Ofstad Visiting Scholar Program

Ofstad Visiting Scholars and Workshops

SPRING 2022

Dr. Tabitha Lowery

Tabitha LoweryENG 418: Black in the Past: Octavia Butler’s Grim Fantasy
January 30-February 6, 2022

Deemed the godmother of Afrofuturism, the celebrated African American writer Octavia Butler left behind a career that changed the science-fiction world entirely after her unexpected passing in 2006. As the first-ever science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Fellowship, Butler wrote with an eye towards the future and consistently offered an honest observation of humanity. Though one of a few Black women writers publishing in the white-male dominated science fiction genre, Butler transcended conventions and offered outlooks on not only issues of race, gender, sex, and power, but of empathy, social normativity, environmentalism, and many more. This course will take a look at Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation to discover Butler’s reimagining of a past filled with memory, pain, and terror. We will explore how the graphic novel form enhances our readings of Butler’s text and how it helps readers confront the past. We will culminate the class with a creative project that gathers elements of the historical past to inform our present and futures. Butler’s novel has proven timeless, just as her legacy. As Kindred shows, sometimes confronting our nation’s past can be painful, but necessary. The workshop is led by Dr. Tabitha Lowery, assistant professor of African American literature and culture at Coastal Carolina University.

Dr. Rachel Weissler

Dr. Rachel WeisslerLING 413: Language and Gender in Marginalized Communities
March 14-25, 2022

In this two-week course, we will look at how aspects of identity influence and interact with gender and language practices of minoritized communities within the U.S. population. We will investigate how gender, race, sexual orientation, age, religion, and social and political status impact linguistic gender practices. We will center Kimberlé Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality to help us think about why studying and researching minoritized communities is crucial in linguistics research and beyond. We will engage with literature describing linguistic practice (phonetic, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic), how it is produced, and how it is perceived. Having had introduction to linguistics will be helpful for this class, but it is not required; the takeaways from this course will be beneficial to students interested in linguistics, sociology, anthropology, ethnic studies, gender studies, and political science. Students will leave this course with a greater understanding of specific sociolinguistic variables present in language varieties in the U.S., how language and gender interact with other identities in various ways, and overall, the importance of incorporating the study of minoritized communities in linguistics in order to broaden and refine our understanding human language.

LING 413: Perspectives on Linguistics and Perception
March 14-25, 2022

In this course, we consider different methods through which to examine linguistic perception. We will engage with literature describing methods through which to analyze linguistic perception such as sociophonetic research, implicit measures such as neural processing and eye-tracking, and also discuss the social outcomes and realities of linguistic perception. Having had introduction to linguistics will be helpful for this class, but it is not required; the takeaways from this course will be beneficial to students interested in linguistics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, cognitive science, speech and hearing sciences, and beyond. Students will leave this course with a greater understanding of the social landscape and ideologies that influence how people are perceived based on how they speak, methods through which we can hone in and quantify perception as it happens via behavioral studies, and finally, the benefits of integrating social and psychological theories.

Mark Wisniewski

Mark WisniewskiCRWT 418: The Five Major Steps to Writing a Short Story
March 28-April 1, 2022

A one-week workshop, given by a best-selling writer of literary fiction (both short stories and novels), in the art and practice of writing short stories. Mark Wisniewski will take his students through the five key steps to starting, drafting, and completing a short story: 1) brainstorming and outlining; 2) Plot structuring and point of view; 3) Choosing the optimal voice, beginning to draft (endings first!); Drafting the middle of the story and line-editing; 5) Completing and sharing the finished product with others via a reading.  Mark Wisniewski is a widely published fiction writer whose work has been praised by people ranging from Salman Rushdie to Daniel Woodrell. He is also one of the top Book Doctors in the country, who has helped dozens of people find publication, secure agents, and win national fiction awards.