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Season's Greetings



I hope you are breathing easier and finding some time for yourself and your loved ones (cats, dogs, and rabbits included). We interrupt your much needed break only with tidings of joy (and/or terror depending on what you are into). We are hosting a movie watching event that will jingle, jangle, and mangle. For my part, I am only interested in the last bit. So please join us for what will be good, warm, winter fun. 

In other news, I had the privilege of interviewing our very own Nathan Phelps for this month’s "New Student Spotlight." We virtually met around a cozy fire and explored all of life’s mysteries. While he was candid with me about much, he remained guarded on a few things. For instance, I am still following up on which of his two mentors he prefers. 

Once he admits it's me and not Logan, I’ll have to update the newsletter. Till then, stay safe and warm.




Holiday Movie Social

Back-to-Back Double Feature
Friday December 18th @ 5 p.m.

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)
Gingerdead Man (2005)

While we cannot gather to eat cookies or drink any kind of festive beverage together, we can still celebrate the season by watching holiday movies. Friday, December 18th at 5pm, join EGSA for a very festive double-feature!

We will kick things off with a viewing of the family-friendly Netflix special “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey,” followed by a viewing of the very family un-friendly independent film “Gingerdead Man,” with commentary from our very own EGSA president and bad horror movie aficionado, Julian Dean.

In order to watch “Jingle Jangle,” you will need a subscription to Netflix. “Gingerdead Man” is available for free on (can’t imagine why!).

To join this event, please RSVP to the forthcoming Google Calendar invitation, so we can send you the link to join the viewing party. Please be on the lookout for a separate email and Google Calendar invitation for this event.

Looking Ahead...

January — Just Write! EGSA Writing Retreat

Begin the new year by meeting your writing goals in community with other English graduate students. The week of January 18 to 22, Professionalization and Quality of Life are teaming up to bring you a series of events designed to support you in finishing that dissertation chapter, writing that book review, or revising your creative thesis.

  • Monday and Wednesday: Writing accountability groups will meet via Zoom from 9-11am and 1-3pm. These sessions will begin with 15 minutes of structured writing and/or goal setting led by EGSA board members, before we begin to work independently on our projects. You can attend both of these sessions on both days, or pick and choose what works best for you.

  • Tuesday and Thursday: We encourage you to attend the Writing Center’s “Write First!” series from 9-11am.

  • Friday: Manuscript exchange and small group workshop from 9-11am, with time for reflection on what you accomplished throughout the week. Finally, to cap off our retreat after a week of hard work, join us on Friday at 1pm for a session of restorative yoga for writers, led by Kristen Carlson!

Finally, thanks to the generous support of the Graduate School, those who attend the writing accountability workshops will be eligible for up to $5 for reimbursement for coffee or snacks. Please indicate your interest in these events here, so we can coordinate with the Graduate School.


February — Abstract Writing Workshop

To prepare for the EGSA 2021 Research Symposium, we will be hosting an abstract writing workshop on February 5th at 11am, ahead of the CFP deadline.

You can pre-register for this event here. We will remind you about registration again closer to the event. Looking forward to thinking about research abstracts alongside you!
New Student Spotlight

Nathan Phelps
First Year PhD
Medieval Literatures

Q: Let’s pretend that the COVID vaccine was miraculously  made available to the masses tomorrow. You are now free to go to large gatherings and/or travel. Where are you going first and what are you doing?

A: I'm going to the Escrime du Lac Fencing Club in Mishawaka and getting a membership.

Q: What’s the best book you read this semester? Was it for a class or personal choice?

A: It is a personal choice this semester (no shade to my classes). N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season is just a phenomenal piece of apocalyptic fantasy.

Q: What's the last band you saw live before COVID restricted large gatherings? Who is the first band you would like to see once we are all safely vaccinated?

A: I saw The National in Seattle, and Alvvays was opening for them! Two great bands in one show; I'm jealous of my past self. I would really love to see Phoebe Bridgers next. 


Q: I heard you do Medieval stuff. Cool. So is that like Tolkien? And what is your gut reaction to that association?

