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.

Announcement of New Co-Chair

We are thrilled to announce that Dylan Lewis has been selected as our new co-chair. He will work with incoming chair Ziona Kocher for the 2021-2022 year before becoming chair in 2022-2023. Congrats and welcome to Dylan! Keep reading for his bio:

Dylan Lewis is a PhD student in English Literature at the University of Maryland where he researches book history, bibliography, and eighteenth-century literature. He is also an editorial assistant for Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660–1700. 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 Anglo-German print relationships, Feminist Bibliography, the transnational reception of Samuel Richardson’s novels (especially The History of Sir Charles Grandison), the epistolary novel, and the role of letterpress printing in shaping identity throughout the long eighteenth century. He has presented his work at the Library of Congress, as well as annual conferences held by the German Studies Association, the American Printing History Association, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and other national and regional societies. He is also currently working on a digital project in Samuel Richardson bibliography. Some of his academic-adjacent hobbies include letterpress printing, rare book collecting, and playing the clarinet. You can find him on Twitter at: @IAmDylanLewis

Call for Applications: 2021-2022 GSC Co-Chair, 2022-2023 Chair

We are now accepting applications for a two-year Graduate Student Caucus (GSC) executive position. 

During the first year, the successful applicant will serve as the Graduate Student Caucus co-chair and will be responsible for organizing the Caucus’s scholarly panel at the 2022 ASECS meeting. During the second year, the co-chair will move into the chair position and will organize the Caucus’s professionalization panel. 

Among other duties, the co-chair will assist the chair in the following: 

  • Coordinating the annual Excellence in Mentorship Award—soliciting nominations, assembling an award committee, assessing application materials 
  • Conducting interviews with colleagues and soliciting guest columns for the GSC blog 
  • Keeping the GSC blog current with news/announcements, interviews, and columns 
  • Monitoring and updating GSC Twitter account 
  • Sharing members’ news and announcements 
  • Keeping Caucus members informed about prizes, awards, deadlines, etc. 
  • Composing an annual report for the ASECS Executive Board 
  • Responding to queries and communicating regularly with the ASECS Business Office 

Candidates must have at least two years remaining in their graduate program. To apply, submit 1) your C.V. and 2) a CFP for the GSC ASECS 2022 scholarly panel you would like to organize. Send these materials to the 2021-22 GSC chair, Ziona Kocher (zkocher@vols.utk.edu). Applications are due on or before Monday, April 19, 2021, by the end of the day. 

Fall 2020 GSC News: Survey, Database, and Recruiting New Members

The GSC is making plans for the rest of the 2020-21 academic year and beyond, and we would appreciate your participation and help! We are currently working on three related projects:

  • We have designed a survey to get opinions on future programming. We encourage any C18 grad students (even those who aren’t formal GSC members yet) to fill it out: https://forms.gle/kCdbF9SFgeWLhEbE6
  • We would like to compile a database of C18 grads with emails and research interests to host on the website, making easier networking for projects, panels, and mutual support. Add your info to the database here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1TlS5jGSAGZKHniCkkxtWxJiDIxmJKF79xNDtkEFSznA/edit?usp=sharing
  • We know there are more C18 grad students than are currently formal members, and we’d like to broaden our reach to include them, especially with 2021’s virtual ASECS enabling more people to participate in the conference. Tell friends and colleagues about the GSC and encourage them to join, and share our content on your social media profiles. We can be reached at asecs.gradcaucus@gmail.com and we’re on Twitter @asecsgrad

We hope all of you are finding moments of joy and connection in these overwhelming times, and that the GSC can be a place of support and community as we all navigate teaching, research, and grad school in a traumatic world.

-Meg & Ziona

Interview with Dr. James Reeves, Assistant Professor of English

We are thrilled to conclude our faculty interview series with Dr. James Reeves, who is an assistant professor of English at Texas State University, in San Marcos, TX. He received his Ph.D. in 2016 from UCLA, where he studied eighteenth-century and Romantic British literature. His research interests include the early novel, poetry, satire, Enlightenment philosophy, postcolonialism, and secularization. His work has appeared in Eighteenth-Century Fiction, the Keat-Shelley Journal, and SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900. He recently completed his first book, Godless Fictions in the Eighteenth Century: A Literary History of Atheism, which is currently forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

James Reeves, visiting assistant professorPhoto by Deb Grove, Office of Communications, Franklin & Marshall College

 

GSC: How did you become interested in eighteenth-century studies?

