Symposium Day 2014

This year’s UMF Symposium Day saw presentations of literary, scholarly, and creative work by a variety of students in English or allied fields of study. English faculty also participated as project sponsors or as presenters. Below are a few snapshots from English-related presentations from Symposium Day 2014. I wasn’t able to take photographs of all the presentations due to a combination of being unable to be in two places at once and sometimes less than optimal lighting.

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Kara Chiasson: Conservation in the Digital Age (Sponsor: Eric Brown)

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Cadyn Wilson: Hello, My Name Is… (Sponsor: Kristen Case)

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John Buys: Contextualizing the Divorce Novel in America, 1880-1920 (Sponsor: Sabine Klein)

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Cidney Mayes: Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey Online: Creating a Digital and Pedagogical Resource for Secondary Teachers and Students (Sponsor: Misty Krueger)

To see the website that Cidney designed as part of her project, go to The Northanger Classroom http://northangerclassroom.org/

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Sean M Igoe and Nicole Lejonhud, Tanked: A Literary Immersive Text (Sponsor: Pat O’Donnell)

The full on-line version of Tanked and its story of janitor Jack and a mermaid at the New England Aquarium is available at Tanked www.tanked-the-tail.org.

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Grace Kendall, Call Him Cody: Family, Home, and Transition in a Small Town (Sponsor: Nathaniel Minton)

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Professors Pane and Case, The non-harmonious, unproductive productiveness of going against. . . .

Also presenting (but not pictured) in the Wilson Scholars group were Lauren Breton: “Young Adult Literature” Vs. “Fiction/Literature”  (Sponsor: Sabine Klein) and Curtis Cole: Postmodern Japanese Existentialism (Sponsor: Erin Kappeler). Other presentations by students in the English program included Molly Meadows, Hard-Boiled Truths (Sponsor: Erin Kappeler).

English Majors and UMF Wilson Scholars

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Left to right, first row: Mallory Smith, Amanda Barrows, Carlee Knox and Sean Slattery. Center row: Tobey Tozier, Nicole Lejonhud (Creative Writing), Cadyn Wilson (Creative Writing) and Alana Knapp. Back row: Kara Chiasson (Creative Writing/English), Sean Igoe (Creative Writing/English), Curtis Cole (Secondary Education/English) and Marianne O’Loughlin. Grace Kendall (English Minor) not pictured.

UMF Names Thirteen Students as Prestigious Wilson Scholars

FARMINGTON, ME (April 29, 2014)—The University of Maine at Farmington recently named 13 students as Michael D. Wilson Scholars for the spring 2014 semester. This prestigious undergraduate research program provides top UMF student scholars with faculty mentorship and project funding to help them pursue the highest level of undergraduate research investigation.

“UMF’s Wilson Scholars and Fellows Program energizes the spirit of academic and creative exploration on our campus,” said Kathryn A. Foster, UMF president. “Its extraordinary level of original, independent undergraduate research builds new confidence, inspires new direction and helps prepare students for the challenges of the professional world.”

Wilson Scholar Kara Chiasson, from Methuen, Massachusetts, is using her award to learn about conserving books in the digital age.  A senior majoring in creative writing and English, Chiasson is exploring the importance of book preservation—both the physical preservation of the book itself and the digital preservation of the book’s content.

Chiasson’s project began with her interest in conserving a family book from 1939. Her Wilson award helped her take that interest to the Houghton Library at Harvard and the Northeast Document Conservation Center, in Andover, Massachusetts, where she gained a new understanding for the value of all types of literature preservation.

“I’ve had the chance to handle a book that was carefully preserved from the 1500’s,” said Chiasson. “That experience gave me a new appreciation for the preservation of literature, from oral tradition and hand-written manuscripts to the digital age. My research has opened a whole new area of academic interest for me, and I hope to continue the study of book history and conservation after graduation.”

The UMF Wilson Program names student awardees twice-a-year including single-semester scholars and year-long fellows. The spring 2014 awardees include13 Wilson Scholars: Amanda Barrows from Union; Kara Chiasson from Methuen, Mass.; Curtis Cole from Pittston; Sean Igoe from New Haven, Conn.; Grace Kendall from Buckfield; Alana Knapp from Kingfield; Carlee Knox from Saco; Nicole Lejonhud from Hebron; Marianne O’Loughlin from Nashua, N.H.; Sean Slattery from Farmington; Mallory Smith from South Berwick; Tobey Tozier from Jefferson and Cadyn Wilson from Hallowell.

