Posted on May 2, 2022
A Farewell to Dr. Romine, Department Head 2014-2022
By Elizabeth Robertson (MA ’22)
Dr. Scott Romine is a Professor of American Literature and Head of the English Department. After serving as Head of the English Department for eight years, he will be stepping down from the position on July 31, 2022. Dr. Jennifer Feather will become the next Department Head at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.
Dr. Romine came to UNCG in 1996. He is a leading scholar in the field of Southern studies. He is the author of The Narrative Forms of Southern Community and The Real South: Southern Narrative in the Age of Cultural Reproduction. He also co-edited Keywords for Southern Studies with Dr. Jennifer Rae Greeson at the University of Virginia. Currently, Dr. Romine is working on two books. The first, The Zombie Memes of Dixie is forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press. Originally given as the Lamar Lecture in 2020, The Zombie Memes of Dixie addresses a paradox. A time traveler from 1850 would find almost nothing recognizable in the contemporary U. S. South, but they would find Southerns using familiar terms and ideas to define the South: the importance of place, tradition, hospitality, a “slower pace of life,” etc. Approaching these “cultural units” as what Richard Dawkins calls memes, Dr. Romine explores their persistence and mutation over time, arguing that the primary function of memes (to articulate and sustain a group boundary) is often confused with their capacity to represent empirical reality. His other book, The Strange Career of Cornbread Nationalism is co-authored with Jon Smith of Simon Frasier University. It examines how food is increasingly used to sustain the idea of a southern people or nation, and in ways that reproduce earlier, less palatable anchors of southern identity.
Dr. Romine became Department Head in 2014. When he started, the English Department was dealing with massive budget cuts. He actually performed the duties of Department Head and Associate Head for a year and half before Dr. Anthony Cuda’s appointment as Associate Head. Since Dr. Romine’s appointment as Department Head, the English Department has grown, adding seven tenure line faculty members and eleven lectures. Now, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the English Department is experiencing budget cuts again. However, Dr. Romine is grateful for the English Department faculty and staff that works to sustain the English Department’s success under any circumstances. He is especially appreciative of the program directors, including Dr. Jennifer Feather, Dr. Karen Weyler, Dr. Amy Vines, Dr. Jennifer Keith, Dr. Risa Applegarth, an Mr. Terry Kennedy, and the office staff, Mr. Paul Cloninger, Ms. Noel Cox, and Ms. Everhart, for all of their hard work.
1. What’s your favorite time of day?
2. What’s the biggest learning experience you’ve had as Head of the English Department?
How complicated they can make things
3. What are you most excited about these days?
4. What makes you smile the most?
Youtube videos of comedians
5. What’s one thing people don’t know about you?
That I sculpt in my spare time
6. What are the three things you can’t live without?
Irony, cycling, and my wife
7. Window or aisle seat?
Window. Does anyone seriously prefer aisle?
8. What’s your current TV character obsession?
9. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done in your life?
Trying to break up a fight involving a 320 pound Auburn offensive lineman
10. How would you define yourself in three words?
“Live for others”
11. What’s inspiring you in life right now?
Inspiring thoughts shared on social media
12. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Gather information and go with your gut
13. What’s your pet peeve?
I have dozens. People who use coupons is one of them.
14. What’s heavily played on your music playlist right now?
I don’t have a musical playlist.
15. What’s your favorite board game?
Trivial Pursuit? I don’t really like board games.
16. What book did you most recently finish?
17. What’s your favorite holiday?
18. If you could switch lives with one person for a day who would it be?
Wout van Aert.
19. What is one book you’ll admit you’ve never read but probably should?
Probably should have read a novel by Charles Dickens.
20. What’s the one thing you wish you knew at age 19?
How to manipulate time and space
21. If you were not living in Greensboro, where would you be living?
22. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
23. What is a fictional city you would love to travel to?
Paris in The Sun Also Rises.
24. Favorite food?
A good steak
25. Favorite snack?
Smoked oysters in a can
26. What’s the one talent you wish you had?
27. What’s your favorite band?
28. What’s a superpower you wish you had?
Really rubbery arms like that guy in the Fantastic Four
29. What’s something you don’t want to be doing in 10 years?
30. What’s the best thing that happened this year?
Carolina clowning Duke in Coach K’s ridiculous send-off celebration, and then clowning them again in the Final Four.
31. Which movie makes you laugh the hardest?
Replays of Carolina clowning Duke in Coach K’s ridiculous send-off celebration.
32. What is your idea of a perfect vacation?
Hiking in picturesque mountains
33. What’s your favorite color?
34. What are three words to describe the English department?
Literary, rhetorical, theoretical
35. What’s one thing you had to learn the hard way?
You have to attend the class to pass the class.
36. What’s a trend you would like to see disappear forever?
This whole Tik-Tok thing. Why do people do this?
37. What did you want to do with your life at age 12?
Professional baseball player
38. What do you consider your greatest achievement as Head of the English Department?
Keeping the trains running on time
39. What have you enjoyed most about being the Head of the English Department?
The almost unlimited power and authority; seeing colleagues do good work
40. What have you enjoyed most about working with other departments?
Seeing that most departments are serious about their work and care about the University
41. How did the Covid Pandemic impact your responsibilities as Head of the English Department?
Made things more complicated
42. What are your future plans?
Finish two book projects
43. What advice do you have for the incoming Head of the English Department, Dr. Jennifer Feather?
None–Jen doesn’t need my advice!