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Alumni Notes

Literature Department Alum wins MLA Prize for a First Book

The Modern Language Association of Americaannounced on December 5, 2011 that it is awarding its eighteenth annual Prize for a First Book to Vivasvan Soni (Ph.D. Literature, '00), of Northwestern University, for Mourning Happiness: Narrative and the Politics of Modernity, published by Cornell University Press.

Vivasvan Soni is an associate professor of English at Northwestern University. He was previously affiliated with the University of Michigan and Yale University, where he held a Woodrow Wilson Postdoctoral Fellowship. His articles have appeared in journals such as Cultural Critique, Comparative Literature, European Romantic Review, and Novel: A Forum on Fiction. He was recently awarded an American Philosophical Society Fellowship to work on his current project, which traces the emergence of a crisis of judgment in a number of eighteenth-century discourses. Portions of this work appear in a special issue of the journal Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation that he edited. The Prize for a First Book is one of eighteen awards that will be presented on January 7, 2012, during the association’s annual convention, to be held in Seattle.


Bin Chen (Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering ’08), Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computing Engineering at Purdue University Calumet has received an Outstanding Faculty Award.

Timothy Cope (Ph.D. Pharmacology ’80), chair and professor, Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology, and director of the Wright State University & Premier Health Partners Neuroscience Institute, has been named the Brage Golding Distinguished Professor of Research at Wright State University.

Karen Gonzalez Rice (Ph.D. Art, Art History & Visual Studies ’10) has joined the faculty at Connecticut College as the Sue and Eugene Mercy Assistant Professor of Art History.

Sarah Dimick Gray (Ph.D. Chemistry ’99 ) has been appointed as Assistant Professor of Chemistry (tenure-track) in Metropolitan State University’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Danny Hoffman (Ph.D. Cultural Anthropology ’04) has published The War Machines: Young Men & Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia (Duke University Press, Durham NC 2011).

Lekelia Danielle Jenkins (Ph.D. Environment ’06) was honored on Sept. 23, 2011 by Women of Color Empowered at a luncheon in Seattle for her innovative work that changed environmental regulations and helped to make commercial fishing more environmentally friendly. This Northwest regional non-profit group showcases the achievements of women who have broken through the glass ceilings and who are improving their communities and the global environment (see

Juliette M. Rogers (Ph.D. Romance Studies ’90), associate professor in the French and Francophone Studies at Macalester College, has been granted tenure.

Evelyn Elayne Shockley (Ph.D. English ’02) has published Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry (University of Iowa Press: 2011).

John Emil Vincent (Ph.D. English ’98) has edited After Spicer (Wesleyan University Press), a compilation of essays about poet Jack Spicer. Vincent is a poet, critic, and the associate editor for The Massachusetts Review.

Margot Weis (Ph.D. Cultural Anthropology ’05) has published a book, Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality (Duke University Press, Durham NC 2011).

Barbara Elizabeth Will (Ph.D. Literature ’93) has published Unlikely Collaboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Fay, and the Vichy Dilemma (Columbia University Press). She is a professor of English at Dartmouth College and writes extensively on modernist literature and culture.