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George Hutchinson
Department of English

Jennifer Piurek
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Two IU English professors honored with national awards

Dec. 9, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University English professors John Schilb and Andrew Miller from IU's College of Arts and Sciences are being recognized with prestigious national awards.

Schilb, the Culbertson Chair of Writing and a professor of English at IU, will be awarded the Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize from the Modern Language Association on Dec. 28.

In November, Professor of English Andrew Miller was awarded the Donald Gray Prize from the North American Victorian Studies Association. The prize is named in honor of IU English Professor Emeritus Donald Gray.

John Lincoln Schlib

John Lincoln Schlib

Schilb received the Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize for his book Rhetorical Refusals: Defying Audiences' Expectations (Southern Illinois University Press). The prize is awarded for an outstanding work in the fields of language, culture, literacy or literature with strong application to the teaching of English, and is the top book prize in the field of Rhetoric and Composition. His award is one of 16 that will be presented during the association's annual convention, held this year in San Francisco.

"Neither of these awards surprises me, although I was delighted to hear of them," said George Hutchinson, chair of IU's Department of English.

"John Schilb is widely regarded as one of the leading scholars in the field of Rhetoric and Composition, in addition to being a truly outstanding teacher and the editor of one of the two top journals in his field. And Andrew Miller's work, both as author and as editor of the flagship journal of Victorian Studies, has earned him, as well, an international reputation. These prizes bring credit to two major scholars whom I am proud to count among my colleagues in a department that produces an alarming amount of outstanding scholarship while delivering excellent teaching at all levels."

The selection committee's citation for the winning book reads:

"Theoretically informed and beautifully written, John L. Schilb's Rhetorical Refusals: Defying Audience Expectations offers a nuanced analysis of how writers and speakers defy audience expectations. Schilb's reading of case studies of recent and past rhetorical acts and his careful construction of a framework for understanding rhetorical refusals speak powerfully to the contemporary disinclination to address other points of view in civic issues. Schilb also takes on a critical pedagogical problem: students' rhetorical refusal to engage issues they do not perceive as immediately useful. This meticulously argued book will help instructors teach to these rhetorical refusals in ways respectful of students and cognizant of the centrality of discourse to civic responsibility."

John L. Schilb is editor of the journal College English. Before joining the faculty at IU, he was previously affiliated with the University of Maryland, College Park; the University of North Carolina, Wilmington; and Carthage College. He served for six years as vice president of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest.

Schilb is the author of Between the Lines: Relating Composition Theory and Literary Theory and coeditor, with Patricia Harkin, of Contending with Words: Composition and Rhetoric in a Postmodern Age. He has edited two books with John Clifford: Writing Theory and Critical Theory and Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers.

Schilb has contributed to journals such as College Composition and Communication, JAC, Pedagogy, Reader, Women's Studies Quarterly, and Change: The Magazine of Higher Education. He has also served on the editorial boards of Rhetoric Review, Reader, PRE/TEXT, Works and Days, and the CCCC/Southern Illinois University Press series "Studies in Writing and Rhetoric."

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller

In November, Miller received the Donald Gray Prize at the annual North American Victorian Studies Association Conference in New Haven for his article "Lives Unled in Realist Fiction" (Representations 98, 2007: 118-134).

The selection committee's citation for the winning article reads:

"This outstanding article impressed the Gray Prize Committee by the way that, despite its relatively brief length, it opened up large issues concerning literary realism as a genre. In a superb discussion, the author considers the way in which Charles Dickens and Henry James related to the theme of paths not taken, of other lives that could have been led by their characters. These counter-factual narratives are described as 'optative' and are argued to be a characteristic of realist fiction. The author's discussion focuses on the themes of marriage and lost children. The life unled highlights the way Dickens and James negotiated the contingency of modern life. This haunting and rich article makes big arguments and reassesses realist fiction in rewarding ways. The committee was impressed by the readings of Dickens and James but also by the way that the analysis remained in the mind long after the article had been read. This article will have an enormous impact both within and beyond Victorian Studies."

Miller, who received his Ph.D. from Princeton University, regularly teaches graduate courses on academic writing and critical methodology at IU. His undergraduate teaching includes courses on the novel and on children's literature. He also is co-editor of the journal Victorian Studies and director of IU's Victorian Studies Program. His books include Novels Behind Glass (Cambridge University Press), which describes the interplay between narrative form and the commodity culture of Victorian times; and The Burdens of Perfection: On Ethics and Reading Nineteenth Century Literature (Cornell University Press 2008), which aims to evoke and analyze the continuing powers, alluring and repellant, of 19th century moral perfectionism; and Sexualities in Victorian Britain, co-edited with James Eli Adams (Indiana University Press, 1996).

Miller has received honors that include the National Humanities Center Fellowship, Research Triangle, 2004-2005; Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences Arts and Humanities Institute Fellowship, 2002-2003; American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 1997-1998; and the Indiana University Teaching Excellence Recognition Award, 1997.

About the Awards

The Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize was established by action of the Modern Language Association Executive Council in 1979 as a memorial to one of the most widely respected scholars and teachers in the field of writing. First presented in 1980, it is awarded under the auspices of the MLA's Committee on Honors and Awards. In 1998, the cash award was increased to $1,000. From 2004-07, the Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize was selected by a committee that also reviewed work for the Kenneth W. Mildenberger Prize, which is awarded for an outstanding work in the fields of language, culture, literacy or literature with strong application to the teaching of languages other than English.

The Donald Gray Prize is awarded annually by the North American Victorian Studies Association for best essay published in the field of Victorian Studies. The prize carries with it an award of $1,000 and is awarded to essays that appeared in print in journals from the previous calendar year, on any topic related to the study of Victorian Britain.