A Year of Growth

The passing of a calendar year prompts reflection among many folks, including the NASSR Graduate Student Caucus co-chairs. Looking back, 2014 was a big year for the Caucus.

The NGSC Board doubled in size. After putting out a call for board members, Jake, Laura, and I were overwhelmed at the response. Graduate students at all levels (first year M.A. students to doctoral candidates), enrolled in universities across the country, volunteered their efforts and energy to expand the Caucus. For the first time, the co-chairs and board members met using Google Hangouts. More than twenty-five people participated in the meetings. Many of the ideas and changes that fill the rest of this post are the result of these meetings and the giving, thoughtful folks who make up our Board.

In addition to our growing Board, we gained a faculty advisor: Mark Lussier from Arizona State University. He and Jill Heydt-Stevenson already met with the co-chairs via Skype to begin planning the Caucus’s involvement in the 2015 NASSR conference.

Speaking of the conference, the GSC was present and active at the annual NASSR meeting in DC this past summer. Our pub night was well attended by faculty and graduate students alike, both newcomers and seasoned NASSR grads. We once again participated in the Pedagogy Contest with Laura serving as a judge for some of the impressive pedagogies happening in Romanticism today. Caucus members were everywhere: presenting their work, volunteering at the registration desk, touring the National Library of Medicine and the Library of Congress, and snapping photos at the welcome reception. Our roundtable speakers, including Ron Broglio, Jeffrey Cox, Elizabeth Denlinger, Devoney Looser, Yasmin Solomonescu, and Michele Speitz, packed the room. They provided attendees with diverse perspectives on navigating the job market–academic and otherwise—generously answered difficult and troubling questions, and inspired conversations that continued well beyond the time allotted to the panel.


On the first day of the conference, the Caucus launched its new listserv. Hosted by West Virginia University, just like the NASSR-L, the NASSR-GSC listserv is a listserv exclusively for graduate students. Individuals who self-identify as graduate students can join the Caucus listserv by sending an e-mail to <listserv@listserv.wvu.edu >. Leave the subject line blank, and place the following text in the body of the message: SUBSCRIBE NASSR-GSC Your Name. We are hoping to grow this listserv in the coming months so that it becomes a thriving hub for graduate student communication.

The GSC was a noticeable presence at ICR as well. Members chaired and presented on numerous panels.

We’ve also seen changes for the Caucus blog, welcoming Arden Hegele, who took the reins from Jake to become the blog’s new Managing Editor. Turns out, our blog is pretty popular! It registers thousands of hits per month. You can check it out for yourself on the left side of the blog’s main page, just below the “Useful Links.” The blog was added to the Romantic Circles “News & Announcements from the RC Community” page. Because Romantic Circles now links to new Caucus blog posts, our readership is regularly growing. Graduate students are finding us and joining our community.

We can’t even count the number of emails we’ve gotten from all of you: individuals inquiring about how to become bloggers (there is a call for bloggers every fall), asking to join the Caucus or the listserv, and generally wanting to get involved.

It really has been a fun year to be a part of the Caucus, but don’t worry—we have more coming in 2015!

With the help of Board member Deanna Koretsky and Caucus members, we are organizing a small colloquium, camping adventure, and possible short-lived experimental Pantisocracy in Pennsylvania and developing a reading group that will meet with authors of the critical texts read by participants. Professor Rob Mitchell will lead the first “Google Hangout with a Professor” later this winter; keep an eye out for more information!

Already, the Caucus has a larger role in the annual conference than ever before. This summer in Manitoba, we’ll once again host the annual graduate student pub night. This year’s professionalization roundtable is titled “Mind the Gap: Between the Ph.D. and the Tenure Track” and the presenters are sure to have helpful insights on how to handle the time between finishing the PhD and landing a job. So, what’s new at the conference this year? We are also sponsoring a panel:

Public Romanticism: Scholarship and Advocacy

Faculty scholars and graduate students are invited to submit a short (five-minute) presentation for a high-octane roundtable discussion on how Romantic scholarship at all levels might interface with advocacy in the public sphere, in keeping with the NASSR 2015 conference theme of “Romanticism and Rights.” This opportunity is sponsored and will be convened by the NASSR Graduate Student Caucus.

Please submit a title and one-page abstract of your proposed five-minute talk to the NGSC Co-Conveners, Arden Hegele (aah2155@columbia.edu) and Jacob Leveton (jacobleveton2017@u.northwestern.edu), by January 17th, 2015.


If you have ideas about other ways the Caucus can grow, we encourage you to join the Board, the listserv, and/or our Facebook page. You can also follow us on Twitter (@NASSRgrads). And don’t forget: We’ll be on the hunt for new bloggers this fall!

None of what we’ve done this year would be possible without all of you. Thanks for a great year. We can’t wait to see what 2015 brings!

Teresa, Laura, and Jake