Dorothy Kim Wins 2023 Medieval Academy of America Article Prize

February 8, 2023

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Professor Dorothy Kim's article “The Politics of the Medieval Preracial,” which appeared in Literature Compass, has won the 2023 Medieval Academy of America Article Prize in Critical Race Studies.

From the Academy: "Professor Kim’s critical survey of the concept and terminology of race in the study of the Middle Ages is a timely and valuable contribution to the study of premodern race. Maintaining that “Race, rather than ethnicity, otherness, alterity, or difference, is the most appropriate and accurate term to use in discussing structures of racist phenomena and white Christian European hegemony” (3), Kim advances a critique of historical approaches to the Middle Ages that overlook critical race studies. The committee felt that this work of intellectual history—its clearing of the ground, framing the stakes, contextualizing of the critical vocabulary—does an important service to medieval studies and the profession at large. It is a particularly vital resource at the current, relatively early stage of premodern critical race studies (as opposed to premodern race studies) and will be beneficial to the many students and scholars newly entering the conversation."

Usman Hameedi '12 and Malika Imhotep '15 Publish Books of Poems

February 3, 2023

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(images left to right: Button Poetry, Red Hen Press)

Two Brandeis alumni - Usman Hameedi '12 and Malika Imhotep '15 - have published collections of poetry.

Usman Hameedi '12 (creative writing minor) has a book of poems called Staying Right Here being released by Button Poetry in April 2023. With this collection, Hameedi "invites readers to bear witness to vignettes of joy and hardship as he navigates finding his place in America." In 2009, Hameedi founded the Brandeis Slam Team, a spoken-word poetry group he served as coach and captain of for two years. He also organized the Brandeis Open-Mic Series, a biweekly competitive poetry slam. He majored in biology and went into a career in medicine, but his writing practice remains vibrantly alive. He served as a Mass Poetry Artist in Residence and worked with educators on how they can incorporate poetry into their classrooms. Pre-order his book today, and read more about his journey at Brandeis and beyond

Ra Malika Imhotep '15 (AAAS major) published the poetry collection gossypiin with Red Hen Press in April 2022. From the publisher: "Within these pages, the poet is joined by a 'sticky trickster-self' named Lil Cotton Flower who tells of their own origins and endings in the Black vernacular traditions of the griot and the gossip. Interspersed throughout the collection, Black feminist wisdoms and warnings meld with the poet’s own yearnings and Lil Cotton Flower’s tall tales." Order Imhotep's book, and read more about her current work and her social justice work at Brandeis

Emiliano Gutierrez Popoca
Emiliano Gutierrez Popoca Discusses His Journey to the National 3MT Competition

January 24, 2023

"[Shakespeare's] servants steal the show, and in consequence, I argue, we get to know their thoughts, feelings, and motivations as much as we know those of the wealthy or noble characters." -English PhD candidate Emiliano Gutierrez Popoca in an interview about the thesis he presented at the National 3MT Competition. Read the interview.

David Sherman
The English PhD is dead, long live the English PhD

January 23, 2023

Professor David Sherman dives into changes the department is making to the English PhD program to prepare graduates for both academic and non-academic careers.

"We now ask applicant statements to address “the potential social and cultural impact of your doctoral work” and include a new “Career Paths” section: “The Brandeis PhD in English is designed to prepare students for a range of careers. Please describe three careers you might be interested in pursuing after graduation. In one paragraph, describe how you think your PhD will prepare you to pursue these different goals. If applicable, please also describe any previous experience relevant to your career goals.” This question should be asked at every stage of doctoral program, as a fundamental part of this education." Read more.

Jackson Holbert
Jackson Holbert '17 Wins Max Ritvo Poetry Prize

December 8, 2022

Milkweed Editions has announced that Jackson Holbert '17 is the winner of the 2022 Max Ritvo Poetry Prize. His manuscript Winter Stranger was selected by judge Henri Cole and will be published in June 2023. In addition to publication, Holbert will receive $10,000.

Holbert was a creative writing major at Brandeis, received an MFA in Poetry from the Michener Center for Writers, and is currently a Stegner Fellow at Stanford. Read his alumni profile.

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Emi Watanabe Cohen '21 Publishes Debut Novel, "The Lost Ryu"

November 16, 2022

In her debut 2022 middle-grade novel, The Lost Ryū, Emi Watanabe Cohen '21 tells the story of a Jewish Japanese American girl named Isolde, her Japanese friend Kohei, and a Yiddish-speaking dragon. Watanabe Cohen majored in creative writing and took a fiction class with Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities John Plotz, who gave her new insight and appreciation into J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. In the acknowledgments to The Lost Ryū, Watanabe Cohen writes that Plotz's "hot takes on Tolkien will forever be a part of my soul."

