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Beth Fraser ’20 presents research at top professional conferences

beth fraser
Beth Fraser '20 takes a break from her role as conference speaker to visit nearby San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Furman University rising senior Beth Fraser of Shelby, North Carolina, has won the respect only few undergraduate-level researchers receive in the world of literature and Romanticism.

This summer she presented her research at the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment held at University of California, Davis, and at the International Conference on Romanticism hosted by The University of Manchester, England.

Both conferences are known for discriminating audiences, researchers, and equally scrutinous research review committees.

beth fraser
Fraser’s research evolved from an interdisciplinary project which explored ecoacoustic avian telemetries.

At the two meetings, Fraser presented “Poesy breaths in all: Ecocritical Explorations of Romanticism’s Omnipoetic Universe.”

Born of Fraser’s interdisciplinary project examining ecoacoustic avian telemetries, the paper explores naturalistic figurations of birdsong by Romantic poet John Clare, who was described by his biographer as “the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced.”

The opportunity to present at both conferences was a pleasant surprise for Fraser. “I scarcely dared to hope that either would accept me, and yet here I am with the beautiful opportunity to present at both,” she said.

Mentor Michele Speitz, Furman associate professor of English literature, said that many graduate students and faculty members submit work to these conferences without success. “So for Beth to be selected as the only undergraduate to present at two major professional conferences is truly remarkable,” Speitz said. “She is not only presenting her work in front of an exacting audience, but is speaking as an expert, as someone with something important to share with people in the know.”

Fraser said Furman’s Office of Undergraduate Research and the Furman Humanities Development Fund encouraged and supported her investigations.

An English literature and art history double-major, Fraser specializes in 19th-century British literature and early 20th-century painting with particular interests in Romanticism, ekphrastic poetry, the Simultaneous movement, aesthetic theologies, ecocritical theory, and the intersection of art and literature.

Fraser is especially interested in Romantic-era metaphysics and ecocritical art history. She is co-writing an article with Speitz entitled “Avian Telemetries & the Audible Anthropocene: Romantic Ecoacoustics, Transdisciplinary Ecologies, Sympoetic Worlding.”

Following graduation next spring, Fraser plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Romantic literature or modern art on her way to becoming a professor in the field.

For more information, contact Michele Speitz in the Department of English at 864-294-3619 and michele.speitz@furman.edu. Or contact the Furman News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

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