In Memoriam: Tom Wortham

October 8, 2021

UCLA Professor Emeritus Thomas R. Wortham, Ph.D., 77, of Thornville, Ohio formerly of Los Angeles, died October 8th, 2021, at Riverside Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He was born in Liberal, Kansas, to the late Tom and Ruth Wortham. Tom received his B.A. in English and Religion at Marquette University and was awarded his Ph.D. in 19th Century American Literature and Studies from Indiana University. He served on the faculty of UCLA for nearly forty years and as Chair of the English Department for ten years. Brilliant, warm, loving, wryly humorous, and extremely generous, Tom had a curiosity for life and liked to say that he stood for “Truth, Beauty, and Ballet.” Tom’s impact on the community was enormous: he was a passionate patron, board member, and cheerleader for BalletMet Columbus; a beloved member of St. Luke’s Church, Granville, where he led adult education classes and was Dean and rhetorician of the B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Brain) Academy Lecture Series; an Oblate, lay member, of the Community of the Transfiguration, Glendale, Ohio; and a former member of the board with Granville’s Robbins Hunter Museum. Tom’s hospitality was legendary, a gourmet cook, a prolific raconteur; Tom was an “Intellectual” who could talk with anyone. Left to cherish Tom’s memory are his husband The Reverend John M. Kauffman; his canine companions, Cletus and Aggie; nephews and nieces Mike and Diane Lane, Steamboat Springs, CO; Thomas and Kimberly Lane, Max, Molly, and Lucy, Arlington, VA; David and Brigit Lane, Ryan, Hunter, and Natalie, Moseley, VA; Laura Kauffman, Paducah, KY; Christa and Jeff Cox, Graison and Lawson, Dickson, TN; cousins, Gary and Ann Helf, Columbus; Andrea and Jordan Reid, Guy and Sloane, Pataskala; and a host of other family and friends. In addition to his parents, Tom was preceded in death by his first partner George Chavez; sisters Nancy Wortham and Mary Pat Lane; and Ruth, his faithful canine and work companion. A Requiem Mass will be held at 11:00 AM, October 16th at Swasey Chapel, Denison University, Granville, Ohio, with The Reverend Canon Karl Ruttan, as celebrant. Masks will be required. A reception will follow at the Robbins Hunter Museum, Granville, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Tom’s honor to BalletMet, 322 Mount Vernon Ave, Columbus, OH 43215; St. Luke’s Church, P.O. Box 82, Granville, OH 43023; or The Ann Kiser Lowder Legacy Fund, c/o Robbins Hunter Museum, P.O. Box 183, Granville, OH 43023. Online condolences may be expressed at To send flowers to Thomas’ family, please visit McPeek-Hoekstra Funeral Home’s floral store: Please see here for the full obituary:

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Publication by Kate Bolton Bonnici

September 15, 2021

Kate is a Lecturer in Rhetorical Arts at Loyola Marymount University. She received her PhD at UCLA following an MFA at UC Riverside and JD at NYU. Her poetry collection, Night Burial, won the 2020 Colorado Prize for Poetry and was published in November. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Arts & Letters, Southern Humanities Review, CounterText, Image, and elsewhere.   She writes a publication for these times.

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Kersti Francis wins Charles E. and Sue K. Young Graduate Student Fellowship Award for 2021-22

September 7, 2021

Congratulations to Kersti Francis, PhD candidate in English at UCLA, for winning the Charles E. and Sue K. Young Graduate Student Fellowship Award. This prestigious award bestowed by the College Deans recognizes “outstanding graduate students for exemplary academic achievement, research, and service to the campus and the community.” As a PhD candidate in English at UCLA, Kersti works on the intersections between magic, gender, and sexuality in the Middle Ages and early English Renaissance (1100-1600). Her dissertation project, Queer Magic: Sodomy, Sin and The Supernatural in the Later Middle Ages, uses the guiding framework of medieval understandings of nature and sins contra naturam to argue that literary magic functions as a “safe” form of heresy for authors to engage in queer imaginings of bodies, genders, and sexual acts.