Read more

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Dorothy Kim Wins Book Prize

November 8, 2022

Professor Dorothy Kim's co-edited Alternative Historiographies of the Digital Humanities (punctum, 2021) won the American Studies Association Digital Humanities Book Prize.

Faith Smith Appointed to Marta F. Kauffman '78 Professorship in African and African American Studies

November 3, 2022

Provost Carol Fierke says, "A leading scholar in Caribbean culture, the African Diaspora, sexuality, and literature, Faith Smith has been a key contributor to the advancement of African and African American Studies at Brandeis. The first endowed professorship in the AAAS department’s fifty-year history, this professorship reaffirms Brandeis’ commitment to social justice." Read more about the Professorship.

The Most Valuable Skill I Learned at Brandeis was to Speak Confidently about Books

November 3, 2022

Jayne Ziemba, joint MA‘12, English and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, is Associate Managing Editor at Penguin Random House. She was featured by GSAS Professional Development.

"I'm not sure I would have been successful in starting a career in publishing if I hadn't first done my master’s at Brandeis. My experience at Brandeis totally shaped me into a better communicator, thinker, and collaborator. Ultimately, the most valuable skill I learned at Brandeis was to speak confidently about books, which is something I get to do every day in my job as a managing editor."

Read the interview.

Diana Filar
Diana Filar PhD '21 on Professional Development

October 6, 2022

"I’m not encouraging everyone to turn everything they like into a job, but if you have another interest that you want to pursue or can imagine ‘oh in another life I would have been x,’ then consider how you may be able to leverage it." -Diana Filar PhD '21 talks about using a Connected PhD grant to fund her work at an immigrant and refugee nonprofit, and offers advice to other doctoral students. Read Diana's GSAS Professional Development Alumni Profile

Ulka Anjaria
Ulka Anjaria Leads Rethinking of the Role of the Humanities Center

September 23, 2022

The Mellon Foundation has awarded Brandeis University a 15-month, $150,000 grant to support "Re-envisioning the Role of the Humanities Center in the 21st-Century University," under the direction of Professor Ulka Anjaria, the Director of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for the Humanities.

"Humanities Centers have the potential to be ideal sites from which to advance innovative programming, center questions of race, equity and social justice, and contribute to large-scale questions about the future of the university," Anjaria said.

Read more

Dorothy Kim in a library

Photo Credit: Mike Lovett

"House of Dragons" with Dorothy Kim

September 19, 2022

"You see the series do this again and again, where it sets up certain characters as possibly the 'hero/heroine' but then pulls the narrative rug from under the audience and its expectations by killing them off. Instead of being this hero’s journey, we’re introduced to this new type of high-fantasy genre." -Professor Dorothy Kim in the BrandeisNOW interview, "How 'House of the Dragon' compares to the medieval era it is inspired by."  

Abigail Arnold
Abigail Arnold PhD'20 on Professional Development

September 8, 2022

"I would advise students to engage with experiences outside of their own coursework and research, from teaching to department leadership roles. These will help them build varied skills that can be valuable in many different roles." -Abigail Arnold PhD'20, who is now department administrator of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Read the full interview at the Brandeis Professional Development site.

John Burt
English Featured in Inside Higher Ed

July 8, 2022

Professor and Department Chair John Burt was featured in an Inside Higher Ed article about Brandeis' Connected PhD program. He shared departmental changes, to be put in the place over the next few years, which will give opportunities to doctoral students beyond traditional teaching jobs. Students will have the chance to learn a wide range of writing skills, such as grant proposal writing; to take a course on pedagogy that includes studies in teaching outside the university; to do a fourth-year internship; and to complete a final research project that can take on various forms, not just a "proto-book," as Burt said. Read the article and learn more about the English department's participation in the Connected PhD program.

