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English undergraduates publish in academic journals

Published on February 28, 2024

English undergraduates publish in academic journals

english students
English students Marcus Grant and Kai-li Davey were published in two different academic journals this academic year. 

Two honor students in the English Department recently published major writing projects in academic journals. Recent alumna Kai-li Davey ‘23 was featured in the January 2024 Sigma Tau Delta creative writing journal “Rectangle,” and Marcus Grant ‘24 received recognition in the Fall 2023 issue of the scholarly journal “Metamorphosis.” 

Davey wrote her short story “She Saw Me” under the mentorship of creative writing Professor Christopher Torockio. The story follows Hazel, an Asian American adopted into a white family who faces racial discrimination within her predominately white district, including a boy who makes fun of her at school and a lady in a parking lot who mistakes her mother for her nanny. According to Davey, many of Hazel’s experiences were inspired by real-life events. 

“Being a Chinese adoptee myself, I have always felt not entirely American nor Asian and a need to figure out a healthy balance of both,” said Davey. “Similar to Hazel, I grew up in an American family who wanted to make sure I appreciated my Asian heritage and came together for Chinese New Year and the Autumn Moon Festival.” 

Despite the discrimination her adoptive daughter faces, Hazel’s mother encourages her to embrace her heritage. Although Hazel feels isolated outside her home, she and her mother effectively connect to her heritage by sharing myths and legends originating from her culture.  

Davey added that she hopes her story and her success in publishing will inspire readers, especially those of marginalized ethnic groups, to find creative outlets to share their stories of finding their identities. 

“I wish this kind of representation was more present in storytelling, but people are becoming more open to adding more chairs to the table,” said Davey. “I hope this story leaves space for other student writers of color to share their experiences and know that their voices matter.” 

Grant’s 25-page research article, “Free in Body and Spirit: Spectral Liberation of Objectified Peoples in Victorian and Neo-Victorian Literature,” is a deep dive into Victorian horror and the social hierarchies within this era. Grant conducted research in spiritualism, reports of ghost encounters and psychological theories on the supernatural that he related to Victorian literature.  

“I had a passion to understand more about where horror came from and the ways it had been used in the past, and how the past then bled into current works of horror,” said Grant.I hope that I, and that other scholars, will be able to tackle questions about the role of horror narrative in these stories as well.” 

According to Grant, the research project started following an independent study under English Professor Allison Speicher concerning the supernatural elements and macabre themes in Neil Gaiman’s book “Coraline.” 

“This article displays Marcus’s wonderful skill for synthesizing diverse collections of primary texts and thinking historically,” said Speicher. “His project both makes a contribution to 19th-century studies and pushes us to think honestly about the ways the ideologies of the 19th century continue to live on in the present day.” 

Through his article, Grant also showcases the lasting effects of Victorian social hierarchy on today’s society. Women and children are typically marginalized in traditional Victorian society, and Grant found that the spectral figures from the stories he cited normally fell into at least one of those groups. He theorized that the literal ghosts of the past are manifestations of the oppression experienced by the person while they were living. 

“The heart of my argument is this: In the past, governesses, women and children were often connected with ghosts and able to communicate with them or are ghosts themselves,” explained Grant. “Being able to engage with the world after they've died, these people can recognize and point to the oppressive experiences they have been under.” 

Written by Elisabeth Craig