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May 10, 2012

Raphael Falco, English, Named 2012-2013 Lipitz Professor

Chelsea Williams
Communications Manager, UMBC

Raphael Falco

Raphael Falco, professor of English, has been named the Lipitz Professor of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences for the 2012-2013 academic year. Falco is one of the foremost scholars, nationally and internationally, of the English Renaissance.

“Professor Falco is a very distinguished and productive scholar, one who brings recognition and distinction not just to himself and his department but to the university. It is thus altogether fitting that he has been named Lipitz Professor,” said John Jeffries, dean of the college of arts, humanities, and social sciences.

The Lipitz professorship was established by Roger C. Lipitz and his family to “provide funds to recognize and support innovative and distinguished teaching and/or research.” The professorship comes with about $10,000 in funding.

This honor comes in a year when the English department will be moving from their current home in the Fine Arts building to UMBC’s newly constructed Performing Arts and Humanities building. Although the timing is a coincidence, Jeffries said that the new building and Falco's Lipitz professorship are both opportunities to bring additional attention to the quality of faculty in the English department.

“I feel that it enhances our installation in the new building," Falco said. "It’s good timing."

Falco is the author of Charisma and Myth (Continuum, 2009), Charismatic Authority in Early Modern English Tragedy (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000), Conceived Presences: Literary Genealogy in Renaissance England (University of Massachusetts Press, 1994), and Cultural Genealogy in Renaissance Discourse, which will be completed this summer. He has written extensively about the genealogy in Renaissance culture and the importance of charisma to the establishment of political and social authority in the era. “Many people get charisma wrong,” he said. “It isn’t just popularity, it’s a group experience. It’s an interdependent relationship between the leader and the followers, each one needs the other.”

Falco’s contributions to UMBC have extended beyond his area of study. Within the English department, he has taught everything from survey classes to comparative literature to courses on modern poetry. He is also the advisor for the UMBC Review, UMBC’s undergraduate research journal.

“It’s really improved my experience here, because I’ve seen what students are willing to do and how extraordinarily competent they are,” he said. “I’m extremely impressed with their ability to choose good work and edit good work.”

During his Lipitz professorship, Falco plans to research a book that he has tentatively titled Shakespeare’s Counter-Genres, which will discuss Shakespeare’s use of genre in tragedy.

Falco is also starting work on a project about charisma in the digital age. He describes this project as “an analyses of our relationship to charisma when there is no group, but we think there is a group because of this relationship we have to the digital world.”

Next spring, Falco will give the annual Lipitz lecture, which will focus on the work that he has completed throughout the year.

Posted by chelseah at May 10, 2012 1:40 PM