Five named

University Library announces graduate student assistantships

The University of Delaware Library has announced the appointment of five graduate student assistantships in the 2014-15 academic year.

The graduate students are James Casey, a doctoral candidate in the Department of English; Sean Lovitt, also a doctoral candidate in the English department; Cheryl Mariani, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science and International Relations; Sarah Patterson, a doctoral candidate in the English department; and Erin Rafferty, a graduate student in the English department.

Lovitt and Mariani will process manuscript collections in the Manuscripts and Archives Department and Rafferty will assist Mark Samuels Lasner with the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection. Casey and Patterson will work on the Colored Conventions Project.

Gregg Silvis, associate university librarian for Information Technology and Digital Initiatives, serves as the administrative liaison to the Colored Conventions Project. He will work with Casey and Lovitt.

Casey received his bachelor's degree in literature in English from the University of California, San Diego, and his master of arts in English from UD. He is currently a doctoral student in English with research interests in antebellum American culture and the digital humanities. His dissertation will focus on 19th-century newspaper editors as new media figures.

Patterson received her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her master of arts in English from UD. She is currently a doctoral student in English with a research focus in 19th-century African American literary history. Her research examines black women's contributions to literature, education and print culture.

The Colored Conventions Project team is comprised of a diverse group of dedicated and energetic scholars, graduate and undergraduate students and librarians at UD. Project members represent a range of academic disciplines, including English, African American history, art and education.

The team is committed to generating an online hub that "brings buried history to digital life" and attends to social justice in scholarship and research by offering an in-depth exhibition of black Americans and political organizing during the 19th-century under the faculty leadership of P. Gabrielle Foreman, Ned B. Allen Professor of English and professor of Black American Studies at UD.

Foreman is also a senior research fellow with the University of Delaware Library. She is the founding faculty director of the Colored Conventions Project and works closely with Silvis as well as the graduate student co-coordinators and the grants committee.

Maureen Cech, senior assistant librarian in the Manuscripts and Archives Department, will supervise the work of Lovitt, who will work on literary manuscript collections. Danielle Emerling and Tammi Kim, assistant librarians in the Manuscripts and Archives Department, will supervise the work of Mariani, who will assist with the senatorial papers of Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other political papers.

The Library Graduate Assistantship program was established in 1989 and has provided invaluable opportunities to work with primary resources for graduate students from numerous academic programs including English, history, art history, museum studies, political science, sociology and preservation studies.

Previous graduate assistants have developed important research skills by processing manuscript collections related to the fine and applied arts; English, American and Irish literature; Delaware and American history; history of science and technology; horticulture; and the history of printing, papermaking, and the book arts — all of which are subject strengths in the library's Special Collections.

Mariani graduated magna cum laude with a distinction in international studies from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Her study abroad includes experiences in Strasbourg, France; The Gambia, Africa; and Quebec City.

Mariani began the doctoral program in political science and international relations in August 2013. Her areas of research interests include U.S. foreign policy, Middle East politics, security, Islam and technology.

Lovitt received his baccalaureate in English from Dalhousie University of Canada in 2000 and his master of arts degree in English from Concordia University of Canada in 2009.

His work focuses on necromancy and political sovereignty in the early modern period. Some of his broader research interests include crowds, prisons and primitive accumulation. He intends to explore themes of space, materiality and fantasy in literature at UD.

Rafferty received her bachelor's degree in English from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and is a current master's student in the English department.

Her research focuses on homosexual identity in the decadent literature (specifically novels) of the late-19th century. She has studied Oscar Wilde and Joris-Karl Huysmans, examining the interplay between homoeroticism, luxury and the consumption of luxury goods in their work.

Article originally published September 17, 2014 on UDaily.

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