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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Marianne Montgomery

Dr. Marianne Montgomery

Dr. Marianne Montgomery is an associate professor of literature (specializing in Shakespeare and Renaissance drama) in the Department of English at East Carolina University.




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Where are you from?

I grew up in Cheverly, Maryland, in the suburbs of Washington, DC. I also lived for four years near Boston and eight years in Charlottesville, Virginia, so I also consider those places home.

What brought you to ECU?

When I was close to finishing my PhD, I “went on the job market,” which meant that I applied for about 70 jobs, all over the country, in my field of Shakespeare and Renaissance literature. It’s incredibly hard to find a tenure-track job with a literature PhD, and I feel incredibly lucky that I was hired at ECU! In addition to a good location relatively close to my family in Maryland and my husband’s family in Florida, I like teaching at a regional state university and working with a diverse body of students. I was also attracted to ECU by its balance of teaching and research; I really like both and wouldn’t want to put all my energy towards one or the other.

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

My field is Shakespeare studies, which really means that I study Shakespeare and the early modern dramatists who wrote at roughly the same time that he did, like Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Middleton, Thomas Dekker, and many others. Shakespeare was part of a vibrant commercial theater scene, and only was elevated above his contemporaries by critics in subsequent centuries. While I was initially attracted to the field by my love of Shakespeare, I now am fascinated by how he fits into this bigger picture and how his plays belong to their time both formally and thematically. My research focuses especially on early modern drama, trade, travel, and cultural exchange.

What degrees do you hold and where did you earn them?

I have a BA from Wellesley College, a women’s college in Massachusetts. After Wellesley, I went to the University of Virginia, where I earned an MA and a PhD.

What life experience prepared you for your role at ECU?

I have very little work experience outside academia, something I wish I could go back and change. I think working for a few years before pursuing a PhD is invaluable in exposing one to other options and other perspectives. That said, I gained considerable teaching experience in my graduate program that prepared me for teaching at ECU. I had very good pedagogical mentors, especially for teaching writing.

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

I am really proud that I wrote a book! It’s called Europe’s Languages on England’s Stages and was published in 2013. A book feels like a significant scholarly accomplishment, and it makes writing a second book less daunting. I’m also proud that I was awarded ECU’s Centennial Award for Service in 2015. It was nice to have my efforts on various university committees and in departmental service recognized.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job is seeing students improve and succeed. It’s incredibly rewarding to work with a student over the course of a semester and see major progress in his or her reading and writing.

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

My favorite courses to teach are the three Shakespeare genre courses: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Shakespeare’s play reward rereading, and I find new things in them every time I teach them. I feel extremely lucky to be able to teach regularly in my area of specialization. I received a teaching grant last summer to develop materials for using film in these classes, so I’ve been using more film clips in class. Shakespeare is meant to be performed, not read, so film helps bring performance into the ECU classroom. My students also memorize and recite speeches from the plays or perform scenes in groups.

Montgomery receives Centennial Award for Excellence in Service


Congratulations to Dr. Marianne Montgomery, who received a Centennial Award for Excellence in Service at Wednesday’s Founder’s Day celebration.

Dr. Montgomery joined the English department in 2006. Soon thereafter, she identified a student need and started the English Club. She has served as Faculty Mentor to English Club since 2008–even while she was simultaneously advising the English honor society Sigma Tau Delta. She also works as an advisor and has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies.  She has served on many university committees, including Faculty Senate, Faculty Governance, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, the Downtown Dialogues in the Humanities committee, the Harriot College Dean search committee, the Department of English Chair’s evaluation committee, and the new University Studies Faculty Oversight Committee–among others. In addition to her membership in these important efforts, she has served as an officer on several committees and is routinely nominated–and often unanimously elected–to positions that show the high regard in which her colleagues hold her.

“Her service to this university has benefited us all,” said Dr. Margaret Bauer, one of Dr. Montgomery’s nominators, “including especially the students for whom we are all here in the first place. Dr. Marianne Montgomery has given so much of herself to ECU.”

English majors, are you looking for a minor? Consider Great Books!

Odysseus and the sirens

A minor in Great Books requires four Great Books seminars and four Great Books electives. Great Books seminars are discussion-based, and most fulfill the humanities Foundations and writing intensive requirements. Great Books classes feel like eighteenth-century salons, in which the big ideas of human nature and culture are identified, discussed, and debated. Our courses are a good fit for many humanities and science majors, but particularly for English majors. We emphasize close reading, and provide a broad intellectual foundation for the texts you read in English courses.

