Monthly Archives: August 2014

Scott Harshbarger on Literature, Science and Torino

photo of Turin street corner

Turin Street

The bi-annual conference on the Empirical Study of Literature, sponsored by IGEL, met this summer for five days in Turin, Italy, a city of grand piazzas, beautiful porticoes, and friendly people. Although the Shroud of Turin was kept under wraps, a wealth of research and ideas having to do with aspects of literature amenable to scientific investigation was very much on display.

Photo of Turin Audience

Audience at Turin Conference Presentation

Ranging from reports of original research – “Does reading canonical literary fiction improve theory of mind in adolescents?” – to quantitative analysis of literary reception – “Frankenstein is alive and kicking”—to theoretical issues “What does ‘empirical’ mean for semiotics?” more than a hundred presenters considered how the scientific method could be applied to literary production, transmission, and reception. My paper, “Replotting the Narrative Self,” presented an interpretation of Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” based on empirically supported psychological links between developmental issues (Hawthorne spent 12 years in his mother’s attic following college) and certain narrative types (Brown enacts a “contamination narrative” typical of many of Hawthorne’s most memorable characters).

The conference was lively, with a preponderance of younger scholars. Although the scientific method will never dominate literary study, fairly recent attempts to explore common points of interest and methodology between science and the humanities – if this conference is any indication – has already yielded exciting results. Like the Shroud itself, literary art will continue to compel investigation –scientific and otherwise.

Dr. Scott Harshbarger

For more information about IGEL, go to:

Photograph of Porticos

Turin Portico


Photo of Positive & Negative Images of Face in Shroud

Positive and Negative Images of the Shroud from



Student-Run Hofstra English Society Welcomes New Majors for Fall 2014

HES Logo

Hofstra English Society Logo

Dear Incoming English Major,

I would like to begin by welcoming you to Hofstra, as well as commend you for choosing to major in English! My name is Alie Coolidge and I wanted to let you know a little bit about award-winning, student-run Hofstra English Society.

The Hofstra English Society (HES) was founded last year by a group of English majors who realized that we really only got to discuss literature, writing, and publishing in the classroom setting, and wanted to explore our passions for the many facets of English outside of the lecture hall. Little did we know that just a semester later HES would be chosen as Best New Academic Club!

Photo of Award

Best New Academic Club Award

HES has three main components: Literature, Creative Writing, and Publishing. This mirrors the English Department’s breakdowns of the English major. Generally, the whole club convenes for our general meeting and then breaks off into groups, though members are not restricted to a single component and can move between the three. The literature group reads and discusses novels and short stories that have been chosen ahead of time by club members. The creative writing group conducts writing workshops for poetry, prose, essays, and plays. Members sign up ahead of time for a slot to workshop during the meeting. We find that getting peer feedback by others who are passionate about writing is valuable to improve writing or develop it as a career.

Finally, the publishing component of HES publishes Hofstra’s only literary/ arts magazine FONT. Members of HES function as an editorial department (editor in chief, managing editor, production editor, assistant editors, etc.). FONT submissions are open to the entire Hofstra undergrad and graduate communities and we accept poetry, prose, and visual art. FONT was completely rebooted last semester and we successfully published and gave out every single copy in a matter of days. Read it at


Spring 2014 Font Cover

I hope that you will join the English Society this fall semester! We are very excited about the various showcases, workshops, readings, panels, and new issue of FONT—and that’s just the fall!

I can’t wait to meet you in September!


Alie Coolidge
President, Hofstra English Society

Gillibrand Internship Opportunity



I would like to take this time to bring to your attention an opportunity for all undergraduate and graduate students interested in interning for the office of United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Melville Long Island office. At this time, the link for the Fall 2014 Internship Program has been removed from our website. Despite this removal, I would like to urge you to please continue or start having students reach out to me via email or at the below phone number. I admit students on a rolling basis, and although ideally most students start at the end of August, we do admit many within September and at alternate starting times. As a Fall intern, students will  have the opportunity to support staff at outreach and advocacy events, participate in meetings with key community leaders and organizations as well as advocate on behalf of Long Islanders. Students in the past have received credit for their internship. Please suggest past or present students via email, with their contact information. Students may also contact me directly via email. Upon contacting me, students will be asked to submit a resume, a statement indicating why they would like to intern for Senator Gillibrand, their fall availability as well as a reference.


If you have any questions pertaining to the internship program, please do not hesitate to call or email me.


Thank you for your time,



Melanie Sinesi | Regional Assistant

Office of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand