Category Archives: Service

Statements of Interest (2017 Co-Chair Elections)


Madison Chapman (University of Chicago)

I am Madison Chapman, a second year English Literature PhD student at the University of Chicago. I work on British Romanticism (with a focus on poetry) and I also have an interest in the Gothic. My research questions most often emerge from gender and sexuality studies, queer theory and the history of medicine. My decision to become a Romanticist was shaped in part by my experience as an undergrad at NASSR’s 2014 annual conference in Bethesda so now I am interested in expanding my involvement with NASSR. I was overwhelmed by the vivacity of conversations emerging from panel discussions and I was moved to pursue graduate school in order to involve myself in such exciting scholarship.

I believe I am well qualified to serve as a co-chair given my history of maintaining responsibilities through long term academic service commitments. As an undergraduate, I served on multiple departmental committees over two years, and at the University of Chicago I am the Humanities Division Graduate Representative on the Library Student Advisory Council. I currently serve as the co-chair of social activities for my department, I am co-coordinating our 2017 graduate student conference, and I am a regular participant at UChicago’s Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Cultures Workshop. In addition to my specifically academic experiences, I can bring website and event planning skills to this job. I have freelanced for my hometown newspaper for seven years and worked on multiple web and blog-based projects. In my gap year before graduate school, I worked full time in the Career Center at American University where I helped develop marketing plans and maintain web communication for professionalization events. These past experiences will inform my ability to plan the pub night, assist with the NGSC web presence, coordinate the professional roundtable, and liaise with graduate students and faculty mentors. As co-chair, I hope to balance interests in promoting scholarly development for graduate students alongside publicizing professionalization opportunities. NASSR has already played an important role in my own academic journey and I would be thrilled to take on this active role in cultivating a strong graduate student community.

Stephanie Edwards (McMaster University)

My name is Stephanie and I am a first-year PhD student in the department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. Under the supervision of Dr. David Clark, I completed my MA in English at McMaster as well, writing a thesis that investigates the ways in which Mary Shelley’s final novel, Falkner, engages with the figure of the palimpsest in regards to other texts in Shelley’s oeuvre, within the diegetic of the text itself, and towards larger social and political concerns of women creators in the nineteenth century. I plan to continue my work on the palimpsest during my PhD, using my dissertation to explore how the palimpsest, as a methodology, can create a more generative space to think of, talk about, and listen to the visible minorities of Romanticism. If elected as co-chair, I would like to extend my passion for participating in and supporting open, inclusive spaces to the NGSC and to continue the work of the co-chairs before me of making the NGSC a diverse space to lift up, showcase, and challenge the important work being done by graduate students in our field and beyond.

As a member of the McMaster Graduate Professionalization Committee I have knowledge of what graduate students are interested in learning about, both within and outside of the academy, as well as experience in promoting and running successful professionalization workshops. I have also been a blogger for the NGSC blog for the past year, which I believe shows my commitment and growing interest in the dissemination of our research and pedagogy, and how they relate to and complicate the world we live in today. Additionally, I believe that my background in social media and brand management — while completing my BA at Lakehead University, I worked for three years in the Marketing and Communications department — makes me a unique candidate for this position and would enable me to enhance and increase the NGSC’s online presence. Overall, I am incredibly passionate about engaging with and supporting fellow graduate students and it would be a wonderful experience to be elected as NGSC co-chair and be able to turn that passion into action.

Sarah Faulkner (University of Washington)

Hi everyone, my name is Sarah Faulkner, I’m a fourth-year Ph.D. Candidate in English with a certificate in Textual and Digital Studies at the University of Washington. I’m currently working on a dissertation on Romantic women writers (specifically Jane Porter, alongside Lady Morgan, Maria Edgeworth, Christian Isobel Johnstone, and Susan Ferrier), print culture, and the national-historical novel entitled:  “Authorship and Authenticity: Jane Porter and the Romantic National-Historical Novel.” Building off of the amazing work by NASSR Grads thus far, my hope is to encourage further connection through social media and through connecting interested grads in small cross-university communities to share resources for teaching, conferences, publishing, and the ever-dreaded job market. Possibly even a cohort trivia competition at NASSR next year?

In addition to my studies, I’m the Lead Coordinator of the 18/19C Graduate Research Cluster at the UW, the Organizer of JaneFest 2017, new NASSR Blogger, the out-going Executive Officer of the English Graduate Student Organization, UW in the High School Liaison, Project Coordinator for Rare Books at UW, and the Coordinator for the Mentorship Program for the Second World Congress of Scottish Literature, in addition to teaching 200 level classes at UW. I am passionate about service, connection, and innovation within our field. I enjoy organizing, both social events and hairy logistics, and like wheedling people to come to the things I plan. I hope to serve as a point of connection in a larger web of support for all the incredible Romanticist grads, and to selfishly enjoy meeting all of you.

 Travis Lau (University of Pennsylvania)

I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania working at the intersections of the 18th and 19th-century British literature and culture, the history of medicine, and disability studies. My diss project is a literary and cultural history of immunity and vaccination in relation to the rise of the security state and population health. As such, my research and teaching have always been interested in thinking across disciplinary and period lines, and I hope to be able to foster such conversations during my term as co-chair. I think these conversations, especially given our turbulent political climate, need to happen in ways that make our scholarship not only more public but accessible. As a community, NASSR can facilitate this in conference spaces (conference theme, panel design, papers selected and given) but also through digital forums and non-traditional forms of publishing, as well as mentorship among grads and between grads and scholars at different stages of their career.

In the past, I have served as the organizer of Penn’s Restoration-Victorian reading group. I am currently the co-chair of ASECS’ Disability Caucus. Beyond these organizational positions, I serve in a number of editorial roles with publications like The Review of Disability Studies and frequently write for publications geared toward public scholarship like the very recent Medical and Health Humanities organized by one of our, Arden Hegele. I hope to be able to share these kinds of experiences with the NASSR grad student community and work to expand grad voices in the field and beyond.

Caroline Winter (University of Victoria)

As an NGSC Co-Chair, I would help strengthen our community through social media and liaise with the NASSR board to ensure graduate students’ concerns are heard and addressed. I am a PhD Candidate in the English Department at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. My dissertation investigates Romantic Gothic literature in its economic contexts; my other research interests include women’s writing, print culture and book history, and digital humanities. I am starting my second year as the Managing Editor of the NGSC blog, and wrote regularly for the blog for a year before that. I also helped organize and chair the professional development panel at the NASSR conference in Ottawa this past August.


Farewell Editorial

Dear colleagues and friends,

It has been a tremendous pleasure to serve as the NASSR Graduate Student Caucus Blog editor since the Autumn of 2014. I have been privileged to read the work of many wonderful writers, who have each lent their distinctive approach to the study of Romanticism. We have been lucky to have had a Poet and an Artist in Residence, an art historian with a specialization in ecological criticism, Keatsians, Goths, Austen experts, literary scholars from graduate programs across the United States, Canada, and Europe, and many fabulous guest writers who work in nineteenth-century studies. To each of you, thank you for your contributions. I hope you will continue writing for the NGSC in future, and I look forward to seeing many of you at NASSR in Berkeley this summer.

Continue reading Farewell Editorial

The Romantic Reply to the that Terrible Question: Valuing the Humanities

One option out of a wide array of graduate seminars to choose for this current Spring semester ranging from the theory heavy to the literature heavy, and usual contenders (i.e. my much beloved courses on Modernism and the 18th c. novel) stood out among the rest in sheer ambiguity: the public humanities. The seminar is an interdisciplinary course that includes graduate students from various departments. Continue reading The Romantic Reply to the that Terrible Question: Valuing the Humanities

New Initiative: Romantic Bicentennials!

I’m pleased to announce a new initiative sponsored by the Keats-Shelley Association of America and the Byron Society of America: ROMANTIC BICENTENNIALS! This project offers scholars, readers, and the general public the opportunity to get involved and to receive updates about annual symposia, related conferences,  networked events, and other media celebrating 200 years of Romanticism.

The project’s main website (still under construction) is located here: On the website, read about each day’s events 200 years ago, and stay informed about current scholarly events celebrating bicentennial anniversaries throughout 2016 to 2024 (Geneva to Missolonghi). There will be one major sponsored conference each year: this year, it’ll be on May 21st, at the New York Public Library, celebrating the Genevan Summer of 1816.

Reach out if you would like to get involved — we’re looking for people to live-tweet events with our hashtag #‎Romantics200‬! We are also looking for scholars to participate in the annual symposia, as well as to attend the networked events throughout the year. To stay in touch, connect with us through our Facebook page: (A twitter handle is coming soon). And write to me if you have questions!

A Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures, II: Networking or “Relationship-Building” on the Road. Literally.

This post is part of the “Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures” series, a collaborative endeavor by NGSC bloggers Deven Parker, Grace Rexroth, and Conny Fasshauer, all Romanticist graduate students at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Drawing on our collective experiences organizing guest lectures at our university, our aim for this series is to offer advice and tips for NGSC readers hosting visitors at their institutions or attending one of these events.

“Networking” is a word I dread more than laundry day.

Because I wandered through the corporate world for several years before finally deciding to go to grad school, the term “networking” conjures up myriad awkward experiences – themed cocktail parties, company logos, uncomfortable seminars where strangers assess the grip of your handshake…it’s not my idea of a fun Friday night.

…and yet…

With English department sizes shrinking, enrollment numbers dropping, and an ever diminishing job market (thanks NY Times op-ed), networking is arguably a skill we need now more than ever. So, in addition to preparing for comps and formulating a prospectus, “networking” has joined the inner sanctum of my PhD goal list. Practically speaking, this means that, in addition to attending conferences (those hallowed networking meccas), I actively seek opportunities for building relationships in the field. “But how does one go about ‘networking’ outside of a conference?” you may ask. The glib answer: become a chauffeur.

Continue reading A Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures, II: Networking or “Relationship-Building” on the Road. Literally.

A Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures, I: The Planning Process

This post is part of the “Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures” series, a collaborative endeavor by NGSC bloggers Deven Parker, Grace Rexroth, and Conny Fasshauer, all Romanticist graduate students at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Drawing on our collective experiences organizing guest lectures at our university, our aim for this series to offer advice and tips for NGSC readers hosting visitors at their institutions or attending one of these events. See Grace’s post on transportation as a networking opportunity, and Conny’s post on making the most of the guest’s visit. 

Hosting visiting scholars for talks or seminars at your institution can be a wonderful thing. As many NGSC bloggers have recently discussed – like Jacob Leveton in his post about the importance of community building – forming scholarly networks beyond your university not only leads to new friendships but also to opportunities to receive support and guidance in your scholarly endeavors beyond your usual advisors. If you’re a regular reader or contributor to the NGSC blog, I’m sure I don’t need to further extol the benefits of extra-institutional support networks and friendships. That being said, as my contribution to this collaborative series, I’ll discuss the concrete logistics of hosting guests for talks and workshops. Continue reading A Graduate Guide to Guest Lectures, I: The Planning Process

Constructing an Academic Self: The Worksheet

This follows up on my previous post, concerning the necessity of renewing resolve and reorienting goals for the forthcoming academic year. Over the last month, in starting to capitalize on the commitments I explored there, I’ve increasingly realized the importance of utilizing reflective writing to actively work through the process of beginning the dissertation, and for the first time really envisioning what type of scholar I’d like to become through that particilar endeavor. As I imagine is the case for most romanticists, certain professional investments have started to become clarified as a result of engaging in the intense, challenging, and rewarding project of dissertation writing–in my case, guided by reading Donald Hall’s The Academic Self, Jean Botkin’s Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day, and Timothy Morton’s Ph.D Advice. To honestly think through these core themes that I’m realizing connect work, communities, and more (and, especially, because I’ll be going on the predoctoral fellowship market next year, and think the activity will be helpful for writing research statements), I’ve developed a series of fifteen questions to answer to better understand how areas of academic research, values, and goals are shaped by a longer history of development, different institutions, multiple great mentors, and romanticist friendships. In this blog–an unconventional one, admittedly–I am posting these questions I’ve generated, in hopes that they might be helpful for other grads to think through. I also invite others to post additional questions in the comments you’ve found helpful in creating fulfilling academic trajectories. Continue reading Constructing an Academic Self: The Worksheet

Studies in Romanticism: An Assistant’s Perspective

This post discusses some of my experiences as an Editorial Assistant for Studies in Romanticism since 2012. These are, of course, my own experiences in journal publishing, and all journals probably work differently, having their assistants focus on different tasks. Below, I offer some reflections about the job and my copyediting projects. In my next posting, I’ll offer a follow-up conversation with SiR editors, including some advice on the publishing process and insights for grad students—so stay tuned! Continue reading Studies in Romanticism: An Assistant’s Perspective

Join the Red Pen Society: an argument for copy editing

Editing is the bane of my existence. It’s monotonous. It’s time consuming. It’s well, hard. Choosing what words and sentences to amend or even eliminate often feels like butchering your own children. But what happens when you are entrusted with someone else’s baby? Acting in an official editing position in any capacity, be it for a manuscript, article, or publication of any kind, is an honor and a privilege—albeit a terrifying one.

Maybe you are one of the lucky ones, and taking out a red pen or sitting with a large cup of coffee at your computer with thousands of words waiting for the guillotine of your keystroke is an exciting task, not a daunting one. Bless you. Despite my undergraduate degree in journalism and years spent as a school newspaper editor, I still struggle with copy editing. But I am trying to change. Continue reading Join the Red Pen Society: an argument for copy editing

Behind the Scenes: A First Experience Co-Organizing a Conference

I love conferences; I might even call myself a conference junkie. I’ve been to about a dozen of them in my academic life, and I’ve enjoyed pretty much every single one: visiting new places, staying in hotels, meeting the same people over and over, getting conference food and coffee and drinks and swag… not to mention attending panels and getting feedback on my work. It’s all my favorite part of being an academic.

But, I will never look at a conference the same way again after co-organizing our department’s first Annual Literature and Social Justice Grad Conference. I have a new appreciation for all of the stuff I love about conferences, which is painstakingly planned by people behind the scenes, people who usually don’t even get to participate in much of the conference once it happens. After almost two semesters of planning and a successful final product last weekend, here is my guide to organizing a conference.

Continue reading Behind the Scenes: A First Experience Co-Organizing a Conference