Issuing Forth:

The Arnhold Undergraduate Research Fellows and the Launch of Emergence

 

Julia Panko

 

''The process of coming forth, issuing from concealment, obscurity, or confinement''[1]

 

 

In the fall of 2009, I began the happy task of directing the Arnhold Undergraduate Research Fellows Program, a new program in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  The program is part of a department-wide initiative to support and encourage English majors who want to pursue academic research beyond the level of ordinary coursework.  Participating students meet with faculty, attend workshops and panels on a variety of topics related to academic life, and present their own work at the Research Showcase, an end-of-year capstone event in the form of a poster session.  Twenty-one Junior and Senior English majors earned the distinction of Arnhold Undergraduate Research Fellow during the program's first year.  Emergence, published and hosted by the UCSB English Department, was created to feature writing by the students participating in the Arnhold Program.

 

Volume 1 of Emergence--our very first issue--includes essays from twelve of the 2009-2010 Fellows.  These essays reflect the wide range of academic interests among UCSB English majors.  You will find essays here on authors as different as William Shakespeare (Chip Badley writes on the anxiety caused by female power in Macbeth and The Winter's Tale); Franz Kafka (Rebecca Chenoweth focuses on sleep and dreaming as themes in ''The Metamorphosis''); James Joyce (Richard Lau considers bodily functioning and the grotesque in Ulysses); Christina Rossetti (Amanda Montague examines the physical and emotional consumption of female bodies in ''Goblin Market'' and ''In an Artist's Studio''), Andrew Marvell (Garrett Hazelwood discusses the evolution of western modes of thought in ''The Garden''), and Harriet Beecher Stowe (Jessy Sower writes on the rupture between Stowe and contemporary feminists on the subject of motherhood).  The students also demonstrate a range of theoretical approaches.  For example, Lauren Vanderhurst draws on cognitive studies, Geoffrey Williams discusses the cultural politics of the control of water sources, and Lauren Capaccio contextualizes her close readings of several poets within a history of religious attitudes in post-war Britain.

 

Emergence's subtitle--''A Journal of Undergraduate Literary Criticism and Creative Research''--refers to the range of critical methodologies employed by these authors.  While many of the essays are written in the vein of traditional academic research papers, other genres are also present.  We include Nella Principe-Nelson's multi-media discussion of the music, literature, and visual culture of Northern Ireland; a letter from Veronica Smith to the University of California Government, accompanied by an annotated bibliography; and a fictional travel narrative by Robin Pinkman, which ends with a critical reflection relating the story to the theoretical issues of the course for which it was written.  The journal's goal is to represent and encourage a community of undergraduate English scholars capable both of producing exemplary research in the best traditions of the discipline, and of challenging the boundaries of what critical academic research might entail.

 

The title ''Emergence'' signals a beginning--a process that, if inchoate, is recognizably progressing.  To emerge is to take the spotlight, to evolve and grow.  It is an apt description for the students, as they construct their own identities as scholars and as their academic voices emerge to the wider world.  The title also reflects the early stage of the journal itself and our hopes for its continued growth and evolution.  The Arnhold Undergraduate Research Fellows will play a more active role in the journal's production next year: all Fellows will publish their work, and those Fellows in their second year of the program will be invited to act as peer reviewing and editing staff.

 

To conclude my introductory note, I'd like to thank several people who were integral to the success of the Arnhold Undergraduate Research Fellows Program in its first year.  The English Department is extremely grateful for the support of John and Jody Arnhold, whose generous donation made the program--and this journal--a reality.  I would like to thank Professors James Kearney, Kay Young, and Carol Pasternack, as well as Ann Wainwright, for their assistance and advice.  I especially would like to thank Professor Alan Liu for his guidance and support throughout the year.  Finally, I must thank the Fellows themselves.  It was a pleasure to mentor such a motivated and engaged group of undergraduate scholars.  I am sure that their commitment to academic excellence will be evident from the essays featured here. 

 

 

 

 

 

Julia Panko served as the Arnhold Graduate Fellow during the 2009-2010 academic year.  In this position, she directed and helped design the Arnhold Undergraduate Research Fellows Program and acted as the Editor of Emergence (responsible for site setup and publishing Volume 1).

 



[1] ''Emergence, n.''  The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989. OED Online. Oxford University Press. 20 Aug. 2010 <http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50073964>.

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