” which appears in the prestigious Oxford Handbook of Animal Studies (Oxford University Press, 2017). Also: “Animal Models and Utopias: ‘A Bird of Paris’ by J.J. Grandville, George Sand, and P.J. Stahl” which appears in Anglistik – International Journal of English Studies (27.2, 2017). And: “Zootropia, Kinship, and Alterity in the Work of Roberto Marchesini” which appears in Angelaki (21.1, 2016).

Furthermore, his 2012 book City of Ravens was recently published in Chinese translation (鸦之城:伦敦,伦敦塔与乌鸦的故事 , trans. Weng Jiaruo, Beijing: CITIC Press Corporation, 2016). The Chinese Mythological Society at Normal University in Beijing is just finishing up a translation of his 2013 book The Mythical Zoo. That edition is slated for publication in late 2017 and will be Dr. Sax’s third book translated into Chinese. And his 2003 book Crow has just been reissued by Reaktion Books of London. His next book is Lizard forthcoming from Reaktion Books in October 2017.

Cover Art for the Chinese translation of City of Ravens (2017) and for Cultural Hybrids of (Post)Modernism (2017).

Dr. Christopher Loots’ article “Nada and Sunyata in ‘A Clean, Well-Lighted Place'” was published as a chapter in Cultural Hybrids of (Post)Modernism: Japanese and Western Literature, Art and Philosophy (2017), as part of the Critical Perspectives on English and American Literature, Communication and Culture series. The book is edited by Beatriz Penas-Ibáñez and Akiko Manabe.

Dr. Sean Dugan, who has long had an interest in so-called “mid-brow” literature and media and popular culture, recently presented his research on Edna Ferber, Calder Willingham, and the Earle Stanley Gardener character Perry Mason as represented in the TV series at the South Atlantic MLA (SAMLA) conference as well as the College English Association conference. He is currently working on a paper for SAMLA 2017 on TV Noir and The Twilight Zone episode “Perchance to Dream” by Charles Beaumont. He continues to do research into his other field of interest, linguistics, and in particular accent perception, English grammar, and syntax (some of which he will apply in the 2017-18 year as a Faculty Fellow working with Dr. Miriam Ford of the Mercy College Nursing Dept. on reading comprehension and fluency in first year college students). Dr. Dugan regularly teaches MA courses on Irish Literature, Henry James and D.H. Lawrence, Composition, and Narrative Strategy.

The 2016 Graduate English Symposium

On Saturday, May 14th, a few MA students, alumni, family members, program faculty, and the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts gathered together at Mercy College for the 2016 Graduate English “Writing Image Text” symposium. The symposium took place in Maher Hall, the headquarters for the School of Liberal Arts on the college’s Dobbs Ferry campus. Below are a few photos from and information about the event.

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The two panels of presenters: seated, l-r, Dr. Miriam Gogol, Kit Gower, and Carol Mitchell; standing, l-r, Gloria Buckley, Nicholas Cialini, and Dr. Christopher Loots.

The MA program director, Dr. Loots, opened the symposium with welcomes and remarks, and then led the first panel sharing his research on “Entropy/Negentropy in Cormac McCarthy’s Fiction.” Gloria Buckley followed with her paper on “Whitman’s Free Verse: A Lyrical Embrace Shaped by Oration, Opera, Nature or War?” Nicholas Cialini, a recent alumnus and also now adjunct faculty in English at Mercy College, concluded the first panel with his study of “Eliot, The Eagles, Dylan, The Beatles: Modernism and Rock n’ Roll.”

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Following a lunch break, Dr. Gogol led the second panel with a discussion of her forthcoming book project, a collection of essays on Dreiser and his representations of women workers, for which she is the editor and a contributor (Dr. Gogol is the founder of the International Theodore Dreiser Society and a leading scholar in the field). Kit Gower followed with her study of “The Philosopher’s Dog: How Animal Characters in Children’s Literature Act as Guides for Transformation.” Carol Mitchell concluded the day’s research presentations with her paper on “Henry James’ What Maisie Knew and D.H. Lawrence’s ‘The Rocking-Horse Winner’:The Financial Morality Behind a (Literary) Childhood.”

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Below, Dean Jhashi (left) watches the second panel of presenters along with Dr. Dugan and Gloria.

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Below, Kit and Carol prepare for their panel to begin. Presenting CAN be fun!

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All in all, it was an afternoon filled with collegiality, ideas, good conversation and laughter. All of us here in the MA program and the greater School of Liberal Arts would like to thank all of our panelists and their guests for traveling to come together for this event. We look forward to seeing some and hopefully all of you again, as well as seeing some new faces, at next year’s 2017 symposium.

Writing/Image/Text Graduate English Symposium: Saturday 5/14

Writing Image Text 2016 Poster copy

Based on the responses that I received from students regarding availability and interest, on Saturday 5/14 the MA in English Literature program will be hosting a graduate English student symposium at Maher Hall on Mercy College’s Dobbs Ferry campus. A few students indicated that they could have made other dates/times, but 5/14 was the one that worked out for the majority of respondents. We have two current students and one alumnus scheduled to present a scholarly paper, and will have a few faculty sharing their scholarship as well. This will be a small, informal and friendly gathering to which all current and former students, as well as their friends and family, are invited. A catered lunch will be served compliments of the MA program. So if you’re anywhere within traveling distance that weekend and would like to come by and meet a few of the students and faculty from the program, please do (and please rsvp to cloots@mercy.edu if you plan to, so that I can get the size of the catering order correct).

