June 2006 News
“The Ether.” [poem] New Yorker, 22 May 2006, 74.
Richard Elliott Friedman
“Three Major Redactors of the Torah.” Shalom Paul Festschrift.
“Taking the Biblical Text Apart.” Bible Review XXI/4 (2005): 19-23, 48-50.
“Pentateuch,” with Shawna Dolansky. Encyclopedia Judaica. [available on CD].
Introduction to Empirical Models for Biblical Criticism. 2nd edition. Ed. Jeffrey H. Tigay. Eugene, OR: Dove/Wipf and Stock, 2005.
Yingjin Zhang published a research
article in Chinese:
|AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS|
Apologies to Elle Weatherup for not including her in the May newsletter as one of the recipients of a departmental one-quarter dissertation fellowship. The corrected copy reads as follows:
José de Piérola *
Leslie Hammer * Su-Yun Kim * Chuong-Dai Vo * Elle
Richard Elliott Friedman will retire from the University of California, San Diego at the end of this academic year and has accepted an appointment at the University of Georgia starting in the coming year. He will be the Davis Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Georgia and the Katzin Professor of Jewish Civilization Emeritus at the University of California, San Diego.
Professor Friedman was honored with a Festschrift, Sacred History, Sacred Literature: Essays on Ancient Israel, the Bible, and Religion in Honor of R. E. Friedman, edited by Shawna Dolansky (Eisenbrauns, in press), containing articles by thirty colleagues and former students in the United States, England, Israel, and France.
In addition, his book The Bible with Sources Revealed was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist.
Recent papers include “Israel and the Bible - Then and Now” presented at The Biblical Colloquium West, San Diego, CA, 2006, and "A Bible Scholar in the City of David" at A Symposium in Honor of Appointment of Thomas Levy to the Kershaw Chair of the Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Neighboring Lands, UCSD.
Recent lectures include “A Schizophrenic Scholar: Traditional Scholarship and the Modern Bible Scholar,” “What Should a Biblical Commentary Comment On?” and “Who Wrote the Bible?” at Siegel College of Judaic Studies, Cleveland, Ohio, and “Bible by the Bay,” the keynote address at Lehrhaus Judaica, San Francisco, CA.
See also new
publications, listed above.
Congratulations to Ali Liebegott for capturing the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Debut Fiction for The Beautifully Worthless. The award, announced at the Lambda award ceremony in Washington, DC, on May 18, includes a $1,000 cash prize, along with the honor of being chosen for this important prize and the national recognition of her work. For more about the Lambda Literary Awards and the award list, click here.
Lisa Lowe has been appointed to a three-year term (2006-2008) as Associate Editor of the American Quarterly, journal of the American Studies Association.
Jake Mattox has been awarded the 2006-2007 Kenneth and Dorothy Hill Fellowship to conduct research in UCSD's Mandeville Special Collections Library.
Eliza Slavet organized and participated in an event at the New York Public Library on May 10, 2006 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Sigmund Freud's circumcision. There are many celebrations planned for the sesquicentennial of Freud's birth (May 6, 1856), but this event is the only one which commemorates his circumcision (May 13, 1856). The event was called "Freud's Foreskin: a sesquicentennial celebration of the most suggestive circumcision in history." The four panelists presented short lectures and a conversation "at the intersection of Jewish identity, psychoanalysis, and minor surgery." Slavet's presentation was entitled "Circumcised Supremacy: Freud's Final Cut." The full program can be viewed here.
Alexa Weik presented two papers at the American Literature Association Conference in San Francisco, May 25-28, 2006. One paper, presented in the ALA session "Richard Wright: International Perspectives," was entitled "A Cosmopolitan in Process: Richard Wright in Africa." The other paper, entitled "The Wandering Woman: The Challenges of Cosmopolitanism in Kay Boyle's Early Novels," was given in the "Kay Boyle" session.
is now serving as guest
editor of a new special section, “Overseas Scholarship on
Chinese Cinema,” for the bimonthly academic journal Film Art
(Beijing), which earlier this year carried his brief
overview of post-2000 English works in the field, as well as
book reviews written by UCSD doctoral students Matthew
Johnson (History) and Liyan Qin and
James Wicks (Literature).
