Category Archives: Issue 2: Fall 2014

Faculty Publications, Presentations, and Awards

Founded by artists in 1984, the Vermont Studio Center is the largest international artists' and writers' Residency Program in the United States, hosting 50 visual artists and writers each month from across the country and around the world.
Founded by artists in 1984, the Vermont Studio Center is the largest international artists’ and writers’ Residency Program in the United States, hosting 50 visual artists and writers each month from across the country and around the world.

Diane Josefowicz spent August 2014 working at the Vermont Studio Center, where she won a grant to support a month-long residency.

Ted Kehoe recently had a short story accepted by Ploughshares. He has also reviewed some books for Arts Fuse.

In September, at the invitation of poet April Bernard, Tony Wallace visited Skidmore College to read from The Old Priest and talk with creative writing students. His short story “Museum” is currently featured in the Fall / Winter edition of Alaska Quarterly Review. Tony’s short story “Do Not Use Quotation Marks to Indicate Irony” has received a Special Mention in the 2015 Pushcart Prize anthology.

In June, Holly Schaaf presented a paper about human-animal interactions in the work of Irish poets Moya Cannon and Mary Montague at the Ireland and Ecocriticism conference in Cork and in September gave an interdisciplinary invited talk about animal behavior and cognition at Marlboro College in Vermont. Both presentations grew out of her WRX course Imagining Animal Minds, which she taught in spring 2014 and will teach again in spring 2015.

Carrie Bennett recently published her poem “[Into the Long Night]” in Anchor Issue 2 and “Expedition Notes 1-4” were published in Small Po[r]tions Issue 3. Expedition Notes 1-2 can be found in their Online Journal. They’re all part of a longer poetry project she’s been working on titled Expedition Notes: All four are part of the print journal and are being made into a poetry ephemera piece. And four more poems from Expedition Notes are forthcoming in Horse Less Press #18.

Graduate Writing Fellow Sarah Parrish contributed five catalogue entries to Art for Rollins: The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College, Volume II (ed. Abigail Ross Goodman, Rollins College, forthcoming 2015). She also wrote 750-word analyses of all 34 artists in the exhibition catalogue Fiber: Sculpture 1960-Present (ed. Jenelle Porter, DelMonico Books/Prestel, September 2014). The accompanying exhibition is on view through January 4, 2015, at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. Sarah took her WR100 “Crafting Culture” class to review the show for their second paper assignment and she hopes you’ll have a chance to check it out, too!

Esther Hu published an essay on Dr. Yeh Hsia-Ti, a former president of the National Taipei University of Education, in Yeh Hsia Ti Xiao Zhang Ji Nian Ji (President Yeh Hsia-Ti’s Memorial Collection) in Summer 2014 (Taipei: Hwa Kang Publishing, Chinese Culture University). “Reflections on Grandmother Yeh Hsia-Ti’s Life of Faith” includes English translation by Esther Hu of a dozen previously published Chinese sources.

In February 2014, Maria Zlateva presented a paper on pedagogical grammar in writing at the Writing Research Across Borders conference in Paris, France. In November 2014, she presented a paper on professionalization of writing faculty and also chaired a session on peer-editing and feedback in writing at the SSLW (Second Language Writing) conference at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

Somy Kim‘s book chapter “Comedic Mediations: War and Genre in The Outcasts” was published this month in Humor in Middle Eastern Cinema with Wayne State University Press. She chaired the panel “Aesthetic Politics in Elite and Mass Culture” at the annual Middle Eastern Studies Association conference in Washington D.C. where she also participated in a roundtable discussion on using technology in the classroom.

Joelle Renstrom has published:

• “Why I Lied About My Age While Traveling,” Wherever Magazine (Fall 2014)

“Science Fiction and the Loss of Technology,” Screen/Read (Nov 2014)

“Almost Humane: What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war,” Slate (Oct 2014)

“How We Colonize Mars Is More Important Than When,” Slippage (Summer 2014)

“Sometimes the Magic Works: Challenging the One-Genre Myth,” Manifest Station (July 2014)

“Nothing To Worry About: On Living With Phobias,” The Toast (July 2014)


New Faculty 2014-15: Christopher McVey


It’s great to have you in the BU WP, Chris. How are you finding the move back east?