Recent Publications of Mercy MA Faculty

Dr. Donald Morales is Professor Emeritus at Mercy College, where as a full professor he has taught courses in Caribbean, African, and African American literature. He was awarded the 2009 “Mercy College Online Teacher of the year” (awarded annually to one professor out of the hundreds who teach online at the college; the MA program has three such award-winners actively teaching in it). This month sees the publication of his latest work, “American ‘Migritude’: The Flight of Black British Artists to the United States,” which appears as a chapter in a book to be released in just a few days: Continental Shifts, Shifts in Perception: Black Cultures and Identities in Europe.

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Dr. Morales is widely published and highly-regard in his field. Some of his other many publications include: “Do Black Theater Institutions Translate into Great Drama?” in African American Review (31:4, 1997). “Post-Apartheid Theater,” in African Visions (2000). “The Pervasive Force of Music in African, Caribbean and African American Drama,” in Research in African Literature. (34:2, 2003). “Garcia Marquez in Film: His Image of Women,” in Hispanic Connection: Spanish and Spanish-American Literature in the Arts of the World (2004). “Current South African Theater: New Dilemmas” in African Diasporas: Ancestors, Migrations and Boundaries (2008). “August Wilson & Derek Walcott, a Conversation Moderated by Paul Carter Harrison,” in Black Renaissance Noire (9:2/3, 2009/2010). And “Contemporary African-American Drama: Trends in Diaspora Performance,” in Diaspora Representation and the Interweaving of Cultures (2013). Dr. Morales is currently a member of the New York Jazz Workshop and plays soprano saxophone.

Dr. Christopher Loots is currently the head of the MA program in which he teaches American literature, modernism, and modern expatriate literature. His article “‘That Inscrutable Thing’: Holography, Nonlocality, and Identity in American Romanticism” has just been published in the latest edition of Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science and Technology (24:1, 2016).

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Other publications include “The MA of Hemingway: Interval, Absence, and Japanese Esthetics in In Our Time,” in The Hemingway Review (29:2, 2010), and “Wrinkles in Time: Tracing Joseph’s Trauma in Saul Bellow’s Dangling Man,” in Saul Bellow Journal (22:1, 2006). Research interests include interdisciplinary studies of American literature and science, and intercultural studies of American literature and Japanese religio-aesthetics. Currently he is completing a chapter for a collaborative book-project on Hemingway and Japanese aesthetics, to be published later in 2016, and is working on a study concerning entropy and negentropy in Cormac McCarthy’s fiction. Like Dr. Morales, Dr. Loots is also a winner of the “Mercy College Online Teacher of the Year Award.”

Recent Publications of Mercy MA Faculty

Dr. Boria Sax, who as many of you know teaches a wide range of literature in our program, is beyond the virtual classroom a renowned scholar on the topic of animals in literature, as well as of hermetic literature. He publishes frequently on these topics. Two of his more recent publications are Imaginary Animals: the Monstrous, the Wondrous, and the Human (ISBN: 1780231733) and City of Ravens: The Extraordinary History of London, the Tower, and its Ravens (ISBN: 9781590207772).

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The publisher of Imaginary Animals writes: This book shows how, despite their liminal role, griffins, dog-men, mermaids, dragons, unicorns, yetis and many other imaginary creatures are socially constructed through the same complex play of sensuality and imagination as ‘real’ ones. It traces the history of imaginary animals from Palaeolithic art to the Harry Potter stories and robotic pets. These figures help us psychologically by giving form to our amorphous fears as ‘monsters’, as well as embodying our hopes as ‘wonders’. Nevertheless, their greatest service may be to continually challenge our imaginations, directing us beyond the limitations of our conventional beliefs and expectations.

And the publisher of City of Ravens writes: Boria Sax shows how our attitudes to the raven and to the natural world have changed enormously over the centuries. By describing the distinct place of this special bird in Western culture, he shows how blurred the lines between myth and history can be. This is a unique and brilliantly readable story of the entwined lives of people and animals.

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Dr. David Kilpatrick, who in addition to having taught in the MA program since its inception is currently the Chair of the Dept. of Literature and Language in which our MA program is housed, is a diverse scholar of literature and philosophy. He is also a published poet, and his most recent publication is an epic poetic effort informed by the 2014 World Cup as much as by his life-long love for the beautiful game: Obrigado: A Futbal Epic (ISBN: 0996205802).

Dr. Kilpatrick provides the following: “Written as a response to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, each match becomes a poem and each poem from each match becomes one epic poem, a narrative of heroes and villains emerging as the tournament unfolds as and through poetry.  Obrigado is for lovers of poetry and lovers of the Beautiful Game. ” Or as it reads on the back cover: “64 games, 32 teams, 30 days, 65 poems, 1 epic.”

Obrigado also comes in the form of an audio CD  which Dr. Kilpatrick recorded himself.

David-Kilpatrick-recording-Obrigado-A-Futebol-Epic

Also worth looking into is Dr. Kilpatrick’s Writing with Blood: the Sacrificial Dramatist as Tragic Man (ISBN 8792633099). The publisher writes: tragic writing emerges as a representation of a sacrificial crisis that calls into question the human relation to the divine. The process of dramatization that exposes this crisis places the subject and language at risk. Writing with Blood explores the birth and death of the tragic subject in antiquity and the modernist reanimation of the sacrificial in Nietzsche, Bataille and Mishima.