More Faculty News

a picture of Dr. Clemens with her dog

Dr. Colleen Clemens

When her daughter wants to talk about Nawal El Saadawi, Clemens knows she is doing something right. After two decades of being in the classroom introducing students to voices often ignored by the literary canon, Clemens now faces another challenging job: raising a child who knows about the world and its many writers.

Colleen Lutz Clemens earned her Ph.D. in Post-Colonial Literature at Lehigh University. While there, she was the first graduate student to complete the newly established Women’s and Gender Studies certification. Her dissertation focuses on issues of veiling in literature and studies the intersection of women’s issues in art and politics.

Previously, she earned her M.Ed. in English Education at DeSales University (where she still teaches courses on South Africa and English Composition) while teaching twelfth grade English in the public system. She earned her undergraduate degrees in English and French Education from Penn State University where she was a Schreyer Scholar focusing on French drama. One of the reasons she loves working at KU is getting to work with future secondary teachers and introduce them to non-canonical texts, a topic she cares so much about she recently published a piece with Teaching Tolerance about the subject. Clemens uses her main stable of courses to showcase writers from around the world: World Lit 2, Women Writers Around the World, Women and Violence in Contemporary Lit (the first course she developed when she arrived at KU), and African Drama and Poetry.

Her academic work has been published in Feminist Formations and Journal of Postcolonial Writing. She serves as an academic consultant for the Contemporary Literary Criticism series, where she focuses on postcolonial and feminist writers. She reviews novels by postcolonial authors for Mosaic Magazine and World Literature Today and scholarly texts about world issues and American culture for The Journal of American Culture. Her most recent publication is “Thanks to the ‘Singular ‘They’” at Teaching Tolerance.

Among her creative endeavors, she is the editor of several books of non-fiction including Philadelphia Reflections: Stories from the Delaware to the Schuylkill and has published short essays in various collections including Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists. Her work on miscarriage and infertility has been published in many outlets including here at TRIVIA, in the collection Three Minus One, and in Chatter House Press’s Biting the Bullet collection.

On the web, she is a staff writer for bitchflicks where she writes about issues of gender in popular films. Here is the title she is most proud of: “On Milk-Bones, Toothed Vaginas, and Adolescence: ‘Teeth’ As Cautionary Tale.” She has published pieces on Scary Mommy, Literary Mama, and feministing. Clemens is an educational expert for, where she writes about diversity in literature and writing.

Clemens has been invited to several venues to talk about the depictions of Islamic veiling in literature and culture and is always eager for the chance to engage with audiences. In April, she will be an invited panelist discussing the rhetoric surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis at Christ Church Neighborhood House as part of the opening events for the “Life After Survival” exhibit coming from the United Nations.

Clemens cares deeply about serving her community, specifically when considering issues of social justice. Her goal is to ensure each and every student knows their voice matters. Her commitment to this empowerment led her to be the 2016 Chair for the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Schools’ Women’s and Gender Studies Conference to be held at DeSales University in April 2016, a place for undergraduate students to come together in the Lehigh Valley and showcase their scholarship. KU undergrad Maria Sunick—winner of the Best Paper Award at 2015’s LVAIC Conference—says, “Speaking at the LVAIC conference was such an exhilarating opportunity. It felt so empowering to be surrounded by people who want to listen to and support what I have to say.” Helping students see that they deserve to be heard was also the focus of Clemens’s KU Diversity Conference presentation given in February.

On the KU campus, all of her service focuses on issues of equity and ensuring the campus is inclusive and affirming. Of most importance is her commitment to the Women’s and Gender Studies Advisory Board and her taking the reins of the WGS minor in Fall 2016.
When she has something to say and not enough time to publish it, she turns to her blog, Here she can be bawdy and unedited, which pretty much describes her most of the time.

In the midst of all of this scholarship, teaching, and service, most nights Clemens finds time to sit down and read A is for Activist to her four-year-old daughter. Usually Clemens falls asleep soon after her daughter does.

Dr. Amanda Morris

Dr. Amanda Morris visited high school juniors at Oley High School to discuss the presence of Native American culture and the common myths in learning about Native literature. Dr. Morris shared several artifacts including a t-shirt and bracelet designed by Native artists, Native stand-up comedy, music, spoken word performances, and photographers. Additionally, the dialogue was opened to discuss the problem in celebrating Columbus Day and how the holiday is understood in Native communities.

Dr. Amy Lynch-Biniek

a picture of Dr. Lynch-Biniek drinking coffee

Dr. Amy Lynch-Biniek spent many years in the trenches of the adjunct teaching pool. Her hard work and dedication to teaching and learning has rewarded her with a tenured position here at KU, but it is precisely this experience that has inspired her work with the CCCC Labor Caucus, a special interest group dedicated to contingent faculty issues in English and writing programs across the country. Dr. Lynch-Biniek and her colleagues in the CCCC Labor Caucus have recently initiated the Indianapolis Resolution, which asks “professional organizations, institutions, and departments / programs in Composition, Rhetoric, Writing and English to work towards reducing the extent to which departments and the field writ large use and exploit contingency to solve problems that primarily benefit the more secure members of those units.”

You can read more about the Indy Resolution and Dr. Lynch-Biniek’s labor work at The Compositionist.

By Amber DeFabio |

Protestors flooded the streets of Wisconsin’s Capitol building, red-faced not only from the cold slicing through their wool hats and fleece hoodies but also from their swelling anger.

Newly elected Governor Scott Walker was in the process of proposing a bill that would attack unions and working families. This was the scene in spring of 2011 that propelled Dr. Kevin Mahoney to ask, “What can I do about this?”

Dr. Mahoney wasn’t able to spend a whole lot of time organizing people across the state due to the approaching birth of his daughter, so he chose an alternative route. He created a new progressive media site, Raging Chicken Press.

He chose Old Main’s clock tower – the “angry chicken” – to give his online media forum local ties. With a slogan that says, “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention,” Raging Chicken Press has given a voice to those who are not satisfied with passivity.

“It allows new media activists to get their hands dirty in a low stakes environment. This isn’t about just reporting the facts. It’s about advocacy. We have an agenda,” Dr. Mahoney said.

His agenda is to have his site shine a light on topics that don’t receive press anywhere else. He wants Raging Chicken Press writers to submerge themselves into the media and write with an educated position and to report perspectives that main stream media will not.

“It isn’t about training workers. It’s about training citizens – to make ourselves subjects instead of objects in the world,” he said.

Dr. Mahoney’s website had been called “smash mouth journalism,” and he is happy about it. “In class and in life, I want to generate active critical engagement with the world. Don’t just sit and think about stuff; do stuff. I don’t care about a students’ particular political perspectives or beliefs. I want them to engage in the world and be heard,” Dr. Mahoney said. “The whole point is to be heard.”

On October 14, a Citizen’s Media Forum will be held at Kutztown University. It will be open to all who want to learn and experience digital communication and new media from multiple platforms such as Dr. Mahoney’s Raging Chicken Press.

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