Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University

by eea | Friday, February 15, 2019 - 12:00 PM

Generous Thinking began for me with the nagging sense that something is off-kilter in much of scholarly life. That something is having profound effects not just on the ways that we as individual scholars are able to live out the values that we bring to our work but also on the ways that we work together, in groups, as departments, as institutions. And perhaps most importantly, it is affecting the ways that we connect and communicate with — or fail to connect and communicate with — the world off-campus. A talk I heard by David Scobey some years ago gave me the title for this book; Scobey argued that critical thinking in the humanities was completely out of balance with generous thinking, which oriented toward a form of public engagement designed to reconnect the university with the world. I was thrilled to hear someone name the thing that I’d been circling around, and yet I had two points of concern: first, was critical thinking necessarily on the opposite end of the intellectual see-saw from generous thinking? And second, if we are to engage generously with the world, do we need to begin closer to...Read More

Ellen N. La Motte and The Backwash of War: The “Lost” Author of a “Lost” Classic

by eea | Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 4:00 PM

My fascination with The Backwash of War , by Ellen N. La Motte, began twenty-five years ago, when I was a graduate student tracing the untold history of American antiwar writing for what would become my first book, War No More . I knew immediately that this long-forgotten collection of interrelated stories written during World War I by an American nurse was an extraordinary work.

What I did not realize until twenty years later, when I began intensively researching the book, is quite how extraordinary its author was. Not only did La Motte boldly breach decorum in writing The Backwash of War , but she also forcefully challenged societal norms in other equally daring ways.

In Backwash , La Motte masterfully highlights the senselessness of war and the suffering of those caught up in it. Midway through the work, she explains, “Well, there are many people to write you of the noble side, the heroic side, the exalted side of war. I must write you of what I have seen, the other side, the backwash.” Bravely rejecting the staid conventions of wartime writing of her time, she invented a new way of...Read More

Postcolonial Theory Is Alive and Well

by bjs | Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 10:00 AM

In the first issue of the 2018-19 volume of Eighteenth Century Studies , Editor Sean Moore brought together a collection of papers focused on postcolonial theory and empire studies, a field which has been prematurely eulogized, according to Moore's introduction to the issue. The essays cover a wide range of subjects, including slavery and the Atlantic system, espionage and the American Revolution, and diplomatic exchanges of art between Europe and South Asia. Moore joined us for a Q&A on the issue , his use of analytics in the introduction and how scholars should approach a submission to the journal.

How important is it to occasionally put useage of the journal into context like you did in your introduction?

As far as I know, this issue contains the first discussion of usage of the journal. While it is important to understand this data for figures on royalities, its far greater purpose is to show us who the audience for the journal is and their tastes in articles. We were surprised to find that the top users of the journal were faculty and students outside the U.S. at U. Toronto,...Read More

Borders, Victorian Style

by bjs | Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 10:00 AM

The issue of borders can sometimes dominate modern headlines. However, a special issue of Victorian Periodicals Review in Fall 2018 demonstrated that the topic has a rich and complicated history. Guest edited by University of Freiburg (Germany) colleagues Barbara Korte (English Literature) and Stefanie Lethbridge (English Literature and Cultural Studies), the issue addressed the diversity of Victorian encounters with borders and border crossings, investigating how they represented and negotiated these encounters in a medium that was deeply embedded in their lives. Korte and Lethbridge shared some more thoughts on the issue, which sprung from the 2017 Research Society for Victorian Periodicals (RSVP) Conference, in this Q&A.

What was the process of bringing together papers from the 2017 RSVP Conference to this print issue?

The 2017 RSVP conference was held in Freiburg, a town located in border country in the south-west corner of Germany – both France and Switzerland are just round the corner. Given this setting, we thought that ‘borders’ would be a fitting theme to explore. However, the border theme has many facets because borders are central in ordering all kinds of human...Read More

Assessing Natural Shakespeare

by bjs | Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - 10:00 AM

How does Shakespeare relate to the environment? That's the question which a special issue of Shakespeare Bulletin last year tried to address. Guest editors Randall Martin from the University of New Brunswick and Evelyn O'Malley from the University of Exeter worked to put together a collection of essays examining how Shakespeare scholars and theater practitioners can make ecological relations and environmental politics a motivating concern of twenty-first century productions. Martin and O'Malley joined us for a Q&A on this special issue.

How did this collection of papers come together?

This collection developed first out of the need for a break-out. For the past dozen years or so, Shakespeare ecocritics have been showing how the playwright’s work represents and questions new exploitative uses of the natural world which emerged in the early modern period. These uses included technological advances, capitalized production, and consumer-oriented growth. They created environmental deficits that surged during the nineteenth-century Industrial Revolution and exploded in the twentieth century. In works such as The Tempest , Shakespeare also glimpses the future of imperialism’s world-wide degradation of material, human, and animal resources.

Shakespeare...Read More