The Literary Way

a newsletter for Xavier University of Louisiana's English majors, minors, and honors students

April 2013

Sigma Tau Delta

Induction Ceremony and Reception, March 13, 2013

Dr. Greene Dr. Vander pins Javon Bracy table Veronique Dorsey Sister Donna pins Javon Bracy and her dad Dr. Vander pins again Dr. Hennessey and Shenitria Lewis Dr. Hennessey pins Jordyn Goody proud mom Robin Runia and Jordyn Goody Akkia Jackson and C.M. Williams birthday girl Dr. Hennessey and

Sigma Tau Delta is the International English Honors Society. The Alpha Beta Eta Chapter was founded at Xavier University of Louisiana in 1991. Today, there are over 800 active chapters in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Sigma Tau Delta's main purpose is to confer distinction for high achievement in English language and literature.

On March 13, 2013, Xavier's chapter held an induction ceremony and reception. They welcomed the following new inductees: Kamaria Beamon, Javon Bracy, Alexis Ellis, Kaci Foster, Jordyn Goody, Tayler Loyd, Shenitria Lewis, Obinna Oko, Mia Ruffin, Brittini Summers, and Monique Westley. Their officers include President Veronique Dorsey, Vice-President Akia Jackson, Secretary Melanie Moore, and Treasurer Brittany Williams. Other continuing members are Megan Haynes and Jasmine Smith.

English Graduate Writes a Book

Dr. Christopher Freeburg, Melville and the Idea of Blackness

Dr. Christopher Freeburg

Dr. Christopher Freeburg graduated from Xavier with a B.A. in English in 1995. He went on to earn his master's degree at Stanford University (1996) and a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago (2006). He now is an assistant professor teaching English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Chris writes, "I teach advanced and survey courses in American and African American literature. I also teach discovery courses for new students that incorporate different forms of media like newspapers, television shows (cartoons and sketch comedy), and contemporary fiction."

This year, he has published his first book: Melville and the Idea of Blackness: Race and Imperialism in Nineteenth Century America. Here's its description from Amazon.com.

By examining the unique problems that "blackness" signifies in Moby-Dick, Pierre, "Benito Cereno," and "The Encantadas," Christopher Freeburg analyzes how Herman Melville grapples with the social realities of racial difference in nineteenth-century America. Where Melville's critics typically read blackness as either a metaphor for the haunting power of slavery or an allegory of moral evil, Freeburg asserts that blackness functions as the site where Melville correlates the sociopolitical challenges of transatlantic slavery and U.S. colonial expansion with philosophical concerns about mastery. By focusing on Melville's iconic interracial encounters, Freeburg reveals the important role blackness plays in Melville's portrayal of characters' arduous attempts to seize their own destiny, amass scientific knowledge, and perfect themselves. A valuable resource for scholars and graduate students in American literature, this text will also appeal to those working in American, African American, and postcolonial studies.

Congratulations, Dr. Freeburg!

English Dept. Scholarships

for first-year and continuing students

For the second year in a row the Xavier English Department has a pool of $10,000 with which to offer tuition scholarships for incoming freshmen, outstanding "rising sophomores" completing their first year, and continuing students, especially those who are in good academic standing and who are struggling to make ends meet financially. If you would like more information on this opportunity, contact the English Department chair, Dr. Nicole Greene, at ngreene@xula.edu.

Where Are They Now?

updates from English graduates

Recently, faculty in the English Department have heard from some of our graduates—proving yet again the versatility of our English majors. Bill Beverly, Jr. has earned a Master's in Liberal Arts with a concentraion in literature at Tulane University. He is currently working at Tulane in the Accounts Receivable Department, but he looks forward to the possibility of college teaching. Keenon Smith is working in the New Orleans area as a drug representative for a pharmaceutical company. Troy Baham is working on a Masters of Fine Arts with a concentration in poetry at Texas State University. He writes, "I'm still making hip hop music under the alias Symma Tree." He's also the frontman for two bands: The Lost Groove and Dangerous Animal. You can hear some of his music online. Kristina Robinson is completing her Master of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in fiction at the University of New Orleans. She is expected to graduate this May. Victor Jones completed a master's degree at Harvard, and then went on to finish law school at Loyola University in New Orleans. He is now a practicing attorney in the firm of Adams and Reese LLP. And Trimiko Melancon is an assistant professor of English and African American Studies teaching at Loyola University in New Orleans. She is a 2012-2013 Woodrow Wilson Fellow and Visiting Scholar at Tulane University's Anna Julia Cooper Project for Gender, Race, and Politics in the South under the founding directorship of Melissa Harris-Perry. She has completed the final revisions for her first book Unbought and Unbossed: Transgressive Black Women, Sexuality, and the Politics of Representation. She is also co-editing a book (with Joanne M. Braxton), Contemporary Black Female Sexualities. She served as session organizer and a panelist for a related roundtable on "Black Women's Sexualities in African American Literature and Cultural Production" at this year's Modern Language Association conference. Just recently, she appeared in a video commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," and she facilitated a discussion with Civil Rights icon Diane Nash--both under the auspices of the Cooper Project at Tulane.

Rare Books

Dr. Hennessey's Class Visits the Tulane Archive

Class visits Tulane archive

Dr. Oliver Hennessey's English 2070 class (British Literature Survey I) visited Tulane University Library's Rare Book Room. Professor Mike Kucynski showed the class medieval manuscripts and early modern printed books, including a first edition King James Bible. Dr. Hennessey writes, "The students got to handle many of these books; they now know what vellum actually feels like, and the difference between the flesh side and the hair side of the animal skin!"

Class visits Tulane archive

End-of-Year Celebration

April 29, 2013


On a stormy afternoon English majors and faculty gathered for our annual End-of-Year Celebration, organized by Dr. Biljana Obradovic and Mr. James Shade. Dr. Oliver Hennessey read the list of twelve prospective graduating seniors, who earned a well-deserved applause: Josalynn Coleman, Veronique Dorsey, Akia Jackson, Seleha Mehr, Melanie Moore, Shenitria Myles, Apiffanie Ovide, David Patin, Kayla Rodney, Gevonne Ruffins, Joy Webb, and Brittany Williams. Dr. Nicole Greene, English Department Chair, announced that three other majors graduated last December and will take part in commencement exercises: Joi Martin, Nia Weber, and Kimberly Young— adding up to a record-breaking number of fifteen English graduates.

Ms. Katheryn Laborde announed the winners of the First Year Student Essay contest, first place going to Tamika Ross for her essay, "End of the Tunnel." The runner-up was Darian Garnier, and Corey Todd and Bre'ana Johnson received honorable mentions. Ms. Laborde added that many of the entries have been considered for our undergraduate literary magazine, New Voices, and some have been accepted for the next issue.

Dr. Bonnie Noonan recognized members of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society, and read a touching text message to the graduates sent by Dr. Robin Vander, who could not attend. The highlight of the event was Mr. James Shade's announcement of the winner of the English Graduate of the Year award, based on a vote by students and faculty: Shenitria Miles!

Shenitria Miles

Shenitria Miles and M.J.

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The Literary Way is edited by Dr. David G. Lanoue of the Xavier University English Department. Contact: dlanoue@xula.edu