JR: I took one of Jennifer Snead’s classes on Alexander Pope when I was an undergrad. I loved the class, she was an exceptional teacher and mentor, and I was impressed by Pope’s command of poetic form. That said, when I entered my master’s course, I planned on being a Miltonist. That changed when I discovered that 5–6 other people in the course also planned on being Miltonists and my imposter syndrome told me I couldn’t keep up and that I needed to pursue something else. So, I went with the eighteenth century. I know that’s not the most inspiring answer, but it’s true.

I should say, though, that I’m incredibly glad I made the switch to the proper eighteenth century because it’s an absolute joy to work on, particularly for someone like me who’s interested in things like religion, satire, and secularization. And, it gave me the opportunity to work with two of the best mentors I could’ve asked for in graduate school: Helen Deutsch and Felicity Nussbaum. A large part of my interest in the century is the direct result of being taught by so many generous, supportive mentors.

 

GSC: What critical transformations have reshaped the field of eighteenth-century studies over the course of your career?

JR: The field is notably eclectic, and my career is still relatively young, but a few exciting developments stand out: the growth of disability studies (by scholars like Helen Deutsch, Lennard Davis, Chris Gabbard, Jill Campbell, Jason Farr, Travis Chi Wing Lau, and Susannah B. Mintz); the proliferation of ecocriticism and interest in the non-human (Tobias Menely, Anahid Nersessian, and Erin Drew, to name just a few scholars whose work I’m familiar with); and the increase in studies of secularization, or what has been called postsecularism. Although, if a recent BSECS roundtable I chaired on the topic is any indication, that second term is by no means unanimously accepted by those (David Alvarez, Misty Anderson, Lori Branch, David Diamond, Corrinne Harrol, Alex Eric Hernandez, myself, and others) who are currently invested in rethinking the relationship between religion and the secular in the eighteenth century.

 

GSC: What advice do you have for graduate students who are transitioning to the role of assistant professor?

JR: I’m only in my second year as a tenure-track assistant professor, so I’m obviously still figuring things out myself. But here’s a brief anecdote that might be helpful. During my first semester as a VAP, I had a moment of panic when it seemed like my students just weren’t getting the eighteenth century. I kept leaving class feeling like I’d been incoherent, that I wasn’t cut out to be a teacher after all, and that I really didn’t have any clue what I was doing. Part of the problem was that I’d made the mistake of beginning the semester with Pope’s Essay on Man instead of something more immediately palatable. But another (connected) issue was simply that I was a brand-new professor with relatively little experience managing his own classes. I texted a friend (Alex Eric Hernandez, another selflessly kind mentor among the many in our field), and he said exactly what I needed to hear: It’s normal to feel that way. Give it time. You’ll figure it out. He was right, so now I’m passing on his advice.

 

GSC: What scholarly writing methods/strategies have served you well over the course of your career?

JR: I’m a haphazard writer. I’ll go weeks without writing anything, but then at other times, I’ll write nonstop for 5–8 hours a day. However, when I really need to follow a specific schedule, I spend two months researching (and I cut myself off at exactly two months) and then one month exclusively writing. I inevitably go back and do more research once I know where the writing’s taken me and what gaps I need to fill, but in general that pattern was really helpful when writing my dissertation, my book, and the various articles and essays I’ve published/sent out. I also constantly remind myself that everyone works differently and that I don’t need to feel guilty about writing however/whenever works best for me.

 

GSC: Could you describe your approach to mentoring graduate students? What are some important attributes that graduate students should look for when choosing a faculty member?

