Cooper Broadsheet: April 2012

Hello, old friend . . . 

Hi, folks.  It has been a while since the last Cooper Broadsheet.  We’ve all been pretty busy and there is a lot of news, so let’s get started.


The Cooper Winter Colloquium on December 9, 2011 went very well.  Rob BrunoSuzi GarciaMary RaineyShamus Ridgell and Matt Stewart all made presentations on their Cooper final projects.

The first event in the Cooper Lecture Series for 2012 featured poet Patricia Smith on February 6-7.  She talked poetry with students and gave a wonderful reading before a packed house at the Stella Boyle Smith Auditorium.  Thanks to Professor Nickole Brown for organizing the visit.

The annual Shakespeare Scene Festival was held on March 13 and 14 (just beating the Ides).  The Scene Festival, organized by Dr. Kris McAbee with the help of many others, featured productions of scenes and adaptations of Shakespeare’s works performed by students from local public elementary, middle and high schools.

Shakespeare Scene Festival 2012:
Shakespearean Insults

Shakespeare Scene Festival 2012:
Sam Brown and Frank Thurman, playing Elizabethan music

Shakespeare Scene Festival 2012:
Laura Yoder and Doc Yoder -- Prospero says farewell to his Ariel

Doc Yoder will be on OCDA (off-campus duty assignment) for Fall 2012.  Dr. Zabelle Stodola has kindly agreed to fill in for Doc, who will back in the Spring 2013 semester.  As Dr. Stodola herself directed the Cooper Program for over 7 years, there should be no disruption in the Program’s functions.

You may also have have heard that the English Department will lose several faculty to retirement at the end of this semester.  Dr. Jim Parins, Dr. Pat Moore and Dr. Dennis Vannatta will all be retiring at the end of the spring semester.  I know we all appreciate their years of hard work and service to the English Department.  They will be sorely missed.


The English Department is pleased to welcome two new tenure-track faculty members starting in the fall of 2012.  They are Dr. Nicole Seymour and Dr. Jeremy Ecke.  Dr. Seymour holds a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University, and she specializes in Modern Literature, eco-criticism, literary theory and film.  You can check out her webpage here.  Dr. Ecke holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley; he is a linguist who also specializes in Medieval literature and the history of the English language.  You can check out his webpage here.  These new teachers are only the latest in our recent hires, combining literary traditions with new texts, new approaches and fresh energy, preparing the UALR English Department for a great future in the 21st century.


The Cooper Spring Colloquium will be held on Friday, May 11, from 11:30-1:30, in DSC-D. Graduates Aaron BargerSam Brown, Justin Edge, Deannah Johnson, Tonya McCollum, and Erick Weed will make presentations on their Cooper final projects.  A light buffet lunch will be served.  Later at 5:00pm-ish, we’ll gather at Pavilion #4 at Murray Park on Rebsamen Park Road on the Arkansas River for the annual Cooper Picnic to celebrate our graduates for both Winter and Spring semesters.  Family and friends are invited.  A map to the park is here.  (If I have omitted anyone from the list of colloquium participants, please let me know ASAP.)


The next lecture in the Cooper Lecture Series will by Dr. Jessica Murphy of the University of Texas at Dallas.  This is a late-breaking addition to the lecture series, so we’re still working out the details.  The lecture will be on Wednesday, April 25 at 7:00pm,, but the location is still TBA, so look for further announcements.  Dr. Murphy is Assistant Professor of Literary Studies at The University of Texas at Dallas. Her research interests include English Renaissance literature, gender studies, early modern women’s writing, and digital humanities. She is currently finishing her book manuscript, Virtuous Necessity: Conduct Literature and the Making of the Virtuous Woman in Early Modern England, which looks at representations of feminine virtue in early modern English literature and culture. Her publications include journal articles, chapters in edited collections, and an entry on The Two Gentlemen of Verona in the Facts on File Companion to Shakespeare.  The title of Dr. Murphy’s lecture will be “Jesting at Scars: Comedy in Shakespeare.”  Here is what she says about it: In this talk, I will look at a few comedies, a bit of tragedy, a bit of history, and some of his sonnets to tease out the ways he uses humor in his work. With some attention to comedy as a narrative structure, I will also talk about what is not so funny in these plays. I teach a course about how Shakespeare uses comedy for different reasons throughout the different genres in which he works. I have some excellent film clips that illustrate some of my points very well. The course (and the talk) grew out of my frustration with my first encounters with Shakespeare in classrooms where laughing was not allowed. How could we laugh at this high and lofty writer? My intention here is both to return Shakespeare to Earth and to demonstrate the importance of comedy to meaning in Shakespeare.


The deadline for applications for Cooper stipends for the 2012-2013 academic year is, as always, Consultation Day of spring semester.  This year that is Tuesday, May 8.  Application instructions and forms are available here.  Cooper stipends are $1300 per semester for up to 4 semesters, and are awarded on a competitive basis.  Doc Yoder will also hold Q&A sessions on the Cooper Program and stipends on Monday, April 9 at 11:00 a.m. and on Tuesday, April 10 at 3:00 p.m.  Both sessions will be in the Cooper Lounge in the English Department.


