LSU English is home to world-renowned faculty, innovative course offerings, and talented students. At the heart of our work is an attention to verbal communication in spoken and written form – what humans do with language, how we do it, why we do it, and to what effects. Through the study of literature, linguistics, rhetoric, film, theory, and the craft of writing in a variety of genres and forms, we challenge students to ask questions of texts, to read beyond literal meanings, to understand how context and text interact, and to create compelling texts of their own. The value of an English degree is that the person who can write with elegance and precision, and who has the skills to interpret and analyze texts, is needed – and valued - in every area of work and life.
Go to Undergraduate and Graduate Course Descriptions to see examples of what our Department has to offer and browse “About Us” to learn about our faculty, graduate students, publications, events, and more.
Professor Sue Weinstein
Chair, Department of English
Mystery Project Collaborative
The Mystery Project’s new website is live! We look forward to building out more information on the site as our adventures continue.
Next, The Mystery Project will be fielding four reading/listening/viewing groups this semester, each led by one of our extraordinary faculty members. Each of these groups of LSU affiliates (all students, faculty, and staff are welcome!) will meet two to four times to discuss text, music, art, and other materials selected by the thinker facilitating the group. We hope you might consider joining one or more of these group(s) to explore the intersection of mystery with conspiracy, with hacking, with visual art, and with music.
Registration is free but important, so we can supply complimentary copies of the books and other materials for everyone in the group. After you have registered for a group, we will be in touch via email to let you know about the location, where to pick up materials for discussion, and other logistics.
English Department News
Boyd Professor Gerald Kennedy has been awarded the 2023-24 Lillian Gary Taylor Fellowship in American Literature at the University of Virginia to work on a cultural biography of Edgar Allan Poe.
In 2021, the SEC provosts established an emerging scholars program to help current doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers prepare to be future members of the faculty through professional development and networking. Seohye Kwon, PhD doctoral student in the Department of English, is one of five that have been selected as LSU's SEC Emerging Scholars for 2023-2024.
Congratulations to Dr. Benjamin Kahan! Dr. Kahan has been named the Huey McElveen Professor of English in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Dr. Kahan was selected by a committee of faculty from within and beyond the English Department and is most deserving of this honor.
Michael Bibler (Associate Professor) presented a keynote talk at the 49th annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference in Oxford, MS (July, 2023). The conference theme was "Queer Faulkner," and his talk was entitled, "Slapstick, Sadomasochism, and Civil Rights: Queer Violence in Faulkner's Light in August and Intruder in the Dust." Also, Michael was selected as a 2023-2024 Special Collections Faculty Fellow in Hill Memorial Library to support collaboration with librarians and to incorporate the archives/special collections into teaching.
Maurice Ruffin (Assistant Professor) attended a month-long Black Rock Senegal residency in Dakar. This residency program was founded by Kehinde Wiley, the artist most famous for painting Barack Obama’s presidential portrait. Maurice was one of 15 artists-in-residence selected for 2023-24. In separate news, Maurice’s The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You has been selected by the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana as one of two books by Louisiana authors to represent the state at the 2023 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. His collection will be part of the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book’s Roadmap to Reading at the National Book Festival (The Advocate, July 7). Last but not least, Maurice will receive the Louisiana Writer Award at the end of October. You can listen to an interview with Maurice from July.
Michael Bibler and Maurice Ruffin were both interviewed for a short documentary produced in France about John Kennedy Toole's novel Confederacy of Dunces. The title is "À La Nouvelle-Orléans, La Conjuration Heureuse des Imbéciles" (the section from about 2:30-16:45).
David An (MFA 2023, 2023-24 Postdoc) won the Sarabande Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction with his thesis collection which he just defended last May! God-disease is a collection of five short stories that explores liminality as a mode of existence. The prize includes a $2,000 cash award, publication of the winning manuscript, and a standard royalty contract. David publishes under the name an chang joon.
Alison Grifa Ismaili (Senior Instructor)’s character sketch titled “François the Algerian” has received an Honorable Mention in Craft magazine's Character Sketch Challenge. Her flash fiction story titled "Twitter What? Twitter Who?" has won the George Dila Memorial Flash Fiction Contest at 3rd Wednesday literary journal and is scheduled for publication in the fall issue.
Casey O'Banion (Instructor) published his debut novel “Chinese New Year" based in Baton Rouge through TBP Press. It was reviewed in Kirkus Magazine, and the audiobook is coming out soon. Casey had a book reading this September at Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans.
Henry Goldkamp (Instructor) had several poetry publications in the most recent issues of Indiana Review (two poems), VOLT (three poems), Mid-American Review (one poem), Accelerants (Action Books Poetry Film Feature; two poetry videos), and DIAGRAM (two poems, with Adele Elise Williams).
Irina Shport (Associate Professor) published a first-authored article on regional and individual variation in production of American English diphthongs in the Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Phonetics Sciences. The paper was presented last August.
Josh Wheeler (Associate Professor) published some of his research on the legacy of the Trinity Test with Distillations Magazine from the Science History Institute this summer. He participated in several panels/events related to the release of the film Oppenheimer, was interviewed by Slate about his research on the topic, and the related art project he worked on was covered by High Country News and Southwest Contemporary.
Jason Buch (Associate Professor) led an innovative course combining ENGL 4000 and SCRN 4015, which resulted in three films that students produced last year and that were accepted into the Lake Charles Film Festival in October: "Not Alone" (written by Ben Caplan and Taren Wilson; directed by Ries Francis); "Songs from the Nebula" (written by Nick Saia; directed by Ben Caplan); "Admissions" (written by Madeline Ballentine; directed by Aliyah Warford).
Saumya Lal (Assistant Professor) published the article "Encountering Others' Empathy Toward Oneself in Marlene van Niekerk's Agaat" in the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry.
Anna Priddy (Senior Instructor) published a new book, “King of Infinite Space,” with Finishing Line Press. It was released on Amazon in July, 2023.
Andy Trevathan (Senior Instructor) presented at the College English Association conference as well as the prestigious Ezra Pound International Conference (EPIC), which was held in Edinburgh, Scotland this year.
Jordi Alonso (Instructor) published a creative non-fiction piece, "To Know a Place," in The Banyan Review. It is a braided essay about languages, the idea of a "home country," and identity.
Graduate Student Accomplishments
Taylor Thompson (M.A. 2023) started this Fall as a Visiting Lecturer of English with Specialization in Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies at Northern Arizona University while completing her PhD at LSU.
Seohye Kwon (Ph.D. candidate) was selected as one of the LSU representatives of the 2023 SEC Emerging Scholars program. She will receive an increase in her graduate assistantship stipend for one year and join students from across the SEC at the University of Arkansas this October for the multi-day 2023 SEC Emerging Scholars Program and Career Preparation Workshop. Seohye also published a book review of Judgment and Mercy by Martin J. Siegel titled "Irving Robert Kaufman's American Dream.” She has received a Korean Honor Scholarship from the Korean government, an award given to outstanding students of Korean heritage to encourage high achievement of academic performance and the development of leadership qualities for their future professional careers.
Nuha Fariha (MFA candidate) published her first poetry collection, God Mornings Tiger Nights, with Game Over Books in August 2023. This collection is “an ode to the enduring spirit of the Bengal tiger and a love letter to an immigrant's journey.”
Sunny Rosen (MFA candidate) received a Best of the Net nomination for a poem published with Taco Bell Quarterly. She published a book review with Current Magazine on Alba de Céspedes’s 1952 novel Forbidden Notebook. Sunny was also received a scholarship in the summer to attend the Convivio Writer’s Conference in Umbria, Italy.
Tyler Sheldon (MFA candidate) published three poems in Slant, Last Stanza Poetry Journal, and The Write Bridge Zine. He gave two readings of his poetry in Lafayette and Grand Coteau, Louisiana.
Azharuddin (PhD candidate) presented a paper titled “Towards a Flawed Model'--Negative Judgment and the Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction” at the Troubling Universalisms: Politics and Aesthetics in Critical Theory symposium (University of Amsterdam, June 2023). He was awarded a travel grant to present this symposium paper.
Denis Waswa (PhD candidate) has published two poems in the summer issue of the Kenya Studies Review Journal (KSR) - "Haunted City" and "Po(tus)wer." Denis also published a review of The Dreamer by Abala J. Imali (KSR, the 2023 summer issue) and a review of African Literature and the CIA by Caroline Davis (African Studies Review, September 2023). Another review of Annie-Maria Makhulu's Making Freedom: Apartheid, Squatter Politics, and the Struggle for Home is forthcoming by Cambridge University Press.
Jeremy Cornelius (PhD 2023) joined Bates College (Maine) as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Early Modern Literature, starting Fall 2023.
Ankita Rathour (PhD 2023) was awarded a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellowship at Georgia Institute of Technology.
Subbah Mir (PhD 2023) joined Forman Christian University (Pakistan) as an Assistant Professor in English.
Alexandra Chiasson (PhD 2023) joined University of Tennessee-Knoxville as an Associate Director and Lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality.
Gayle Fallon (Ph.D. 2020) joined Rocky Mountain College (Billings, Montana) as an Assistant Professor in English.
Lauren Rackley Ray (PhD 2021) accepted a job offer as a Coordinator of Honors Research Initiatives and Academic Advisor at the University of Southern Mississippi.