GSC Statement

In solidarity with Professor Seo-Young Chu, our colleagues on the Executive Board and throughout the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Graduate Student Caucus is committed to the ongoing development of policies making explicit our unequivocal opposition to all forms of harassment, discrimination, and abuse. We deeply regret and sincerely apologize for the violence enacted in the 2009 naming of our Graduate Student Mentorship Award in honour of Jay Fliegelman, and we are grateful to Professor Chu for coming forward with her experience. The ASECS Graduate Student Caucus is dedicated to fostering a culture of equity, and condemns the sexual violence and abuses of power committed by Jay Fliegelman. Please read Professor Chu’s essay “A Refuge for Jae-in Doe: Fugues in the Key of English Major”, and the recent “ASECS Executive Board Statement on Harassment and Abuse”.

– ASECS Graduate Student Caucus


ASECS Executive Board Statement on Harassment and Abuse

Google doc link

10 November 2017


Along with fellow members of ASECS, the Executive Board read with horror Professor Seo-Young Chu’s essay “A Refuge for Jae-in Doe: Fugues in the Key of English Major,” published in Entropy on November 3, 2017, which detailed her rape and abuse at the hands of  the late Stanford University Professor and ASECS member Jay Fliegelman. Last year, when this incident was brought to the Society’s attention, we contacted Professor Chu, and with her permission brought to the ASECS Board and the Graduate Student Caucus, which confers our Graduate Mentorship Award, a proposal to remove his name from this award. The letter Professor Chu addressed to the Board, and which she has now published, moved us deeply. The proposal was accepted unanimously and the name immediately removed from the award. The Board deeply regrets the pain caused to Professor Chu, and perhaps to others, with the initial naming of the award. Professor Chu’s extraordinary courage in bringing the details of her experience to public attention now allows us to make clear the reasons for the name change, and we are grateful that she has called upon our Society more fully to address the problem of harassment and other forms of predatory behavior.

The ASECS Board unequivocally condemns all forms of harassment, discrimination, and abuse, including mistreatment based on sex, race or status. In the months ahead we will be developing policies for incorporation into our bylaws that make clear that harassment and discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated. This process will require the commitment of our entire membership to join together in a firm endorsement of our standards and values.  On behalf of our Society, we accept this charge, and we thank Professor Chu and our colleagues for their eloquence and passion in urging us forward.

Executive Board of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Susan S. Lanser, President

Dena Goodman, Past President

Melissa Hyde, First Vice President

Jeffrey S. Ravel, Second Vice President

Jill Bradbury, Treasurer

Lisa Berglund, Executive Director

Jenna M. Gibbs, Member at Large

Julia Simon, Member at Large

Lisa Freeman, Member at Large

Tony C. Brown, Member at Large

Mary Terrall, Member at Large

Misty G. Anderson, Member at Large

ASECS Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Goes to Dennis Moore

ASECS_award_2017_DMooreAt the 2017 ASECS national conference in Minneapolis, MN, the Graduate Student Caucus was pleased to confer the Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring to Dr. Dennis Moore. An Associate Professor and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at Florida State University, he specializes in eighteenth-century American culture and literature in addition to African-American literature and culture. His record of service within his discipline is well known, from founding the American Studies Association’s Early American Matters Caucus to having served as president of ASECS’s Americanist affiliate, the Society of Early Americanists, and serving currently as Founding Mentor for the SEA’s Junior Scholars Caucus.

Dr. Moore’s service to his institution and his students earned him this most recent honor. He has directed over ten doctoral dissertations, over ten MA thesis efforts, served on over twenty M.A. committees, served as a University Representative on multiple Ph.D. and M.A. committees at Florida State, conducted graduate workshops and sessions, and offered his knowledge to many graduate students over the years at the annual ASECS conferences. In 1999 he received Florida State’s University Distinguished Teacher Award, having won a University Teaching Award there in 1993 (his second year on the FSU faculty), 2005, and 2013, and has a number of mentees both current and past who are grateful for the time and knowledge he shared with them. We are honored to present this award to Dr. Moore, and we appreciate all he has done for the graduate students of Florida State, ASECS, and beyond.

The ASECS Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring was established to honor scholars in any field of eighteenth-century studies who generously offer career-long mentorship to others, investing in the future of our field and sharing their knowledge. The ASECS Graduate Student Caucus awards this honor yearly to worthy individuals who are nominated by their peers and mentees, both current and former.

ASECS17 Graduate Mentoring Coffee

The 2017 Graduate Mentoring Coffee took place in Minneapolis on Friday, March 31.  Thanks to an overwhelmingly supportive response from established scholars in the field, we had far more mentors than mentees volunteer, and each of our graduate students was matched with a scholar experienced in their areas of inquiry.  Several pairings arranged to meet in the St. Croix room for coffee during the 9:45am panel slot, and many more made arrangements to meet for coffee or a meal at a time convenient for both.

