Month: April 2021

Humanities Undergraduate Attends Society for Technical Communication Summit

STC 2020 Summit Logo

Professional development opportunities that students can take advantage of while they are in school contribute significantly to student success after graduation. For Julia Barnes, Scientific and Technical Communication (STC) major, a recent opportunity to hear from professionals in her field was a great way to continue to build her expertise and her network. Barnes attended the 2020 Society for Technical Communication Summit in May. 

While she was looking forward to a trip to Seattle, WA to attend in person, Covid-19 restrictions resulted in a shift to a virtual conference. However, the result was no less impactful for Barnes. “I was able to visit sessions that covered a wide range of topics from project tracking to giving feedback. I learned a lot and engaged in meaningful conversations with the other attendees as well.” One benefit of the virtual format? “All of the sessions have been recorded and the slides are available to download until August or so. So many of the topics this year are relevant, no matter the workplace or profession. I’m going to continue tuning into sessions so that I can hear what other technical communicators have to say.”

STC undergraduate students from Michigan Tech have been able to attend the Summit annually over the past several years thanks to the encouragement and support provided by Nancy Hoffman, a member of the Society for Technical Communication and generous friend of the Humanities department. The department thanks her for helping provide these valuable opportunities for our students.


Van Kooy’s paper for London conference examines ‘the plantationoscene’

Associate Professor Dana Van Kooy presented her essay, “Assemblages of the Plantationoscene” recently at The London Stage and the Nineteenth-Century World III conference, sponsored by the New College at Oxford University.

Invoking the neologism “plantationoscene,” the paper from Van Kooy, who directs Tech’s English program, examines John Fawcett’s pantomime, “Obi; or Three-Finger’d Jack,” which opened at London’s Haymarket Theatre in 1800. Linking the era (cene) to the performance and visual reproduction of specific theatrical scenes, this neologism offers an alternative framework for interpreting Fawcett’s pantomime, which assembled scenes of plantation life and its corresponding devastation into a formulaic plot.

Focusing on stage descriptions and those scenes advertised on its playbills, “Assemblages of the Plantationoscene” draws attention to the production of a visual ecology that reconfigured the colonial landscape.

In her abstract, Van Kooy established the relevance of the topic: “Throughout The Atlantic World, the plantation system marked a period of human and ecological disaster, one that theaters in Britain and the United States readily transformed into captivating spectacles throughout 18th and 19th centuries. The scale of this devastation continues to impact society in myriad ways, including racialized violence and policies that associate people and labor practices with ‘natural’ and/or geographical spaces.”