English Lectures and Events

Upcoming Events


 McCloskey Bourgeois Equality Poster

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dedman Life Sciences Building  Room 0131

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Title:The Bourgeois Revaluation and English Studies: Shakespeare, The Shoemaker's Holiday, The London Merchant, Johnson, and Dear Jane.

Deirdre Nansen McCloskey

Abstract: McCloskey argues, using literary evidence, that a change happened in English culture (and later Scottish and American culture, all of them out of the Netherlands) from 1600 to 1800, the "Bourgeois Revaluation." A class of merchants and makers disdained in the holy and hierarchical world of Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton becomes gradually respectable in the world of Addison, Lillo, Johnson, and Austen. The causes were not material but ideational, a new and liberal plan, as Adam Smith put it, of "equality, liberty, and justice." The material consequences were epoch making, the inspiriting of masses of ordinary people to have a go. They turned out to contain, multitudes.

 Stampone Postdoc

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Dedman Life Sciences Building  Room 0110

Reception: 6:00 pm            Lecture: 6:30 pm

Title: Are We Reading the Wrong Clotel(le)?
Revolutions in Early African-American Authorship


Christopher Stampone, Ph.D.

Southern Methodist University

Abstract: Brown’s revisions to Clotel over the course of fourteen years detail his shifting politics and developing vision for African Americans and their cultural and socio-political status in America. What begins as a novel steeped in Garrisonian moral suasion metamorphoses into a revolutionary Bildungsroman that envisions a new American Republic and African American identity at the close of the Civil War.



Thursday, September 14, 2017

Barnes & Noble

7:00pm - 8:00pm

7700 West Northwest Hwy, Suite 300

Dallas, TX 75225

Barnes & Noble and Kimbilio Fiction

Reading and Discussion: 

National Book Award Winner Jesmyn Ward reads from her new novel,Sing, Unburied, Sing. David Haynes will introduce Ward and Kima Jones, founder of Jack Jones Literary Arts, will interview her after the reading.  The event will also be a fundraiser for Kimbilio, SMU English’s national initiative in support of writers of the African diaspora.

Join us at 7:00 PM on September 14 at the Barnes and Noble on Northwest Highway.  A percentage of all sales for this bookfair event benefit Kimblio.  See the event website for more information: https://kimbiliodallas2017.wordpress.com

Gilbert Lectures

 Abraham Smith Gilbert Poster

Thursday, February 28, 2019

McCord Auditorium,
Dallas Hall 0306

6:00pm - Reception;
6:30pm - Lecture

Title:Tilling the Wings: Poems from Tractors and Sandhill Cranes

Abraham Smith


Abstract: Abraham Smith is the author of five poetry collections--Destruction of Man (Third Man Books, 2018); Ashagalomancy (Action Books, 2015); Only Jesus Could Icefish in Summer (Action Books, 2014); Hank (Action Books, 2010); and Whim Man Mammon (Action Books, 2007)--and one coauthored fiction collection, Tuskaloosa Kills (Spork Press, 2018). In 2015, he released Hick Poetics (Lost Roads Press), a co-edited anthology of contemporary rural American poetry and related essays. His creative work has been recognized with fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA, and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. He lives in Ogden, Utah, where he is Assistant Professor of English at Weber State University.  


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Hyer Hall, Room 100

6:00pm - Reception;
6:30pm - Lecture

Title:Compassion and Confession

Dr. Leslie Jamison

Novelist & Non-Fiction Writer

Abstract: What are the artistic and moral complexities of writing about other peoples’ lives? I’ll explore the obligations a writer might feel towards her subjects—the interplay between guilt and the affection, between care and skepticism--by examining my own experiences writing about long distance runners, prison inmates, whale fanatics, and medical patients. What does it mean to confess the self—in all its quandaries and questions—inside a piece of reportage? How does a piece work differently when it includes reported material alongside deeply personal reflections—when we sense the reporter as a deeply emotional presence with a story of her own?


 Thursday, September 27, 2018

McCord Auditorium,
Dallas Hall 0306

6:00pm - Reception;
6:30pm - Lecture

Title: "Can We Fix the 'Great Mistake'? American Universities in 2050"

Dr. Christopher Newfield

UC Santa Barbara

Abstract: Universities are great institutions--and also in serious trouble.  We’ll look at the key error from which many problems have sprung, and then focus on emerging social trends. Where are these trends most likely to take universities in the future?

Bio: Christopher Newfield is the Professor of literature and American studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara where he teaches courses in Detective Fiction, contemporary U.S. literature, Innovation Theory, among other subjects. His most recent books are The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class (Harvard University Press, 2008), and Ivy and Industry: Business and the Making of the American University, 1880-1980 (Duke University Press, 2003). His current research, “Limits of the Numerical,” studies the effects of learning and research measurement on higher education. He is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation. He blogs on higher education policy at Remaking the University, and has written for the Huffington Post, Inside Higher Ed, The Chronicle of Higher Education, WonkHE (UK), The Guardian’s Higher Education Network, and the Los Angeles Review of Books

 Wayne A Wiegand Poster

Thursday, April 5, 2018

McCord Auditorium,
Dallas Hall 0306

6:00pm - Reception;
6:30pm - Lecture

Title: "'Hidden Figures' in Civil Rights History: The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South."