The program provides funding to help underwrite student project expenses. It was established by Michael and Susan Angelides, of Columbia, Conn., in honor of their good friend and UMF alumnus Michael D. Wilson, class of 1976.

2014 Spring Wilson Scholars:

Amanda Barrows – Union
A senior majoring in international and global studies, Barrows is examining the social impact of the law that established French as the official language of Quebec on immigrant rights in Quebec, Canada. Her faculty sponsor is Clint Bruce, assistant professor of French.

Kara Chiasson – Methuen, Mass.
A senior majoring in creative writing and English, Chiasson is exploring conserving books in the digital age. Her faculty sponsor is Eric Brown, professor of English.

Curtis Cole – Pittston
A first-year student majoring in secondary education: English, Cole is researching Postmodern Japanese existentialism. His faculty sponsor is Erin Kappeler, visiting assistant professor of English.

Sean Igoe – New Haven, Conn.
A senior majoring in creative writing and English, Igoe has a joint project with fellow Wilson Scholar Nicole Lejonhud, exploring the field of digital humanities through the creation of an original immersive digital text.  Their faculty sponsor is Patricia O’Donnell, professor of English.

Grace Kendall – Buckfield
A senior with a major in bachelor of general studies, Kendall is writing a memoir as the partner of a transgender man. Her faculty sponsor is Teal Minton, assistant professor of creative writing.

Alana Knapp – Kingfield
A senior majoring in art, Knapp is exploring the role and relevancy of costume in art as it relates to female identity. Her faculty sponsor is Katrazyna Randall, associate professor of art.

Carlee Knox – Saco
A senior majoring in Geology, Knox is examining petrographic and geochemical evidence to determine the origins of the Rome-Norridgewock pluton. Her faculty sponsor is David Gibson, professor of geology.

Nicole Lejonhud – Hebron
A senior majoring in creative writing, Lejonhud has a joint project with fellow Wilson Scholar Sean Igoe, exploring the field of digital humanities through the creation of an original immersive digital text.  Their faculty sponsor is Patricia O’Donnell, professor of English.

Marianne O’Loughlin – Nashua, N.H.
A senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in environmental education, O’Loughlin is researching best practices for improving animal mental health in zoos and aquariums. Her faculty sponsor is Mary Schwanke, professor of biology.

Sean Slattery – Farmington
A senior majoring in geology, Slattery is investigating the petrographic and geochemical characterizations of past tectonic activity in areas of the Maine coast. His faculty sponsor is David Gibson, professor of geology.

Mallory Smith – South Berwick
A senior majoring in arts administration, Smith will research, curate and present an art exhibition entitled: “Objects of Consumption.” Her faculty sponsor is Sarah Maline, associate professor of art history.

Tobey Tozier – Jefferson
A senior majoring in arts administration, Tozier is exploring rejection within intimate relationships through language, the mundane and the dramatic in film. His faculty sponsor is Katrazyna Randall, associate professor of art.

Cadyn Wilson – Hallowell
A senior majoring in creative writing, Wilson is exploring the concept of identity, drawing upon the works of philosophers such as Martin Heidegger and Judith Butler and producing a final essay that she will submit to an undergraduate research publication. Her faculty sponsor is Kristen Case, assistant professor of English.

 

 

Jane Austen Journal Features Article about Teaching Northanger Abbey at UMF

Dr. Misty Krueger has recently co-edited the spring 2014 issue of the Jane Austen journal, Persuasions On-Line. The issue contains essays from scholars across the U.S., and Dr. Krueger also contributed an article about teaching Austen’s novel, Northanger Abbey, at UMF.

To access the issue and the article go to: Persuasions On-Line Table of Contents

 

 

Krueger and Mayes Present at JASNA Maine Chapter’s Meeting

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On April 26, 2014, Dr. Misty Krueger presented her talk, “Mansfield Park Comes to Life: Teaching Austen’s Novel and Staging Elizabeth Inchbald’s Lovers’ Vows,” at the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) Maine chapter’s spring meeting. Dr. Krueger was invited to give the keynote address to the chapter, and she spoke with the group about the theatrical scenes from Austen’s novel, her spring 2013 senior seminar on Austen, and the class’s decision to participate in a readers’ theatre version of Lovers’ Vows after their having read Mansfield Park. Along with Dr. Krueger, senior UMF student, Cidney Mayes, attended the meeting and shared her thoughts about the experience of performing in Lovers’ Vows.