Readings by Special
Guests, introduced by
Winner of the Stewart
Prize in Poetry, announced by
Rae Armantrout and
Winner of the Milton H.
Saier Award for Fiction, announced by
Richard Elliott Friedman
Delighted as I am to see Dick Friedman honored with an endowed chair at the University of Georgia and to see his wife, Randy Sturman, accept a tenure-track position there, I will miss them both. There’s little point in my writing about Dick’s publishing accomplishments in the field of Hebrew Bible studies, accomplishments that many of us regard with a sense of envy and awe. And everyone connected with UCSD already knows that Dick almost single-handedly built the Judaic Studies Program here, attracting a world-class faculty and helping to find the funding for four endowed chairs. Anyone who’s ever talked to Dick knows about his total command of his subject, his ability to take any scriptural passage and humanize it, and the breath-taking passion he brings to practically every conversation about his field. I’m sure others will have much to say about Dick’s talent as a teacher—his ability to instruct, amuse, even enrage, but always with a level of power and clarity that made opposing arguments seem almost silly and inconsequential.
But one thing I’ll miss most about Dick as a friend is his sense of
humor. Though my memory for jokes is quite poor, I think I can remember
every joke Dick ever told me. His delivery was always impeccable, from his
timing to his use of dialects to his gestures. I can remember many an
evening long ago when Dick would have a social gathering in stitches with a
series of jokes and wry comments. He was brilliant at taking obscure points
of Jewish lore and bringing them down to earth by acting out a scene from
Diaspora life in America, complete with a Yiddish accent and Jackie Mason
intonation. He was especially gifted at finding the essence in each member
of his personal pantheon of “modern” European cultural giants—Dostoevsky,
Nietzsche, and Freud—and capturing it in an iconoclastic joke. And finally,
when an annoying friend or stranger would come up to him and ask, “So who
did write the Bible?” he would answer, without missing a beat, “Murray.”
“Of making many books there is no end,” says the Bible writer; and this is especially true of books about the Bible itself. The same text says, “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” Anyone who sets out to study the Bible is immediately confronted by warehouse after warehouse of dull, trite, confused, silly, superficial, and just plain tiresome books on the subject. And one of the worst judgments on the learned professions is that many profound scholars of scripture have been absolutely terrible writers, unable to organize their material, unable to construct a sentence that doesn’t make you shudder, unable to present a convincing argument even for the best and most obvious ideas.
What a relief to turn to the works of our colleague Richard Friedman! Distinguished in learning, he is still more distinguished in literary ability. A hundred years from now, Who Wrote the Bible?, Richard’s study of the Hebrew Scriptures in light of the documentary hypothesis, will remain a landmark in the field. I’ve selected this book, rather than his other books, quite selfishly--because of its effect on me. It was one of the handful of books that showed me the literary potential of Bible studies. It exerted a subconscious influence that I recognized only after I finished my own book about the Bible. In my case, the subject was the New Testament, instead of the Old; and the influence didn’t result from Richard’s specific arguments, which have little to do with New Testament issues. It resulted from the freedom he granted himself to use all available means of projecting his excitement about the Bible texts.
Excitement—and controversy. I don’t agree with Richard about certain things (and he has never shirked debate), but I always know where I stand with him. I know what he’s arguing, and I know why he’s arguing it, and I feel the force of conviction that impels his thought: it’s there in his books; you can’t miss it. Life is too short for equivocal statements, amorphous theories, pedantic conformity to professionally popular speculations. It’s too short to be bored and confused. Whenever I disagree with Richard, I know why. I also know that I’m learning, and enjoying myself while doing so.
So Richard is a real teacher as well as a real scholar. For two decades he taught in the Humanities Program, which I direct. Year after year, I saw students lining up to register for his courses; I saw students begging to get into them. Was he entertaining? Yes. He is one of the few teachers whom people would pay to listen to. Were his courses easy? No. If anything, his standards are appallingly high. But strangely enough, he never believed that learning has to be a bore.
I remember my crusty old boss, Frances Bishop, who used to say that “nobody is indispensable,” including herself. She was wrong: everybody we really remember is indispensable to us. Richard Friedman will always be remembered, always be indispensable to his friends at UCSD.
