Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Seminar on Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales receives funding

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a Kent State University faculty member the opportunity to give American school teachers an enriching experience abroad.

Kent State English Professor Susanna Fein has won a major federal grant in the humanities to co-direct a seminar on Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales for school teachers in London next summer. The NEH grant totals $131,663. It covers the cost of the four-week program and provides stipends to participating teachers to cover their transportation, housing and other expenses.

Fein will co-direct this seminar with David Raybin, an English professor at Eastern Illinois University who is also Fein's husband. The pair was chosen to lead a similar NEH seminar in the summer of 2008. With the success of that program evident in participants' satisfied responses, the federal humanities agency has again selected them to lead an educational program abroad.

NEH summer seminars are designed as critical outreach and enrichment endeavors by its Division of Education Programs. Such seminars enable American school teachers to explore a topic with expert scholars. A seminar's principal goal is to engage teachers in the scholarly enterprise and to expand and deepen their understanding of the humanities through reading, discussion, writing and reflection.

The Chaucer program, which will run from July 19 to Aug. 14, 2010, will include in-class discussion of the entire Canterbury Tales, walking tours of surviving medieval sites in London and Oxford, scholars from England as guest speakers, and an overnight trip to Canterbury. The participants will be 16 teachers from across the United States, chosen by committee. The application deadline for participants is in early March. Participants will be informed of their selection in early April.

Fein teaches a course on The Canterbury Tales every spring in Kent State's Department of English. Since 2001, she and Raybin have been editors of The Chaucer Review, a well-regarded academic journal that has been serving the scholarly community since 1966, and they have also produced two books of critical essays on Chaucer. In addition, Fein currently serves as a trustee of the international New Chaucer Society.

A resident of Kent, Ohio, Fein has taught medieval subjects in the English department for 25 years. She coordinates the College of Arts and Sciences' interdisciplinary minor in ancient, medieval and Renaissance studies, and she also undertakes and publishes research on medieval manuscripts under the auspices of the Kent State Institute for Bibliography and Editing.