Conference Speaker to Discuss “Literature and the Feeling of Aliveness”

September 15, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The fourth annual MUSE Undergraduate Literature Conference, to take place on Saturday, Sept. 27, will feature keynote speaker Lisa Ruddick, professor of English at the University of Chicago. Ruddick will give her address, titled “Literature and the Feeling of Aliveness,” at 12:30 p.m. in the Center of Natural Science Learning and Research (201 E. Beecher St., Bloomington), room C101.

MUSE is presented by Illinois Wesleyan University’s Alpha Eta Pi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta (STD), the international English honor society, in conjunction with Illinois State University’s Lambda Delta chapter.

The conference, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Center of Natural Science Learning and Research. Registration begins at 8 a.m. in the commons area and conference activities begin at 9 a.m. with student research presentations. The conference will also feature informational panels on post-graduate options for literature majors, Feminist literature, and British literature.

Ruddick’s current scholarship focuses on the ways in which “training in the humanities, conducted with the best of intentions, can thwart the feeling of aliveness by partially dissociating practitioners from their intuitions and their deep affective resources.” She is the author of Reading Gertrude Stein: Body, Text, Gnosis  (Cornell University Press, 1990), "The Near Enemy of the Humanities is Professionalism" (Chronicle of Higher Education, November 23, 2000) and "Stein and Cultural Criticism in the Nineties” (Modern Fiction Studies 42, 1996).

IWU’s chapter of STD was awarded the title “Outstanding Chapter” in 2007.  In addition to organizing MUSE, the chapter publishes “The Delta,” a compilation of student essays examining literature, and has continued its tradition of hosting student and faculty research colloquia, bringing authors and literary critics to campus, coordinating book club discussions, holding a campus book drive, and promoting student participation in regional and national conferences.

STD was founded in 1924 at Dakota Wesleyan College by Judson Q. Owen, a 1913 graduate of Illinois Wesleyan.  The organization invites the membership of outstanding students of the English language in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies.  Illinois Wesleyan’s Alpha Eta Pi chapter was founded in 1998.

To register for the conference, e-mail your name to by Sept. 24.

For more information about MUSE, visit the MUSE Web site (, contact conference chair Leila Whitley at  To learn more about STD, visit the STD Web site ( or contact co-Presidents Michelle Bourgeois or Emily Franzen at

Contact: Jessica Block ‘09, (309) 556-3181