January 2021, No. 1

Monday, January 18, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome back! We begin a new semester in what promises to be a momentous week, a week that begins with the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King. No doubt you are busy making last- minute adjustments to your courses, but I hope you are also taking time to reflect on the significance of Dr. King’s messages of hope and light for democracy and how they are needed now more than ever. Through the work we do, we have the opportunity to honor and further Dr. King’s legacy. I am proud to be part of a department that, since its earliest days, has demonstrated concern for racial equality and social justice. I hope we can find new ways to pursue these goals with intentionality, commitment, and vigor in the months and years ahead. Below are two quotations by Dr. King that speak to me this week. Feel free to share any other MLK quotations that inspire you.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” (Strength to Love, 1963)

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” (“Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963.)

Later this week, I will send out departmental meeting dates and other pertinent announcements that might arise.  If you have questions about the start of the semester, please let me, Liz Miller, Lara Vetter, or Angie Williams know. Someone (most likely Angie!) is sure to have the answer or will know how to find it.

As the pandemic continues to challenge us, I hope you remain safe and well. There are glimmers of hope now that holiday gatherings are behind us and people are getting vaccinated. Life and work should look different a year from now, or possibly sooner. In the meantime, I am confident we will be successful in doing what we do best—providing a quality education for our students and championing knowledge in ways that demonstrate the extraordinary value of the humanities.


Christine Arvidson’s poem “Dear Frances Crockett” has been accepted for the Women in Baseball special issue of Nines: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture.  

Doctoral student Candace Chambers was named among the literacy leaders selected for the International Literacy Association’s 2021 “30 Under 30 List.” Janaka Lewis is directing her dissertation on literacy in the American correctional system. To read more about Candace, see: https://inside.uncc.edu/news-features/2021-01-12/phd-student-named-global-literacy-leader

Kirk Melnikoff's co-edited collection Marlowe, Theatrical Commerce, and the Book Trade (Cambridge UP, 2018) was named Runner-up for the 2017-18 Marlowe Society of America Roma Gill Prize.  
Juan Meneses presented a paper titled "Eco-nationalism, Inhabitancy, and the Politics of Denizenship in Yoko Tawada and Barbara Kingsolver" at the last MLA conference.  

Alan Rauch will be featured in Charlotte's 10th TEDxCharlotte event on February 4 from 8-10 PM. Here is a link to register for this virtual event: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tedxcharlotte-10-episode-2-tickets-137278613027.

Also, he will be introducing Dr. Gregory Gbur’s talk "Falling Felines & Fundamental Physics” on February 23 for the CLAS Personally Speaking Series.   

The following faculty were recently awarded Faculty Research Grants (FRGs):

Juan Meneses

Kirk Melnikoff

Matthew Rowney

Congratulations to everyone above and best wishes to all for a successful semester. Thank you for your hard work and dedication during these difficult times.  I am so happy to be back among my wonderful colleagues.