The English Department rocks on

The English Department rocks on

Ave Mullen, Staff Writer

Exciting things are cooking in the AIC English Department and Chair Dr. Lori Paige is excited to sharethe new courses, professors, and programs they have.

Introducing a course on Cannibal Fiction, a new English Composition professor, and a non-profit program, the English Department is constantly evolving and looking for more ways to benefit not only English majors.

Professor William Steffen will be introducing a new course, English 3200:Cannibal Fiction. The course will be centered around the history of cannibalism and how it was used to expand British colonialism and United States capitalism.

Professor William Steffan
(Photo by Ave Mullen)

Steffen is looking forward to teaching the course.

“Often the cannibal in the 16thcentury was used as a justification for empire like ‘look, these people are eating each other’, so we need to get in there and make sure that stops while taking over their islands or land and exploiting their resources because they are savages,” said Steffen.

The Man-Eating Myth by Will Arens, one of the texts used in the course, argues that cannibalism has never existed as a cultural practice and is primarily used as a myth.

Throughout the course of history, the fear of cannibals was used as justification of invasions, wars, and the need of a stronger government. However, the evidence of cannibalism is mainly based on the narratives of European explorers and travel writers looking for undiscovered land, resources, and sometimes cannibals themselves, Steffen noted.

In this course, students will be able to examine the political impact and influence that Cannibalism had on the general population and determine how it shapes capitalism in the United States today through a variety of books, documents, and films. Cannibal Fictionsis a 3-credit course that will be available next semester.

Next, with new courses comes new professors. Meet Prof. Elettra Pauletto, a Berkshire resident who’s originally from Italy.

Professor Elettra Pauletto
(Photo by Ave Mullen)

This is her first year teaching at AIC. She previously taught courses at The University of Massachusetts Amherst, The University of Iowa, and Columbia University.

Pauletto received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at Columbia University. She enjoys engaging writing and storytelling which explains why she is the new English Composition professor.

“I’m interested in assigning pieces that are accessible and not just assigned as an example of great literature, but also an interesting story,” said Pauletto. “I think creative writing is kind of the answer to all things, it’s how you get at the hard questions in life.”

Pauletto has a great variety of readings for in class that she hopes the students can look forward to.

Some include Shoot the Moon, by journalist and author Susan Orlean, “Black Power” from The Color of Waterby James McBride, and Life’s Swellalso by Susan Orlean. Professor is doing more than teaching English, but also creating a fun and engaging learning environment for her students to not only write but think creatively.

Last but not least, the English Department is proud and eager to introduce Teach Western Mass, a non-profit organization and partnership that represents 30 schools and serves over 11,000 students in the Western Mass area. With this year being their 4thyear in business, they aim to give students the opportunity to teach in real classrooms while gaining important life skills, experiences, and professional relationships for college credit and a $250 stipend.

“We work to improve the quality, quantity, and diversity of the teacher-candidate pool for our schools,” explains Julie Anderson, the Pathways manager for Teach Western Mass.

“Our vision is that every classroom has an effective educator so that all students in Western Massachusetts have access to a vibrant education that will prepare them for college and career,” Anderson said.

Julie Anderson, Pathways manager for Teach Western Mass

Anderson is from Chicopee, and noticed the differences in education, access, and opportunity since she moved to Springfield.

Teach Western Mass is designed to provide opportunities for not only English and Education majors, but also for those who want to make positive social change in their community. With experience as an English teacher, Anderson agrees that having diverse representation in the classroom greatly affects how students learn and participate in school.

Teach Western Mass is currently accepting 30 applicants for the Urban Ed Pathway. Students should apply online at www.TeachWesternMass.comor stop by their office in Lee Hall on the 3rdfloor to meet the early application deadline on March 11.

The English Department has lots to offer and ways for students to widen their horizons while at AIC.  There is not only opportunity to learn, but also gain perspective and experience in important and relevant areas.

Don’t be shy to stop by the English Department in Lee Hall to find out what else they have in store for students, you might try something new that you enjoy.