Howie Tam
Howie Tam's Students on Their Favorite Books from Class

June 29, 2022

Howie Tam, the Florence Levy Kay Fellow in the Anglophone Literature and Film of the East Asian Diaspora, focuses on a diverse representation of authors throughout his Asian American Literature course (AAPI/ENG 22b). Ten students from Professor Tam’s class were featured in BrandeisNOW listing their favorite titles taught in the course, including Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies, Fae Myenne Ng's Bone, and Anthony Veasna So's Afterparties, among others. Read the piece

Patrick Sylvain

Patrick Sylvain/ Photo: Blog Talk Radio

Doctoral Students Land Teaching Jobs

Congratulations to two doctoral students on recent job offers. Patrick Sylvain has accepted a tenure-track offer from Simmons University as Assistant Professor of Global / Transnational / Postcolonial Literature in the Department of Literature and Writing. Jordan Clapper has accepted a tenure-track position at Washington State University as an Assistant Professor of Game Development and Design in the Program of Digital Technology and Culture.

Miranda Peery
Miranda Peery's Many Achievements

May 13, 2022

Congratulations to doctoral student Miranda Peery, who has been acknowledged recently with several accolades. She was chosen as the next Brandeis Posse Scholars Mentor; she received an Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award for 2021-22; and she received a University Prize Instructorship for History and English--Violent Resistance: American Political Violence and Its Rhetorics (2022-23).

Brianna Majsiak
English Alumna One of the Bold 9

May 12, 2022

Brianna Majsiak '16, who majored in English and co-founded The Breasties, was featured as one of the 2022 Bold 9, a group of young alumni artists, activists and entrepreneurs making change in their fields. The Breasties is a nonprofit community for survivors, “previvors,” “thrivers” and caregivers affected by breast and gynecological cancers. Majsiak was also featured in the New York Times in October 2021 in an article titled, "For Some Breast Cancer Survivors, October Is the Cruelest Month." 

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Recall This Book with the English Department

May 6, 2022

Recall this Book is a popular podcast hosted by English professor John Plotz and anthropology professor Elizabeth Ferry. The hosts get together with a different scholar or author each episode and discuss texts in light of important contemporary topics. Several English department faculty members and students have participated in episodes and have written pieces on the podcast's blog, and here are just a few examples:

Professor Ulka Anjaria co-hosted episode 80, "We are Not Digested: Rajiv Mohabir." And Patrick Sylvain PhD '22 wrote the blogpost "On Rajiv Mohabir, the Chutney Wordsmith," a response to episode 80. 

Professor Elizabeth Bradfield co-hosted episode 75, "Sean Hill talks about bodies in space and time with Elizabeth Bradfield."

Professor Stephen McCauley co-hosted two episodes: episode 5, "The Comic Novel," and episode 25, "Books in Dark Times Part 2."

Professor Jerome Tharaud co-hosted episode 76, "Land-Grab Universities with Robert Lee."

Doctoral student Anik Chartrand wrote the blog post "Land-Grab Universities and Me" in response to episode 76.

Another doctoral student, Dominick Knowles, wrote the blog post "Roots and Ruins: On George Kalogeris's Winthropos," a response to episode 74, "George Kalogeris on Words and Places."

The first-ever undergraduate author on the podcast was English major Cassie Shifman '22: "Twilight, Tolkien, and the Problem of Immortality: On (The Contemporary Answer To) Fairy Stories." 

And doctoral students Miranda Peery and Nayoung Kim, and Matthew Schratz PhD'18 have all served as editorial interns.

Read more about John Plotz and the podcast.

Out of This World: Sci Fi Projects

May 2, 2022

The students in John Plotz's spring 2022 ENG 150b, Out of This World: Sci Fi Cyborgs, Time Travelers, & Space Invaders, generated projects -- objects, experiences, artworks -- with a science fiction theme, and in doing so, reflected on what, precisely, makes something "sci fi." One group wrote an album with a spaceman as its creator. Another invented a time-travel branching game, an online playable ”choose your own adventure.” A third group composed a part graphic/part textual novella, also time travel-themed, that pitted a few brave L’Engle style young adventurers against a coercive dominant capitalist dictatorship. The experiential assignment was called "Making a SF World/Unorthodox Critical Intervention," and you can view a few of them here:

1. Time-travel "choose your own adventure" game. (This file gets downloaded and then opened in Chrome to begin gameplay).

2. Sci fi concept album

3. Graphic sci fi novella.

Alumnus John Turner Publishes Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses

April 26, 2022

John Turner PhD'12 has co-authored Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses (Oxford University Press, May 21, 2022). The book's over 12,000 individual annotations cover the full range of information referenced in Ulysses, including allusions to Shakespeare, Aristotle, Dante, Aquinas, slang from various eras and areas, foreign language words and phrases, Hiberno-English expressions, Catholic ritual and theology, Irish histories, Theosophy, Freemasonry, cricket, and more!

