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Please see our department calendar for the
Spring 2014 schedule of lectures and poetry readings

News and Announcements

Announcing the English Senior Essay Award

The Department of English is pleased to announce the establishment of an award of $250 for the best essay by a senior English major. The award will be presented each spring prior to graduation and will be included officially in the university commencement program. Made possible by a generous gift from an anonymous alumni donor, the award will go to a student whose essay is selected from among those nominated by members of the department faculty.

To be eligible for the English Senior Essay Award, students must be seniors when the essay is written, regardless of their actual graduation date. Senior Essays, essays written as part of an independent study, and comparably substantial essays written for any upper-division seminar in the Department of English are eligible for nomination. The nominated essay, accompanied by a brief description and endorsement, must be received by the Director of Undergraduate Studies no later than March 1 of each academic year.

Professor Christopher Nealon and Professor Beverly Silver awarded grant

In June of 2012, Professor Christopher Nealon and Professor Beverly Silver (JHU Sociology) were awarded a Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar grant, which provides funds for a two-year interdisciplinary seminar on the topic of "Capitalism in Transition, Capitalism in Crisis." Since the seminar began in fall term of 2012, Professors Nealon and Silver have brought a variety of speakers to campus to discuss a variety of issues bearing on the question of whether and how capitalism can continue in its current forms. The seminar is being run as a course out of Sociology called "21st-Century Capitalism," which meets most Fridays from 1-3pm. All are welcome to attend, regardless of enrollment. Information about the seminar can be found at the website for the new Arrighi Center for Global Studies at JHU, which is here:

Sharon Achinstein to join the Department of English on July 1, 2014

Professor Achinstein comes to Johns Hopkins from the University of Oxford (UK) where she is a Professor of Renaissance Literature. In her research and teaching Professor Achinstein has explored the intersection of literature and political communication in the early modern period, specifically focused on questions of toleration, religious dissent, and women's participation. Form and ideology are two abiding concerns. Her two monographs, Milton and the Revolutionary Reader (1994) and Literature and Dissent in Milton's England (2003) and two edited collections, Milton and Toleration (2007) and Literature, Gender and the English Revolution (1994), placed works of literature in relation to the emerging public sphere and challenges to political and religious authority. Building on her scholarship on Milton, she has queried the history of the discipline of Renaissance literary studies, exploring how the economic pressures and values of the post-war University in the USA shaped the study of renaissance literature. Her most recent research faces the history of marriage towards literature, law, politics, and theology, directions pursued in work on her forthcoming edition of Milton's writings on divorce (Oxford University Press, 2014). Through this project Achinstein's current work engages in debates over secularism and early modernity. She is currently studying the history and theory of literary genre as a means to understand the media through which secularity was experienced. She is the recipient of ACLS and NEH Fellowships, has held a Folger fellowship, as well as British Academy and Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Fellowships.

Congratulations to graduate student, Nick Bujak

Nick's essay "The Form of Media History: Narrator-Space and The Lay of the Last Minstrel" has been accepted for publication, and is forthcoming in the autumn 2014 issue of Studies in English Literature.

Jonathan Kramnick joins the Department of English

Professor Kramnick comes to Johns Hopkins from Rutgers University, where he taught in the English Department while leading interdisciplinary initiatives across literature, philosophy, and the sciences and designing new approaches to graduate professionalization and placement. His research and teaching is in eighteenth-century literature and philosophy, philosophical approaches to literature, and cognitive science and the arts. Professor Kramnick's first book-Making the English Canon: Print Capitalism and the Cultural Past, 1700-1770 (Cambridge, 1999)-examined the role of criticism and aesthetic theory in the creation of a national literary tradition. His second-Actions and Objects from Hobbes to Richardson (Stanford, 2010)-considered representations of mind and material objects along with theories of action during the long eighteenth century. Building on this study, Professor Kramnick's current book project asks what distinctive knowledge the literary disciplines and literary form can contribute to discussions of such topics as perceptual consciousness, created and natural environments, and skilled engagement with the world. His 2011 Critical Inquiry article on literary study and evolutionary theory sparked a vigorous debate on the relations between the humanities and the sciences, with numerous responses and his long reply appearing in the journal the following year.

Despite this range of interests, Professor Kramnick maintains a firm rooting in eighteenth-century studies, having written the 2010 year-in-review article on work in the Restoration and Eighteenth Century for SEL and served on the editorial board of Eighteenth-Century Studies. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Stanford Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Huntington Library, and the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library.

You may read an interview with Professor Kramnick here:

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