A: I mean, it's not NOT Tolkien. Just looking at the Old Norse "Völuspá," you can immediately draw associations. The Hobbit alone is packed with references and connections to medieval literature. Even learning bits of Old English, you read the Trilogy differently. My take is that the man [Tolkien] viewed the medieval past through a very harmful English nationalist lens. Medieval Studies as a field is still pretty inhospitable to a lot of great scholars because of people like him. For me, a lot of why I like medieval literature is just about really weird and somewhat esoteric anecdotes. Examples include an uprising of dogs liberating a nobleman from prison because he was kind to his hounds and a story in which Henry II gets very angry with a rebellious Welsh boulder.


Q: Hypothetical question: It is a dystopian future (or maybe a perverse utopian one). The academy as an institution has ended and there are no more tenure track positions available ( I cannot stress enough that this is hypothetical). With your freshly minted PhD in hand, what would you do? What calls to you outside of these hollow/hallowed walls? 

A: I think I might love a job that involves teaching, political organizing, and/or community building in some form. I'm open to suggestions. I'd rather not go back to working construction. Maybe I'll help one of my friends out west start a coffee shop in Portland where we sell books, tarot readings, and leftist literature. 


*Note to readers: Since the conclusion of this interview, the interviewer has been informed by the interviewee that he can, in fact, have a job at this Portland coffee shop reading Tarot. I am not saying that I officially resign as your president, but ummmm I have something else now. 

EGSA Symposium

The Symposium is a fantastic opportunity to receive feedback from peers and faculty in the English Department as you prepare your work for other conferences, the dissertation, or journal submissions. It is also a wonderful chance to learn what those outside your main area of research are working on. Since this will be a virtual symposium - this also gives you the opportunity to practice giving your work in a new format compared to the traditional conference paper.

Similar to last year, our CFP will have two different links as we are allowing panel proposals. If there’s a topic you particularly want to see being discussed in this year’s Symposium, and you have identified students who share your same research interest across periods/areas of studies, we encourage you to organize and propose a themed panel along with your peers.

This is a great opportunity for interdisciplinary collaborations! We will be selecting two student-created themed panels, one for each day of the Symposium. In your proposal, you must list at least 3 participants (including who will be chairing, if the chair is also presenting a paper) and the information regarding their respective papers (title and abstract for each one).

Lastly, in an effort to make the abstract submission process as stress-free as possible, this year our wonderful EGSA Board Officers have agreed to participate in abstract workshops where we will be offering help in brainstorming and drafting abstracts. We will be hosting an Abstract workshop on February 5th at 11:00 am. You can pre-register for this event here

IMPORTANT: The CFP portals will be open until Sunday, February 14th at 11:59pm. We will not be accepting abstracts after this date, to allow for a better and smoother organization of our Symposium.

If you are submitting an individual presentation, please access the following portal:
Individual Presentation Proposals
If you are submitting a themed panel, please access the following portal:   
Graduate Student Panel Proposals
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our President, Julian Dean (, or reach out to any of our EGSA Board Officers. 
We want to hear from you!
Do you have any announcements or messages you would like to share with all of us? Send our President, Julian Dean (, a quick email so we can feature your announcement in our next newsletter.  
Also, don't forget to visit our website! Here you will find information about our goals and even a copy of our constitution, keep up-to-date with our events by following our Google Calendar, find incredibly useful links and resources shared by our different chairs, and more!
EGSA Website
Those are all our announcements for now. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to reach out to us any time. Follow us on Facebook too, where we will be posting updates and pictures of our activities. 
We hope to see you in all our events! 

The English Graduate Student Association Board
President: Julian Dean
Vice-President: Oliver Ortega
Treasurer: Joshua Wright
PhD Professionalization Chair: Sara Judy
MFA Professionalization Chair: Valerie Vargas
Quality of Life Chair: Jake McGinnis
GSU Representatives: Marie Burns & Kyriana Lynch
Copyright © 2020 University of Notre Dame, All rights reserved.

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"Happy Holiday" by tonynetone is licensed under CC BY 2.0