Turner's articles on Joyce have been published by the James Joyce Quarterly and Philosophy and Literature. Together with Marc A. Mamigonian, he is co-author of annotations to Stephen Hero and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Alma Classics, 2015).

Order Annotations

English Majors Receive Festival of the Creative Arts Grants

April 14, 2022

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English majors Hannah Taylor '23 and Logan Shanks '24 are recipients of grants from the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts

Hannah is collaborating on a large-scale painting with Michaela Trieloff '23, to be displayed in Fellows Garden.

Logan will conduct a symbolic funeral for The Black Superwoman. “In African spirituality, death is rebirth,” says Logan. “As a community, we will collectively bury The Black Superwoman and remember her beyond her capacity to labor for the sexual political economy of slavery and her community. We will birth a new politic.”

English PhD students take first place and runner-up at 3MT

April 7, 2022

Emiliano Gutiérrez Popoca won first place in the Humanities division of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition held virtually in March and April, and Chih-Chien Hsieh won runner-up. Pyunghwa Lee was a finalist in the competition. More than 40 students participated in early rounds, and 12 made it to the finals.

“Having to think about why my research matters and getting that idea across for more people has made me think differently about why doing this kind of research in the humanities is important," Gutiérrez Popoca said.

The competition was jointly sponsored by GSAS and the Mandel Center for the Humanities. Read more.

Follow-up: Gutiérrez Popoca went on to win at the regional level of the 3-Minute-Thesis competition, hosted by the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools. He beat out over 30 participants to emerge as one of 2 winners and advanced to the national competition.

Broadsided Press: Fifteen Years of Poetic and Artistic Collaboration, 2005-2020

April 5, 2022

Since its founding, Broadsided  has released one beautifully designed, original, letter-sized collaboration of poetry and art (a broadside) each month: a unique collaboration between a visual artist and a writer that is a work of art in itself. Now, for the first time, more than fifty broadsides selected from the past fifteen years of Broadsided’s publications have been published in book form alongside the interviews with artists and poets who collaborated to create them and photographs of the work in public spaces.

Creative Writing Co-Director Elizabeth Bradfield is Broadsided's founder and editor-in-chief. Over the years, several Brandeis undergraduate and graduate students have been involved with Broadsided, including Clayre Benzadon, Polina Potochevska, Yi Hi, Bailey Ludwig, and Dominick Knowles.

Read about the anthology and order at Provincetown Arts Press.

Read the press release

Access a lesson plan for teachers and a prompt for writers. 

And watch this amazing promo video created by English PhD student and Broadsided's new Reviews editor Nayoung Kim.

Liz Bradfield featured in BrandeisNOW

April 4, 2022

"Going out there on the water and being alive - it’s a vital part of my life. Without it, I feel stuck. Grounded. Time on the water–hopefully in a way that gives back to the beings I love–feeds my ability to write, in direct and indirect ways."

-Elizabeth Bradfield, Co-Director of Creative Writing, in her BrandeisNOW feature, "Fostering Curiosity: Professor Elizabeth Bradfield’s life as a naturalist and poet."

Department Faculty Receive Awards

March 24, 2022

Congratulations to our English department faculty who have recently received prestigious awards:

Ramie Targoff received a Teaching Across the Disciplines: 2022-2023 Team Teaching Grant for "If Music and Sweet Poetry Agree: Expressive Verse and Music in Renaissance England and Italy," in partnership with Sarah Mead (MUS, Medieval and Renaissance Studies).

Ulka Anjaria and Dave Sherman were awarded spring 2022 Provost's Teaching Innovation Grants, Dave for "Survey of Teaching Innovations in the Humanities" and Ulka for “Pedagogies of Anti-Blackness in Literary Studies."

Emilie Diouf was awarded a Public Humanities Grant for her collaborative project “Women Writing” Écrire au féminin. This project has also received support from the Mayor’s office of the City of Dakar and the Senegalese National Office of Publishing. Écrire au feminin is a collaborative project with Amina Seck, author, screen writer, and director of Cultur’Elles, an organization that promotes women’s rights through the arts. We would like to leverage the function of writing in our mutual interests in promoting gender justice in Senegal and in the Sahel region of West Africa. Amina Seck is the author of the novel, Mauvaise Pente (2017).

And both Chen Chen and Grace Talusan received grants from the United States Artists [USA] arts funding organization in Chicago. 