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Marissa López Teams up with 826LA on Summer Writers Workshop for Teens

August 10, 2021

Professor Marissa López’s digital humanities project, Picturing Mexican America, teamed up with 826LA to create a virtual summer writers workshop for middle- and high-school students. 826LA is a non-profit dedicated to developing the writing skills of students 6 to 18, and provides a variety of services such as tutoring, workshops, help for English-language learners and student publications. Professor López partnered with 826LA to create a virtual summer writing workshop based on research from her Picturing Mexican America project. In the summer workshops, Professor López showed students photos of the city, uncovered in her research project, which are different from what is typically included in standard textbooks, and challenged them to think about questions such as “Who makes decisions about what gets remembered? How can we bring unseen or ignored things to light?” Over the course of the workshop, the students created written and visual works that explore the past, present, and future of Los Angeles. In addition to Professor Professor López, two UCLA graduate students in English participated in the project. Gabriela Valenzuela taught the students to create their own maps of Los Angeles, and Efren Lopez led students in an exercise to consider what the future of Los Angeles might look like, and to imagine themselves as historical figures of the future. Read more about the workshop, and see some of the students visual work, here.

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Associate Professor Matthew Fisher’s Capstone Course Provides New Material for UCLA Library

June 24, 2021

Associate Professor Matthew Fisher and curator Devin Fitzgerald taught the capstone course, “Writing the Digital Archive: Old Books in New Worlds” during the Winter 2021 quarter. They taught students to learn and think about books from a new perspective, with the end goal being able to write a grant proposal to acquire new materials for the UCLA Library. Read more about it here.

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Uri McMillan Selected as 2021-2022 Radcliffe Fellow

June 2, 2021

Uri McMillan has been named a 2021–2022 fellow at Harvard Radcliffe Institute, joining an extraordinary group of artists, scientists, scholars, and practitioners who will learn from and inspire one another in a year of discovery and interdisciplinary exchange in Cambridge. McMillan will pursue an individual project in a community dedicated to exploration and inquiry. Project Title: “Airbrush, Instamatics, and Funk: Art, Pop, and New York City’s Long 1970s” Brief description: This project is a cultural history of select artistic figures living and working in New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s, tracing their networks of affiliation and the category-defying work they produced. These cultural actors–including fashion illustrator/photographer Antonio Lopez, performer Grace Jones, and model Pat Cleveland–often frustrated dichotomies between high art and the popular while routinely communicating through style. In this book, I delimit increasingly sophisticated artistic practices staged in disparate sites, be it department store Fiorucci or nightclub Paradise Garage while also understanding the import of the late 1960s, particularly counter-cultural tendencies, on this historical period. Subject Areas: Art History & Visual Culture, Performance Studies, African American Studies, Feminist and Queer Theory, Fashion Studies The full list of fellows is online here.   ……………….   About the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University   Harvard Radcliffe Institute is a unique space within Harvard—a school dedicated to creating and sharing transformative ideas across all disciplines. Each year, the Institute hosts leading scholars, scientists, and artists from around the world in its renowned residential fellowship program. Radcliffe fosters innovative research collaborations and offers hundreds of public lectures, exhibitions, performances, conferences, and other events annually. The Institute is home to the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library, the nation’s foremost archive on the history of women, gender, and sexuality. For more information about the people and programs of the Radcliffe Institute, visit

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Brian Kim Stefans Publishes Festivals of Patience: The Verse Poems of Rimbaud

June 1, 2021

Brian Kim Stefans has published a new English translation of Arthur Rimbaud’s poems in verse in a volume entitled Festivals of Patience: The Verse Poems of Rimbaud. Rimbaud, poet of “logical revolts,” of sexual freedom, inveterate modernist, Symbolist, and inspiration to beatniks, conceptual artists and punks, wrote some of the most enduring poems of world literature. His career lasted all of five years, between 1870-1875. In this new English translation of all his poems in verse, Brian Kim Stefans has kept Rimbaud’s sense of songcraft in mind, retaining the French meters in his English versions. He is the first to have done this. The book opens with a Latin poem that Rimbaud wrote more than a year before his first known French poem, and it ends with a short poem he wrote a few years after leaving Paris, one which became a touchstone for Surrealist Andre Breton.

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