[Other than a weeklong series inspired by a visit to Newport’s historic mansion The Breakers, I hadn’t had the chance to write much in this space about my neighbor to the south. That all changed this week, leading up to this special post on some of my many wonderful RI colleagues!]
Highlighting five of the many wonderful Rhode Island scholars I’m proud to call AmericanStudying colleagues.
1) Nancy Caronia: As that hyperlinked academia.edu page reflects, Nancy has recently started a job in the West Virginia University English Department (and they’re very lucky to have her!). But I met her while she was a graduate student at the University of Rhode Island, an institution to which she gave a great deal during her time there, including her vital work in developing the Diversity Week at which I was honored to give a book talk a few years back. She’s also one of our best scholars of Italian American literature, as this Guest Post illustrates. I’m sure she’ll carry a lot of Rhode Island with her as she brings all those talents and much more to WVU!
2) Laura Mattoon D’Amore: An Assistant Professor of American Studies at Roger Williams University (located in Bristol, RI), Laura has contributed immensely to the New England American Studies Association, including helping direct (along with colleague #5 below) our 2014 Conference at RWU. She’s also one of our best scholars of motherhood, gender, and family (among other topics) in 20th and 21st century literature and popular culture (especially the crucial contemporary genre of superhero culture). Can’t wait to see where she takes those profoundly AmericanStudies interests next!
3) Beazley Kanost: Now an adjunct professor of English at Roger Williams and Film/Media at URI, Beazley joined the New England ASA while still a grad student at URI, when she proposed a paper for the 2011 conference at Plimoth Plantation that I directed. That paper was part of her work toward her phenomenally titled and in-all-ways impressive dissertation, Off the Hip: a Thermodynamics of the Cool. Her work on James Baldwin (part of this great collection of essays) taught me a lot about that vital 20th century figure. And she did great work for years in the thankless but crucial role of NEASA Treasurer.
4) Jon Marcoux: I met Jon, an archaeologist in the Cultural and Historic Preservation Department at Newport’s Salve Regina University (one of the most spectacularly located universities I’ve ever visited), when he joined the NEASA Council and helped plan our third annual Colloquium. Along with NEASA colleagues like Akeia Benard, he helped bring archaeology, cultural anthropology, and their engagements with Native American Studies to NEASA, as he’s a leading scholarly voice in all those disciplines. His book Pox, Empire, Shackles, and Hides: The Townsend Site, 1670-1715 (2010) contributed immeasurably to all of them, and fundamentally changed my understanding of the Cherokee and of US-Native American relations.
5) Jeffrey Meriwether: A Roger Williams History Professor, Jeffrey served as the 2014 NEASA President and directed that 2014 conference at RWU (along with his colleague Laura). He also has one of the most interesting hobbies/passions I’ve ever encountered in an AmericanStudier: he reenacts Revolutionary War battles from the English side as part of the famous Boston group His Majesty’s Tenth Regiment of Foot, including taking part in the annual reenactment of the 1775 Lexington conflict on Patriot’s Day. He’s also such a dedicated military historian that, having started but not completed a Navy ROTC program in college, he enlisted in the Navy Reserve in order to better understand his discipline. One more detail that illustrates how great a group of Rhode Island colleagues I’ve got!
Next series starts Monday,
PS. Colleagues (anywhere) whose work and voices you’d highlight?
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