Scholar Lisa Brooks at UMF

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Lisa Brooks

Wednesday, April 16 

11:45 a.m.,Thomas Auditorium

Lisa Brooks, associate professor of English and American studies at Amherst College and former UMF Libra scholar, presented a lecture entitled, “Finding Namaskonti: Native American History in Farmington Falls.” 

It attracted a wide range of people, including those from the community. Perhaps the local emphasis is what attracted students, staff, and community members alike.

Brooks’ historical discussion on the oral tradition and the  “last Indian” was interesting. In addition, her inclusion of local artifacts, such as Hannah Susup’s Basket, located in the Farmington Library, Farmington, ME, made the lecture more personal. 

Lisa Brooks, thank you so much for coming back up to UMF!  The community is wholly more enlightened since your lecture.

Encounters: UMF Libra Scholar Annette Kolodny

April 10, 2014

Q&A with English (and other Humanities) majors:

In an intimate setting, Annette Kolodny had a discussion with students and faculty about the opportunities available to English majors. Kolodny believes that lacking complexity is what holds people back. English majors, on the other hand, are capable of the higher order thinking necessary to succeed. She beautifully described the English major as an opening of new doors in communications, and within each is a different reality that facilitates higher thinking. She said that having an aptitude for empathy and analysis renders the English major versatile. 

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Libra Scholar Annette Kolodny

“Papal Bulls, Wishful Wonder, and the Many Fictions of the Doctrine of Discovery”:

Later the same day, students and faculty reconvened for Kolodny’s lecture “Papal Bulls, Wishful Wonder, and the Many Fictions of the Doctrine of Discovery.” 

“This lecture examines the language of the original papal bulls that set out the legal parameters for what became known as the ‘doctrine of discovery.’ I argue that the bulls effectively constructed the language and tropes by which early explorers claimed to have ‘discovered’ lands previously unknown (and unclaimed by) any Christian. In keeping with the linguistic constructions demanded by the language of the bulls, early explorers claimed firstness by asserting that they had been greeted with wonder and awe by the Native peoples. But in fact, a number of Eastern Algonquian stories of first contact with Europeans wholly undercut these descriptions of “wonder” and thoroughly undermine European assertions of first contact and so-called discovery. My remarks will concentrate on texts from the Penobscot Nation in Maine, including Joseph Nicolar’s Life and Traditions of the Red Man and a story that had previously remained only in oral tradition but was told to me by former Penobscot Nation chief James Sappier.” 

This riveting lecture covered a time span from A.D. 1000, Leif Eiriksson’s exploration of Vinland, to 1534, when European fisheries established from southeastern Labrador to Nova Scotia and Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

Afterwards, students and faculty joined the conversation. Kolodny, an articulate and entertaining speaker, graciously answered each and every question. She ended her presentation by bringing her visitation full-circle; she said, “This is where an English degree can take you.”

As always we want to take the time to say how much we appreciate our guests: Annette Kolodny, thank you so much for your eye-opening presentations!

Miss the event? Download a copy of the handout below:

 Page 1: Kolodny Handout pg1

Page 2: Kolodny Handout pg2

Page 3: Kolodny Handout pg3

Paul Bunyan Parade

Because sometimes, we just do cool things at UMF. . . . like this final project for an interdisciplinary class called Re-Thinking Paul Bunyan. The students in the course got together to return Paul Bunyan (in puppet form) to his Canadian roots by taking him across the US border into Canada (where he was greeted by Canadian students from Concordia University). Accompanying Paul was Johnny Swift, the Blue Moose. For more information on the course, see “UMF Class Planning Paul Bunyan Parade at US Border.”

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Getting Paul and company ready to parade wasn’t easy and took quite a bit of effort, especially since periodic rain kept the puppets under wraps.

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Of course, everybody wanted to take a turn with Paul’s giant chainsaw.

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Paul needed an appropriately-sized passport to cross the border.

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Not the scene of an unforunate accident—just getting Paul ready for lifting to his full height.

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Paul Bunyan, wishing UMF a happy 150th anniversary, as he turns toward Quebec.

 

Tribute Event for Annette Kolodny

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From left to right, Margo Lukens (University of Maine), Lorrayne Carroll (University of Southern Maine), Sabine Klein (kneeling, University of Maine-Farmington), Michael Johnson (University of Maine-Farmington), Jennifer Tuttle (University of New England), Annette Kolodny (Professor Emerita of American Literature and Culture, University of Arizona), Nancy Gish (University of Southern Maine), and Cathleen Miller (University of New England).

