Several members of the English Department faculty received grants from UNM’s new WeR1 Faculty Success Program, an internal funding initiative created to aid faculty work within the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those who received the award were Professor Jonathan Davis-Secord and Assistant Professor Nahir Otaño-Gracia of the Medieval Studies program, Sarah Hernandez, Assistant Professor of Native American Literature, and Sarah Townsend, Assistant Professor in British and Irish Literary Studies.
Among English Department recipients, WeR1 funds went largely to support archival research for upcoming projects, including Otaño-Gracia’s manuscript in progress The Other Face of Arthur: Medieval Arthurian Texts from the Global North Atlantic, which traces connections between North Atlantic and the Iberian Peninsula, approaching North and South relations in the Middle Ages in new light and highlighting the crucial status of critical race theory in medieval studies. Otaño-Gracia is also translating the Old Catalan La Faula into both English and Spanish.
Hernandez’s manuscript We Are the Stars: Colonizing and Decolonizing the Oceti Sakowin Literary Tradition investigates the transition of a textual tradition from oral to written forms, exploring linkages between literature and land loss. In the midst of pandemic-related shutdowns, WeR1 funding will enable Hernandez to navigate the difficulties of archival access.
Townsend’s What’s New About the New Irish? Immigration, Whiteness, and Racial Succession in Ireland and the United States, 1892-2020 traces immigration from Ireland to America through the idea of the “new Irish,” an analysis that provides a novel understanding for race relations in Ireland.
Professor Davis-Secord noted, “The lockdown highlighted the precariousness of access to some materials fundamental to my research, and the WeR1 funds will make sure that I will have those works at my fingertips even if we lock down again.” In a time of restricted access to travel and archives, the WeR1 Program will enable English faculty to make progress in innovative, interdisciplinary research projects, needed now more than ever.