Panel discusses Sherwin Early Career Professor Pamela VanHaitsma’s new book ‘Queering Romantic Engagement in the Postal Age’
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On Monday, February 8, a panel of leading scholars on rhetoric and queer studies discussed the recently published book “Queering Romantic Engagement in the Postal Age: A Rhetorical Education” by Pamela VanHaitsma, assistant professor of communication arts and sciences and of women’s, gender and sexuality studies, as well as the interim director of the Center for Humanities and Information and Douglas S. and Joyce L. Sherwin Early Career Professor in the Rock Ethics Institute.
Published by the University of South Carolina Press, “Queering Romantic Engagement in the Postal Age” looks at romantic letter writing in the 19th century to gain insights into past same-sex relationships and the creative ways people challenged cultural norms at the time. Research for this project received the Rhetoric Society of America’s 2015 Charles Kneupper Award.
Joining VanHaitsma on the panel discussing her book were Ames Hawkins, professor of English and creative writing at Columbia College Chicago, and Charles Morris III, professor of communication and rhetorical studies at Syracuse University. Michele Kennerly, associate professor of communication arts and sciences and of classics and ancient Mediterranean studies at Penn State, will moderate the panel. Together the panelists explored themes raised in VanHaitsma’s book, such as how queer rhetorical practices evolved through romantic letters and the relationship between rhetorical training and civic life.
A recording of the event can be viewed here.
Penn State’s Department of Communication Arts and Sciences; Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies; Rock Ethics Institute; Humanities Institute; and Center for Humanities and Information sponsored the event.
The Rock Ethics Institute was established in 2001 through a $5 million gift from Doug and Julie Rock. Its mission is to promote engaged ethics research and ethical leadership from its home in Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts.