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Professor Spotlight: Dr. Vimala Pasupathi

By Danielle DenenbergStaff Writer During a recent conversation with English professor Dr. Vimala Pasupathi, she talked about how “students don’t often realize that professors do other work; they do appreciate the teaching aspects, but don’t recognize that faculty members do outside research as well.” Maybe as students, we are guilty of this. For students majoring in English, taking English courses and/or hoping to work in the field of literary studies, being aware of the work that Pasupathi and other professors in this department do separate from the university can be a major benefit. Many of the professors in the English department have published their writing through sources outside the University. For instance, Pasupathi published an essay in the February 2012 issue (Volume 109- Number 3) of an academic journal called “Modern Philology,” which focuses on studies in literature. This journal contains professional pieces from English literary scholars who work in libraries, theaters, and, like Pasupathi, universities. Pasupathi’s essay, which is entitled “Coats and Conduct: The Materials of Military Obligation in Shakespeare’s ‘Henry IV and Henry V,’” focuses on research done to note the mention of the military in Shakespeare’s works. A part of Pasupathi’s piece reads, “Marching in the garment that projected competing perceptions of subject loyalty and royal responsibility, Shakespeare’s soldiers wear the history of England’s developing militia—and its discontents—on their sleeves.” The illustration on the front cover of the 2012 issue is the same one that was used to portray Pasupathi’s piece, and gives readers a glimpse of what the essay discusses. Pasupathi has taught eleven different undergraduate courses at Hofstra since fall 2006, including 15 sections of English 115, Shakespeare’s Early Plays and Sonnets, and 5 sections of English 116, Shakespeare’s Later Plays. Both “Henry IV and Henry V” are read in English 115; students registered in this course may be interested in, or, at the very least, benefit from, the outside research of these plays explored in Pasupathi’s article. According to Pasupathi, “people who work in literary studies and English definitely know of the journal.” Pasupathi knew about the journals for years and read them as part of her training process. Literary scholars whose pieces become approved for publication in “Modern Philology” must receive recognition and admiration from other literary researchers and trainees. In fact, only 10 percent of the writers who submit their work to the journal become published, which alone is a feat that should be recognized by students, especially ones who may be looking to do similar work someday. As a tip for professors or those who wish to become one, although “Modern Philology” is not a Hofstra University journal, the University still recognizes the accomplishments of its staff, and therefore provides them with benefits. Faculty members are given funding to attend conferences for work done outside the normal duties of teaching. Information on the edition of “Modern Philology” that Dr. Pasupathi’s contributed to and volumes, can be found on JSTOR.

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