Department of English

2016 Academic Career Launches and National Recognitions

Mon, August 1, 2016
2016 Academic Career Launches and National Recognitions
2016 Academic Career Launches and National Recognitions

The Department of English congratulates recent graduates on their placement and achievements!








Eric Detweiler, photo credit Erica Nix

Eric Detweiler

Assistant Professor, Middle Tennessee State University

 Eric Detweiler earned his PhD from UT-Austin in 2016 and now works as Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Middle Tennessee State University. His dissertation, “Student-Teacher Relations in Rhetoric and Writing Classrooms: Pedagogy, History, Theory,” explores the authority relationship between teachers and students of both historical and present-day rhetoric and writing classes. It also argues for new ways of putting pedagogical practice in conversation with rhetorical theory and rhetorical ethics. In addition to writing pedagogy and rhetorical ethics, Eric does research in the areas of sound studies and sonic rhetorics. His work has appeared in the journals Philosophy & Rhetoric, Enculturation, Kairos, and the Journal of Popular Culture. He is currently developing his dissertation into a book and running Rhetoricity, a podcast on rhetorical theory. You can find out more at (Photo credit: Erica Nix) 

Lauren Gantz

Assistant Professor of Ethnic Literature of the U.S. (tenure-track), University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point

Lauren Gantz earned her PhD at the University of Texas in August 2014. Her teaching and research interests include Caribbean literatures, U.S. ethnic literatures, trauma, memory, and archival studies. Her dissertation, “‘To retrieve what was left’: Archival Impulses in Caribbean Diasporic Fiction,” which was supervised by Jennifer Wilks, analyzed Caribbean authors’ efforts to negotiate historical trauma through fictional portrayals of documents, collection, and curatorship. Her scholarship has appeared in ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature and Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism. While completing her studies at Texas, she served as managing editor of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, and as Assistant Director of the Lower-Division Literature Committee. In 2012, she was a recipient of the Department of English’s award for Outstanding Assistant Instructor. From 2014-2015, she was a UT Presidential Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow. Her ongoing research deals with Caribbean artistic production, public memory, and hemispheric approaches to the study of trauma.

 Kendall GerdesKendall Gerdes

Assistant Professor of Technical Communication and Rhetoric in the English Department, Texas Tech University

Kendall Gerdes ( earned her PhD in English with a concentration in Rhetoric in May of 2016. Her dissertation, Humility, Trauma, and Solidarity: The Rhetoric of Sensitivity, tracks the operation of gender in post-human rhetorical theory through chapters on reading and addiction, sensitivity and trigger warnings, and identification in hypertext video games. While at UT, Kendall served as Assistant Director in the Digital Writing and Research Lab (2013-2015). She also served a two-year term on the Rhetoric Society of America Governing Board. Her writing is published in Philosophy & Rhetoric, Transgender Studies Quarterly, Kairos, QED: A Journal of Queer Worldmaking, and Interstitial.

Mary Hedengren

Instructor, University of Houston, Clear Lake

Since her work deals with the development of nascent identities, Mary Hedengren was pleased to accept a position at the University of Houston--Clear Lake, a university undergoing rapid identity changes as it adds undergraduate students and develops new programs in rhetoric. Her interest in new academic and political identities has led to peer-reviewed publications in Pedagogy, New Writing, Present Tense and others. Her current research on graduate writers is supported by a grant from the South-Central Writing Center Association. Previously, Hedengren was serving as the inaugural Graduate Writing Coordinator post-doctoral fellow at the University Writing Center.

Brianna HyslopBrianna Hyslop

Associate Director of the Writing Center, University of Kansas

Brianna Hyslop received her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2016. While completing her dissertation, “Minor Modern Landscapes” (supervised by Mia Carter), she served as an Assistant Director for the University Writing Center (formerly the Undergraduate Writing Center). At the University of Kansas, Brianna will oversee the daily operations of the Writing Center and coordinate the ongoing professional education of student writing consultants. Her continuing research focuses on space, landscape, and identity, both in literary modernism and across campus environments.

