Eastern Connecticut State University students participated in the 2013 CSU Undergraduate English Conference hosted by Central Connecticut State University’s English Department at Central’s campus on Oct. 11 in New Britain, CT. Participating in the intercollegiate conference were Renee Ann Drouin, Adam Phelps, Angela DiLella, Shelbie Greene, Amy Hietala, Arielle Rose, and Daniel Dolly. The conference was organized by Central’s faculty members Aimee Pozorski and Brian Folker.
The conference began with a presentation by keynote speaker Kara Russell, professor of English at Central who is also the winner of the CCSU 2013 Excellence in Teaching Award. Her presentation highlighted the importance of improvement, based on the phrase “it’s getting better.” Russell suggests that when conducting research, one should be “skeptical” and “keep asking good, tough questions.”
Drouin was the first Eastern student to present her research. Her presentation, which was moderated by Steve Cohen, professor of English at Central, was titled “The Cooper Case of Anthropomorphism,” as part of the “Multiple Voices in Literature” panel during which she presented alongside Central and Southern Connecticut State University students. Drouin discussed the use of anthropomorphism in video games as a way “to introduce children to traumatic and serious events in an easier manner.”
The next panel titled “We Stand at a Crossroads: The Future of Publishing” was moderated by Dan Donaghy Professor of English at Eastern, and featured Phelps, DiLella, and Greene. In their presentations, the panel took a stance on the issue of digital e-books versus traditional print books.
Phelps’ presentation titled “Some Tree-ditions Shouldn’t Die” provided the pros and cons of each distribution channel and decided that “traditional books shouldn’t die.” DiLella’s presentation was titled “To Torrent or Not to Torrent Today’s Bestsellers” where she looked at piracy in literary publishing. Greene’s presentation “A New Era of Publishing and Reading” provided the pros and cons of e-books and e-readers.
The “Childhood and Children’s Literature in the Nineteenth Century and Beyond,” moderated by Lisa Fraustino, chair of Eastern’s English Department, featured Hietala, Rose and Dolly.
Hietala presented “J.M. Barrie, The Boy Who Refused to Grow Up,” where she compared Barrie’s Peter Pan to Barrie’s own personal life, noting the reflection of the perseverance of innocence in Peter Pan’s world to Barrie’s life. Rose’s “Allusions to Wordsworth’s ‘Immortality Ode’ in Katherine Patterson’s ‘The Great Gilly Hopkins’” highlights the maturity and loss of innocence in the two texts. Dolly’s “The Dark Side of Pan” makes a comparison between Barrie’s Peter Pan and Gerald Brom’s “The Child Thief.” Brom provides an adaptation to the famous story of Peter Pan in “The Child Thief” where he interprets the tale as being one of deception. Dolly highlights the themes of kidnapping, child soldiers and deceit in his presentation.
For presenters Dolly and Rose, the CSU conference was a new experience. Dolly commented, “It’s really exciting; I’ve never been to a conference like this before.” The research done by the Eastern students was thorough and precise. “I’m very proud of our Eastern presenters,” said Fraustino. “Everyone was well prepared and well organized.”