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English professor named 2019-2020 Benedum Distinguished Scholar

West Virginia University Professor of English Michael Germana has been named a 2019-2020 Benedum Distinguished Scholar in recognition of the high caliber of his research and scholarly activity. 

Michael Germana
Michael Germana

The Distinguished Scholars awards, funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, are awarded annually to faculty engaged in “creative research” in as many as four categories: behavioral and social sciences, biosciences and health sciences, humanities and the arts, and physical sciences and technology. This year, exceptional scholars were identified in three of the four categories. 

“This year’s Benedum Distinguished Scholars represent the very best in research and creative scholarship at WVU,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed. “They are an inspiration to both their colleagues and their students and are making an impact in their respective fields of study. I am honored to work alongside such scholars at WVU.” 

Germana is honored in the humanities and the arts category. An English professor with specializations in American literature and American studies, his research includes two books and over a half-dozen articles as well as presentations and invited talks.

 This award recognizes in particular Gemana’s 2018 volume “Ralph Ellison: Temporal Technologist,” a unifying theory that weaves its way through the sum of Ellison’s work. The work was published by one of the most prestigious presses in the field, Oxford University Press. 

The interdisciplinary nature of Ellison’s corpus is reflected in Germana’s approach that draws upon film theory, antebellum visual rhetoric, photomaterialism and music theory. The result is a complete re-evaluation of Ellison’s lifework and a much-needed lens for re-examining the legal, economic and social frameworks through which the body is read in our own time. The work has been praised by reviewers as “the finest and most important work on Ellison to date” and for transforming the field of Ellison studies.