Faculty News

2020 News

Over the summer, Evan Gurney published a short article entitled “Contagion and Creative Reflection: Teaching the Early Modern in the Age of COVID-19” for the Sixteenth Century Journal. It will be published as a special issue in November.

Amanda Wray submitted a $20,000 Large Grant for the NC Humanities Council in April 2020 and progressed to the final round of applicants in July 2020. The final decision will be announced September 2020. This grant will support continued data collection and digitization efforts for the LGBTQIA+ Archive of Western NC, a collaboration between Dr. Wray, Blue Ridge Pride, YMCA, and a rotating pool of UNC Asheville undergraduate research interns.

2019 News

Kirk Boyle co-authored “Screening Cosmos-politanism: The Anthropocenic Politics of Outer Space Media” with Daniel Mrozowski. The article examines the politics of an emergent media cycle in outer space film and television, paying special attention to how space provides a metaphoric backdrop for representing concerns over anthropogenic climate change, neoliberal globalization, and the waning of U.S. hegemony. The article appears in Volume 12.3 of Science Fiction Film and Television, pp. 343-363. In the fall 2019 semester, Kirk was granted professional development leave to begin writing a book, tentatively titled Social Darwinism in American Capitalism.

For the third time in less than two years, David Hopes has had a novel accepted for publication.  The One with the Beautiful Necklaces is a magical realist saga about a family of Irish immigrants to Madison County, tracing their lives from the eighteenth century to the present day.  It is forthcoming from Moonshine Cove Press.

David Hopes, who earlier this year published The Falls of the Wyona, has announced the publication of a new novel. Set in Asheville in the 1980s, Night, Sleep, and the Dreams of Lovers tells the story of Charlie Ballard, Asheville’s vanished van Gogh, and TJ Gunn, his imperfect patron, in the days when the city we know now was being, blindly and hopefully, hammered into being.

In September, Father Abraham, a trilogy of plays by David Hopes, will be performed in Asheville. The first part of the trilogy, The Loves of Mr Lincoln, was produced in New York, but the other two, Earthly Power and The Testament of Major Rathbone, are being debuted. The plays will be read over three successive Saturdays, September 7, 14, and 21, beginning at 6 PM at A Block Off Broadway– the YMI Building on Eagle St. This is a FREE event, though seating is limited, so come early.

On August 24, Amanda Wray, in partnership with the Western North Carolina LGBTQ Oral History Project, hosted a training session on conducting oral histories with LGBTQ communities and their allies. The workshop focused on methodology and opportunities to participate.

A new play by David Hopes, IN THE ASSASSINS’ GARDEN, opened in June 2019 at the Magnetic Theatre in Asheville.

Amanda Wray’s LANG 354 students partnered with Mr. DeWayne Barton to produce interactive media for Burton Street Community Peace Gardens. The website can be viewed here. Started in 2003, the Burton Street Community Peace Gardens is “a sanctuary for positive action.” The space includes vegetable and flower gardens, a stage area, fire pit, and many sculptures, murals, and art installations. The ambition of the website is to make visitors’ experience in Burton Street Community Peace Gardens more interactive and informative.

The Falls of the Wyona, a coming-of-age novel by David Hopes, was awarded the Quill Prize for Fiction by Red Hen Press, which published the book in May 2019.

The YMCA of Western NC generously funded a grant proposal Dr. Amanda Wray wrote in collaboration with Dr. Rachel Muir of Blue Ridge Pride. The organization dedicated $6,000 to help transcribe interviews, and to develop a summer workshop for training community members in oral history methods. Grace Whittaker (English major), Libby Ward (Mass Communications major), and Corey Childers (Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies major) worked with Dr. Wray throughout Spring 2019 to launch a regional LGBTQ oral history and archival research project. More information about this project is available at Blue Ridge Pride.

In February 2019, Amanda Wray was interviewed by Blue Ridge Public Radio about collecting oral histories from members of the LGBTQ+ community. The interview is available for streaming here.

At the 2019 Appalachian Studies Association conference Erica Abrams Locklear won the Stephen L. Fisher Award for Excellence in Teaching award. At that same conference, two former UNC Asheville English majors (Britt DiBartolo and Zoe Bergmire-Sweat) and two current UNC Asheville English majors (Sara Williams and Claire Boyer) presented papers on a panel called “Literature as Resistance.”

Kirk Boyle edited the special issue, “Repeating Jameson?”, for the International Journal of Žižek Studies. Articles in the issue examine intersections between the work of literary critic Fredric Jameson and philosopher Slavoj Žižek, and include original pieces by each.

Taylor Sykes, currently working in the Writing Center and teaching LANG 120, was awarded a four-week fellowship for a summer 2019 residency at Vermont Studio Center