Fall 2012: Dr. Laura Barrio-Vilar will offer Black Women’s Activism and Literature.  Here is what she says about it:  In this course we will explore how Black women’s political activism is reflected in literature from the nineteenth through the twentieth century.  The following is a list of major questions that will guide our discussions: What are the main issues that Black women fight for through time?  How does the intersectionality of race, gender, and class affect Black women’s politics?  Is Black women’s activism always relegated to the public arena?  What venues do Black women use to organize and call for action?  What type of rhetoric do Black women engage in?  With whom do they establish alliances?  Is Black women’s political agenda similar to white women’s?  What is their relation with other women of color?  How does the notion of the diaspora influence their perspective and actions?  In addition to essays, quizzes, and journal responses, one of the main assignments will have a service-learning component through which you will experience first-hand what it is like to engage in social justice activism.

 Primary Texts (subject to change):

  • Frances Harper’s Sowing and Reaping (1876-77)
  • Selections from Anna Julia Cooper’s A Voice from the South (1892)
  • Selections from Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900, ed. Jacqueline Jones Royster
  • Pauline Hopkins’s Contending Forces (1900)
  • Alice Childress’s Like One of the Family: Conversations from a Domestic’s Life (1956)
  • Nikki Giovanni’s Gemini: An Extended Autobiographical Statement on my First Twenty-Five Years of Being a Black Poet (1974)
  • Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place (1982)
  • Patricia Hill Collins’s Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (1990) – Introduction + chapter 1.
  • Alice Walker’s Possessing the Secret of Joy (1993)

Spring 2013: Doc Yoder will offer Pattern Recognition from the Bible to William Gibson.  Here’s what he says about the class: The class will grow out of my OCDA research on pattern recognition or “apophenia.”  “Apophenia” is the spontaneous recognition of relatedness among (supposedly) unrelated objects, or as Wordsworth puts it in The Prelude, the “observation of affinities / In objects where no brotherhood exists / To common minds” (II.403-405), or again in the Preface to Lyrical Ballads, “the manner in which we associate ideas in a state of excitement.”  We’ll look at this phenomenon first in Genesis where Joseph discerns in his brothers’ treachery the actions of God to save the early Hebrews from famine.  In Ezekiel, the prophet similarly sees the hand of God in the Babylonian exile.  In Book II of Paradise Lost, we see the creation of Death from the incestuous embrace of Satan and Sin, only to find in Book XI that God himself “provided Death” (XI.61).  Locke begins to lay the theoretical groundwork for the study in his exploration of the “association of ideas” which provides much of the language for Wordsworth’s thinking on the issue.  We’ll look at how Wordsworth describes both unplanned moments of such association (as in the “spots of time” in The Prelude) and planned attempts to create these associations in the Poems on the Naming of Places.  Blake’s America will allow us to see how the poet discerned the workings of his own mythological figures in the American Revolution, while Coleridge’s Rime will allow us to see the problems of such random interpretations.  Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep casts the detective in the prophetic role, as Philip Marlowe determines in the end what the whole mystery was “really” about.  Finally, in William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition, the heroine, Cayce (named for “Edgar Cayce, the Sleeping Prophet of Virginia Beach” [31]), must track down the source of the apparently random “footage” that has become the obsession of an entire internet community.

The class will have require weekly journals posted to the listserve, and, of course, some papers, but I also want to experiment with assignments involving collage, montage and internet searches.

As much as anything, this class is about how the mind imposes patterns on reality, which in my most radical moments, I see as the very essence of reading.

  • Texts:
  • Joseph (Genesis 37-50)
  • Ezekiel
  • John Milton:  Paradise Lost excerpts
  • John Locke:  Essay concerning Human Understanding, “Of the Association of Ideas” (II.23)
  • William Wordsworth: Preface to Lyrical Ballads, Poems on the Naming of Places, The Prelude excerpts
  • Anna Laetitia Barbauld, “Eighteen-Hundred and Eleven”
  • William Blake: America A Prophecy
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Yellow Wallpaper                                     
  • Raymond Chandler: The Big Sleep
  • William Gibson: Pattern Recognition
Alisha Karabinus been hired as the new Managing Editor for the Sycamore Review; she received a Quintilian Award for her first semester at Purdue University, a departmental teaching award given grad instructors with the highest numbers in student evaluations; her short story “Danny Came Home” is forthcoming in The Raleigh Review.
Robert Bruno has been accepted to the MFA Poetry Programs at Vermont College of Fine Arts, University of Arizona, and the University of Michigan. He has also been accepted to the Tin House Summer Workshop to work with D.A. Powell, Matthew Zapruder, and Mary Szybist.
Suzi Garcia has been offered spots at the MFA Poetry Programs of Vermont College of Fine Arts and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. I have also been accepted to the Tin House Summer Workshop to work with  D.A. Powell, Matthew Zapruder, and Mary Szybist.
Stephanie Mantell will be visiting the Bronte Parsonage museum in Haworth, UK as part of her research for her Cooper Project.
Mary Rainey has been accepted to the graduate program at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.  She will begin school there in the fall.
As always, if you see any errors or if you have any problems with the Broadsheet, please contact Doc Yoder at
For information about the UALR Cooper Honors Program in English click here.

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