Why is Great Books such a perfect minor for English majors? Because not all great books are written in English, and not all great books are fiction or poetry. Great books are written in many languages and encompass many overlapping disciplines: Literature, History, Philosophy, Classics, Political Science, Psychology, Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, Biology, Physics, and more. Great Books is the one truly multi and interdisciplinary program on campus, drawing from diverse fields, cultures, faculty, and texts.

A Great Books minor will teach you to think critically, to think on your feet while grounding you in the important ideas that have shaped the world in which we live. It will teach you to think independently and collectively. It will prepare you for an increasingly difficult and complex world.

For more information about minoring in Great Books, visit the program website at or contact program director Dr. Helena Feder at


Welcome to the Big Apple


The department extends its congratulations to Dr. Marame Gueye, who has just published a short story entitled “Welcome to the Big Apple” in Transition Magazine. Dr. Gueye will be reading at Harvard Bookstore for the official launch of the issue.

The short story appeared this month in issue 117 of Transition. Transition is a publication of the Hutchins Center at Harvard University and is published three times annually by Indiana University Press. According to the magazine’s website, “Transition is a unique forum for the freshest, most compelling ideas from and about the black world. Since its founding in Uganda in 1961, the magazine has kept apace of the rapid transformation of the African Diaspora and has remained a leading forum of intellectual debate. Now, in an age that demands ceaseless improvisation, we aim to be both an anchor of deep reflection on black life and a map charting new routes through the globalized world.”

Dr. Gueye teaches African and African Diaspora Literatures, African Women’s Verbal Art, World Literatures, Global Women’s Literatures, Multicultural and Transnational Literatures, Immigration Studies, and Translation Studies at East Carolina.


Work in Progress: Update on the Texas Czech Legacy Project and the Archives of an Unknown American Czech Scholar

Dr. Lida Cope

Please join the department today at noon in Bate 2024 for Dr. Lida Cope’s talk entitled “Work in Progress: Update on the Texas Czech Legacy Project and the Archives of an Unknown American Czech Scholar.”

Texas Czech, an endangered diasporic dialect of Czech, is on the brink of extinction, making its documentation paramount. The Texas Czech Legacy Project at the University of Texas at Austin represents collaborative effort of scholars from UT and East Carolina University. The Project’s ultimate goal is to document and preserve the dying Texas Czech dialect (in its Oral Archive) and make available various artifacts representing the Texas Czech community’s linguistic and ethnocultural heritage (in its Visual Archive).

Dr. Cope will introduce the Project’s digital Oral Archive and sample its benefits for the community, education, and research. For those already familiar with her work, she will review the most recent developments as we continue building the TCLP and its archive. She will also highlight the contribution of one of the American Czech folklorists and sociolinguists, Svatava Pirkova Jakobson, whose work is an essential part of this digital repository.

Dr. Cope’s talk is part of the Faculty Speaker Series.


An interdisciplinary colloquium on Corliolanus will be 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, in Faulkner Gallery in Joyner Library. Several speakers from the Department of English will be featured:

  • Thomas Herron will discuss “Famine and Rebellion: Contemporary Political Contexts for Shakespeare’s Coriolanus (c. 1608)” at 4:30 p.m.
  • Sean Morris will give a presentation entitled “Tragedy and Satire in Shakespeare’s Corliolanus” at 4:50 p.m.
  • Anna Froula will speak on “Ralph Fiennes’ film Coriolanus” at 5:10 p.m.


Coriolanus colloquium flier

Johnson presents NNEST award

Johnson, Burri, and Hansen-Thomas

Mark D. Johnson of East Carolina University (left) and Holly Hansen-Thomas of Texas Woman’s University (right) presented Michael Burri of Wollongong University (center) with the TESOL Award for an Outstanding Paper on Non-Native English-speaking teacher (NNEST) Issues at the 2015 TESOL convention in Toronto. (Photo by Kyle Perler for TESOL International Association)

English department assistant professor Mark D. Johnson, along with Holly Hansen-Thomas of Texas Woman’s University, presented Michael Burri with the TESOL Award for an Outstanding Paper on Non-Native English-Speaking Teacher (NNEST) Issues at the 2015 TESOL convention in Toronto. Each year, East Carolina University’s English department donates $250 to the recipient of the award.

This year’s recipient, Michael Burri, is a PhD student at Wollongong University in Australia. Burri’s paper, titled Exploring the Development of NNEST Cognition about Pronunciation Pedagogy, examined the changing beliefs of five non-native English-speaking teachers of English regarding pronunciation and how it is taught to learners of English as a second language. Burri presented this paper as part of his dissertation research.