Emily Lederman

ACLS Public Fellow: Community Engagement & Policy Advocate, Grand St. Settlement

Emily Lederman completed her Ph.D. in contemporary American literature in May 2016. Her dissertation, "Decolonizing the Archive in Contemporary American Indian & Mexican American Literature" (co-supervised by Ann Cvetkovich and James H. Cox) examines twentieth and twenty-first century novels and short stories that employ Indigenous and queer archives and archival practices. Emily's research focuses on the connections between literature, history, affect, and politics. As a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow, she will continue to investigate the relationships between storytelling, advocacy, and community engagement.

Sheela Jane MenonSheela Jane Menon

Assistant Professor of English in Global Anglophone Literature, Dickinson College

Sheela Jane, whose research centers on questions of race and identity in Malaysian literature and culture, completed her Ph.D. in Spring 2016. Her dissertation, “Rakyat Malaysia,” supervised by Dr. Domino Perez, examines the contradictions of Malaysian multiculturalism through integrated readings of Indigenous Orang Asli/Orang Asal activism, Malaysian literature, film, and theater, and state rhetoric. In the classroom, she teaches Postcolonial, Asian American, and World Literature, focusing on how texts are shaped by both local and global contexts. Sheela Jane’s teaching and research are informed by her upbringing in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Honolulu. She earned her B.A. in Religion and English (Highest Honors) from The University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (2008), and her M.A. in English from UT Austin (2013). Sheela Jane’s teaching has been recognized by the department’s Outstanding TA and AI awards, and her writing on Malaysian politics has been published by The Conversation and The Malaysian Insider.

Sarah Orem

McPherson-Eveillard Postdoctoral Fellow in Critical Disability Studies, Smith College

Sarah Orem will join the American Studies program at Smith College in Fall 2016 as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Having earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015, Orem specializes in American literature and performance after 1900, with special emphasis on gender theory and disability studies. Her current book project uncovers an alternative history of feminist protest by women who are housebound by disabilities and chronic illnesses. While at UT, she was the managing editor of Praxis: A Writing Center Journal, where she oversaw the publication of the special issue on “Writing and Dis/Ability.” Her work has appeared in Women & Performance, The Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, and enculturation.

Chris Ortiz y PrenticeChris Ortiz y Prentice

English Instructor, Central New Mexico Community College

Chris Prentice completed his PhD in English in 2015. While at UT, Chris was Assistant Editor of Texas Studies in Literature and Language (2014-2015), Project Leader in the Digital Writing and Research Lab (2010-2012), and recipient of the Maxine Hairston Prize for Excellence in Teaching (2012), the John Slatin Prize for Mastery of Electronic Media in Education (2011), and the English Department Outstanding TA Award (2010). His dissertation, which was supervised by Neville Hoad and Allen MacDuffie, maps connections between games, war, and morality in works by Rudyard Kipling, H.G. Wells, and Joseph Conrad. Chris's article, “Kipling’s Tactical Impressionism,” appears in the Fall 2016 issue of Victorian Literature and Culture.

Sara Saylor

Graduate Writing Coordinator, University Writing Center, University of Texas at Austin

Sara Saylor has accepted two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Texas, Austin. As Graduate Writing Coordinator in the University Writing Center (UWC), she provides writing support services for graduate students across UT, including writing groups, consultations, workshops and retreats. In 2015 Sara defended her dissertation, Penitential Experience in Renaissance Romance, supervised by Frank Whigham. Her research considers how English Renaissance authors including William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, and Philip Sidney reimagined guilt and forgiveness in the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation.

Avery Slater

Assistant professor (tenure track), University of Toronto; Fellowship, Humanities Forum, University of Pennsylvania

Avery Slater, 2014-2016 Presidential Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow, joins the Department of English at the University of Toronto this fall as an assistant professor (tenure-track). Her research and teaching focuses on twentieth-century American literature and poetry in a global context. Drawing on her dissertation at Cornell University, she is currently completing her first book project Apparatus Poetica, an inquiry into how mid-twentieth-century poets revise and reinvent modernist theories of poetic process in response to emerging technologies of language (computation, machine translation, information theory). She will spend 2016-2017 at the University of Pennsylvania with the Penn Humanities Forum investigating the literary and philosophical contexts of postwar machine translation. Her work in comparative poetics and film theory has recently appeared in American Literature, Cultural Critique, Thinking Verse, Transformations, and the William Carlos Williams Review. She is co-editing with Marc Redfield a volume of essays on critical theory: Theory at the Millennium (Northwestern University Press).

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