Held at the Maine Women Writer’s Collection at the University of New England, faculty from several Maine campuses gathered together to pay tribute to influential scholar Annette Kolodny, present in Maine to participate in a series of lectures at three UMaine campuses (USM, UMF, and Orono).

The Tempest at UMF

Students from multiple classes attended the recent UMF production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which provided material for a lot of good student writing about the play, including Delaney Klein’s review published in the Farmington Flyer. The online journal Knack, published by UMF students in the arts, also included multiple articles on the production, including interviews with the director, composer, and make-up designer, which includes a detailed look at the process of putting on Caliban’s make-up.

We’ve collected below several posts written by students in Honors 277 (Analyze This!!!!!!), touching on different elements of the production.

On the Opening Scene of The Tempest

by Samuel Bennett

In his introduction to The Tempest, David Lindley notes how many performances interpret the shipwreck in the first scene differently: “the subsequent stage history of the opening scene is characterized by oscillation between elaboration and simplification, realism and stylization” (17). I felt the performance at UMF combined these two approaches in a way that was effective and contributed to the play.

The scene began with a symbolic depiction of the storm, with Ariel leading several spirits to drive the waves. This recalled Ariel’s later statement that he would “divide and burn in many places” (127) – the spirits all seemed to be coordinated with his motions and moved as one, suggesting they were extensions of Ariel. The show’s rendition of “Come Unto These Yellow Sands” added to this effect – Ariel played music and gestured like a conductor while disembodied voices sang the lyrics. This established Ariel’s multifaceted, malleable nature by disconnecting his voice from his actions and having the lyrics be sung in different voices and intonations, suggesting there were multiple spirits that Ariel either directed or manifested as. I thought this was an interesting representation of an idea given in the text, and I was disappointed when Ariel’s other songs only used one voice.

Additionally, I thought the costuming and choreography of the spirits was effective – they wore white sheets and moved in wave-like motions, which both established them as embodiments of natural forces and represented the actual waves of the sea, giving the audience a sense of the stormy waters. Furthermore, my father (who I invited to the show) interpreted them as representing waves, whereas I saw them as the blowing wind. This ambiguity was likely intentional – Ariel is associated with both the sea and the wind; their costumes recalled both white rapids and the air; and their motions could easily be viewed as those of both waves and gusts of wind. The use of dance to represent the storm reminded me of the symbolic representations of the scene Lindley describes, which had “a huge puppet snake wind across the stage” (20). However, the actual dialogue and action of the opening scene was performed literally. I thought the actors depicted the storm effectively with the limited resources at their disposal – like the 1951 Mermaid Theatre production, “everybody acted high seas and hurricanes, and not a word was lost” (19). It was clear from the sounds of thunder, the flashes of light, and the frantic, panicked voices and motions of the actors that a storm was going on around them. The scene seemed chaotic and tumultuous because of how the performers played their parts and how audio-visual clues were used. I particularly liked how the gallery of the ship was represented by tying a rope to a pillar in the balcony – this set was obviously designed around the auditorium’s actual layout, but the balcony, with its railing and mast-like pillars, really did look like a ship, and tying the rope to the “mast” was enough for me to read it as such. This reminded me of Barthes’s idea of mythology – the balcony could resemble either a balcony or a ship, so simply tying a rope to the pillar produced a distinctly nautical image strong enough for me to view it as the latter without any other props or set pieces. All in all, I enjoyed The Tempest. It was fun to watch, and since I knew the complicated history of the play and its staging, I was able to get more out of it by seeing how the show was performed and how it impacted the presentation as a whole.

The Portrayal of Caliban

By Erika Burns

I thoroughly enjoyed UMF’s production of The Tempest. I wasn’t sure what to expect because there is so much open for interpretation. The use of lighting and sheets billowing in the wind of the storm provided an interesting and authentic portrayal of the shipwreck. The simple use of the upper balcony for the boatswain to climb down the rope also helped to create an image of an actual ship. I was very impressed by the storm scene as a whole.