Feedback from the participants included:

“My meeting was extremely useful. Professor Anne Huse was very generous and gave me a lot of tips about job search. She review some of my applications material and offer to review it in the future. Excellent!” ~Kevin Sedeño-Guillén, University of Kentucky

“I really appreciated it! […] I am thankful for this kind of opportunity at ASECS, which I think really opens up opportunities for grad students to meet faculty in very different places in their careers. It’s also nice to become part of networks that faculty members themselves have made over time at ASECS.” ~Travis Chi Wing Lau, UPenn

“Great! I really enjoyed meeting Melanie Zynel and we were able to exchange some information that I hope will be helpful to her.” ~Lisa Moore, University of Texas at Austin

“It was extremely productive and useful to talk to an established professional about his career path and to get his advice; also, it was very useful to *heard* by someone who thought of me as a new member of his profession.” ~James Ascher (UVa)

“From the perspective of the mentor, it was a good experience. It was interesting to see what my assigned student was working on, and I hope I was able to offer her useful advice on her dissertation proposal.” ~Deborah Weiss, The University of Alabama

Interview with Dr. Dennis Moore

In the newest installment of our interview series, ASECS Graduate Student Caucus Chair Mallory Porch interviews Dr. Dennis D. Moore, Associate Professor of English and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at Florida State University.

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

Such transformations!, including the extent to which digital resources and digital work have become nearly central. Cathy Davidson continues to dazzle us with her breadth just as the late Jay Fliegelman was so good at doing. As for spatial transformations: thanks to Paul Gilroy, we think about the Black Atlantic, thanks to Joe Roach we think about the Circum-Atlantic, and so on. The Caribbean, with all its revolutions and its ingenuous ways of extracting profits from slaves, was always there, but now the late Srinivas Aravamudan as well as Laurent DuBois among others have been reminding us how crucial it is that we keep our eyes on the space in between Europe and the so-called New World. (Thank you, David Noble, for reminding us how myopic a view of history those two words perpetuate.) There’s also much, much more just past the other side of this continent, and interest in Captain Cook and his rambles in the Pacific has blossomed into quite a bit of scholarship, by Michelle Burnham among others, that refuses to let us continue seeing the 1700s through Eurocentric lenses. Well, as for time, we’ve increasingly found ways to talk not only about the long eighteenth century but also about what I’ve been referring to at many an ASECS conference as the wide one (please see previous four sentences).

2. How have the parameters of eighteenth-century literary history and periodization changed over the course of your career?

Please see previous half-dozen sentences.

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

The content has become far less U.S. centric, and I’m glad. As for how my teaching has continued to evolve, I do watch for and relish finding ways of helping young scholars think out loud in ways that add to what we’ve all read. At the graduate level, the course I’ve taught again this spring is one in which I continue to learn the most: “Slave Narratives and Neo-Slave Narratives.” We began by reading Beloved, with the understanding we’d circle right back to it after having read a range of first-person accounts by former slaves as well a range of novels from our lifetime that help us think about slavery and its ongoing effects. One is Morrison’s A Mercy, which forces the reader to rethink the early days of chattel slavery hereabouts; reading Sacred Hunger forced us to think about the greed that drove the Atlantic slave trade. We also read Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Did I mention the oral reports? First one was on Colson Whitehead’s brand-new The Underground Railroad, around which two students ended up building fine papers. There’s another course on “‘Indian’ Captivity Narratives in Context” that I look forward to teaching next fall.

4. What advice do you have for graduate students who are transitioning into the role of assistant professor?

If only every young scholar’s transition were into that O so traditional role! Whatever job that first one is after finishing the Ph.D., it’ll likely have a lot in common with grad school: opportunities to meet new people and to maintain existing friendships and working relationships; deadlines and more deadlines; teaching, sometimes resembling a course one has already taught but often not. If the job involves a research assignment, the pressure to be productive will feel familiar, deadlines and all. As for advice, it never hurts to listen, methinks.

5. What advice do you have on attending conferences and giving conference papers?

Once you’re there, listening will help, not only as you attend other scholars’ sessions but also as the other people on your panel and people from the audience comment and ask questions. It’s often tempting to zero in on conferences based on location – ah!, San Diego; ah!, Paris – but that temptation is one that’s well worth avoiding. Is there an organization that stages the conference every year or every two years? Is the organization one of the few remaining ones that publish proceedings? If so, there’s another temptation to resist; instead, think about the journals where you’ve been finding articles whose gestation included a session at the conference you’ve got your eye on. Another temptation that I urge young scholars to resist is giving a paper on a panel that is in effect a grad student ghetto: if every presenter is a grad student, who besides other grad students and maybe a significant other will bother to attend? (Yes, that advice bleeds over into thinking about proposing to give a paper at a conference consisting of only grad students’ papers.) As a reminder, there are productive ways to attend a conference and participate in it that don’t involve giving a paper; a number of journals are on the lookout for grad students willing to write up a summary of papers at a particular conference. Another reminder is that many organizations have not only a national presence, and national conferences, but also chapters for specific geographic regions. Many colleagues tell me they, and often their grad students as well, found giving one’s first-ever paper at a regional can help build a grad student’s confidence. Closer to home, though, does the program where you’re currently a grad student have writing groups, dissertation groups, and so on? Such networking often happens online, so that it matters much less which campus a grad student calls home. Yes, one notion that’s central to this paragraph is networking, and it’s clear to me that a group which helps grad students with networking is ASECS’s Graduate Student Caucus.

6. Could you describe your approach to mentoring graduate students? What are some important attributes that graduate students should look for when choosing a faculty mentor?

Speaking of networking, that’s what a grad student here invited me to talk about, for a recent meeting of the students’ Advanced Literary Scholarship discussion group, where the focus is on professionalization. I said instead of my coming to talk about networking, let’s discuss it. In that context, this question of how to pick who’ll direct your thesis or dissertation came up, over and above a platitude or two (e.g., a certain amount involves chemistry between you, as the student, and this person whose scholarship and integrity you admire). I recommended figuring out whether you want to work with someone who’s inclusive or exclusive. I recommended it then, and I still do.