Announcing the Next Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence: Porsha Olayiwola

March 9, 2022

Please join us in welcoming Porsha Olayiwola to the Brandeis Creative Writing faculty as the next Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence, starting in Fall 2022! We are excited for the energy and vision she'll bring to campus and to her teaching.

Porsha Olayiwola is a writer, performer, educator and curator who uses afro-futurism and surrealism to examine historical and current issues in the Black, woman, and queer diasporas. She is an Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and the founder of the Roxbury Poetry Festival. Olayiwola is the author of i shimmer sometimes, too and is currently serving as the poet laureate for the City of Boston. Olayiwola is Brown University's 2019 Heimark Artist-in-Residence and a poet laureate fellow with the Academy of American poets. Her work can be found published with TriQuarterly Magazine, The Boston Globe, Essence Magazine, Redivider, The Academy of American Poets, Wildness Press, The Museum of Fine Arts, and elsewhere. Olayiwola earned her MFA from Emerson College and spends most of her time utilizing water as muse. 

Two positions in the Creative Writing department rotate every 2 - 4 years: the Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence (currently Chen Chen) and the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence (currently Grace Talusan). These positions allow Brandeis to bring new energy and vision into our creative writing community. Past Ziskind poets have included Adrienne Rich, Sharon Olds, Mark Doty, Louise Glück, and Rafael Campo.

Porsha Olayiwola will be teaching the Intro to Creative Writing and Poetry Workshops in the fall. The Intro Workshop requires no instructor approval. If you'd like to take the Poetry Workshop, you will need to submit a short writing sample and a note of interest via email to the instructor the week prior to registration (not earlier!). Please read the application guidelines when early registration dates are announced.

March 8, 2022

The Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative (BEJI), created by English department faculty members John Plotz and David Sherman and legal studies program director Rosalind Kabrhel, helps students and faculty get involved in expanding educational access to people within the criminal justice system.

The Brandeis initiative goes beyond other higher-ed-in-prison programs by connecting students with men and women in pre-release programs, in probation and in high-risk communities other than prison.

“Students like me run these programs,” says Jessi Brewer, a second-year PhD student in English. “We’re co-facilitating and collaborating. The key to reform is university and community connections, educating people about how our justice system works and making change from the inside out.”

English PhD student Rachel Dale is also involved in BEJI's administration.

Read more in Brandeis Magazine about the program and how our English faculty and students are working with others across the university to make a difference.

March 7, 2022

Professor Caren Irr's essay collection Life in Plastic: Artistic Responses to Petromodernity (University of Minnesota Press, 2021) has been promoted by two podcasts: "Petrochemical Fantasies and Synthetic Sensibilities" and "Plastic's Capitalism."

From "Petrochemical's" show notes: "Contributors discuss plasticity and myth, stretchy superheroes, how plastic became gendered, plastic as a colonizing force, plastic in art and everyday life, and more."

October 4, 2021

Description of the Awards:

2021 AAR Book Awards

The American Academy of Religion is pleased to announce the 2021 recipients of the Awards for Excellence in the Study of Religion, the Best First Book in the History of Religions, and the Religion and the Arts Book Award.

This annual competition recognizes new scholarly publications that make significant contributions to the study of religion. The awards honor books of distinctive originality, intelligence, and creativity, and these titles affect decisively how religion is examined, understood, and interpreted. Congratulations to the winners!

September 17, 2021

Immersive Global Middle Ages has been awarded an NEH Institute of Advanced Topics in Digital Humanities, which will go towards funding a seminar run by Dorothy, set for January 2023. Dorothy also has received a sub-award from the Mellon Foundation from a 3.5 million grant for Race Before Race. She will be running a 3-year Public Social Media program at Brandeis to train fellows in working with premodern critical race studies on short-form digital media.


June 7, 2021

First paragraph of Alexa Criscitiello's news article:

"Tony Award-winning theatre producer Daryl Roth and playwright Theresa Rebeck (both Co-Chairs of the LPTW Advisory Council) will introduce the 2021 Theatre Women Awards Virtual Gala and speak about their hopes for the future of the industry, as live theatre returns. The event will be presented virtually by the League of Professional Theatre Women on Monday, June 7 at 7pm," (

Ramie Targoff Receives the John Donne Society Award for Distinguished Publication

April 8, 2021

Ramie Targoff's essay, “Marriage and Sacrifice: the poetics of the Epithalamia,” has been chosen to receive a Distinguished Publication Award for 2019. The judges cited her essay for its insightfulness and were pleased to rank it among the most notable works on Donne during the past decade.