Welcome to the blog for the Villanova English department! Visit often for updates on department events, guest speakers, faculty and student accomplishments, and reviews and musings from professors and undergraduates alike.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Associated Press Workshop

Students Attend Associated Press Workshop at Temple University
By Blaire Fenniman (Cultural Studies major)

Dr. Karyn Hollis and seven students attended the Philadelphia Associated Press News Train workshop at Temple University on November 13th.  The students included three English majors (Carl Cacela, Celeste Manapsal, Maria McGeary) six Writing and Rhetoric concentrators (Marie Bouffard, Carl Cacela, Princess Garrett, Celeste Manapsal, Maria McGeary, Faith Wells) and Christine Bucher, an editor for a journal published by the Department of Theology and Religious Studies.  The workshop sessions emphasized the use of technology in gathering and writing news.

Dr. Hollis and her students attended various sessions that introduced them to video production using smartphones, writing news for mobile platforms, and maximizing their use of social media for reporting and branding. The News Train workshops were led by working journalists and media experts, giving students first-hand guidance about these evolving news platforms.

The workshops Dr. Hollis and her students enjoyed the most involved social media and big data collections: Digital Storytelling, Using Social Media for Personal Branding & Audience Engagement, Shooting Effective Video on Your Smartphone, Producing Data-Driven Enterprise Stories Efficiently, and Using Social Media as Powerful Reporting Tools.

For more information about the APME News Train workshops, which are open to all, jump on board here.

Marie Bouffard, Charisma Presley, Celeste Manapsal, Faith Wells, Maria McGeary, & Christine Bucher. (not pictured: Carl Cacela)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Write for LinkedIn

Senior English major Mary Kate Fields, a Campus Editor for LinkedIn, is looking for students who can publish articles on LinkedIn's new student publishing platform.

Here’s Mary Kate’s message:
I was chosen to be a LinkedIn Campus Editor to help bring more #StudentVoices to LinkedIn. I'm in the process of putting together a group of people/working with peers who want to share their knowledge, experiences and insights on LinkedIn.

With more than 400 million members globally and 122 million in the U.S., LinkedIn's blogging platform is a great way to build your professional brand, gain visibility among people in your desired industry and write your way to opportunity.

Plus, in working with you, your posts will be considered for even wider distribution in relevant channels and on LinkedIn's newsreader Pulse.

For more information, including tips and writing ideas, check out LinkedIn's Student Publishing Site here.

I’m happy to edit your drafts, discuss ideas or answer other questions you might have. Once you’re ready to publish, go here:  http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/author/createArticle.

Be sure to add #StudentVoices at the bottom of your LinkedIn post for possible promotion.

If you want to see what other students are writing, check out the Student Voices channel here.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Paid Summer Internship with Allstate

Mary McDermott, an English major who graduated a year ago, just sent us an announcement of a paid summer internship with Allstate Insurance in Malvern.  Mary herself was an intern and is now Communications Analyst in the Corporate Relations department.

Allstate has had a strong relationship with Villanova through its internship program for several years, and last year, according to Mary, received some great applicants from the English department.  The opportunity is posted on Handshake (#253532 Corporate Relations Summer 2016 Intern at Allstate Insurance Co).

Remember that if you would like to receive credit for an internship, you must apply at our Internship Office.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Dr. Crystal Lucky's edition of A Mysterious Life and Calling

Crystal Lucky lived up to her name when she found a forgotten autobiography of a former slave in the library archives at Wilberforce University in Ohio. Lucky, an associate professor of English and the director of the Africana Studies Program at Villanova, is also an ordained elder, church official, and pastor’s wife. So, she was thrilled and astonished to discover the unknown memoir of an African American woman who was a licensed minister and popular preacher in the Carolinas after emancipation from slavery.