Professor Cynthia Walk will be retiring this summer, after 35 years of service to the Literature Department and to UCSD. Professor Walk joined the faculty in 1972 after completing her Ph.D. in German Literature at Yale University, and in 1980 she became one of the first women granted tenure in the department following the publication of her book, Hofmannsthals ‘Grosses Welttheater’: Drama und Theater. Professor Walk's early research focused primarily on the literature of fin-de-siècle Vienna, but she soon developed her interests in film, gender, and later 20th-century German culture, particularly that of the Weimar period.
Over the years Cynthia has introduced generations of devoted students to German literature and film, teaching courses within the German Section and, to a broader audience, in Literatures of the World and the Revelle College Humanities sequence. Cynthia's dedication to German Studies at UCSD has been tireless: for many years she has served as head of the German Section, lending it a sense of continuity and stability in often difficult circumstances, and keeping it in touch with the San Diego community. Cynthia has also served the department and university in many important capacities over the years. To name just a few, in the past decade Cynthia helped establish the interdisciplinary German Studies Program (which she headed) and a minor in Film Studies (on whose steering committee she served); she has also been an active member of the European Studies faculty group. Throughout her career she has kept up with the rapidly changing political and cultural developments in Germany, and she has constantly adapted her courses to introduce her students to new issues in changing times.
In recent years Professor Walk has been working on a book on German cinema, particularly its early years, where her expertise is matched by few scholars worldwide. Cynthia's unfailing generosity to her students, the department, the university, and -- above all -- to German Studies at UCSD has left a profound mark here. We will greatly miss her vibrancy, intelligence, and leadership, and we wish her a very happy, exciting, and productive retirement.
Professor Donald Wesling will be retiring from the Literature Department after forty years of service. He came to UCSD in 1965, having completed his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Between 1967 and 1970 he was Professor of American Literature at the University of Essex in England. During the period 1985-1988 he served as the Chair of the Literature Department. In 1988 he participated in a University of California Research Exchange with Leningrad State University, Russia. In 1997-1998 he was the Otto Salgo Professor of American Studies, Eötvös Loránd University, in Budapest, Hungary. Next year he will return to Hungary where he will be the Laszlo Orszagh Distinguished Lecturer. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary (May 2004).
Donald Wesling’s research interests are wide and varied in both British and U.S. Literatures. Those interests span several languages and disciplinary areas. He is the author of Wordsworth and the Adequacy of Landscape (Routledge, 1970), The Chances of Rhyme: Device and Modernity (University of California Press, 1980), The New Poetries: Poetic Form Since Wordsworth and Coleridge (Bucknell University Press, 1985), The Scissors of Meter: Grammetrics and Reading (University of Michigan, 1996). He has edited an anthology of essays on Edward Dorn (Internal Resistances) and another on Bakhtin (Bakhtin and the Social Moorings of Poetry). With Tadeusz Slawek of the University of Silesia, Wesling co-authored Literary Voice: The Calling of Jonah (SUNY Press, 1995). He has also published a book of poetry, The History of West Seneca, with Chax Press (1981). His work on Eastern European literary culture has brought him several times to Russia, Poland, and Hungary. He has recently completed a book on the theory of emotions.
