Cooper Broadsheet: November 2011


The William G. Cooper, Jr. Honors Program in English
University of Arkansas at Little Rock

First Cooper Lecture of 2011-2012

Dr. Matthew Abraham of DePaul University will present a public lecture on November 22, 2011 at 7:00pm in DSC Ledbetter Rooms A-B.  The title of his lecture will be “The Humanities on Life Support? Re/(En)-visioning the Future of the Liberal Arts in the Corporate University.” The lecture is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Dr. Abraham is an Associate Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Previously, he taught in the English Department at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and the English and Theatre Arts Department at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. His publications have appeared in Cultural Critique (Univ. of Minnesota Press), South Atlantic Quarterly (Duke Univ. Press), the Journal of Cultural And Religious Theory, Arab Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Advanced Composition, and other journals. Dr. Abraham is completing a book manuscript on academic freedom and debates about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Currently, he is a Fellow in DePaul’s Humanities Center, working on a project focusing on the continued relevance of the Humanities within the contemporary university. Dr. Abraham earned his Ph.D. in the English and Philosophy Program at Purdue University in 2003. He is a 1995 and 1998 graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he majored in English and History and completed his M.A. in Rhetoric and Writing.  You can check out his webpage here.

Cooper Winter Colloquium

The Cooper Winter Colloquium celebrating the final projects for December Cooper graduates will be held on December 9, 2011 in DSC Ledbetter Room B from 11:00am to 2:00pm.  A light buffet lunch will be served, and the presentations will begin around 12:00. Rob Bruno, Justin EdgeSuzi Garcia, Mary RaineyShamus Ridgell and Matt Stewart will present 10-15 minute overviews of their Cooper final projects.  Family and friends are welcome to come and celebrate the great work of our graduates.

Cooper Seminar for Spring 2012

Dr. Kris McAbee will teach the Cooper Honors Seminar for Spring 2012.  The topic will be “The Unread Shakespeare.” Dr. McAbee says this about the class:  This seminar is designed to provide the opportunity to study those plays and poems of Shakespeare to which the students have had limited or no exposure in the past.  After a survey of what texts by Shakespeare each student has already read, the syllabus will be set on the first day of class to include those poems and plays which have been read the least by the class members.  We will design the syllabus with an eye toward breadth of genre (history, comedy, tragedy, romance, poetry) and toward sampling from different stages of Shakespeare’s career. Our reading of Shakespeare’s texts will be supplemented with additional contemporaneous materials appropriate for our selected texts, potentially including excerpts by Machiavelli, Sidney, Golding, Lyly, and Nashe, among various broadside ballads and pamphlets.

Study Abroad

Dr. Paul Yoder will lead a Study Abroad course to England May 25-June 6, 2012.  The course title is “Wordsworth’s England 2012,” and it will focus on Wordsworth’s writings and experiences in the Lake District of Cumbria in northwest England.  Students will visit sites where Wordsworth spent much of his life, including Penrith, Ullswater, Grasmere, Peele (Piel) Castle and Mt. Snowdon (in Wales).  Enrollment will be strictly limited to 10 people, so if you are interested sign-up now.  For more information, contact Dr. Yoder at  You can also check out the Study Abroad webpage, or the page that Doc Yoder has in progress here.

Student Success

Sam Brown has had his paper on Toni Morrison’s novel A Mercy accepted for the 20th annual National Association of African American Studies Conference to be held in February in Baton Rouge. The conference is expected to have over 3,000 attendees. Michelle Obama will be the keynote speaker.

Sam Brown, Dee Johnson, Aaron Barger and Stephanie Mantell have all received $500 travel awards from the Graduate School. Sam will use his funds to present a paper at the 2012 national Association of African American Studies Conference; Dee and Aaron will use theirs to present their work at the 2012 Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society national conference; Stephanie will use hers to visit the Bronte Parsonage and Museum in Haworth, UK. All these awards are for research connected with Cooper or McNair projects.

Suzi Garcia was selected to participate in the first Oxford American Summit for Ambitious Writers over the summer, where she worked with Kevin Brockmeier,

Robert Bruno received one of only two scholarships for UALR students to attend the Oxford American Summit for Ambitious Writers, where he worked with fiction writer Kevin Brockmeier.

Shamus Ridgell has begun sponsoring a poetry slam series called the “POWER! Poetry Slam [and open mic]” which awards a $50 cash prize each month for the best slam poetry performances. He sends this description: Our events follow standard poetry slam guidelines (original poetry which fits into a 3-minute time limit without using props, costumes, or musical accompaniment, judged by five random audience members). Ultimately, we hope to attain certification through Poetry Slam, Inc. so that we may send teams to the National Poetry Slam–the country’s biggest performance poetry event–which will be held in Charlotte, NC this year. This summer, we will definitely send a five-poet team to the Southern Fried Poetry Slam, which will be held in Tampa, FL. Our events are hosted by Penn Ross Jackson Jr. and also feature an open mic in which interested participants may read poetry, read fiction, perform monologues, dance, sing, play instruments, or whatever other talents they may wish to provide. Our next event will be November 12th at Vino’s (923 W. 7th St) at 7:00 PM and features a special performance by Simone “Cobris” Lewis (UALR’s Student Government Association President). and features a special performance by Simone “Cobris” Lewis (UALR’s Student Government Association President).

UALR English Dept. Coolness Factor Soars

Prof. Nickole Brown recently was on faculty at the Sanibel Island Writers Conference where she was featured in a lineup with Henry Rollins. Formerly the frontman for the hardcore punk band Black Flag and the Rollins Band, Henry began in childhood diagnosed with ADHD, and due to “bad grades, bad attitude, and poor conduct,” he was expelled from early schooling.  Things have changed though, and Henry’s show in Sanibel (which consisted of an intense storytelling session in which he expounded for two hours straight without any prompts or notes) focused on the power of knowledge and reading.  His set began with the story of his recent adventures at the Library of Congress where he received a personal invitation to read the original documents of the US Constitution.

Nickole Brown and Henry Rollins

The header and featured image in this edition of the Cooper Broadsheet is taken from Plate 5 of Copy G of The [First] Book of Urizen by William Blake in the William Blake Archive.


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