The Dr. Mildred Hart Bailey Faculty Research Award recognizes outstanding research, distinguished artistic performance and/or creative work completed within the last three years. Evaluations are based onscholarly or creative significance, national, regional or local impact, originality and ingenuity of project design and critical recognition by experts in the field.
Salter Dromm is an instructor in the Department of Language and Communications. She and her husband, Dr. Keith Dromm, a professor in NSU’s Louisiana Scholars’ College, presented “Authorial Intent and Literary Meaning” during Research Day. Last year, the two published a book examining the popular novel “The Catcher in the Rye.” The book, “The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy,” is a collection of essays on the J. D. Salinger’s novel. The Dromms co-edited the book and wrote two chapters.
“As co-editors of the book ‘The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy,’ Keith and I became interested in writing a chapter about authors’ intentions and their relevance to the understanding of texts,” she explained. “Our inspiration for our chapter ‘Calling Salinger Up,’ came from a line in Catcher when the protagonist Holden Caulfield says, ‘What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.’
“Often fans and critics are interested in calling up authors to clear up ambiguities in texts. Salinger, however, rarely gave interviews and never answered fan mail. The question that we addressed in our chapter is this: If he never gave anyone a straight answer about his intentions, how can we know his intentions? And if we did know, do they matter? For our presentation on Research Day, Keith and I applied the main points from our chapter to literary texts in general to explain our stand on authors’ intentions. We explained that we endorse a version of moderate actual intentionalism.
“The collaboration with Keith on our book has been terrific. Working with a philosopher helps to sharpen the analytical eye when interpreting literary texts,” she said.
In addition to “The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy,” Salter has other works coming out this year. She wrote a book chapter that will be published in Postnational Appetites: Rethinking Chicana/o Literature through Food by the University of Arizona Press in which she focuses on food codes and narratives in Sandra Cisneros’ “Caramelo.” The chapter discusses food as an indicator of social rank, identity and gender in a postnational sense. She also wrote an article on fairytale archetypes in Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening,” which will appear in the next volume of Louisiana Folklife.
The Dr. Jean D’Amato-Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a senior faculty member whose career has included a significant commitment to research and service to their disciplines. Nominees must have been significant contributions to their fields of study, remained dedicated to a consistent research agenda spanning their careers, including publications, presentations, research grants or other related activities, and have demonstrated a sustained record of service to the discipline.
Stave is a professor of English in the Louisiana Scholars’ College at NSU and an internationally recognized scholar of American novelist Toni Morrison. Her keynote address, “From Eden to Paradise: A Pilgrimage through Toni Morrison’s Trilogy,” explored themes of parent/child love, sexual love and divine love in Morrison’s work, which also serves to critique Judeo-Christian doctrine from the perspective of the African American experience.
“I find Morrison’s text narratively exhilarating,” Stave said. “I can think of no writer besides Faulkner who can use language so boldly and so precisely, but to such a purpose. Some postmodern writing is what I consider all hat and no cattle—stylistically brilliant but devoid of content. Morrison writes to a political end—to make visible to all the situation of African-American people in this country, to interrogate how gender, race and class intersect to create monstrous oppression, but also, to do what I guess all good serious writing does—which is to scrutinize the human situation and see how we are at our best and at our worst, how we triumph and fail, how we make life matter. I never get tired of reading her works. Her characters are so profound and she isalmost always so sympathetic to them even as they are sometimes monstrous in their capacity for cruelty.”
The Research Day Committee also recognized faculty members Ann Deshotels, assistant professor of nursing atNorthwestern State’s Cenla campus, and Leslie Gruesbeck, assistant professor of art, for contributions to institutional research by incorporating research projects into their coursework. The two each sponsored several student presenters during Research Day.