What characterizes Wesling’s work since his early book on Wordsworth is an abiding concern for the integrity and value of literature, both as a formal and social event. He is a marvelous reader of poetry, utilizing sophisticated techniques of scansion and analysis, yet he is also committed to the social meaning of those techniques. I have often sought his advice on the difficult crossover between form and society and have valued his clear-headed judgements of poetry and his vast learning in the long history of poetic discourse. For him, literature is not something one studies; it is the basis for attitudes and ideals about life and the social. His book The Scissors of Meter advances a series of novel approaches to reading new forms of verse (as well as old) that have changed our understanding of the role of grammar in prosody. His various writings on M. M. Bakhtin show a magisterial understanding not only of Russian literary theory but of the tensions and fissures within Bakhtin’s reception in various fields. Other essays that he has written -- on bardic and oral traditions, on Ed Dorn, on Scots poets, on Frederick Douglass -- show a keen understanding of how the marginal status of certain writers contributes to the resistant strain that makes it important. Wesling’s strong training in the British Romantics continues in his contemporary interests in theories of affect and emotion as he grapples with contemporary philosophy and cognitive psychology. In all, Wesling’s resume is much more various and interesting than the average curriculum vitae; it displays a scholar who is constantly testing the limits of his expertise, constantly exploring new avenues and methods.Long regarded as one of the department’s most popular teachers, Wesling has taught the full range of courses in British Literature -- from lower-division surveys to upper-division courses in Modern Scottish Literature, Literary Theory, American Criticism, 18th century British literature, Nature Writing, and numerous other courses. He has contributed regularly to the Writing program, offering surveys in “The Craft of Poetry” to upper-division workshops in poetry and fiction. He has helped develop the university curricula in environmental studies and regularly teaches courses in nature, the environment, and eco-criticism. Students have always found Wesling a dedicated, inspiring teacher, someone who spends long hours on their work and sets high pedagogical standards. His many graduate students have gone on to assume positions at distinguished universities and colleges.
From a personal standpoint, I would like to remember
Donald Wesling as a valued colleague and mentor. He was a great help to me
in my early days at UCSD and was a model of integrity and decency in
departmental matters. As Chair of the department, he brought a number of
important new colleagues into our program and helped inaugurate our current
program in Russian. He encouraged the development of the Writing program and
brought us through at least one graduate review. And he was always generous
in supporting the work of his colleagues. He helped me in my own research in
numerous ways, loaning me books and essays, suggesting citations and going
out of his way to read work in progress. I much appreciate the high
standards he sets for research and writing, and I know that many of my early
essays benefited from conversations I had with him. He has contributed a
great deal to the department and the profession, and we wish him a restful
and well deserved retirement.
Donald Wesling will retire at the end of June, having first arrived at UCSD from Harvard in 1965. His long career in our department has been punctuated by three years as a Lecturer at Essex University in England and a year as a Visiting Professor at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary. The latter institution also recently bestowed upon him an honorary doctorate. Next year he will return to Budapest as a Fulbright Professor.
Donald Wesling is a scholar and teacher of remarkable range. His primary fields of expertise have been in British literatures—including the work of Scottish as well as English writers, and especially of poetry since the eighteenth century and English poetics. However, he is also a significant publishing scholar and a teacher in the fields of modern and contemporary American poetry and poetics and nature writing, has lectured and written on Russian and Chinese poetry and poetics, and is an authority on the work of Bakhtin. He is also a published poet and translator of poetry from the Russian. For much of the past four decades, his undergraduate teaching has been a mainstay of the Literatures in English Section of the Literature Department, but he has also been a valued contributor to the undergraduate curricula of the Writing and Literatures of the World sections, and has had a critical role in the teaching of critical theory and the history of criticism in our department, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Over the years, he has established a reputation among students as a professor who is well and widely read but never condescending, who demonstrates remarkable supportiveness and dedication to the welfare of individual students, is fair in his academic judgments, and is painstaking in help with student writing both expository and imaginative.
In his tenure at UCSD, Donald Wesling has served the
campus and the department in many capacities, including as department Chair
for three years, and most recently as Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Among his many contributions, special mention should be made of his crucial
role in initiating and sustaining intellectual exchanges with a large number
of literary scholars from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Donald
Wesling has always treated his career in literary studies as a true vocation
or calling, and has worked hard and with great integrity to further the
collective goals of humane learning. We wish him all success and contentment
in his future endeavors.
On Lucinda Rubio-Barrick’s Retirement
Lucinda Rubio-Barrick will be leaving the Department of Literature at the end of the summer, after 36 years with the department. It is with admiration and appreciation that we recall her dedication and many contributions.
Lucinda first came to the Department of Literature in January of 1970, joining it as a senior clerk-typist. As the department grew, so did her responsibilities and her in-depth familiarity with a whole range of administrative services. In 1991, after serving as Special Assistant to Chair Susan Kirkpatrick, Lucinda was named the Department of Literature Management Services Officer by Chair Louis Montrose, charged with overseeing department functions as well as supervising a large staff. Since then, we have come to rely on her expertise on everything related to departmental administration, whether having to do with the office of graduate studies, the office of undergraduate studies, course scheduling, academic files, faculty workload, fiscal or facilities management, or advising faculty on all levels of university policy and procedure. Lucinda has been indispensable to the smooth operation of department life.