I was most looking forward to seeing the depiction of Caliban in the UMF production. The Tempest casts him as an almost inhuman character, so far removed from society and enslaved that he has no regard for human social interaction or even human movement. Characters often refer to him as a monster so repulsive they do not even consider him to be a human. I didn’t think that UMF would come even remotely close to portraying him accurately, but I was quickly proven wrong. Caliban’s movement and dress made him seem very primitive. Putting him in a loincloth is the easiest way to convey a primitive look, but there were many added effects to enhance his look. Caliban’s make-up included hairy wart-like patches and animal print paint placed randomly on his forearm and leg. All of this – in addition to his facial make-up and greasy, tousled hair – created a caveman-like image. One foot literally had a monster’s foot attached instead of a human foot, which literally turned him into the monster that the play makes him out to be. Caliban’s movement is also distorted and not human. He was hunched over for the entire play, often resorting to moving around on all fours  to “walk” across the stage. For slight movement, Caliban’s right arm was always drooped, which created a hunched back and made him look more like an animal.

Caliban’s depiction was also enhanced by his interactions with other cast members. When he kissed the feet of Stephano, Stephano dissolved into laughter. He was mocking Caliban for being so desperate to serve him that he was willing to kiss his feet. The fact that Caliban did it again added to his desperation and, therefore, added to his mockery. It was clear to the audience that Caliban was never anything more than a servant and an odd creature to look at. Stephano recoiled every time Caliban drew near and he watched him in awe as he drank so desperately. Moments like these are not portrayed in the written play. Subtle nuances and movements cannot be accurately represented and aren’t written down as strict instructions for the actors to follow. Movement is left open to interpretation, and I think that the UMF production of The Tempest did a good job of showing Caliban’s lack of human characteristics (or at the most, very primitive ones). Doing this from all aspects was crucial in creating the desired effect. From Caliban’s make-up to his movement to his interactions with other actors, there was truly an animalistic air about him and the way others viewed him in the play.

The Portrayal of Ariel and Caliban

By Emily Cote

Ariel, being my favorite character in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest is the figure I’d like to focus on. One of Shakespeare’s talents is creating characters for theater that can be interpreted in many different ways – ghosts, spirits, gods, and fairies are present among his works and their presence on stage have been portrayed differently over the years. Ariel is a character of similar complexity, and an interesting point David Lindley voiced was that: “Caliban is not only a slave and political rebel, but is also defined by his relationship to Ariel. How this relationship is characterised by critics and represented on stage has vital consequences for any interpretation of the play. The transformations in the two roles, indeed, have taken interestingly intertwined paths.” (58)

In UMF’s representation of The Tempest, there was an emphasis on making Caliban a sympathetic character from his apparent physical disfigurement, blatant from makeup and costuming (I liked his gruesome-looking foot) while Ariel was made impressively graceful – everything from the lithe in his step to his flowing lines gave him an air that separated him and Caliban. Some critics of other Tempest performances have speculated that Ariel should be portrayed as a figure from Heaven, while Caliban should be seen as a creature from Hell. Despite his “monstrous” appearance, I did not get the sense that Caliban was evil, but simply pathetic and primitive – he dislikes his master for a good reason, as the prejudice is apparent in the treatment of both Ariel and Caliban by Prospero. Caliban’s loincloth was also a good touch, but his dress evoked a “caveman” feeling rather than a “demon” one. Ariel, however, was given a god-like appearance, especially due to the fact he was included in the beginning of the play with his muses/spirits (the chorus). It has been long debated whether or not he should be seen in the beginning, because some say it takes away from the plot as Ariel is quickly revealed to be a slave to Prospero; however, I liked that UMF included him, as it added to the drama of the storm (it seemed he was commanding the muses, making him more god-like).

Posture and self-awareness are huge keys in acting that really influence how Caliban and Ariel appear. The actor that portrayed Caliban avoided eye contact and made himself seem beneath whoever he was talking to. Ariel, on the other hand, didn’t seem so much a slave but rather a helping hand who was indebted to a savior – this is especially apparent because Ariel appears much more humble and eager than Caliban. While I don’t necessarily believe the UMF cast portrayed Caliban and Ariel to be foils of good and evil, I do think they emphasized the difference between cultured and primitive, and between graceful/godlike and crude/enslaved. Even had we seen them simply dressed side-by-side without the context of the plot we would have made the distinction that one was elegant (Ariel’s costume was simple but did the part well – he had gossamer-looking frills that implied grace, though I would have liked to have seen wings) and one was a monster or outcast. Though Ariel’s costume didn’t really give away that he was a spirit, his implied magic comes alive when he instructs the music and chorus like a symphony conductor – easily my favorite interpretation of his power and grace.