Although I grew up in the Boston area, I haven’t lived here since 2002, so it does feel very much like a homecoming. It’s been quite fun to visit places I remember from my past, such as the Brattle Book shop by the Boston Common, and I can’t wait to go ice skating on the Frog Pond again, or to watch the Boston Marathon in the spring.

What courses are you teaching?

This semester I’m teaching two versions of WR100. The first section, “Fictions of Control,” explores a range of dystopian fiction and film, including some classics such as 1984, and more contemporary texts like Dave Eggers’ The Circle and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. The second course, “Artistic Claims,” asks students to consider the complex relationship between art and politics, and we have gone on field trips to the MFA and Institute of Contemporary Art. Next semester I’m teaching a WR150 course on my primary area of research, twentieth-century modernism and the avant-garde.

As a first-year instructor what has been most helpful to know?

In all honesty, accidentally meeting new people in the copy room has been incredibly helpful. Holding them hostage while they wait for my copies to finish, I’ve learned a lot about how others approach both WR100 and WR150, as well as WR98. Not only is the diversity and talent of this program inspiring, but many have offered to send me their syllabi or portfolio assignments — models which have been quite useful to me as I start to get my feet wet.


Chris McVey received his PhD in English literature from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His dissertation, which he defended this spring, is titled “Syncretic Cosmopolitanism: Historiography, Nation, and Global Citizenship in Twentieth Century Literature.” 

New Faculty 2014-15: Soomin Jwa


Welcome to the BU WP, Soomin! How are you finding the move from Arizona to the east?

It’s been a great experience living in a big city like Boston. European styles of buildings, convenient transportation systems (what’s called the “T”), and the fresh, high quality seafood are some of the things that I’ve enjoyed the most. Just recently, I started to worry about the cold weather, so I’ve stocked up on new types of clothes at home such as knee socks, earmuffs, and water-proof weather boots, which I’d never thought I would ever need when I lived in Tucson, Arizona.

Can you share an interesting story from one of your classes or engagements with our colleagues?

As an ESL writing teacher, I try to keep in mind that lack of language proficiency may often belie the student’s creativity, intelligence, and even his/her inner voice. One of my Chinese students emailed me at the beginning of the semester, asking me to be patient while she tries to step outside her comfort zone. She was shy and silent in class, but her voice still existed in her writing, and later I could see her confidently speak out, participate in class discussion, and try to overcome her fear of public speech. It’s just amazing to see ESL students’ growth over the semester, and I feel honored as their teacher that I have been with them during their growth.


Soomin Jwa is receiving her PhD in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching from the University of Arizona. Her dissertation, which she defended this spring, is titled “Genre Knowledge Development: Tracing Trajectories of L2 Writers’ Transitions to Different Disciplinary Expectations in College Writing.”

What Can Your Terrier Card Do For You?

Do you know your BU ID number?  How often do you pull your ID out of your wallet?  For many faculty the answer is ‘not often.’ Other than collecting T-passes and checking out library books, the BU ID may seem like just another piece of plastic. But I am here to tell you about the hidden power of your BU ID, otherwise known as your Terrier Card.

All full-time employees have the option of activating the Terrier Convenience Plan, which is a super convenient way of paying for purchases on campus with your Terrier Card everywhere from vending machines to the Marciano Commons Dining Hall just downstairs from your own office.  Not only is the Terrier Card convenient, but it can also save you money. For instance, buying lunch at Marciano Commons would cost $11 in cash, but only costs $8.80 in points, and these charges are deducted from your paycheck prior to taxes, making it a greater savings. Faculty are also eligible for a 10% discount at City Convenience stores and, since you have to show your card to get the discount, you might as well pay for your purchase with the card too.


According to the BU Dining services website

The Terrier Convenience Plan is a payroll deduction program for purchases made on campus with your Terrier Card. The Terrier Card is accepted at all on-campus Dining Services locations, City Convenience stores, most vending machines, many retail dining locations (including Starbucks), and Barnes & Noble at Boston University.  You simply use your Terrier Card instead of cash or a credit card for meals, snacks, books, and vending purchases in select machines. These purchases will be deducted from your pay on a monthly or weekly schedule.

Benefits of the Terrier Convenience Plan include the following:  convenience (of course), no need to carry cash or credit cards on campus, no cash up front, no hidden fees, no interest charges, and the ability to keep track of your purchases online via the Employee Link.

