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Feagin Oliver Presents at National Collegiate Honors Council Annual Conference

The University Honors Program was once again honored to have a student presenting on a Student Interdisciplinary Research Panel at the annual meeting of the National Collegiate Honors Council.  Emily Feagin Oliver (English, ‘15) was selected to discuss her work, “Linguistic Patriarchy: Gender and Language in Samuel Beckett’s First Love.” At the conference, she presented to an audience of about 30 students and faculty from honors programs across the country.   The November conference took place in Denver, and Dr. Steven Engel, Dr. Francis Desiderio, and Erin Martin also attended.

Feagin Oliver discusses her paper on Samuel Beckett's "First Love"

Feagin Oliver discusses her paper on Samuel Beckett’s “First Love”

In her presentation, Oliver explained her analysis of Beckett’s story and focused on his use of gendered language. She based her reading of “First Love” on theoretical ideas developed by Second Wave French feminist thinkers Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, and Helene Cixous.  Their work in post-structuralist feminist theory also examines women’s rights in society.  Oliver discussed language and the use of language in terms of character and gender roles.

Oliver’s research began in an Introduction to Literary Studies course on Georgia Southern University’s campus. In the course, Oliver was challenged to apply a theory to a work of literature, and her research was born. “I’ve edited and expanded my work several times. My University Honors Program thesis is an expansion of this work with three of Samuel Beckett’s short stories,” Oliver said.

In the past, Oliver has presented at the state and regional conferences, but attending a national meeting was new to her: “Presenting at the national conference was a new challenge for me. It’s always good to hear different perceptions on your work,” Oliver said. “In the feedback, people will mention books that I never would have thought would be relevant to my research,” Oliver said.

During her free time at the conference, Oliver had a chance to attend sessions, participate in the City As Text™ program, and talk about her paper, graduate school, and honors programming with Dr. Engel and Dr. Desiderio. “It was great to talk about my work and give some input about Georgia Southern. They even offered advice on graduate schools,” Oliver said.

NCHC had a wide variety of presentations and posters, Oliver said. At the conference, students presented on different topics in interdisciplinary research. In addition, there were several segments on Honors Program development.  “The conference put Georgia Southern in a new light for me. It reaffirmed that we are doing things right here,” Oliver said.


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