e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu


We're hiring...

Asst Professor of Multicultural or Multilingual Writing and Rhetoric

Job Summary

Work-Title: Assistant Professor of Multicultural or Multilingual Writing and Rhetoric
Department: College of Arts, Sciences, & Letters-Language, Culture, & Communications
FLSA: Exempt
Posting Dates: September 26, 2012-November 26, 2012
Go here to apply:

The University of Michigan-Dearborn (UM-Dearborn) is one of the three campuses of the University of Michigan. UM-Dearborn, a comprehensive university offering high quality undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education to residents of southeastern Michigan, and attracts more than 9,000 students. Our faculty comes from respected universities and doctoral programs, are recognized for excellence in research and teaching, and are active in professional and academic service roles in their respective fields. US News and World Report recently recognized our campus as a Best Regional University.

The campus is located on 200 acres of the original Henry Ford Estate. Dearborn is centrally located within one of America's largest business regions. The geographically diverse area provides faculty with a variety of urban, suburban, and rural areas within a reasonable commute, including Detroit, Detroit suburbs, and Ann Arbor.

Job Description:
The Department of Language, Culture & Communication (Composition & Rhetoric Discipline) invites applications for a tenure-track, assistant professor of Multicultural or Multilingual Writing and Rhetoric faculty position, starting September 1, 2013. Funding for this position has been approved.

The Department of Language, Culture & Communication has 17 faculty members representing Composition & Rhetoric, Public Communication & Culture Studies, Journalism & Screen Studies, Linguistics, and Modern & Classical Languages. The Composition & Rhetoric discipline has 7 faculty members and has responsibility for the college-wide Writing Program and Certificate in Writing.

All candidates with a primary interest in composition in multicultural or multilingual writing and rhetoric are invited to apply. Secondary areas of interest may include multicultural literacies, contrastive rhetorics, teaching in global contexts, transnational rhetorics and literacies, rhetorics of race and ethnicity, or related secondary areas.

Candidates must have a PhD in Composition and Rhetoric or closely related field in hand by 9/1/13 and must show demonstrated achievement in scholarship and potential for publications in the areas of multicultural or multilingual writing and rhetoric. Experience teaching writing at the collegiate level is required. Evidence of familiarity with best practices in the teaching of writing, including within multilingual or multicultural contexts and using computer-mediated pedagogies, is highly desirable.

In addition to teaching writing and rhetoric courses at the introductory and upper levels, the candidate will be expected to pursue an active scholarly agenda, engage in curriculum and program development within area of expertise, and contribute to undergraduate writing certificate program and first-year writing program. We especially welcome applicants who bring culturally and theoretically diverse perspectives to their research and teaching practices.

The University of Michigan - Dearborn is dedicated to the goal of building a culturally diverse and pluralistic faculty committed to teaching and working in a multi-cultural environment. We are an equal access/equal opportunity employer and campus community, and do not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion, color, marital status, age, national origin, disability, veteran or marital status, sexual orientation, or genetic information.

Currently this classification is considered exempt in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Note: Please make sure to upload all your application materials as one single PDF file.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.


Jesse 2009

I find myself wandering through Patti Smith’s “Camera Solo,” the exhibition of the singer-poet-artist’s black and white Polaroids at the Detroit Institute of Arts.  My favorite Patti Smith songs play in my head, “Ask the Angels,” “Redondo Beach,” as I look at the everyday and the extraordinary.  Like her muse, the late Robert Mapplethorpe, Smith has a fetish for everyday objects and she captures simple, decontextualized, sometimes cold images of slippers, pieces of jewelry, and other ephemera owned by persons Smith admires or loves.  “I suppose it’s my way of taking their portraits,” she writes.

The exhibition features numerous photographs of literary beds: John Keats, Victor Hugo, Virginia Woolf, the poet and punk rock icon Jim Carroll, with whom Smith shared a bed.  We see their beds, sheets crisp, undisturbed, empty forever.  Smith: “I like to take pictures of beds.  We have extraordinary things happen in beds.  We sleep, conceive.  We dream.  We make love.  We are ill in our beds.  We recuperate.  So our beds are very important in our lives.”

Many of us die in bed too.  Robert Mapplethorpe, the artist with whom Smith lived in New York City in the late 1960s and early 1970s, first as a lover and then as a collaborator, died in a hospital bed in 1989.  Smith’s beautiful memoir Just Kids, deserving winner of a National Book Award among other accolades, narrates their complex relationship and exists as a eulogy and encomium to her soul mate.

Mapplethorpe’s life and death hover over Smith’s work, her memoir obviously, but also her lilting and vital new record “Banga,” and certainly the pictures of beds that are part of “Camera Solo.”  Lonely images of beds, resting places if you will, are litanies of Smith’s deceased inspirations.  Smith sings to Detroiters walking through her exhibition, Where would I be without Keats, without Hugo, without Woolf?  Jim Carroll’s most famous song was called “People Who Died,” also a litany of the dead.  Carroll didn’t die in bed, but rather is said to have died at his desk, writing.  All of this hovers as well.

No matter how strong the invocation of Mapplethorpe, “Camera Solo” is never maudlin; beds are a more affirming motif than, say, gravestones.  Yet the empty beds suggest coffins with their crisp linens and their extravagant austerity.

Iconic images of beds usually feature persons in them.  John Lennon and Yoko Ono at their love-in.  The grandparents in the first Willy Wonka movie.  Most of Patti Smith’s beds are empty, their owners no longer in need of them.

One notable exception is “Jesse, 2009,” Patti Smith’s photograph of her daughter reclining in bed, a shy, melancholy look on her face.  Jesse wears a tank top as white as the three pillows propped in the photograph’s background.  She shares her mother’s androgynous style, a style made famous in the album covers shot by Robert Mapplethorpe.  The photograph’s composition is Cartesian, vertical creases on the sheets, a horizontal headboard, but Jesse’s body is sclerotic, sprawled atop the sheets, too human to conform to the object’s coordinates.

The photograph is the most humane image in “Camera Solo,” and not only because it’s one of the few to depict a person.  The photograph is life itself and changes the resonance of the bed motif.  Toward the end of Just Kids, Smith describes her final encounters with Mapplethorpe, who died when Jesse was a toddler.  Smith returns to New York from her adopted home in Michigan, Jesse in tow, to visit the dying Mapplethorpe.  One of his last photographs of Smith is a picture of her holding Jesse.  Part of Smith’s life, slipping away, another part only beginning.

Indeed, our beds are important in our lives, and in our deaths too.  “Camera Solo,” another gift from Smith, celebrates the breathing.  I’m glad I wandered.