Recently, faculty and students returned from the Dickens Universe hosted by the University of California, Santa Cruz. This is the fourth year of UT’s membership in The Dickens Project consortium. Each year, Professor Nancy Henry and another English faculty member, as well as two graduate students, head to California to attend the Universe. This year Professor Henry, who is on the Executive Committee for the annual conference, co-directed a seminar on Lifewriting with Rosemarie Bodenheimer (Boston College) and Helena Michie (LSU).
Dr. Henry was accompanied by Assistant Professor Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud, who was invited to present at next summer’s conference. Dr. Cohen-Vrignaud also attended in 2011; Associate Professor Amy Billone attended the Universe in 2010. Graduate students Julia McLeod and John Stromski also attended this year’s conference and, while there, participated in the pedagogy workshop, one of several offered to students. Past graduate student attendants include: Kat Powell and Katie Burnett (2011), Andrew Lallier (2010), and Bethann Bowman (2009).
Participation in The Dickens Project is one of the many boons of life in the English department at UT for faculty and students alike. Students who attend the Universe will also be fully funded for attendance at the corresponding Dickens Project Winter Conference in Spring of the following year. John and Julia will travel to LSU for the 2013 graduate conference. UT students need not be specialists in Dickens or even in Victorian literature to attend the conference, but students who have attended the Universe have also participated in the 19th C British Research Seminar. Applications to represent UT at the Dickens Universe are usually solicited in February by Dr. Henry.