Departmental Newsletters

Numerous exciting things happen every year in the English department.   Read about all the events that took place plus faculty and student accomplishments in the following English Department newsletters:

Fall 2017

Spring 2017

Spring 2016

Spring 2015

Spring 2014

The Department "IN THE NEWS"

"Purdue's Roxane Gay, best-selling author, awarded Guggenheim Fellowship," by Dave Bangert, Journal & Courier, April 5, 2018.  Read the story here.

"Terese Mailhot makes best-seller list, second Purdue author to do it in past year," by Dave Bangert, Journal & Courier, March 23, 2018.  Read the story here.

"Station Eleven author to speak at Purdue Literary Awards," by Kelsey Schnieders Lefever, Purdue University News, March 19, 2018.  Read the story here.

"Purdue medical humanities event to feature award-winning poet Marianne Boruch reading, dance performances, visual art," Purdue University News, February 28, 2018.  Read the story here.

"Top Ten Best Schools for English Majors," by Rachel Aldrich, College Magazine, February 16, 2018.  Our department is ranked #3.  Read the story here.

More News:

"2/15/18 Books and Coffee Presentation - Week 3," featured in The Purdue Exponent, February 16, 2018.  Read the story here.

"A Road to Books, Coffee, and Cormac McCarthy," by Helen Coats, The Purdue Exponent, February 12, 2018.  Read the story here.

"68th annual Books and Coffee kicks off with next year's Big Read novel," by Alisa Reynya, The Purdue Exponent, February 2, 2018.  Read the story here.

"Books and Coffee series exploring science fiction and dystopian literature," by Olivia Crouse, Purdue University News, February 1, 2018.  Read the story here.

"Partnering with Dawn or Doom benefits campus units, expands conference offerings," by Dave Stephens, Information Technology at Purdue, October 20, 2017.  Read the story here.

Nick Schenkel, Director of the West Lafayette Public Library, has reviewed the English Department's "Big Read" book on WBAA radio, October 17, 2017.  Please see

"Objects of Affection: Faculty and staff share the stories behind their personal collections. The Nature of Inspiration by Brian Leung". Purdue Alumnus, Online June 28, 2017; Summer 2017 issue of Purdue Alumnus (pgs. 54–63). Read the story here

"New York Times best-seller author Roxane Gay releases new book Hunger," from Purdue Today, June 9, 2017.  Read the story here.

"Award-winning author Margaret Atwood speaks at Purdue," from the Purdue Exponent, April 6, 2017.  Read the story here.

"Bangert:  What Margaret Atwood said at Purdue," from the Journal & Courier, April 6, 2017.  Read the story here.

"Author Margaret Atwood to speak at Purdue Literary Awards," from the Purdue Exponent, March 24, 2017.  Read the story here.

"Armstrong, Carlson receive Murphy Awards," from Purdue Today, March 23, 2017.  Read the story here.

"Graphic novel Nimona celebrated at Books and Coffee," from the Purdue Exponent, February 27, 2017.  Read the story here.

Najma Menai, a student in Professor Platt's ENGL 409 class, has a poem quoted from a New York Times blog by Nicholas Kristof on February 9, 2017.  You can find the article here.

"Human relationships discussed at Books and Coffee," from the Purdue Exponent, February 17, 2017.  Read the story here.

"Books and Coffee discusses new novel 'Lovecraft Country, from the Purdue Exponent, February 14, 2017.  Read the story here.

"Purdue Writing Lab visits Washington, DC".  Read the story here.

"New courses add variety to revamped English minor," from the Purdue Exponent, January 17, 2017.  Read the story here.

Purdue ranks fourth among public institutions in the United States, based on a new survey by the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education.  Read the full story here.

US News & World Report for Higher Education gives Purdue a #13 national ranking for undergraduate teaching in national universities.  Read the story here.

