January 21, 2014

Dear UH Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a restful winter break. With the semester already underway, I would like to highlight our distinguished faculty and staff on their recent accomplishments.

Paula Myrick Short

Author Interview: W. Lawrence Hogue

W. Lawrence Hogue, John and Rebecca Moores Distinguished Professor of English, recently published a new book, "Postmodernism, Traditional Cultural Forms, and African American Narratives." Dr. Hogue tells us about himself, his new book, and current projects.

Please tell us about your new book.

 “Postmodernism, Traditional Cultural Forms, and African American Narratives” is my fifth book. I wanted to explore how African American authors had turned to blues, jazz, voodoo, and other traditional cultural and art forms and repositioned African American subjectivity. They revisit and challenge the representation of the African American as deviant other. In my book, I examine the texts of three male and three female contemporary African American writers including Toni Morrison, Bonnie Greer, and John Edgar Wideman.

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

The book is for multiple audiences but particularly for those interested in African American studies, African American Literature, Continental Theory, and American Literature. People should read it because I did something novel, different, in it. In a postmodern, multicultural, multiracial American society, I wanted to arrive at an American subjectivity that could go to the Other, that could empathize with the Other, and the blues and jazz allowed me to do that.

Tell us about your current projects.

I am working on a book on the modern American novel in the 1920s and 1930s. I am fascinated with that period because writers dealt with everything we are dealing with now and they developed new forms of modernity that are still relevant today. I want to make the fiction of the ‘20s and ‘30s speak to today. I am also working on a book on Primitivism and the Harlem Renaissance. In the 1920s, Primitivism was dominant and African American authors got caught up on being called “Primitive,” which had a negative connotation. I plan to explore and examine that which was labeled “Primitive.”

.Professor Hogue and his new book

Professor Hogue and his new book

What led you to specialize in 20th Century American literature, US Minority Literatures, and Critical Theory?

Early in my career, I taught a class with a novel written by a Native American author. One day, I had a bright American student in my class make a comment that she did not know Native Americans could write. It struck me, and I realized that I wanted minorities’ voices to be heard. I now teach a course titled Minorities in Literature. Their stories reach out to everyone and are not limited to a specific audience. I see it as creating a third space and rewriting America.

What was one of the most surprising things you have learned in writing your books?

How it keeps you alive. In the midst of writing you get sucked in. Writing takes place 24 hours a day. If I am working on something and cannot figure it out, I will go to the gym. On the treadmill if something comes to me, I will get off because if I do not write it down, I will forget it. Writing also makes you grow intellectually, and I put it up there with good wine and good food. It is one of the best ways to be alive.

What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?

I cannot imagine writing without French Theory, especially the theorists of the 1960s. I teach and read them all the time. Not only do I believe theory enhances how I read and write but I am convinced that it is the reason that I continue to write. It continues to teach me how to read literature, as it opens up new critical spaces.

Zhu HanProfessor Zhu Han

Zhu Han Named IEEE Fellow

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has named Zhu Han, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, an IEEE Fellow. The IEEE is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. Less than one-tenth of 1 percent of IEEE’s voting members are selected annually for this member grade elevation, which is the association’s highest honor.

Beyond his outstanding record of accomplishments, the IEEE cited Dr. Han’s contributions to resource allocation and security in wireless communications. Recognized as an expert in these fields, he has published peer-reviewed papers and co-authored five books. Dr. Han’s work also goes beyond wireless communications. As an expert in data processing, he applies his knowledge to smart grids, electrical grids that have built-in monitoring and communications systems for reporting power usage. The Electric Power Analytics Consortium, which he established, addresses issues such as the efficient use of smart grids data to determine how to quickly restore power to the largest number of customers following a widespread outage. The consortium was founded last year and has since signed Houston-based CenterPoint Energy as its first official member.

Both in Dr. Han’s smart grids work and research in wireless communications, the IEEE plays an important role in developing new systems and technology.

Han Books

A selection of books by Professor Han

Academic Affairs Leadership Appointments

The Division of Academic Affairs has completed the search for five positions. Provost Short is pleased to announce the following appointments of key individuals. Please visit the Provost's website for their biographies.

Jaime Ortiz, Vice Provost for Global Strategies & Studies
Responsible for reviewing and analyzing the effectiveness of global activities including study abroad programs, and the development of outreach strategies to recruit and retain faculty, students, and staff from diverse and international backgrounds.

Richard Olenchak, Associate Provost, Faculty Development and Faculty Affairs
Responsible for activities related to the recruitment, hiring, orientation, professional development, and promotion and tenure of faculty.

Teri Elkins Longacre, Vice Provost and Dean, Undergraduate Student Success
Responsible for articulating and implementing a strategic vision for the University’s undergraduate student success efforts, including academic advising, research opportunities, and improvement of academic programs.

Dmitri Litvinov, Vice Provost and Dean, University of Houston Graduate School
Responsible for planning and developing a University of Houston graduate school, including the coordination of graduate admissions, the implementation of graduate school policies and procedures, and ensuring adequate financial support for graduate students.

Jeff Morgan, Associate Provost,
Education Innovation and Technology
Responsible for assessing the effectiveness of different teaching modalities and identifying technologies to advance learning and teaching.

Paula Myrick Short