Changing of the Guard: New GECC Leadership

It is an absolute delight to announce that along with Dylan Lewis, who will be stepping in as GECC Chair, we have three new members of GECC Leadership. Allison Gibeily will be joining as the new Co-Chair, and Sarabeth Grant and Nevena Martinović will serve as Early Career Advisors for the caucus, a newly established role.

Learn more about our new leaders and read a brief “thank you” from our outgoing chair, Ziona Kocher, below.

GECC Chair: Dylan Lewis

Dylan Lewis is a PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of Maryland where he researches book history, bibliography, translation, and Restoration & eighteenth-century literature. He is also an editorial assistant for Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660–1700 and an instructor at UMD English’s makerspace and library, BookLab. He holds an M.A. in German Literature and a Graduate Certificate in Book History & Digital Humanities from Texas Tech University. 
 
Dylan’s work focuses on topics such as the transnational ‘rise’ of the novel, Anglo-German print culture, bibliography, the international reception of Samuel Richardson’s novels, the epistolary novel, translation theory, and the commercial relationships between authors, printers, publishers, and booksellers throughout the long eighteenth century. He has presented his work at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., as well as at annual conferences held by the the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the German Studies Association, the American Printing History Association, and other national and regional societies. He has also trained as a bibliographer and librarian in courses at California Rare Book School. 

He is currently creating a digital project in Samuel Richardson bibliography, and this summer he is working as a librarian at the Stadt- und Landesbibliothek in Dortmund, Germany. Some of his academic-adjacent hobbies include playing (MMO)RPG video games, letterpress printing, collecting eighteenth-century books, and playing the clarinet. You can find him on Twitter at: @IAmDylanLewis

GECC Co-Chair: Allison Gibeily

Allison (Allie) Gibeily is a PhD student at Northwestern University, where she studies eighteenth-century English and Arabic travel writing. She is a member of Northwestern’s English department and a Mellon cluster fellow in Middle East and North African Studies, and she currently serves as an Assistant Editor for the Journal of Arabic Literature. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she also provided logistical and editorial support for Restoration: Studies in Literary Culture, 1660-1700. She has previously worked as a high school English and ESL teacher and as a Graduate Assistant for UMD’s Office of Student Orientation and Transition. 

Allie’s research takes a comparative approach to understand how travelers recorded the embodied knowledge they encountered or experienced in distant lands during the European Enlightenment and the post-classical Ottoman “Period of Decline.” Of special interest to Allie is the exchange of scientific knowledge and indigenous knowhow as mediated by the genre of the travelogue, or rila, in the Arabic tradition. She is currently translating her Lebanese grandmother’s handwritten recipes from Arabic to English – a hobby that has proven to be both intellectually and gastronomically delightful. You can find her on Twitter at @AGibeily. 

GECC Early Career Advisors: Sarabeth Grant and Nevena Martinović

Sarabeth Grant (she/her) received her Ph.D. in English from Brandeis University. She served as an Instructor of English and an Administrative Assistant to the Director of the Writing Program at the University of Hartford. Named a Davis Education Foundation Fellow, she worked to strengthen the first-year writing sequence and student fluency with exploratory writing.  

Now an independent scholar, her research and publications locate historical inquiry as a form of nation building, with the literary imagination offering a more capacious view of eighteenth-century citizenship than often represented by official historical documents—an argument she makes in Exemplary England: Historical Inquiry and Literary Recompense in Pope, Gray, and Richardson, forthcoming from the University of Virginia Press. She received the 2021 Women’s Caucus Émilie Du Châtelet Award, supporting her current work on Eliza Haywood and passionate introspection, the focus of her next book project.

Nevena Martinović (she/her) is a theatre history and performance scholar from Toronto, Ontario. Her research primarily focuses on intersections of acting and aging in eighteenth-century British theatre. Her work has been published in Lumen and Theatre Research in Canada, and is forthcoming in the edited collection English Theatrical Anecdotes, 1660–1800. She is also at work on a book-length project titled Aging Actresses and Transgressive Femininity on the Eighteenth-Century Stage. 

Nevena holds a PhD in English Language and Literature from Queen’s University. She currently serves as the Education Manager at the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada, and teaches at the Royal Military College and Cambrian College in Ontario, Canada.

Thank You

In this, my final blog post for GECC, I would like to say thank you to everyone who has been a part of this caucus. As we faced a year that brought many big changes, including our first nervous but delightful steps back to meeting in person, being the chair of GECC has been a source of great joy.

While the ASECS community faced difficult discussions about our culture as an academic organization, I have been met with so many brilliant ideas about what our caucus can do to better support the junior scholars who represent the future of our field. By expanding membership to include early career researchers and scholars in addition to graduate students, our hope was to provide a broader and stronger network of support to those who need it most. We have had an amazing year of online events, brilliant panels, and a well-attended mixer, and we hope to carry this momentum forward as the GECC continues to grow.

On a more personal note, working as GECC chair is one of the best things I have done while in grad school, and I am so grateful to have had the chance to serve in this position. Though I am sad to see this time come to an end, I am extremely excited to see where things go next.

-Ziona

GECC Excellence in Mentorship Award for 2022 Awarded to Prof. George Haggerty

It is a true honor to present the GECC Excellence in Mentorship Award for 2022 to Prof. George Haggerty.

While the nomination packets submitted for all of our nominees illustrated the passion and care they poured into their work as mentors, Prof. Haggerty’s impact on the members of ASECS and our field as a whole is truly remarkable. We would like to share a few things that were included in the nomination materials and the feedback we received from those who served on the award committee:

“Prof. Haggerty has gone above and beyond to mentor students, especially those interested in queer studies and disability studies.”

“Too often, senior scholars of his stature retreat into their own worlds, yet Prof. Haggerty has remained generously “present” in his students’ professional and personal lives, going out of his way to be share his time, knowledge, energy, and wisdom.”

“George is the kind of generous colleague who gives back endlessly, using his significant scholarly standing as a platform to support and extend the work of others.”

And finally, “teaching is for many of us where scholarship, historical revision, intellectual inspiration, and cross-generational support come together. It is important that a scholar of George’s standing makes that commitment and value visible. Here we see the full circle—a mentor who brings together scholarship and teaching in his own work and in his approach to students, new PhDs developing their professional practice, and more established rising scholars.”

Thank you so much, Prof. Haggerty, for the amazing work that you have done for our field, and for the lasting impact you have had on the students, colleagues, and friends during your career.

GECC Co-Chair & Early Career Advisor Application

The GECC Co-Chair is a two-year position— you will start as Co-Chair in your first year and then become Chair in your second year. The Co-chair shall assist the Chair in carrying out any activities requested by ASECS in support of the Caucus and is charged with coordinating and chairing the GECC scholarly panel. The Co-chair shall also assist in coordinating the annual Excellence in Mentorship award, along with communicating regularly with the ASECS Business Office and GECC liaison. The Co-chair shall perform the duties of the Chair in the event of that officer’s absence or incapacity.

The Early Career Advisor is a one-year position. The Early Career Advisor shall serve as a representative for early career scholars who are members of the Caucus to meet the needs of this group. The Early Career Advisor will assist the Chair and Co-chair in planning any events hosted by the Caucus and will attend Caucus meetings and maintain regular communications with the Chair and Co-chair.

Both positions are a wonderful way to get involved in ASECS with only a minimal time commitment.
— To apply for GECC Co-Chair, please send your CV and an abstract proposal (~200 words) for the GECC’s “scholarly” panel for ASECS 2023 to the rising Chair, Dylan Lewis, at dplewis@umd.edu.

— To apply for GECC Early Career Advisor, please send your CV and a short personal statement outlining your interest and goals for the position to the rising Chair, Dylan Lewis, at dplewis@umd.edu.

Due to deadlines from the ASECS Office, the application deadline is Monday, April 18th. Please feel free to reach out to Dylan or Ziona if you have any questions!

ASECS 2022 – Roommate Search

The GECC is compiling a list of individuals who are seeking roommates for the 2022 Annual Meeting in Baltimore. We are collecting information through this form through Friday, January 21, at which point we will organize the responses and send a spreadsheet only to those members who have completed the survey. If you have any questions or concerns about this process, please feel free to get in touch via email or on Twitter.

Social Media Assistants – ASECS Women’s Caucus

Hello Members of the GECC!

The Women’s Caucus is looking to expand its online presence and programming! As part of this initiative we are soliciting nominations for Social Media Assistants who will help develop our digital footprint across various platforms and work on emerging initiatives. These positions entail 2-3 hours of service commitment per week, and involve things like managing the Social Media platforms, developing and brainstorming programming initiatives (podcast/interviews/etc.) and collaborating with the Social Media Chair. 

The GECC is home to the best and the brightest of ASECS’s future. If you are looking to join a vibrant community of scholars, meet the top minds in the field, and collaborate with folks who may end up life-long colleagues, then please apply! These positions will help members network, beef up professional service records, and can lead to executive leadership roles.

We welcome new ideas and perspectives and are especially looking for those who want to get more involved. We are looking to also launch social media and community outreach initiatives and we need your help to get there.

If you would like to apply for a social media assistant position, please email the Social Media Coordinator, Lisa Vandenbossche, at lmvanden@gmail.com, with a 150-200 word application letter, detailing your experience, your interests in the eighteenth century and what kind of digital work you see yourself doing at the Caucus. 

Applications should be submitted by January 28, 2021.

GECC Interview with Dr. Victoria Barnett-Woods

We are pleased to continue our interview series! Dr. Victoria Barnett-Woods is a Lecturer at Loyola University Maryland, where she specializes in literature of the long eighteenth century, empire, transatlantic history, and Caribbean writing. She is the editor for Cultural Economies of the Atlantic World: Objects and Capital in the Transatlantic Imagination (Routledge 2020) and is currently working on a manuscript titled Reading the West Indies: Empire, Slavery, and the Rise of the Novel. In ASECS, she is currently the interim Co-Chair of the ASECS Women’s Caucus and also assists with community outreach and social media. In addition to her publications she has been the recipient of a number of awards, including two teaching awards and a research fellowship to the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. When not writing about literature of the circumatlantic world, she is gardening, cycling, and hanging out with her family.

Image of a woman with mid-length hair and glasses sitting in front of an old book in a library.

– How did you become interested in eighteenth-century studies?
I feel like my route to the eighteenth-century Atlantic was a circuitous one. I began my interest in the conceptual framework of “empire” when I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in a postcolonial country. I experienced first-hand the aftermath of European and American colonial occupation and came to realize that my service was a perpetuation of it! So slowly I became more interested in studying colonialism, diaspora, and revolution.

– What are your current research interests? What are you working on at present, and what do you want to work on next?
I am very much interested in the eighteenth-century Atlantic, with a geographic focus on the Caribbean. My research usually sits at the uncomfortable intersection of literary scholarship and history. I am currently in the important moment in every new PhD’s life of getting my monograph signed with a publisher. It has been revised from the dissertation, and I’m much prouder of it. There’s still a great deal more to go, but I’m feeling good about it.

– If you could meet someone from the period, who would you want to meet and why? What would you talk to them about?
This is a super random one, but Anne Wright Maitland. She is a woman of mixed heritage who inherited her father’s Jamaican plantation on the condition that she marry an Englishman. I would want to know if she wrote The Woman of Colour. There is some speculation about the novel’s author, so my first question would be, “so, did you write it?” In that same vein, I would also likely ask Leonora Sansay if she wrote Zelica the Creole, just so that my own suspicions that she did not write it would be confirmed.

– What are some of your writing habits? How do you get started on a new project, or what keeps you going on a longer (and maybe frustrating) project?
Writing habits are essentially non-existent during the academic year. I have a 4-4 load, usually with new content creations, so I am generally prohibited from writing. It’s incredibly frustrating as I adore thinking, researching and writing about the eighteenth-century Atlantic.

– What was the most exciting or rewarding part of completing your degree and entering the job market? What was the most challenging part?
I’ve said it to anyone who hears, the job market is quite unforgiving, ESPECIALLY if one is geographically restricted. I have a spouse and a child and a home. We can’t just leave. That being said, I have found a good position at a SLAC. While it is a NTT position renewed annually, which will likely stay this way for a while, I do have the pleasure of teaching literature. I’m also in a department that welcomes individual creativity. If I dream up a class, it can be taught.

– What was the most useful thing you learned during your time as a graduate student?
This may sound cheeky, but I learned to “manage up.” It was advice that was given to me during the time I was dissertating, and it is something that I have carried with me since. It’s much more empowering to tell supervisors when something may be ready for them, as opposed to remaining dependent upon supervisory guidance.

– Do you have any advice or something you would like to share with members of the GECC?
Academia is a brutal industry—I have seen a lot of my doctoral colleagues (for whatever reason) choose an alternative path before and after they graduated. Be patient with yourself, know what you truly want, and bust your ass—you’ll get it (hopefully).

GECC Interview with Dr. Nevena Martinović

We are thrilled to begin our graduate student and early career researcher interview series this year with Nevena Martinović (she/her), who is a theatre history and performance scholar from Toronto, Ontario. Dr. Martinović holds a PhD in English Language and Literature from Queen’s University, and her research primarily focuses on intersections of acting and aging in eighteenth-century British theatre. Her work has been published in Lumen and is forthcoming in Theatre Research in Canada, and the edited collection English Theatrical Anecdotes, 1660–1800. She is also at work on a book-length project titled Aging Actresses and Transgressive Femininity on the Eighteenth-Century Stage. 

– How did you become interested in eighteenth-century studies?
I took my first eighteenth-century course in the final year of my undergrad. I had to take an eighteenth-century course to fulfill the requirements of my degree and I ended up in Dr. Terry F. Robinson’s R18 Drama class. It was the first class I took where we engaged with plays as live performances existing in a historically specific context and I was hooked. This term, I have the pleasure of teaching that course and it has been absolutely amazing.  


– What are your current research interests? What are you working on at present, and what do you want to work on next?
I am currently working on a book project titled Aging Actresses and Transgressive Femininity on the Eighteenth-Century Stage. This project has emerged out of my doctoral dissertation and presents two complementary arguments: aging was weaponized against eighteenth-century women as a strategy for containing transgressive behaviour, and actresses—as experts in the field of performance—recognized the performative quality of age and manipulated it to their benefit.

For my current project I’ve been analysing actresses’ obituaries and I want to continue to think about performing bodies within the context of death: public executions, players’ funerals, autopsies, etc.

I also have an article coming out in November on Robert Lepage’s 887 and it has been really fun to explore aging and theatre in a contemporary Canadian context.
 
– What is your favorite aspect of the eighteenth century or of the field itself? What are some challenges for you?
I love the theatrical para-texts and reading them alongside plays. The pamphlets, the memoirs, the caricatures, the newspaper reviews. I love reading what the audience thought of the costumes, and the petty things theatrical practitioners wrote about each other. I love all those little details that bring a performance to life.

The challenge is that I can’t actually see any of these performances and the plays aren’t as regularly performed as Shakespearean plays or plays by Wilde. I’ve been able to see The Beaux Stratagem and School for Scandal, but it would be great to see even more.


– If you could meet someone from the period, who would you want to meet and why? What would you talk to them about?
I think I’d have to meet Frances Abington. I only meant to write one chapter on her for my dissertation, but I couldn’t stop. Eventually she made her way into three of my chapters and after I defended, I got a tattoo that says “that worst of bad woman” – David Garrick’s famous description of her.

Women’s stories are often omitted from history, and so I would just want to hear whatever she wanted to share.

 
– What are some of your writing habits? How do you get started on a new project, or what keeps you going on a longer (and maybe frustrating) project?
I write in spurts, and I respond well to “writing bootcamps,” where I focus on writing and nothing else. I think the best thing I did was lean into this and accept that it takes me a half hour (AT LEAST) to start writing. I won’t ever be productive setting aside an hour or two a day for writing, I’m more productive setting aside a day a week.

When I lack motivation and don’t want to write, I give myself writing rewards. After every writing task I complete (an outline/a footnote/a paragraph/whatever I decide), I let myself read a chapter of the murder mystery I am currently reading. I let myself be motivated by my desire to find out who the killer is.


– What was the most exciting or rewarding part of completing your degree and entering the job market? What was the most challenging part?

The dissertation defense and the opportunity to talk to a group of people who have all read your work was itself pretty exciting. The second most exciting thing was being able to put away the dissertation and not think about anymore…for at least a few months.  

The challenge was not having a solid structure anymore and having to decide what I wanted to do next.


– What was the most useful thing you learned during your time as a graduate student?

I’m a big Steinbeck fan and during my PhD I read East of Eden, which has that line “now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” It’s important to give yourself permission to not be perfect. No one is perfect. The dissertation is never going to be perfect. Perfect isn’t real.


– Do you have any advice or something you would like to share with members of the GECC?

My PhD took six years. That’s a big chunk time and isn’t possible to spend every minute of six years working, nor is it productive in the long run. Take time for yourself and be kind to yourself. It’s good to say “no” to things, it’s good to delegate, it’s good to ask for help, and it’s good to rest.

Sometimes it’s easy to get down on yourself and forget why you’re working on this big, complicated, sometimes frustrating project, so I want to tell you that the work you are doing is interesting, it’s important, and there are people who want to read it. I want to read it. If you’ve written something that you’re excited about or want feedback on, email me! nevenamartinovicphd@gmail.com  

A New Chapter for the ASECS GSC

As many of you have probably noticed, things have been changing on the Caucus website and social media! Following recommendations from the ASECS DEIA and conversations during the listening sessions at the annual meeting and the recent ASECS Town Hall, Caucus leadership has updated our bylaws to expand our membership to include Early Career Researchers. The Caucus is now officially the ASECS Graduate and Early Career Caucus, or ASECS GECC.

Self-defined ECRs are encouraged to become members of the GECC by signing up for our listserv. We have a number of events in the works, but we are excited to receive feedback about what the GECC can do to best serve our expanded membership. Please feel free to get in touch via email (asecs.gradcaucus@gmail.com) or on Twitter.

If you would like to learn more about these changes, you can read the notes from the Town Hall and look at our new Bylaws. To avoid broken links, our URL and Twitter handle will remain the same, but we are excited about serving a larger piece of the ASECS community and building stronger connections amongst junior scholars.

Many thanks to April Fuller, Mark Boonshoft, Romita Ray, Kate Jensen, and the ASECS Executive Board for their guidance and support in making this change.

Call for Nominations – 2022 Excellence in Mentorship Award

We are pleased to announce that we are accepting nominations for the 2022 Excellence in Mentorship Award. The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, February 1, 2022. The nomination guidelines are outlined below, but you can find more information on the “Excellence in Mentorship Award” portion of our website or in our bylaws.

A nomination must be coordinated by a member of ASECS who is not a current student/advisee of the nominee. Nominations should include:

  • Three letters of support. Letters should discuss the ways in which the nominee has supported and fostered the teaching and scholarly/professional goals of mentees and should describe specific instances that demonstrate their qualities as an effective mentor. Letters may come from former students, colleagues, collaborators, and others qualified to speak to the nomination. Together the letters should provide evidence for the range, excellence, consistency, and salutary impact of the nominee’s mentoring history. The maximum length for each letter is two single-spaced pages. Letters should not be from current students/mentees.
  • The nominee’s 5-page C.V. The nomination coordinator should highlight, and where necessary explain, items that are particularly relevant to the Mentorship Award.
  • Please indicate whether your nominee has been informed of their nomination.

The coordinator should submit the above materials in .pdf format to the ASECS Business Office at asecsoffice@gmail.com. The materials will be forwarded to the GECC Chair for review by the Mentorship Award Committee.

If you would like more updates, please follow the GECC Twitter page @asecsgrad or join our listserv.

Please contact the GECC Chair, Ziona Kocher (zkocher@vols.utk.edu), if you have any additional questions.

ASECS Town Hall

On August 18, the Caucus participated in the ASECS Town Hall, an event organized to provide members of the organization a space to share concerns and ideas. During the breakout room focused on support for graduate students and ECRs, members discussed expanding the Graduate Student Caucus to include ECRs and various networking, mentoring, and professionalization opportunities. The Caucus is currently working on putting some of these ideas into action. A full summary of the discussion from this breakout room can be found below.

Many thanks to Jed Surio for all of his hard work organizing these notes and working with the Town Hall committee to bring this event to fruition.

From the Main Session Chat

  • A graduate student should have a spot on Executive Board meetings.
  • Grad student labor should be protected whenever they serve.