Reverend Mrs. Charlotte Levy Riley had called her book A Mysterious Life and Calling. As Lucky began to read it, she knew that she had found something—and someone—extraordinary. Lucky has now published Riley’s memoir with the University of Wisconsin Press, providing an introduction and notes on events, society, and religious practice in the periods before, during, and after the Civil War and Reconstruction, and placing Riley’s story in the context of other spiritual autobiographies and slave narratives.

Born into slavery in 1839 in Charleston, South Carolina, young Charlotte Levy was taught to read, write, and sew despite laws forbidding black literacy. Raised a Presbyterian, she wrote of her conversion at age fourteen to the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, embracing its ecstatic worship and led by her own spiritual visions.

Riley’s memoir is a revelation on many counts, including life in urban Charleston before and after emancipation, her work as a preacher at multiracial revivals, the rise of African American civil servants in the Reconstruction era, and her education and development as the only woman preacher in South Carolina. She was a licensed female minister in a patriarchal church, a feat rarely achieved at that time by women anywhere in the country, whether black or white. She also became a teacher of newly emancipated black people and their children, and postmistress of Lincolnville, an all-black incorporated town outside of Charleston where she owned a home and spent most of her adult life.

Riley published her memoir privately in the early twentieth century, but as of yet Lucky has not discovered the year of its publication. “What is clear,” Lucky says, “is that the events span the nineteenth century and the earliest years of the twentieth. Charlotte was born to enslaved parents, John and Sarah Levy, in Charleston on August 26, 1839.”

From the book:
"As an enslaved girl in one of the busiest cities in the antebellum South, young Charlotte was spared some of the physical hardships of chattel slavery. She even received a modest education at a school run by a local widow, where she learned to read, write, sew, and do basic math. Her mother died when she was very young, so an uncle and a grandmother helped to raise her. Eventually, she began to live with and serve her grandmother’s white mistress, which closely aligned her with affluent, white Charlestonians. At the close of the Civil War, Charlotte married a free black architect, was shortly thereafter abandoned by her husband, began to worship and work with the A.M.E. Church, taught in a church-sponsored school, and received her local preacher’s license in 1871, just one year after African American men obtained the right to vote. She really is quite remarkable.”

As the Reverend Charlotte S. Riley, the newly freed woman worked tirelessly to position African American men, women, and children to benefit economically, educationally, and spiritually from the vast changes that were happening throughout the United States as a result of Emancipation. She taught basic literacy skills and Bible classes to children and adults and traveled hundreds of miles to preach, despite debilitating health problems. In her travels, she also began to assist African American communities and mentor leaders in resisting the backlash of racial violence and the rise of Jim Crow laws. She took a role in organizing sharecroppers, assisting the newly formed Colored National Labor Union, and aiding the Honorable Robert Brown Elliott, the first African American commanding general of the South Carolina National Guard.

Although a memoir like Riley’s is quite rare, Lucky points out, “The power of narrative was important for women, whose physical presence was consistently scrutinized. Riley was aware of her tenuous public position; she repeatedly refers to herself in her autobiography as a ‘woman preacher’ rather than as a preacher or minister.” For some, her existence posed problems. “She faced skepticism from whites and blacks about whether a ‘real woman’ could be a preacher and, in turn, whether a preacher could really be a woman.”
Dr. Crystal Lucky
A few accounts by nineteenth-century black preaching women in the northern states are known, but this is the first discovery of such a memoir written in the American South. Herman Beaver, professor at the University of Pennsylvania, notes, “This edition will be in people’s hands for a very long time. A Mysterious Life and Calling is a valuable primary source that can be referenced and studied in so many literary and cultural contexts.”

Publishers Weekly notes that “Lucky has truly uncovered a gem with this autobiography of Charlotte S. Riley. . . An important, informative achievement."  The Southern Independent Booksellers Association (SIBA) has also chosen A Mysterious Life and Calling as one of only 13 books being  recommended to Southern bookstores as an “Okra Pick” (a Southern version of Oprah Picks) for the spring season.