Department of English News

Parille lauded by famed cartoonist

In a recent interview, cartoon artist/illustrator/screenwriter Daniel Clowes was asked about ECU English Associate Professor Ken Parille’s research. Dr. Parille is the editor of the Daniel Clowes reader, and here is what Clowes had to say:

“God, talk about what a great privilege, to have someone like that who pays such close attention that he points out things that I never noticed about my own work.”

Check out the screenshot below or read the full interview.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 10.00.40 AM

Dr. Parille has published essays on Louisa May Alcott and boyhood, the mother-son relationship in antebellum America, graphic novelist Daniel Clowes, cartoonist Abner Dean, TV bandleader Lawrence Welk, and other subjects. His writing has appeared in The Best American Comics Criticism, Children’s Literature, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, The Nathaniel Hawthorne Review, Papers on Language and Literature, The Journal of Popular Culture, The Boston Review, Comic Art, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, and The Believer. His monograph Boys at Home: Discipline, Masculinity, and ‘The Boy-Problem’ in Nineteenth-Century American Literature was published in 2009, and Daniel Clowes: Conversations, which he co-edited with Isaac Cates, was released in 2010 by the University Press of Mississippi. Dr. Parille also writes a monthly column for The Comics Journal.

2016 CCCC Annual Convention


Congratulations to ECU English Department Faculty and Graduate Students who will be presenting their super smart, super exciting original research at the world’s largest professional conference for researching and teaching composition, The Conference on College Composition and Communication, in April 2016.


ECU Department of English Faculty:

– Dr. Will Banks

– Dr. Nikki Caswell

– Dr. Matt Cox

– Dr. Erin Frost

– Dr. Joyce Middleton


ECU Department of English PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication Students:

– Janine Butler

– Stephanie West-Puckett


ECU Department of English MA in English (Rhetoric and Composition Concentration) Student:

– Rex Rose


We are proud to have you represent ECU so favorably!

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Amanda Klein


Dr. Amanda Klein is an associate professor of film studies in the Department of English at East Carolina University. She holds a BA from Cornell University, and a Master’s and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh.





. . .

Where are you from?

I am from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania originally but I moved to Greenville from Pittsburgh in 2007, where I had been living with my husband and daughter as I finished my PhD at the University of Pittsburgh.

What brought you to ECU?

The simplest answer is: they offered me a job! As you probably know, there are far more PhD students than there are tenure track jobs. Most graduate students apply to 50 or more positions in the hopes of snagging one. I was lucky enough to get an offer my first year on the market and now, here we are, 9 years later.

What is your field and how did you first become interested in it?

 My intention when I first entered grad school was to pursue a PhD in English literature. But all MA students were required to take an introductory film course and I fell in love with the discipline and switched my course of study. So while I received my PhD from an English department, I specialized in film studies.

What life experience prepared you for your role at ECU?

As a Northerner, coming to Greenville was definitely a cultural adjustment. I had previously lived in Charleston, SC for a year so that gave me a taste of life in the South. But overall, I feel like I am still learning new things about Eastern North Carolina. I’ve really come to love this are and its culture. I feel lucky to be able to experience a region that is so different than the one I grew up in.

What recognitions and achievements are you most proud of and why?

Just landing a tenure track job and then getting tenure are probably the biggest achievements for me, because tenured positions are increasingly rare these days. I see so many brilliant qualified scholars going on the market year after year and coming back empty-handed as the market shrinks. I know I’m one of the few lucky ones.

But I think my biggest achievement has been raising two children while also getting tenure. It’s so hard for mothers in academia and I hope that, much as I was inspired by my professors in grad school who had children and still maintained their research profiles and teaching excellence, I might be inspiring to younger scholars who are considering starting families of their own. We shouldn’t have to choose between being professors and being mothers.

What is your favorite part of your job?

As much as I enjoy research and writing, I would have to say that teaching is definitely my favorite part of my job. Sometimes academics get too deep into their own scholarship and forget about the whole point of going into this profession, which is sharing knowledge with students. I love seeing students get excited about media studies and I love seeing them apply what they’ve learned to the world around them. Media literacy is one of the most important skills students need, and I am so grateful to be able to teach those skills every semester.

Describe one of the most rewarding courses you’ve taught in your time at ECU.

I like all of my classes but I had a particularly rewarding experience teaching Women, Identity and Difference 2 years ago. Here is the description:

“This seminar explores the different ways that American cinema has attempted to represent women. Beginning with the documentary Miss Representation, this course explores how American cinema represents women from different races, economic classes, sexual orientations, ethnicities and body types. The course will explore different facets of a particular American identity from the perspective of mainstream films to independent and experimental features. In addition to looking at isolated identities and what it means to be an African American, white, working class, or disabled woman in America, this course will also focus on intersectionality, or the ways that multiple systems of oppression are felt on individual bodies and how they intersect.”