Faculty Accomplishments

Professor Bradley Dilger's proposal, “Crow: the Corpus & Repository of Writing,” which was selected for the “The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate” research challenge supported by the Humanities Without Walls Consortium. (posted April 10, 2017)

Professor Arkady Plotnitsky's most recent book, "The Principles of Quantum Theory, From Planck’s Quanta to the Higgs Boson." has been published by Springer.
The book offers an analysis of the concept of principle and the role of principles in foundational thinking in quantum theory. It addresses the relationships between the philosophy of quantum theory and the philosophy of probability, and argues for the essential role of these relationships in our understanding of quantum theory. (posted March 23, 2017)

Professor Brian Leung's  novel "Ivy vs. Dogg: With a Cast of Thousands!" has been accepted for publication with C&R Press. (February 1, 2017)

Professor Derek Pacheco was recently been selected as President-Elect of the Hawthorne Society, a national organization dedicated to the life and works of New England author Nathaniel Hawthorne, and to public ambassadorship of the humanities in our fast-changing globalized environment. (January 25, 2017)

Professor Marianne Boruch's recent collection, published last July, "Eventually One Dreams the Real Thing," just got included in The New Yorker's best books of the year list!!…/page-…/the-books-we-loved-in-2016    (posted January 3, 2017)

Professor Emily Allen was named a fellow in the Big Ten Academic Alliance Leadership Program. The Big Ten Academic Alliance is a consortium of the Big Ten member universities. The Leadership Program is designed to develop the leadership and managerial skills of faculty who have demonstrated exception ability and administrative promise. It is specifically oriented to the challenges of academic administration of major research universities and to the preparation of faculty members to meet those challenges. (posted December 12, 2016)

Professor Kristina Bross emphasizes the importance of hands-on experience in the classroom with the acquisition of a refurbished mid-20th century printing press.…/purdue-university-profess…/  (posted December 5, 2016)

Professor Chris Lukasik was recently awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The award will support writing and researching his new book project “The Image in the Text: Intermediality, Illustration, and Nineteenth-Century American Literature.” Chris’s project examines the spectacular growth of illustration within American literary culture from 1825 to 1875. “The Image in the Text” will be the first cultural history of illustration that synthesizes literary, book and art history with theoretical work from visual and media studies. (posted November 28, 2016)

Professor Dorsey Armstrong just released her 24-lecture series “The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague.” This lecture series introduces the time period of the plague, its full human repercussions, and its transformative effects on European civilization.  (posted October 26, 2016)

Professor Marianne Boruch's poem “I Get to Float Invisible” appears in The Best American Poetry 2016.  (posted October 17, 2016)

Professor Pat Sullivan has been selected for the 2016 College of Liberal Arts Discovery Excellence Award for the Humanities. The Discovery Excellence Awards represent the College’s highest recognition for scholarly achievement in the humanities and social sciences. Nominated by her colleagues and selected from a field of outstanding candidates, Patricia has been recognized for the extraordinary strength, impact, and creativity of her research. (posted September 22, 2016)

Professor Roxane Gay takes the marketplace quiz and reveals the hardest part about being a successful writer and how teaching has helped her with criticism. []  (posted September 22, 2016)

Professor Elaine Francis has been selected to teach at the Linguistic Institute at the University of Kentucky in July 2017.  [] (posted September 22, 2016)

Professor Roxane Gay writes about being black in middle America in Brevity magazine's current issue.  []  (posted September 22, 2016)

Professor Sharon Solwitz will be visiting Valparaiso University on Wednesday, September 7, 2016.  In the afternoon Sharon will discuss the short story with students in the "Introduction to Short Story Writing" class, then in the evening give a public reading of her own work. (posted August 25, 2016)

Professor Tara Johnson was invited by the IDOE to participate in cut-score setting for the Grade 10 ELA ISTEP+ assessment that will become the new end-of-course assessment/graduation exam for high school. She was one of twelve English teachers/educators who made the recommendation for the cutoffs between the “do not pass,” “pass,” and “pass plus” performance categories. (posted August 8, 2016)

