Four Marymount Students Present at the Virginia Humanities Conference

This April, four Marymount students attended the 2019 Virginia Humanities Conference hosted by Virginia Wesleyan University in Virginia Beach, VA. The conference, focusing this year on the theme of “The Fluid Humanities,” asked scholars from a variety of perspectives to consider how the humanities respond to topics as diverse as rising seas, water scarcity, accelerated migration flows, environmental disasters and geopolitical shifts that reshape physical and ethnic maps, and other ways that a sense of “fluidity” describes our experience of life.

Two undergraduate students in the English program presented current research. Julia Torrico, a dual degree student who will be receiving both her BA in English and her BS in Information Technology this May, presented her work on “The Consumption of Race and Color in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire.” Elizabeth Ramos, an undergraduate English Education student, also presented her work, “Fluidity in Chicano Poetry.”

Additionally, two students from Marymount’s Graduate Program in English and Humanities also presented current work. Michael Weeks shared his analysis of “The Meanings and Uses of Black and White in Shakespeare’s Othello,” and Joey Robbins presented on the fluid depiction of gender in the Alien franchise with his project, “Geno/Transphobia and Xenomorphs.”

The Virginia Humanities Conference is an organization of universities, colleges, and community colleges in Virginia whose purpose it is to promote interest and research in the humanities. Next year, the VHC will be hosted by James Madison University, on the theme of “The Humanities and our Global Future,” March 27-28th, 2020. Dr. Tonya Howe is Marymount’s delegate to the conference; feel free to contact her with any questions.

Well done, Julia, Joey, Michael, and Elizabeth! We are so proud of you!

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Best-selling author Mary Karr visits Marymount, April 18

Bestselling author Mary Karr will visit Marymount this April to talk to first-year composition students about her first memoir, The Liar’s Club, which won nonfiction prizes from PEN and the Texas Institute of Letters. Recently, Entertainment Weekly rated it number four in the top one hundred books of the past twenty-five years. Her second memoir, Cherry, which was excerpted in The New Yorker, also hit bestseller and “notable book” lists at the New York Times and dozens of other papers nationwide. Her most recent book in this autobiographical series, Lit: A Memoir, is the story of her alcoholism, recovery, and conversion to Catholicism.

Karr is an award-winning poet and best-selling memoirist. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed and New York Times best-selling memoirs and five poetry collections, most recently Tropic of Squalor. Karr is also a songwriter, having collaborated with Rodney Crowell, Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams and others on a country album called KIN. Her many awards include The Whiting Writer’s Award, an NEA, a Radcliffe Bunting Fellowship, and a Guggenheim. She is also a regular contributor to The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Poetry magazine. Karr is the Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University and she lives in New York City.

This event is sponsored by the Department of Literature & Languages and the School of Design, Arts, and Humanities in partnership with Arlington Public Library and the Arlington Reads Program. This event is free and open to the public. Reception and book signing to follow.

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Alumna helps curate MARVEL: UNIVERSE OF HEROES exhibit at The Franklin Institute

Ariel (McManus) Odinson (MU alumna and English minor, 2012) is working on the MARVEL: Universe of Heroes exhibit that will open April 13th at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA. Ariel is a Curatorial Programs Assistant at The Franklin, and she is also a Museum Educator at the Mütter Museum. Congratulations, Ariel!

While she was an English minor at Marymount, Ariel helped Dr. Scott-Douglass organize The Avengers film symposium as part of the department’s annual Film Fest in Spring 2012. Ariel also received a grant through the Department of Literature and Languages to travel to The New York Comic Con where she spent the day working with the developers of the Kill Shakespeare comic book series. Ariel will begin her master’s degree at Temple University this fall. For more information on the MARVEL exhibit:

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MU Alum Carlos Benavides Appointed to Governor’s Specialty Courts Advisory Council

Marymount English Alum Carlos Benavides (class of 2009) and current assistant district attorney for Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office, was appointed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to the Specialty Courts Advisory Council for a six-year term. Read more here. Congratulations, Carlos!

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Visiting Author Sarah Trembath

On February 12, Sarah Trembath joined faculty, students, and members of the community for a reading and discussion of her new multi-genre work, This Past Was Waiting for Me. The event was co-sponsored by the Department of Literature and Languages and the Virginia Center for Literary Arts.

Sarah Trembath is a poet, spoken word artist, and professor. She’s currently professorial lecturer in the Writing Studies Program at American University, but she also has a long-standing relationship with Marymount, where she has taught courses on composition and American literature.

Trembath’s book, This Past Was Waiting for Me, explores racism and its impact through a variety of lenses, both past and present. From its righting of historical inaccuracies through meticulously-researched primary source documents, to its hopeful attempts to reach across racial divides and heal some of our national wounds, to its powerful lyric poetry and images—all done with excruciating honesty, kindness, and sometimes even humor—the book refuses to let us look away or remain ignorant.

Some of the students in Dr. Karapetkova’s EN 559 Studies in Creative Writing course reflected on the book’s impact, particularly its chapter on correcting the dominant narrative regarding our ugly history of slavery, “De-Fusing the Cultural Bomb and Digging in the Hole the Explosion Left in Our Slave History.”

“The book’s first hand accounts show us the real, the raw, and the true.  They teach/remind/DEMAND that we know them and that we know them properly. If everyone knows, then no one can deny the facts, but more importantly, no one can forget the facts. I am so in love with this book so far. I want to scream to everyone I know to read it and to “get woke”.” –Kembry McNeil-Thompson

“To the many of us who have been malnourished by the lies told us about slavery, Prof. Trembath’s work is like saying, it is about time the truth be told. Because the truth, when told, has the tendency to heal the wounds of the oppressor and most importantly the wounds of the oppressed. … As Prof. Trembath confronts [issues of miseducation surrounding slavery], the following thoughts linger in my heart and in my head: I feel an archeologist digging everywhere to exhume an important body of information and feed it to the hungry masses.” –Phinehas Anaba

“I have often wondered how culpable I am in crimes that I have not committed, but have unwittingly participated in by virtue of ignorance or being descended from slave owning white southerners. It is a hard thing to ask and to answer – to what extent am I responsible for atrocities that happened long ago? I am not guilty of what was done – but I am responsible to hold the past with honesty and to bear witness.” –Allison Gaskins

Trembath read from the book’s Preface and then took questions. The audience expressed their deep gratitude for Trembath’s work, and the inspiration and provocation the work produced, in the discussion that followed her reading.

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