March for Science — On April 22, many scientists and scientific organizations plan to gather in Washington, D.C., for an event that is being billed as the March for Science. While reading about this event, I was reminded about the English Department’s involvement with science and technology. Our faculty members have published numerous books and articles that deal with these topics, including Alan Rauch’s Dolphin, Aaron Toscano’s Marconi’s Wireless and the Rhetoric of a New Technology, Lara Vetter’s Modernist Writings and Religio-Scientific Discourse: H.D., Loy, and Toomer, and Greg Wickliff’s “Draper, Darwin, and the Oxford Evolution Debate of 1860,” published in Earth Sciences History. We also have several faculty members who are currently working on scholarly projects that relate to science and technology, including Paula Eckard’s The Medical Narratives of Thomas Wolfe and Jen Munroe’s Mothers of Science.
A number of our faculty members also address science and technology in their teaching. For example, this semester Heather Blain Vorhies is teaching ENGL 6008: History of Modern Science Writing. The students in this course recently completed a transcription/archival project using feminist research methodology. Students transcribed examples they found of science writing in various archives, including 17th-century receipts from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s digital collection, 19th-century cholera letters, 20th-century arguments for physical education (found in the UNC Greensboro Hodges Special Collections and University Archives), and a woman physician’s notebook from the Duke University Rubenstein Library History of Medicine Collection.
As I see it, the members of our English Department have a lot to say about science and technology. Although we are not science professors, we are already making common cause with our colleagues in the STEM disciplines.
Abdallah AlShuli, a student in our graduate program, presented a paper on “The Second Language’s Impact on the First” at the 41st annual conference of the Philological Association of the Carolinas on Saturday, which took place in Charlotte.
Kirk Melnikoff presented paper titled “English Speaking-Book Poems: Imagining Readers in a Sixteenth-Century Printed Paratext” at the Shakespeare Association of America seminar Traces of Reading in Shakespeare’s Britain.
Juan Meneses was a respondent and co-moderated a discussion after the screening of the film adaptation of George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was organized by the Charlotte Film Society last week.
Jen Munroe co-lead a seminar titled “Home Ecologies” at the Shakespeare Association of America conference in Atlanta, GA (April 5-8).
Ralf Thiede delivered a paper titled “The Esthetics of Entrainment: Cognitive Literary Theory” at the 41st annual conference of the Philological Association of the Carolinas on Saturday, which took place in Charlotte.
Quirky Quiz Question — John McNair was one of the first professors in the English Department to deal with science in his teaching and scholarship. However, his academic specialty was in a completely different area. Does anybody remember John McNair’s academic specialty?