Professor Venetria Patton received a Woman of Distinction Award from the YWCA Greater Lafayette. Venetria was chosen for this award on the basis of her outstanding achievements, leadership, and community involvement while serving in a professional role, and was honored as a mentor, scholar, and writer specializing in issues of race and gender.  Venetria has been active in campus and community engagement throughout her career. She has served on multiple campus committees on diversity and formerly served as a board member of the National Council for Black Studies and the Hanna Community Center in Lafayette. (posted June 1, 2016)

Professor Marlo David was recently awarded a Library Scholars Grants, administered by Purdue University Libraries, which support faculty access to unique collections of information found around the country and the world.  Professor David proposed a research project to develop a literary and artistic biography of African-American filmmaker, playwright, and actor Bill Gunn (1934–1989), who wrote and/or directed six films, wrote 11 plays and one novel, and performed as an actor throughout the influential U.S. Black Arts Movement (1965–1975). There is no full-length critical manuscript dedicated to his life or his films, plays, and novel to date, and Marlo seeks to recover the lost works of Gunn and produce a detailed biography of his life. (posted May 18, 2016)

Professor Chris Lukasik was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Summer Stipend award will support writing and researching his new book project "The Image in the Text: Intermediality, Illustration, and Nineteenth-Century American Literature." (posted May 10, 2016)

Professor Melanie Shoffner is a Fulbright Scholar recipient for her project “Adjusting the American Lens: Literature and Pedagogy as Cultural Study in Romania.” For the 2016-2017 academic year, she will hold a teaching position in the Faculty of Letters at Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, located in northwest Romania in the province of Transylvania. Working with both undergraduate and graduate students, she will teach classes in US Young Adult literature, US educational culture and the pedagogy of literature teaching and learning.  Professor Shoffner also received the "Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award" for 2015-16 from the Department of English. (posted May 3, 2016)

The ICaP Program and Professor Jenny Bay were highlighted in this article below from Purdue Today. (posted May 3, 2016)

Professor Robert Marzec has been promoted to Full Professor in English. A specialist in environmental, postcolonial, and global studies, Professor Marzec has published on a wide range of topics and is the author of "Militarizing the Environment: Climate Change and the Security Society" (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), and "An Ecological and Postcolonial Study of Literature" (Palgrave, 2007). He is the editor of "Postcolonial Literary Studies: the First 30 Years" (Johns Hopkins, 2011) and the associate editor of the international journal "Modern Fiction Studies." (posted April 28, 2016)

Professor Paul White and six current or former graduate students were involved in the English/Theatre Departments production of The Three Lords and Three Ladies of London, performed first in West Lafayette and subsequently at the Festival of Early Drama at the University of Toronto in early June 2015.  Professor White collaborated with Theatre professors Anne Fliotsos and Richard Sullivan Lee who served as director and dramaturg respectively.  The production was funded by CLA’s Enhancing Research in the Arts and Humanities grant. Acting in the production were English students Bryan Nakawaki, Allison Layfield, Gabriel Lonsberry, Adrian McClure, and Michelle Parsons, along with J. Case Tompkins, former doctoral student now teaching in the School of Civil Engineering. With a digital edition of the play and performance forthcoming under the editorship of Professor White and Bryan Nakawaki, the project’s purpose is to explore the late medieval and early modern conditions of performance and reception of major Elizabethan drama.  (posted April 27, 2016)

Professor Elena Benedicto has been awarded a 2016 Transdisciplinary and Interdisciplinary research grant from the College of Liberal Arts.  (posted March 4, 2016)

Professor Marianne Boruch will be the keynote speaker at the "Gathering of Writers," on Saturday March 26th from 9:30-5:00 at the Indiana Landmarks Center. The event is hosted by the Indiana Writers Center.  (posted March 2, 2016)

Professors John Duvall and Robert Marzec recently edited the publication "Narrating 9/11: Fantasies of State, Security, and Terrorism (A Modern Fiction Studies Book).  (posted February 21, 2016)

Professor Robert Marzec gave a presentation on his experences at the "COP21" (the Climate Summit in Paris) at the Purdue Climate Change Research center on Friday, February 26th, 2016.  (posted February 26, 2016)

Professor Christopher Lukasik presented a talk on "Irving's Medium" at the American Art and Visual Culture Seminar, The Newberry Library, Chicago, on February 19th, 2016. (posted February 26, 2016)

Profesor Arkady Plotnitsky has been named a "Distinguished Professor of English" by Purdue University.  A reception was held in Professor Plotnitsky's honor on January 28th.  (posted January 29, 2016)

Professor Roxane Gay recently published "The Oscars and Hollywood's Race Problem," in the NY Times.  (posted Janaury 24, 2016)

Professor Robert Marzec's book "Militarizing the Environment: Climate Change and the Security State" was recently published by the University of Minnesota Press. As the seriousness of climate change becomes more and more obvious, military institutions are responding by taking a prominent role in the governing of environmental concerns, engaging in “climate change war games,” and preparing for the effects of climate change—from conflicts due to loss of food, water, and energy to the mass migration of millions of people displaced by rising sea levels. (posted Janaury 20, 2016)

Professor Maren Linett and Professor Al Lopez have both won Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion grants. Professor Linett specializes in Modern British and Irish Literature and disability studies. Professor Lopez specializes in Postcolonial Literature and is the author of "José Martí: A Revolutionary Life."  (posted January 20, 2016)

Professor Venetria K. Patton has been appointed the head of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Liberal Arts. Patton has been director of the African American Studies and Research Center for 12 years, and Provost Fellow for Diversity and Inclusion.  Patton's teaching and research focus is on African American and diasporic women's literature.  (posted January 11, 2016)

Professor Jenny Bay has been selected as a "2016 Center for Undergraduate Instructional Excellence Fellow" for her project "IDEALS (Internship Database for Experiential & Applied Learning Strategies) for the Liberal Arts" awarded by the CLA Faculty Development Center.  (posted January 7, 2016)

Professor Chris Lukasik has been selected as a "2016 Center for Humanistic Studies Fellow" for his project "The Image in the Text: Intermediality, Illustration, and Nineteenth-Century American Literature" awarded by the CLA Faculty Development Center. (posted January 7, 2016)

Professor Sharon Solwitz has been selected as a "2016 Center for Artistic Endeavors Studies Fellow" for "Wandering in the Wilderness" awarded by the CLA Faculty Development Center. Sharon is an associate professor in the English department's Creative Writing Program. (posted January 7, 2016)

Professor Arkady Plonitsky has recently been awarded a Distinguished Professorship from the Purdue University Trustees for his excellent interdisciplinary scholarship in the English Department. (posted December 21, 2016)

Professor Kris Bross represented the College of Liberal Arts in Purdue’s “Back to Class” sessions for alumni last fall. The sessions were held during the President’s Council Annual Weekend and allowed Purdue alumni and friends to get a glimpse into the transformational learning, game-changing research, and worldwide impact that occurs each day on Purdue’s campus. Kris’s session, titled “PAST PURDUE: Searching for the class of 1904,” detailed a student-led Honors College research project to explore Purdue’s history through archives, vintage copies of The Exponent, 100-year-old scrapbooks, letters, telegrams, and photos in order to publish a book that studies Purdue at the turn of the 20th century.  See the book here: (posted December 14, 2015)

Professor Dan Morris, has just been elected President of the Reception Studies Society.  The Society seeks to promote informal and formal exchanges between scholars in several related fields, bringing together theorists, scholars, and teachers from many areas.  This association promotes a much needed cross-dialogue among all areas of reception studies. (posted December 14, 2015)

Professor Roxane Gay has been awarded the 2015 PEN USA Freedom to Write Award for "Demonstrating exceptional courage in the defense of free expression.” For more information visit the website below.…/. (posted November 5, 2015)

Professor Marianne Boruch was recognized as the National Author Award Winner at the 2015 Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award Dinner on October 13, 2015.  The award recognizes an Indiana writer whose entire body of work is known and read throughout the country.  Award winners receives a cash prize and also selects an Indiana public library to receive a $2,500 grant from the Library Foundation.  (posted October 15, 2015)

