Guest Speakers Leonardo Flores, Micah Cozzens, and Eliza Wilcox Inspire Senior English Majors

Guest Speakers Leonardo Flores, Micah Cozzens, and Eliza Wilcox Inspire Senior English Majors

During the spring semester, 2023, three scholars spoke to the Senior Learning Community (SLC) at Wagner College about their cutting-edge research.

Leonardo Flores is chair of the English department at Appalachian State University and a leading scholar of electronic literature. His most well-known contribution to the field is his theorization of “third generation” electronic literature. On March 15, he showed the students how electronic literature has developed and changed over time, reflected on the position of historically marginalized literary communities such as Puerto Rico, and engaged in a lively conversation about how we experience and appreciate poetry in the digital age.

Micah Cozzens is a poet and currently completing her PhD in creative writing at Ohio University. On March 27, she arranged for the Wagner class a scintillating presentation on the “Costume Drama—Selling Historical Inaccuracy” about how corporations influence content of Hollywood movies and how they narrate history in order to sell commercial products. Cozzens has used new technologies to create a video that compiles visual evidence to communicate her thesis.

Eliza Wilcox is completing her PhD at the University of Tennessee where she researches gender and sexuality in Victorian literature and works on various digital humanities projects. On March 29, her presentation on the Actual Play show A Court of Fey and Flowers highlighted how its blending of Dungeons & Dragons role playing and Jane Austen period drama produce a “high femme” aesthetic that provokes questions about gender identities. Actual Play is a new genre of show where episodes are produced via live role-playing and interactions among players.

All of these presenters inspired the senior English majors to think of new approaches to literary study as they reflected candidly about their experiences in a changing field and spurred speculation about prospects for the future of the English major. Their presentations were useful for the Wagner English department as it prepared to create a new minor in communications and a new minor in digital studies and experimental humanities.