Interview with UMF English Faculty Steve Grandchamp

By Robert Drinkwater

This semester the UMF English department has been going through a hiring process for who to hire as a new member of the English faculty. Now, a candidate has officially been hired and that is Stephen Grandchamp who will now be a full time English professor here at UMF. I had the pleasure of interviewing him about his time at UMF, his work with The New Commons Project, classes he will be teaching in the future, and the projects that he is working on.

Describe your experience at UMF.

I love it at UMF!I think that the students here at great. They are creative, curious, resilient, and I really enjoy working with them. Also, I think my colleagues here are fantastic too. They are really understanding and overall I just felt very welcomed by the UMF community.

How do you feel about officially being hired by UMF?

I’m thrilled! I think from the moment I started visiting UMF to start my original contract, I originally applied to be the assistant director of The New Commons Project in February 2018, I knew right away that this was a very special place, so I was absolutely thrilled when I heard the news that I’d be able to sty permanently.

Could you describe your work on the New Commons Project?

Right now, I’m the co-director of The New Commons Project with Kristen Case, my colleague in the humanities division. The New Commons Project, to give a broad outline is a public humanities initiative that seeks to initiate conversation between students, faculty, and community members between cultural works that are important to them. We do that by having them nominate cultural works that are important to them in video form. After that, we have a committee that consists of faculty, students, and community members who pick twelve of them and then we have free public programming to go along with the,. So, we’ve had concerts, scholarly talks, round tables, we’ve had a symphony orchestra. I think overall, it’s been such a positive and inspiring experience to be part of the New Commons Project because it really shows how people in Farmington in particular are passionate about works of art, literature, music, and they love sharing with others their love of these works which has been really great to see.

What classes do you plan on teaching?

Next semester, I’m going to be teaching English 181, a course on literary interpretation and analysis. I’m also teaching English 377, a class on video games as literature. Students are going to play through six or seven video games from the 1970’s to the contemporary moment and we’ll talk about the aesthetics, the narrative and analyze the video game we would if it were a work of literature.

Are you working on any projects?

I recently finished an article that is out for review that is about how to use Spotify playlists to teach students poetry. I’m also working on a piece that makes the claim that Kendrick Lamar is engaging with nineteenth century individual development with his album Damn. I’m looking for ways in which hip hop narrative is similar to that of traditional European narrative modes that create them. Lastly, I’m working on my book project Accounting for Failure: Arrested Development and the British Bildungsroman which makes the case that in the nineteenth century, British narrative established the idea that we accept today which is that failure doesn’t have to define a person in order to succeed.

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