Professor Bob Lamb’s book "The Hemingway Short Story: A Study in Craft for Writers and Readers," was recently re-issued in paperback by Louisiana State University Press (August 2015). Professor Lamb previously published a two-part study of Hemingway and the short story. In volume 1, he examines Hemingway’s art, the development of the genre, and creates a whole set of theoretical terms for examining the short story. In volume 2, he focuses on thorough readings of a select group of stories to show how studies of art, craft, and technique (valued by creative writers) are not only compatible with, but essential to, cultural studies (valued by critics). This paperback version completes his study on Hemingway and the short story. (posted October 7, 2015)

Professor Felluga recently published "Critical Theory: The Key Concepts" with Routledge Publishing. For more information visit the website below.  (posted October 6, 2015)

Professor Dino Felluga (general editor) published the four-volume, million-word Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature. The collection is now the definitive introduction to the field with over 300 essays by the top critics in Victorian studies.  (posted October 6, 2015)

Professor Al Lopez will be discussing Jose Marti on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, at Illinois State University. Professor Lopez is known for his academic work about José Martí, the founding father of Cuban independence and a giant in literature and politics. (posted September 17, 2015)

Professors John Duvall and Bob Marzec  guest posted to the JHU Press blog an article entitled "Patriot (Day) games: exploring the fantasies surrounding 9/11."…/patriot-day-games-exploring-the-…/.  (posted September 17, 2015)

Professor Al Lopez recently posted an article about US-Cuba relations on HuffPost entitled "Trump's Change of Heart on Cuba: Master Stroke or Political Suicide." You can read the article here:  (posted September 16, 2015)

Congratulations to Donald Platt whose poem "The Main Event" was recently published in Scribner's The Best American Poetry 2015. The Best American Poetry is a long-running series of books featuring the best 75 poems published in literary journals each year, beginning in 1988. Don’s poem was originally published in the Southwest Review, and was chosen by Native American fiction writer, poet, and filmmaker Sherman Alexie from among thousands of poems published in 2014 literary journals. Don’s poetry was previously selected to appear in the series in both 2000 and 2006. (posted September 16, 2015)

Professor Lance Duerfahrd published an article in The Conversation entitled Wes Craven: The Scream of our Times.  The article can be read here: (posted September 2, 2015)

Professor Sharon Solwitz's novel "Once, in Lourdes," is listed as a finalist in AWP's Award Series for 2015. The book takes place near Chicago in 1968 against the backdrop of the Democratic Convention and the accelerating Vietnam War, and centers around the story of four high school seniors as they approach the date they set for a suicide pact. (September 1, 2015)

Professor Janet Alsup (with Lisa Schade Eckert) co-edited the book Literacy Teaching and Learning in Rural Communities: Problematizing Stereotypes, Challenging Myths (Routledge, 2015).  This books takes a definitive look at teaching English in rural secondary schools, contests current definitions and discussions of rural education, examines their ideological and cultural foundations, and presents an alternative perspective that conceptualizes rural communities as diverse, unique, and conductive to pedagogical and personal growth. (posted August 10, 2015)

Professor Janet Alsup published the book A Case for Teaching Literature in the Secondary School: Why Reading Fiction Matters in an Age of Scientific Objectivity and Standardization (Routledge, 2015).  The book takes a close look at the forces that affect English education in schools—at the ways literature, cognitive science, the privileging of the STEM disciplines, and current educational policies are connected—this timely book counters with a strong argument for the importance of continuing to teach literature in middle and secondary classrooms. (posted August 10, 2015)

Professor Venetria Patton is joining the provost’s office as a Provost Fellow on Diversity. Patton, a scholar of African American literature and feminist discourse, is a former chair of the Purdue Black Caucus of Faculty and Staff and former chair of the CLA Diversity Action Committee. She will work closely with Provost Debasish Dutta on all matters related to diversity, broadening participation, and inclusion.  Congratulations to Venetria on her new role as Provost Fellow on Diversity! (posted July 30, 2015)

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