English 105i Professor Brings Shark Tank Star into the Classroom

kevin oleary

On Monday, October 23rd, Dr. Melissa Geil, Teaching Assistant Professor, started off her Shark Tank unit with a surprise visit from a well-known Shark: Kevin O'Leary. Known to the Shark Tank audience as "Mr. Wonderful," O'Leary is the founder of O'Leary Funds and Softkey and has appeared on both Canadian and American business shows. According to Dr. Geil, O'Leary Skyped with her ENGL10i: Business students for about 15 minutes and "talked about the top 3 things that make a successful pitch. He also offered some advice to the students about gaining work experience while they are still in college to help them get some business experience as well as help them to figure out what they want to do in life." Dr. Geil says her students are still buzzing about the opportunity to have spoken with O'Leary and are "over the moon about the whole thing." Congratulations, Dr. Geil! 

The Americanist Speaker Series presents: Jarvis McInnis (Duke University): A Corporate Plantation Reading Public: Labor, Literacy, and Diaspora in the Global Black South


Thursday, October 26

7:15 p.m.


The Pink Parlor

East Duke Building

Duke University


Refreshments provided!



This paper reconstructs the history of the Cotton Farmer, a rare African American newspaper edited and published by black tenant farmers employed by the Delta & Pine Land Company, the world’s largest corporate cotton plantation located in the Mississippi Delta. The Cotton Farmer ran from 1919 to circa 1927 and was mainly confined to the company’s properties. However, in the fall of 1926, three copies of the paper circulated to Bocas del Toro, Panama to a Garveyite and West Indian migrant laborer employed on the infamous United Fruit Company’s vast banana and fruit plantations. Tracing the Cotton Farmer’s hemispheric circulation from the Mississippi Delta to Panama, this paper explores the intersections of labor, literacy, and diaspora in the global black south. What do we make of a reading public among black tenant farmers on a corporate cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta at the height of Jim Crow? What kinds of literacies did they cultivate there, and how did the entanglements of labor and literacy at once challenge and correspond with conventional accounts of sharecropping in the Jim Crow South? Further, in light of the Cotton Farmer’s circulation from Mississippi’s cotton fields to Panama’s banana fields, how might we think about the corporate plantation as a heuristic for exploring the imperial logics and practices tying the US South to the larger project of colonial domination in the Caribbean and Latin America? And perhaps most importantly, what would it mean to rethink black transnationalism and diaspora from the position of corporate plantation laborers? How did they imagine themselves as transnational subjects and forge diasporic linkages within and against the ever-evolving modes of domination and social control on corporate plantations in the global black south?


Jarvis C. McInnis is an Assistant Professor of English at Duke University. He is a proud graduate of Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi, where he earned a BA in English, and Columbia University in the City of New York, where he earned a Ph.D. in English & Comparative Literature. McInnis is an interdisciplinary scholar of African American & African Diaspora literature and culture, with teaching and research interests in the global south (primarily the US South and the Caribbean), sound studies, performance studies, and visual culture. He is currently at work on his first book project, tentatively titled, “The Afterlives of the Plantation: Aesthetics, Labor, and Diaspora in the Global Black South,” which aims to reorient the geographic contours of black transnationalism and diaspora by exploring the hemispheric linkages between southern African American and Caribbean literature and culture in the early twentieth century. McInnis’s research has been supported by numerous grants and fellowships, including the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, the Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral and Dissertation Fellowships, and Princeton University’s Department of African American Studies postdoctoral fellowship. His work appears or is forthcoming in journals and venues such as CallalooMELUSMississippi QuarterlyPublic Books, and The Global South. In addition to his research and teaching, McInnis serves as an assistant to the editor for Callaloo and a consultant for the W. E. B. Du Bois Scholars Institute housed at Princeton University. 


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The Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill invites applications for a One-Year Lecturer position

The Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill invites applications for a One-Year Lecturer position in Scottish Gaelic Studies with a start date of July 1, 2018. More information about this position can be found at https://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/128059



Call for UNC Postdoctoral Program Applications


As part of a continuing commitment to building a culturally diverse intellectual community and advancing scholars from underrepresented groups in higher education, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity is pleased to announce the availability of postdoctoral research appointments for a period of two years. The purpose of the Program is to develop scholars from underrepresented groups for possible tenure track appointments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and other research universities. Postdoctoral scholars will be engaged full-time in research and may teach only one course per fiscal year. The Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill strongly encourages applications from candidates who work in the following areas: modernism, digital humanities/history of the book, 18th and/or 19th-century transatlantic or Caribbean literatures, postcolonial literature and theory, or contemporary global Anglophone literature

The stipend is $47,476 per calendar year.  Funds are available for research expenses, including travel.  Interested applicants who will have completed their doctoral degree no later than July 1, 2018 and no earlier than July 1, 2013 are eligible to apply. The primary criterion for selection is evidence of scholarship potentially competitive for tenure track appointments at the University of North Carolina and other research universities. Preference will be given to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill strongly encourages applications from African American, Native American and Hispanic American scholars. 


Interested applicants should apply online at http://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/127986 and indicate English and Comparative Literature as their department of choice. Directions for the electronic submission are provided at the application site.  For additional information, please visit the program website at http://research.unc.edu/carolina-postdocs/index.htm. (Applications for study in any discipline represented at the University are also welcome through the central application portal.) Questions about the program or the application process may be directed to Program Coordinator Jennifer Pruitt in the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at jennifer_pruitt@unc.edu.     


The application deadline is 5:00PM EST November 15, 2017.


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, race, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or status as a protected veteran.


Download a PDF version of the Call for Applications here



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February 2018