Irrespective of who has been at the academic helm of the department, Lucinda has been its steady rudder. Her excellent organizational skills and high professional standards have enabled her to manage a large and complex department with admirable skill; her foresight has led to innovations and changes, like computerization, far ahead of other departments. Anticipating future needs has been a hallmark of Lucinda’s tenure as MSO and, throughout, she has worked with incredible dedication and equanimity to meet the many and varied needs of faculty, staff and students in this large, diverse -- and at times unwieldy and unruly -- department.
Whether it be overseeing the details of organizing the African American Women's Conference or the remodeling of the Literature Building's first floor with new signage or planning the design of seminar rooms named for emeriti professors, Lucinda Rubio-Barrick has brought her expertise and artistic eye to the project and been the driving force that saw it through to completion. Virtually everything that has happened in the Literature Department ultimately has gone through Lucinda Rubio-Barrick's capable hands and benefited from her wide-ranging expertise, her creative bent and her uncommon dedication.
Lucinda's performance as MSO has been superlative, and her contributions to the department's functioning and well-being are far too many to recount. Her interpersonal skills, and her commitment to the department's welfare and intellectual life have been nothing short of extraordinary. Thoughtful, articulate, congenial and tactful, Lucinda has throughout the years enjoyed an unusual rapport with the many individuals with whom she engages; the constant stream of faculty, staff and graduate students (and often the children of these) in her office speaks volumes to her warmth and accessibility. She has brought clarity, integrity and devotion to the department that have been simply unparalleled and we have all learned and profited from her counsel and dedication.
Except for a short period working with the Fifth College Provost Office, and a brief stint in Indiana after her marriage to Larry Barrick, Lucinda has been in the Department all these many years, seeing it through thick and thin, growing and changing with it, and in the process becoming an invaluable resource of its institutional history. Unbeknownst to many of us, Lucinda has had a secret life of learning and exploring the world. For example, her background in studies in anthropology led her to join field study projects in Africa and Asia. Whether observing forest monkeys in Kenya, joining an archeological dig in Israel, studying weaving and fabrics in Thailand, or traveling to Jordan, Tibet or Nepal, as well as throughout Mexico, Lucinda is and has been a keen observer of other cultures. As many of us also know, Lucinda is an artist, an outstanding photographer, a Fimo master, and a consummate gardener. Her fine cooking and baking have brought pleasure to all those who have attended department gatherings or who have been on the receiving end of her untiring day-to-day generosity. For example, a recent e-mail invitation from Lucinda resulted in a faculty “scone-run.” Her willingness to give has not --perhaps not surprisingly—been limited to UCSD; she regularly assists an orphanage in Tijuana and when she goes home to Mexico for the holidays, Lucinda organizes gift distributions to hospital-bound children and their families.
The Department of Literature will never be the same without Lucinda
Rubio-Barrick; she has been its heart and soul, and we are all immensely
grateful for the many years of unparalleled leadership, service and
generosity of spirit to the department. We wish Lucinda the best in all the
endeavors she will now have time to pursue. She will always have the
department’s most profound appreciation and respect.
You are invited to join alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students for the 28th annual Alumni Association Awards for Excellence, to be held on Saturday, June 3, 6:00 pm, Institute of the Americas. The Department of Literature will be well represented at the awards ceremony this year, with awards going to faculty member Billy O'Brien and alumnus Kim Stanley Robinson:
Distinguished Teaching Award
details, please go to
The National Humanities Center offers 40 residential fellowships for advanced study in the humanities during the academic year, September through May, each year. The Center provides travel expenses for Fellows and their dependents to and from North Carolina.
Applicants must hold doctorate or equivalent scholarly credentials. Young scholars as well as senior scholars are encouraged to apply, but they must have a record of publication, and recent Ph.D.s should be aware that the Center does not support the revision of a doctoral dissertation.
Apply directly to