I loved this class because the material was very challenging and potentially uncomfortable for students; race, gender, ethnicity, sexual identity, etc. are often tough for students to grapple with in a serious way. Students are afraid of saying the wrong thing or offending others with such topics. But those students really rose to the challenge and it was inspiring to witness. They were careful and nuanced and really just listened to each other. At the end of the semester one of my students gave me greatest compliment I have ever received in my SPOTS evaluations. S/he wrote: “I feel like I am a better person for having taken this course.” I mean, how can you top that? That’s the goal for me as a teacher—to help shape responsible, thoughtful, ethical citizens.

EGSO Cookout

You’re invited to the EGSO cookout!


Who: All Graduate Students and Faculty!

When: Sunday, October 4th @ 4pm

Where: Jim Kirkland’s House! (220 Belvedere Drive, Greenville)




Take Greenville Boulevard heading west.

After Outback Steak House take left onto Belvedere Drive.

#220 is the house on the right: white van and grey Honda in driveway.

Jim Kirkland’s house is about 8 minutes from the edge of ECU.

Food and beverages will be provided, but please feel free to bring a side dish.


Friends and children welcome!

1st Creative Writing Club Meeting

CrEaTiVe WriTiNg ClUb


Mark your calendars for the

1st Creative Writing Club Meeting

Here’s what you need to know:


What: CWC Club Meeting

When: Wednesday, September 30 @ 6 pm

Where: English Lounge, 2nd floor of Bate


Please Bring:

  • A piece of writing you are currently working on (even if it’s just an idea!)
  • Anything you’ve written that you believe best represents your writing style.

Don’t Forget:

  • Your laptop or notebook (and anything else that helps you write.)

Our amazing advisor – professor and award-winning poet, Amber Thomas – will be there. Oh, and there will be snacks.

In memory of Associate Professor Emeritus Alfred Shih-p’u Wang

Associate Professor Emeritus Alfred Shih-p’u Wang passed away Sunday at his home in Missouri City, Texas, surrounded by his wife of 54 years, Veronica, and his two daughters Dorothy and Lisa.

Dr. Wang taught in the Department of English at East Carolina University from 1967 to 1994. In 2001, he and his wife moved to Missouri City, where their second daughter, Lisa, is a pediatric oncologist at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Wang was the author of several articles on American literature and comparative literature in such journals as Literature and Medicine and Walt Whitman Review. From 1990 to 1996, he served on the North Carolina Humanities Council.

Dr. Wang and his wife both taught in the Department of English at ECU. They were one of the very few Chinese nationals not only to earn Ph.D.s in English Literature at an American university but also to teach as American college professors in that field in the era before the normalization of relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. They were also one of the first American academics to teach and publish in the new field of Asian American literature.

Dr. Wang was born March 16, 1931 (lunar calendar) in Yantai (Chefoo), China, the son of Wang Chen-dong and Lin Yu-ying. His father and aunt were active in the work of the YMCA in China, and Wang began to learn English at an early age. He grew up and lived under the shadow of the Japanese occupation of China.

Dr. Wang graduated from the prestigious high school of St. John’s University in Shanghai. Determined to obtain a Ph.D. in English literature, he smuggled out of the People’s Republic of China in 1952 to Hong Kong. In 1955, with the personal intercession of John Foster Dulles, Wang came to the United States to attend Davidson College in North Carolina, on a full scholarship. He was Class Poet at Davidson in 1958. While at Davidson, he met his wife Veronica (Chou Ch’eng-fang), who was attending nearby Queens College. After they both graduated with B.A.s in English, they worked for two years in New York City, where they were married in 1961.

In 1967, he and his wife earned their Ph.D.s in English literature at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, and took up positions as Assistant Professors at ECU. They lived for 34 years in Greenville, N.C. where they raised their daughters. His older daughter, Dorothy, is an Associate Professor who teaches English literature at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Dr. Wang was an artistic spirit who loved literature and music; he also had a deep sense of social justice. He is deeply missed by his family. He is survived by his wife and daughters Dorothy (David Paul) and Lisa (Jeffrey R. Steinbauer), his grandson Henry Wang Steinbauer, and three sisters-Stella W. Chu, Ming-zhen Wang, Quan-zhen Wang-and a brother, Shi-yu Patrick Wang.