Welcome to our first issue of HRC Monthly,
the HRC newsletter! If you'd like to send us
news of your accomplishments and events,
please reach out to us at

Vol.1, Issue 1, January 2021

Introducing the New Director of the HRC

Dear Colleagues,

As the new HRC director, I'm excited to work together to bring the Humanities the prominence they deserve on campus and nationally! (You can read more about my appointment and scholarship.) I'm very grateful to work closely with an outstanding advisory board and an excellent faculty and staff in the CHS. Although, like all institutions, we have been affected by the pandemic, I'm sure we can weather these challenges together and continue to offer support to our colleagues in the form of residential fellowships, as well as research and travel grants, albeit on a smaller scale.

Taking to heart the role of the Humanities in building a more just society, the theme of the HRC for the next 17 months (January 2021-May 2022) will be "Race, Ethnicity, and Social Justice." Our slate of events for the spring semester is robust, both in terms of external speakers and our own VCU authors. My thanks to the Department of History, the Department of English, and the M.A.T.X. Program for co-sponsoring the Spring 2021 Speaker Series events and to our VCU colleagues for agreeing to present their work in the Meet VCU's Authors Series! I welcome ideas for future speakers and workshops for the 2021-2022 academic year to present to our Advisory Board for approval, and the opportunity to work collaboratively with colleagues in CHS and other units on campus. Please reach out to me to discuss project ideas, themes, grant opportunities, and other possible partnerships. Moving forward, it will be key to maintain our visibility within the university while we also facilitate conversations with colleagues across campus, in the Richmond community, and nationally.

Lastly, I invite you and your colleagues (and students) to share your stories and your accomplishments with us for inclusion in the HRC Monthly, our newsletter, also featured on the HRC website and on social media. We start our Humanities Faculty Spotlight Series with Professor Catherine Ingrassia, written by colleague Rivka Swenson. I invite you to honor a colleague or a mentor by writing about them for our future issues. Stories forge connections; in these difficult times, the Humanities can offer the tools to rediscover these connections as we try to contribute to a more just society, to inspire, to generate empathy, and to enrich our lives.

Cristina Stanciu
The HRC Theme for the next 3 semesters
(January 2021-May 2022) will be
"Race, Ethnicity, and Social Justice."

Spring '21 Featured Events

January 29, 2021
Contagion Aesthetics: Modernist Literature and the Influenza Pandemic
12:00pm (virtual event)
Registration link for "Contagion Aesthetics"

The speaker for this virtual event is Elizabeth Outka, Ph.D., professor of English at the University of Richmond, and author of the award-winning book, "Viral Modernism: The Influenza Pandemic and Interwar Literature," which investigates how one of the deadliest plagues in history— the 1918-1919 Influenza pandemic—silently reshaped the modernist era.
February 8, 2021
The Strange Genius of Mr. O: The World of the United States' First Forgotten Celebrity
4:00pm (virtual event)
Registration link for "The Stange Genius of Mr. O"

The speaker for this virtual event is Carolyn Eastman, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of History in the College of Humanities and Sciences at VCU. Eastman uses the career of a now-forgotten celebrity of the very early 19th century to tell a new story about the intersection of political culture and celebrity—at a moment when the United States was in the midst of invention.
February 19, 2021
Presumed Criminal: Black Youth and the Justice System in Postwar New York
12:00pm (virtual event)
Registration link for "Presumed Criminal"

The speaker for this virtual event is Carl Suddler, Ph.D., assistant professor of history at Emory University, in conversation with Michael Dickinson, Ph.D., assistant professor of history in the VCU Department of History. Suddler's first book, "Presumed Criminal: Black Youth and the Justice System in Postwar New York," was published in 2019. His research examines the intersections of youth, race and crime in the U.S.
Announcement: CHCI Membership

On January 1, 2021, the HRC at VCU became a member of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes, or CHCI, "a global forum that strengthens the work of humanities centers and institutes through advocacy, grant-making, and inclusive collaboration." Explore fellowships, talks, research initiatives, and other opportunities here.

Faculty Spotlight

Catherine Ingrassia

Professor and Chair of the English Department
Written by colleague Rivka Swenson, Associate Professor of English

Catherine Ingrassia, Professor of English, is an ideal spotlight figure for the inaugural newsletter of the HRC. As Chair of English, Dr. Ingrassia has enhanced and amplified the visibility, accessibility, and personality of the department with a multi-pronged approach, including: new strategic use of social media; intentional branding (t-shirts, can coolers, stickers, hand-pressed bookmarks, anyone?); improved student experience (social space, food pantry, and more); the development of sixteen new undergraduate courses, a minor in professional writing and editing, a 4+1 masters program, and a Distinguished Majors Program.

