WBU professor receives conference award

March 18, 2014

PLAINVIEW -- Dr. Cindy McClenagan, Dean of the School of Languages and Literature at Wayland Baptist University, recently received an award for American Literature at the Conference of College Teachers of English, CCTE, for her paper entitled “Picture Stories in Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God.’”

“It’s actually a longer version of a very short paper that I wrote as a graduate student that my professor said was good,” McClenagan said. “So I thought it was worth expanding and submitting to this conference.”

“Their Eyes Were Watching God” was written in the 1930s during the era of Modernism. Cubism, an art form in which shapes are angular and distorted, was very popular in Modernism. In her paper, McClenagan explores the connection between the novel and this type of art.

“Zora Neale Hurston is not a visual artist but when she writes her story her main character often talks about picture stories, and she uses that phrase throughout the novel,” McClenagan said. “I tried to make a link between how the main character is kind of taking a cubist approach and how the author is taking that idea of cubism and applying it to the written word.”

McClenagan first had to submit the paper for consideration, and then she was selected to present at the conference on February 28, 2014.  Even though her paper was chosen for presentation, she never expected it to win an award.

“I was very surprised,” she said. “I felt unworthy.”

As a part of the award, her paper is scheduled to be published in “CCTE Studies” later this year.