2023 roundup: my year in work


Admin: In Spring 2023, I finished my year of serving as interim director of first-year composition. I also served on the committee that hired the permanent director, as well as an additional full-time composition instructor. I concluded my time as curriculum committee chair for the Graduate Center English Department, and served — as did everyone else in the department — on admissions. From Fall 2022 – Spring 2023, with Lauren Mancia, I co-organized Brooklyn College’s LAMEM (Late Antique Early Modern) working group, which held talks every month. After years of trying, interrupted by the pandemic, I was able to sponsor a Fulbright scholar in posthumanism to visit NYC from Croatia.

Teaching: Owing to release time accrued from my administrative work, I had to teach only one course, a doctoral seminar in the Spring, the second iteration of “Problems in Posthumanism.” Here is the syllabus and a 39-page document that lists books and concepts we mentioned during our discussions. I was also a reader and advisor for an MA Thesis (on women and hyperfiction! so much fun) and for 7 (!) dissertations, two of whose committees I chaired.

Service to the Field: I wrote reports on one tenure file, 3 articles, and 2 book manuscripts, as well as a book proposal.

Talks: I gave 2 conference papers, one at the Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo, on Middle English hunting manuals, and another at the American Comparative Literature Association, in Chicago, on medieval eschatology, for a seminar on the end of the world. Invited talks, as always, were a delight: on Boethius and reason at Tulane (thanks Johnny Morton!), in Nantes, for a conference on animal emotions, where I spoke about anger, and in Amiens, for their ecocriticism series, where I polished up some old ideas from my second book. I also gave an online talk on posthumanism for my colleague Chia-Ju Chang’s series on eco-pedagogy to what is probably the most international audience I’ll ever have.

Publications: Just one book review this year, in French Studies, on Liam Lewis’s Animal Soundscapes in Anglo-Norman Texts. My Langland article came out very late last year, so it technically doesn’t count: but it exists, in part, because when I told a friend that I’d published almost exclusively by invitation, he urged me to submit anything to a journal, just to experience peer review again from the other side. I’m glad I did. The Chaucer Encyclopedia finally came out — massive, can’t imagine editing that! — and with it my short piece on “posthumanism.” I also had a chapter on animals and reason in the Routledge Companion to Medieval English Literature (ed. Sif Ríkharðsdóttir and Raluca Radulescu).

I researched, wrote, submitted, and revised a chapter on Middle English manuals of fishing, hawking, and hunting for the Oxford Handbook of Middle English Prose (ed. Sebastian Sobecki and Emily Steiner). I also wrote, with Danielle Alor, a chapter on trees (“treesearch!” is what we called it) in myth, religious, and popular belief for the Cultural History of Nature in the Middle Ages (ed. Anke Bernau and Kellie Robertson). In the meantime, I’ve been researching and writing bits for my third book, The Irrational Animal, including, for example, that material on anger that I gave in Nantes, Boethius in New Orleans, and the chapter for the Routledge Companion above.

That’s it! Next year I want to finish a draft of the book. It’s good to be on sabbatical.