Dr. Wayne A. Wiegand

Florida State University

Abstract:  This talk recounts a major turning point in US library history: the mid-twentieth-century integration of southern public libraries, including that of Dallas. Leading library historian Wayne Wiegand will discuss not just this historic development but also the essential role played by an array of very young community activists, until now largely "hidden figures" in the national narrative of the civil rights movement.



Thursday, April 20, 2017

McCord Auditorium, 6:00pm - Reception; 6:30pm - Lecture.

Title:  Born-Again, Spied-Again James Baldwin

William J. Maxwell:

Washington University in St. Louis 

Abstract:  James Baldwin, buried in 1987, often looks like today's most vital and most cherished new African American author. This lecture will explore the reasons behind Baldwin's resurrection, from his elevated place in the cultural memory of the Black Lives Matter movement to his new status as an icon of state surveillance and racial counter-surveillance.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

McCord Auditorium, 6:00pm - Reception; 6:30pm - Lecture.

Title:  We Have Never Been Anti-Exceptionalists

Dana Nelson:

Vanderbilt University

Abstract: The project of repudiating the exceptionalism associated with the Cold War era founders of American Studies came at the same academic moment as the canon debates—they both started in the mid-1980s. In the twenty-first century, we’ve thoroughly repudiated American exceptionalism but we’re still glued to the old fashioned canon.  And here’s what I’ve started to wonder:  does our inability to let go of the white male canon give the lie to our vaunted anti-exceptionalism? 


Thursday, February 23, 2017

McCord Auditorium, 6:00pm - Reception; 6:30pm -  Lecture. 

Title:  New Media, New Natural History  

Heather Houser: 

University of Texas at Austin

Abstract: Can designer ecosystems compensate for ecological loss? This talk examines new media projects inspired by this question. I argue that visualizations by Maya Lin, Audubon Society, and others remediate epistemological and representational techniques from classical natural history not out of nostalgic yearning but to express the ongoing grief that extinction incites and conservation engenders. 


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Dedman Life Science Building, Room 131.  6:00 Reception; 6:30 Lecture.

Title:  Frederick Douglass in Fiction:  From Harriet Beecher Stowe to John Updike and James McBride

Robert S. Levine:

University of Maryland


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hyer Building, Room 0100.  6:00 Reception; 6:30 - Prose Reading

Randall Kenan:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Dedman Life Sciences Building, Room 131.  6:00 - Reception; 6:30 - Poetry Reading


 Dora Malech

Thursday, November 12, 2015

McCord Auditorium, 6:00 - Reception; 6:30 - Lecture

Jeffrey Jerome Cohen:  George Washington University

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fondren Science Building, Room 158, 6:00 - Reception; 6:30 - Lecture

John Michael:  University of Rochester


Thursday, November 13, 2014          

McCord Auditorium, 6:00 – Reception; 6:30 – Lecture

Devoney Looser:  Arizona State University

Thursday, March 26, 2015

DeGolyer Library, 6:00 – Reception; 6:30 – Lecture

David Hall:  Harvard


Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015

McCord Auditorium, 6:00 – Reception; 6:30 – Lecture

Shirley Lim: University of California, Santa Barbara


Thursday, April 16, 2015

McCord Auditorium, 6:00 – Reception; 6:30 – Lecture

Ian Bogost: Georgia Tech University


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

DeGolyer Library, 6:00 pm.

 Maurice Manning



March 19-21, 2015

Doctoral Lecture Series

The Doctoral Lecture series features presentations by our graduate students who are finishing their dissertations this year.  In these 30-minute presentations, the Ph.D. candidate will outline the scope of his or her dissertation project and demonstrate a focused reading of a text or texts that exemplifies the best work in the dissertation.  After a presentation of 30 minutes, the lecturer will take about 30 minutes of questions.  Students, faculty, and members of the public are welcome to attend. 

The lectures will be on the following Fridays at 3:30pm in 101 Dallas Hall:

Sept. 12: Kristina Booker: “Domestic Servants and the Character of Value in Tom Jones.”

Oct. 3: Chris Goldsmith: "Without a master, one cannot be cleansed': Sovereignty, Filth, and the Eighteenth-Century Body.”

Oct. 24: Charles Wuest: "Chaucer's ‘Thing’ and William Caxton's Erasure of It.” 

Nov. 7: Bethany Williamson: “Gulliver’s Travels and the ‘True Spirit of Liberty'.” 

Dec. 5: Julianne Sandberg

College Language Association

April 8-11, 2015