August 23, 2006

Dettmar wins major grant for seminar in Ireland

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A Southern Illinois University Carbondale English professor is the recipient of a major grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH).

Kevin J. H. Dettmar will receive $118,892 for a six-week seminar for college and university faculty on James Joyce's "Ulysses," set for Dublin, Ireland next summer.

"I'm still kind of giddy, truth be told," Dettmar said. "It's such a wonderful program: six

weeks in Dublin for young scholars to dedicate themselves wholly to working on a research project involving Joyce. And I know how valuable the summer seminars are: I did an NEH Joyce seminar myself, at Columbia University, back in 1992, which helped me revise my dissertation into my first book. The director of that seminar, Michael Seidel, told me at the conclusion, ‘You should do this someday' (direct a seminar on Joyce); and he was one of my reference letter writers for the project."

Alan C. Vaux, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts, called the competitive award "a testament to Dr. Dettmar's reputation as a Joyce scholar."

Added Michael L. Humphries, chair of the English department: "This is a very prestigious award. It reflects the excellence of Professor Dettmar's scholarship, and it brings a well-deserved recognition. Kevin is to be congratulated for such an achievement."

The grant money will go toward a salary for Dettmar and a graduate assistant, stipends for visiting speakers, travel and living expenses and $11,533 in indirect costs, which supports the larger research mission of SIUC.

The trip will be a homecoming of sorts for Dettmar, who joined the SIUC English department in 1999.

"'Ulysses', by consensus the greatest English-language novel of the 20th century, is set in Dublin, which is where the seminar will be held, using facilities at Trinity College, Dublin, from which I received a post-graduate diploma in Anglo-Irish Literature in 1982," he said.

Dettmar also holds a bachelor's degree in English and psychology from the University of California, Davis (1981) and a doctorate in British literature from University of California, Los Angeles (1990).

Dettmar's research focuses on 20th century British and American literature and culture. He is the author of several books, including "The Illicit Joyce of Postmodernism: Reading Against the Grain" (University of Wisconsin Press, 1996).

Dettmar said he will be proud to represent SIUC at next year's seminar.

" If you look at the list of seminars that were offered this summer, you'll see the faculty come from Harvard, Princeton, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Washington University, the University of North Carolina, Rice: some of the best universities in the country," he said. "I think (immodestly) that it means, for one thing, that we have one of the country's recognized experts on James Joyce and modernist literature here on our faculty; and that the best of our faculty compete with, and win, over faculty members from the top-tier research universities in the country."

Supporting and celebrating faculty excellence are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.


Kevin J.H. Dettmar

Kevin J.H. Dettmar
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