You can enroll in the Terrier Convenience Plan through BUWorks Central (go to the Employee Self-Service (ESS) section and select Campus Services) or in person at the Terrier Card Office, George Sherman Union, Lower Level, 775 Commonwealth Avenue, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The Terrier Convenience Plan is a payroll deduction plan for purchases made on campus with your Terrier Card. It is easy to use and you don’t have to keeping running to the ATM in order to buy a quick cup of coffee, a sandwich, or the latest paperback at the bookstore. 

Charges are reflected as a single line deduction on your paystub. If you sign up for the Terrier Convenience Plan and don’t use your Terrier Card for purchases during a payroll period, there will be no deductions from your paycheck.  When you enroll, you set up a purchase/spending limit. If you are paid once a month, you can purchase up to $400 a month; if you are paid once a week, you can purchase up to $100 a week. You can change your spending limit via BU Works Central.


While I am on the subject, I would like to put in a plug for eating at Marciano Commons. This dining facility is set up as a series of food stations including vegan, gluten free, international, pizza, pasta, burgers, sandwiches and a salad bar. The food is always good, interesting, and varied. I like being able to ask for small portions of many different types of food – I don’t know when else I would have tried sweet and sour tempeh. The location of the dining hall could not be more convenient, and at $8.80 for all you care to eat of a wide variety of foods, eating lunch on campus has become much tastier and easier. 

Databases to Inspire


As many of us gear up for WR150 or, perhaps, start thinking about teaching a new theme next fall, Ken Liss has shared a few BU databases that might help you next semester or inspire you in designing a new class…

American Film Scripts Online

This database not only has over 1,000 scripts, but also includes facsimile images of original screenplays with handwritten notes and annotations from films like Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets and Charlie Chaplin’s Gold Rush.

AP Images

The database from the Associated Press includes a treasure trove of images as well as audio sound bites, graphics, and text.

The Berg Fashion Library

Interested in textiles, art history, theatre, or anthropology? This database includes not only images, articles, but also searchable ebooks on anything fashion-related.

The Database of the Vanderbilt Television News Archive

The focus on this archive is on “creating, preserving and providing access from the U.S. national television networks” and so this database as been recording news broadcasts since August 5, 1968. The collection has newscasts from ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News, but it is also worth taking note that this collection includes all of the commercials that appeared with the original broadcasts.

Ethnic NewsWatch

A social science database that includes journals, magazines, and newspapers from ethnic and minority presses. Ethnicities include: African American/Caribbean/African; Arab/Middle Eastern; Asian/Pacific Islander; European/Eastern European; Hispanic; Jewish; Native People. And along with the current collection of “Ethnice NewsWatch” (1990-present) – there is also an archive called “Ethnic NewsWatch: A History” which spans from 1959 to 1989.

rock’s backpages

This database calls itself the “online library of pop writing,” but the archive actually covers all genres of popular music (from “rockabilly to hip hop”). It has over 25,000 pieces of music journalism that span the last 50 years.

Roper Center: Public Opinion Archives

Specializing in data from surveys of public opinion since the 1930s, this database primarily focuses on the United States, but over 50 other countries are represented. For a sense of just how deep these archives are – there are more than 20,500 questions on education since 1936 and over 12,300 questions on Terrorism since 1966.

Tandem Teaching Demo: The Introduction

Tom Underwood
Marisa Milanese

Building upon the peer-to-peer observations that we’ve been doing over the past couple of years, we’re introducing a new opportunity to see teaching in action: tandem teaching demonstrations. In each brief demonstration (around 30 minutes), two instructors will demonstrate how they teach different components of argument in a real classroom setting (but with an interactive audience of colleagues in lieu of students). We are doing this not to compare one instructor to the other—or even to try to model excellent teaching— but to demonstrate different approaches to the same content. As with the peer-to-peer observations, the basic goal is relatively simple: seeing how others teach can inform the choices you make in your classroom. We’ll also be recording some of the demos and posting the videos on WPNet with the corresponding handouts.

On November 19th Marisa Milanese and Tom Underwood kicked off the series with a presention on the introduction. Upcoming demos include: teaching acknowledgment/response; annotating and analyzing text; and research skills. We’re looking for more volunteers, so if you’re interested in doing a teaching demo, please email Marisa (

Chris Walsh’s Cowardice: A Brief History


From the Publisher’s Page (Princeton University Press):

Coward. It’s a grave insult, likely to provoke anger, shame, even violence. But what exactly is cowardice? When terrorists are called cowards, does it mean the same as when the term is applied to soldiers? And what, if anything, does cowardice have to do with the rest of us? Bringing together sources from court-martial cases to literary and film classics such as Dante’s Inferno, The Red Badge of Courage, and The Thin Red Line, Cowardice recounts the great harm that both cowards and the fear of seeming cowardly have done, and traces the idea of cowardice’s power to its evolutionary roots. But Chris Walsh also shows that this power has faded, most dramatically on the battlefield. Misconduct that earlier might have been punished as cowardice has more recently often been treated medically, as an adverse reaction to trauma, and Walsh explores a parallel therapeutic shift that reaches beyond war, into the realms of politics, crime, philosophy, religion, and love.

Yet, as Walsh indicates, the therapeutic has not altogether triumphed—contempt for cowardice endures, and he argues that such contempt can be a good thing. Courage attracts much more of our attention, but rigorously understanding cowardice may be more morally useful, for it requires us to think critically about our duties and our fears, and it helps us to act ethically when fear and duty conflict.

Richly illustrated and filled with fascinating stories and insights, Cowardice is the first sustained analysis of a neglected but profound and pervasive feature of human experience.


“Walsh’s well-written and wide-ranging study of cowardice offers some valuable insights into one of the military’s–and society’s–last taboos.”Australian

“In Cowardice, Chris Walsh, associate director of the College of Arts and Sciences Writing Program at Boston University, provides a fresh and fascinating examination of the use of the term on–and off–the primal theater of cowardice, the battlefield. Drawing on research in evolutionary biology as well as an informed interpretation of American history and literature, Walsh analyzes the relationship between courage and cowardice, the tendency to characterize men and not women as cowards, and the distinction between physical and moral cowardice. Most important, Walsh argues, provocatively and persuasively, that over the past century the idea of cowardice has faded in significance, especially in military settings, and reappeared with somewhat different connotations.”–Glenn Altschuler, Psychology Today

“Given the pervasiveness of this feeling in our culture, it’s somewhat astonishing that Walsh’s book appears to be the only full-length study of cowardice in existence. Fortunately, he’s packed a tremendous amount into 190 pages. The book offers a brisk survey of how the word has infiltrated our cultural notions of valor, and draws on authors ranging from Aristophanes to Dante to Stephen Crane, and philosophers from Confucius to Kierkegaard.”–Steve Almond, Salon

“[A] lively commentary on the concept of cowardice. . . . Chris Walsh deftly unpicks the competing moral codes underpinning notions of cowardice and its opposite, courage.”–Joanna Bourke, Literary Review

More reviews

Table of Contents:

Introduction 1
Chapter 1 Profiles in Cowardice: A Shadow History of the Home of the Brave 23
Chapter 2 Of Arms and Men 45
Chapter 3 The Ways of Excessive Fear 77
Chapter 4 Duty-Bound 100
Chapter 5 The Rise of the Therapeutic 131
Chapter 6 So Long a File: Cowardice Away from War 165
Acknowledgments 195
Notes 199
Bibliography 249
Illustration Credits 277
Index 281

Faculty Collaborations

Sam Myers and Seth Blumenthal

Faculty coffee hour has been a great opportunity to meet with colleagues, share stories, and break bread with those who know what it’s like to do your work. We are a large program so meeting one another in smaller settings like this one can lead to some fruitful exchanges. We invite you to come and have some coffee with us. So, keep an eye on future dates through the listserv!

Sarah Hanselman, Kim Shukra-Gomez, and Tony Wallace walking on Bay State Rd.
Sarah Hanselman

The Fall 2014 WRX faculty met at the BU Pub this past month to discuss their courses. Along with sharing the latest of their WRX experiences, they ate, drank, and talked about the various stages in their experiments. Tony tells us that Theater Now faculty and students recently attended the project’s 36th live performance, a CFA production of two one-acts staged in the BU Theatre. As the most recent effect of the WRX initiatives, Gwen and Carrie told the group about the new Alternative Genre category in the WR journal. The WR journal will now be including an alternative genre category that will accept forms of writing that do not conform to the conventions of the traditional academic essay. Mostly, however, the faculty connected in an informal way, catching up and sharing their experiences.