JR: My approach is to try to emulate the ethical, professional, compassionate mentorship I received as a graduate student. That means responding in a timely manner to student emails, giving substantial, generative feedback on their essays, being equitable and available to all my students, and, perhaps most obviously but also most importantly, recognizing that they’re human beings with full lives outside of academia and that my class and research interests are rightfully not the center of their universes. It’s hard to know what you’re going to get out of a faculty mentor before you’ve actually spent significant time with them, but those are the qualities I’d look for in an ideal mentor, and they’re the qualities that I’d like to embody as a mentor myself.

 

GSC: What advice do you have on selecting topics? What advice do you have for grad students on writing a dissertation prospectus?

JR: I know it gets said repeatedly, but feel free to choose a topic that really interests you or that means something to you personally. And don’t let people’s disinterest stop you from pursuing your thing. When I first decided to work on religion (or, oddly, religion via atheism), I received pushback from random places. For instance, when I was just beginning my dissertation, I asked a question about atheism at a conference. Someone in the audience made a remark that basically questioned why anyone would be interested in the topic, which got some laughs from the crowd. On a different occasion, when I was actually finishing the dissertation and just beginning to think about the job market, I was told by an academic I’d just met that they’d only ever consider hiring me as a “Bible as Literature” guy (despite the fact that I hadn’t asked for a job or their thoughts). So, basically what I’m saying is that sometimes people, even highly successful academics, have no clue what they’re talking about. Pursue what matters to you because it’ll help sustain your interest and because you’re the person best suited to do that work.

As far as writing a prospectus goes… It’s such an odd document, and I’m guessing that different institutions have different requirements and expectations. So, my best advice would be to ask peers who’ve successfully written prospectuses if you can read theirs. And be in touch with your advisors regularly. You’re essentially trying to demonstrate to them that your project is viable, so include them in the process as much as possible.

 

GSC: What classes have you most enjoyed teaching? How has your teaching evolved over the course of your career?

JR: In fall 2018, I taught a class on “Satire from Swift to SNL.” We read 18th-century satires by Behn, Pope, Swift, Gay, Montagu, Burney, etc. alongside more recent satires like It’s Always Sunny, The Colbert Report, and The Onion. It was a ton of fun, and I think it successfully made students aware of the 18th century’s ongoing relevance. I liked it so much, in fact, that I’m teaching two different versions of it in fall 2020, one at the undergraduate level and one for our master’s students.

The most significant shift in my teaching over the past few years has been that I’m now much more interested in hearing students’ personal responses to texts than I was when I started grad school. I’m also more and more convinced that I’m wasting their time if I just have them close read for close reading’s sake. That’s probably common sense for most teachers, but when I began teaching I’d primarily ask questions like: What are this text’s contradictions? Where does it undermine itself? What word choices stand out to you? What can this word also mean? What’s the meter here, and why does it change in line 17? That’s all fine, and I still ask those questions from time to time, but now I’m more interested in texts’ ethical and affective impacts. I now find questions like, “What does this novel teach us about living meaningful lives?” or, “How has this poem affected you?” much more compelling.

 

GSC: What advice on securing competitive research grants do you have for graduate students?

JR: I don’t have a ton of experience with this, to be honest. But, obviously, you can’t receive grants you don’t apply for, so don’t be afraid to submit applications. This question has me thinking now that I should go back through and read earlier interviewee’s responses, because I could probably use some help here, too.

 

GSC: What advice do you have on attending conferences and giving conference papers?

JR: My only real advice here is just to be yourself. If you don’t like social events, you don’t have to attend a ton of social events. (If you love karaoke, attend the karaoke. If you don’t, don’t worry about it.) If you want to see the conference city, spend time walking around the city. Take in the sights. Make the most of your trip. You’re there to share your ideas, to receive feedback, to hear others’ ideas, and ideally to meet some peers/colleagues. But conferences aren’t exams; you can’t fail them. Make the most of them, and don’t feel guilty for doing things your own way. And, finally, don’t feel pressured to present at tons of conferences every year. In grad school, I only did one a year, at most. Do what works for your schedule, your personality, etc.

(If all of this makes it sound like I’m not an ideal conference-goer, that’s because I am, in fact, not an ideal conference-goer.)

