English and Reading

We all write our own histories.


September 2016

Confluence Conference Starts Friday Sept. 30

“Confluence: Translation in the Capital Area” opens Friday evening, Sept. 30, and runs all day with presentations and workshops on Oct. 1 on the MC-Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus.

A celebration of international translation day, the conference covers topics from literary translation to ethics in business translation.

Friday starts with an Open Mic session on the topic “Translatable,” 6 to 8 p.m. in the Cafritz Arts Center, room 101, on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus.

Registration is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Please register online.

Saturday morning starts at 9 a.m. in the “Lingua Franca” room (HC 201).

Find a full listing of events here.


Planet Money Tackles Text Prices

If you have ever wondered why market forces do not keep the prices of textbooks low, wonder no longer: National Public Radio’s “Planet Money” team just rebroadcast a story from 2014 that looks at the rising price of texts (it’s a 15-minute podcast). Guess what? It’s all the students’ faults! (You have to listen to find out why.)

OK. The faculty have a role. In the podcast, they discuss the economic term called  “the principle agent,” which is the idea that the person saying how much students need to spend is not the person spending the money. This creates an economic problem because it is usually easier for anyone to spend other people’s money! The theory basically says that if faculty ask you to buy something expensive, they will do it because it’s not their money being spent.

The podcast ignores a couple facts on the ground. Although we are the “principle agent,” we also know that you won’t buy what you think you can avoid (they gloss over this in the podcast). Also, Maryland, about five years ago, passed a textbook law that required faculty to learn the price of the books they were using (this used to be very, very hard, believe it or not).  Continue reading “Planet Money Tackles Text Prices”

Why Study Humanities? Because It’s Good for You!

Economist, professor, and Pulitzer-Prize-winning columnist, Steven Pearlstein, an American Studies major himself, explains why a major in history, philosophy, the arts or even English (yay!) is worth the time, effort and money. Here’s the link and quote:

Even so, I found it shocking that some of the brightest students in Virginia had been misled — by parents, the media, politicians and, alas, each other — into thinking that choosing English or history as a major would doom them to lives as impecunious schoolteachers.

If that didn’t convince you, read this from Chemistry professor Loretta Jackson-Hayes:

As a chemist, I agree that remaining competitive in the sciences is a critical issue. But as an instructor, I also think that if American STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] grads are going lead the world in innovation, then their science education cannot be divorced from the liberal arts.

Talk to your counselor about switching to one of these majors or certificate programs!

Story Highlights the Life-Saving Beauty of Reading

Flickr image by Patrick Breitenbach.

This story from the “Criminal” podcast highlights the story of Robin Woods, a petty thief from Cumberland, Maryland, who found himself, after one-too-many arrests, in the maximum security

Maryland Correctional Institution. He teaches himself to read and becomes–it’s a fun story–an ad hoc editor of the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia.

Memorial Service Set for Prof. Zach Benavidez

A memorial service for former Montgomery College English professor, Zach Benavidez (Rockville campus) has been schedule for Luther Place Church in Washington DC, where he was a member:

Prof. Zach Benavidez
Prof. Zach Benavidez
  • Sunday, Sept. 4
  • 12:30-1:30
  • Luther Place Church
  • 1226 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20005
  • 202-667-1377

The service is open to friends and family.

In the coming weeks, the English and Reading department and the Women’s and Gender Studies program will be working together to seek ways to honor our former colleague who died unexpectedly in August.



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