But wait, there's more: the larger elegant trifecta in research, teaching, and service that places Dr. Ingrassia at the heart of the humanities at VCU.

Within the College, in addition to previous service as Executive Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Affairs (and, before that, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs), Dr. Ingrassia was fundamental to the creation of the interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Media, Art, and Text (MATX) and to the Humanities Research Center itself. For these efforts and more, Dr. Ingrassia's CHS Distinguished Service Award has been well-earned. In the larger world, Dr. Ingrassia's field-shaping leadership responsibilities have ranged from serving as the Founding President of the International Eliza Haywood Society, to chairing the Modern Language Association's Executive Committee for Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century English Literature, to acting in editorial and advisory capacities for prestigious journals in her field and subfield such as PMLA, Eighteenth-Century Studies, and Eighteenth-Century Novel.

Dr. Ingrassia's teaching career has been no less illustrious, meriting the highest pedagogy honor bestowed by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Innovative Course Design Competition Award. Happily, invigorating courses on tantalizing topics such as "The Persistence of Pride and Prejudice" and "Cultures of Captivity in the Long Eighteenth Century" have found their way to larger audiences thanks to related publications such as "Teaching Beyond the Heteronormative: Fantomina and Queering Eliza Haywood," "Adaptation and the 'invisible world' of Jane Austen," and "Gendered Dialogues in Satire."

At the same time, Dr. Ingrassia's exemplary research profile serves to inspire her colleagues in English as she leads by example, with dozens of well-placed articles and essays in prominent journals and essay collections. Excitingly, too, her widely-consulted teaching edition of Eliza Haywood's Anti-Pamela (the only modern edition of this vital work by one of the two most popular novelists of the early eighteenth century) will soon be followed by a teaching edition of Laetitia Pilkington's Memoirs. This is lucky for Pilkington; the wide circulation of Dr. Ingrassia's earlier edition on Haywood has contributed to securing Haywood's tremendous legacy in the classroom and the larger scholarly arena. Similarly, the edition of Pilkington will be the first modern teachable edition of a figure who deserves ample recognition as, in Dr. Ingrassia's words, "one of the most vivid chroniclers of the mid-eighteenth-century London literary marketplace."

Meanwhile, Dr. Ingrassia's crucial work as an editor of influential essay collections (British Women Poets of the Long Eighteenth Century, Companion to the Eighteenth-Century Novel and Culture, and Cambridge Companion to Women's Writing in Britain, 1660-1789) is well-matched by the important monographs (both extant and forthcoming) that help to make her one of the most respected scholars in her subfield (a status also easily attested to by numerous accolades and prizes). Dr. Ingrassia's first book, Authorship, Commerce, and Gender in Early Eighteenth-Century England: A Culture of Paper Credit (Cambridge University Press) set the stage for the promising career that has unfolded and is still unfolding. Now, the promise of two new books — both of which carry forward Dr. Ingrassia's established commitment to archival research, historicized contextual scrutiny, and feminist methodologies — is brilliantly aglow on the horizon: Domestic Captivity and the Eighteenth-Century Subject, 1660-1750 (forthcoming from University of Virginia Press) and Life/Writing: Failure and the Woman Writer in Early Eighteenth-Century England (under advance contract with University of Delaware Press).

In addition to all of the above, Dr. Ingrassia is an invaluable colleague: within her department, the College, the University, and within the field where she is sought-after as plenary and keynote speaker and collaborator and mentor and friend who is as professional as she is sociable, as generous as she is rigorous. It is fair to say she is not only at the heart of the humanities at VCU and at large, but she is also a big part of the pulse that moves the blood. Thank you, Dr. Ingrassia! Here's to a bright 2021. May your spotlight lead the way.

Introducing the new HRC Advisory Board

We thank both continuing members (Chris Cynn, Michael Dickinson, Carolyn Eastman, Jesse Goldstein, Peter Kirkpatrick, Mary Caton Lingold, madison moore, Jennifer Rhee, Mayda Topoushian) and new members (Kathleen Ingram, Catherine Ingrassia, John C. Powers, and Mark Wood) for their service!
Would you like to propose an event, 
workshop, or working group for the HRC in the future? 
Email Cristina Stanciu at

Please send content for our monthly newsletter or any comments to Catie-Reagan Palmore, the HRC administrative coordinator, by the third Friday of each month at

Facebook Facebook
Twitter Twitter
Instagram Instagram
Website Website
Donate Donate
Copyright © Humanities Research Center VCU, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Valentine House
920 W. Franklin St.
Box 843025
Richmond, Virginia 23284

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences · 826 W Franklin St · Richmond, VA 23284-9053 · USA