 

GSC: What are your current research interests? What are you working on at present, and what do you want to work on next?

JR: I’ve just finished my book, which will be out soon, and I recently submitted revisions on an article I’d been working on for a while. So, I’m currently trying to figure out what my next big project is going to be. I have no idea at the moment.

But I do have several article-length projects swirling around in my head, and I hope to have at least one or two of them finished by the end of the year: an essay on the common early modern correlation between gambling and atheism (expressed most famously in Pascal’s Wager); an article charting the prevalent eighteenth-century phrase “believe a God” (as opposed to “believe in God”), used by many authors to capture the ineffability of the divine and to distinguish belief from empirical knowledge; an essay on Frances Sheridan’s odd depiction of Islam in her 1767 Oriental tale The History of Nourjahad; and, finally, an essay on John Newton and William Cowper’s Olney Hymns (1779) that explores how public expressions of personal doubt often paradoxically affirm communal belief. All of these projects are still developing, but I’ll be presenting on this last one this summer, so chances are it’s the once that gets finished first.

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Thank you all for reading our interview series, and thank you, Dr. Reeves, for taking the time to interview with us! Everyone, keep an eye out for our next interview series!

Call for GSC 2020-2021 Co-Chair, 2021-2022 Chair Applications

We are now accepting applications for a two-year Graduate Student Caucus (GSC) executive position.

During the first year, the successful applicant will serve as the Graduate Student Caucus co-chair and will be responsible for organizing the Caucus’s scholarly panel at the 2021 ASECS meeting. During the second year, the co-chair will move into the chair position and will organize the Caucus’s professionalization panel.

Among other duties, the co-chair will assist the chair in the following:

  • Coordinating the annual Excellence in Mentorship Award—soliciting nominations, assembling an award committee, assessing application materials
  • Conducting interviews with colleagues and soliciting guest columns for the GSC blog
  • Keeping the GSC blog current with news/announcements, interviews, and columns
  • Monitoring and updating GSC Twitter account
  • Sharing members’ news and announcements
  • Keeping Caucus members informed about prizes, awards, deadlines, etc.
  • Composing an annual report for the ASECS Executive Board
  • Responding to queries and communicating regularly with the ASECS Business Office

 

Candidates must have at least two years remaining in their graduate program. To apply, submit 1) your C.V. and 2) a CFP for the GSC ASECS 2021 scholarly panel you would like to organize. Send these materials to the 2020-2021 GSC chair, Megan Cole (meganec2@illinois.edu). Applications are due on or before Monday, April 13, 2020, by the end of the day.

Rebecca Shapiro Wins 2020 Excellence in Mentorship Award

The ASECS Graduate Student Caucus is delighted to grant the 2020 Excellence in Mentorship Award to Rebecca Shapiro of New York City College of Technology. Shapiro is an Associate Professor of English, and she is the program founder of ASECS’s “The Doctor Is In.” She has served as a faculty mentor on several committees in the past years, as both a junior faculty mentor and a program founder of “Ask a Professor” at New York City College. Additionally, Shapiro is an associate editor of Lexicons of Early Modern English and was recently the Director of the First-Year Writing Program at her institution.

Shapiro’s nominators praise her innovative establishment with “The Dr. Is In.” Jason Farr of Marquette University explains that “What Dr. Shapiro has done with the creation of ‘The Dr. Is In’ is anticipate the future. She has provided for us a space in which to have such conversations, which are horizontal in nature rather than hierarchical.”

Kathleen Alves, a co-chair of “The Dr. Is In” team, commended her unwavering dedication to student mentorship, reflecting that in the first several years of these sessions, “Dr. Shapiro organized and led these sessions herself.”

Joel Sodano speaks to how Shapiro’s mentorship directly influenced his own graduate career when they met at a conference in 2013, and he states that “she made a point of connecting with me to talk about my work and offer encouragement.”

The Graduate Student Caucus is honored to give this year’s Excellence in Mentorship Award to Rebecca Shapiro, and we thank her for making mentorship an integral part of her work.