Addition of Early Career Researchers to the Caucus

  • Some were wondering why grad students and ECRs were lumped together, but in the end, the caucus liked the concept.
  • The idea was suggested during the listening session.
  • Let people self-identify as early career researchers.
  • The Caucus is already in place and early career researchers most likely have already been part of the Graduate Student Caucus.
  • It helps with community building and does not leave people without a network after they finish their PhD. It expands the community.
  • It also helps with morale for those transitioning between stages.
  • It is convenient. The Caucus can also split if needed and just become sibling caucuses.
  • Other eighteenth-century societies (like BSECS and BARS) place grad students and early career researchers together and it has led to active participation among members.
  • We need to figure out the demographics of the Caucus in order to serve the members better. How many are grad students? How many are ECRs?
  • This is more inclusive. Sometimes grad students don’t finish their programs and sometimes they are independent scholars. This gives them a space within ASECS.

Events/Workshops

  • Online meetings are still helpful since we are all in different cities.
  • Academic and non-academic jobs
    • Caucus members want help preparing for the uncertain, mid/post-pandemic job market.
    • It would also be good to have CV workshops for alt-ac and corporate jobs. How can we transfer our skills? What non-academic skills should we be learning?
  • Scholarly development
    • Members would like more year-round events and workshops. BSECS has virtual mini-conferences throughout the year.
    • Many liked the idea of a series of workshops. The Caucus co-chairs are already planning a paper writing workshop before the ASECS annual meeting.
    • Members want to know who is interested in their work. Which journals or presses want us to submit material to them? Can we have them speak to us in a workshop and tell us exactly what they are looking for? It would be nice to have more transparency. Can we provide a list of who is actually interested in us?
    • Members also want workshops on topics such as turning your dissertation into an article.
    • We can also have workshops for grant writing and for non-traditional or more mature students.

Mentoring

  • Caucus members want mentors who are realistic. They need to acknowledge the current state of the job market. Giving students and ECRs an idealized idea of the job market is unethical.
  • Many brought up how BSECS and the Keats-Shelley Association pair together senior and junior scholars for mini-conferences. For example, in one session, one senior and one junior scholar will present.
  • One-on-one mentoring might not always work. Perhaps everyone will have either two mentors or two mentees.
  • We need a list of those who are willing to be a mentor. This is extra work for the senior scholar and they may be hard to find. Perhaps start with people from The Doctor Is In as well as professors without PhD students.
  • Note that we don’t want to step on the toes of The Doctor Is In.
  • We should educate mentors about what we need. Maybe we should make a list of our Top 10 biggest needs?
  • There should be a diversity of mentors (in terms of gender, discipline, etc). Many mentors tend to skew female.
  • There can even be mentoring among the students. Think ECRs and more senior grad students paired with undergrads or grad students that are just beginning their programs.
  • It would be good to have non-academic mentors as well (i.e. academics that have transitioned into the corporate world).
  • Regular check-ins with mentors would be nice. For example, junior and senior scholars can do a check-in once a month. They can also eventually meet during the ASECS annual meeting.
  • Mentors are important because not everyone feels supported within their own departments.

Networking Among Caucus Members

  • We need to communicate more as a caucus. We can have more lists or email blasts with announcements.
  • We should also collate our upcoming events as well as the venues that we have for mentorship.
  • Many brought up the idea of connecting with other 18c societies like BSECS. Having transatlantic connections would open up our networks. We also have similar needs as the students and ECRs living abroad.
  • Many feel like the pandemic led to a loss of community.
  • We should also consider doing more or reaching out to those who aren’t in the dissertation-writing phase yet.
  • We need to think about how HECAA (and other sub-groups) fit into the structure of the Caucus.
  • Someone suggested doing weekly or regular writing sessions over Zoom.
  • We can have a room share sign-up for the annual conference. People can share rooms or an Airbnb. Those with funding can help with accommodations for those without funding. You also have to consider housing for those that are queer, non-binary, etc.
  • We should have a space where we can all connect/communicate. [Ziona/Dylan — maybe this could be a Facebook group?]

Other

  • You can only get an ASECS student membership for four years. That does not make sense because no one finishes grad school in four years.