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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Dr. Romanow Speaks on Queer Space & Time

Dr. Romanow Speaks on Queer Space & Time

UMass Boston’s first Queer Studies professor? Well, not exactly. Dr. Rebecca Fine Romanow is a part-time English professor and author of Post-Colonial Literature of Queer Space and Time. At first glance her book may appear to be a new age science fiction novel. But don’t be so quick to judge a book by its cover. It’s much more fascinating than any knock off version of a weird erotic science fiction thriller.

So what is this book about then? Romanow explains first that the word queer, (though very eye catching) was not intended to address just sexual orientation, but was to tackle the broader definition of the word meaning “deviation from the usual or expected.” In reference to Post-Colonial Literature she analyzes the works of writers and poets from Africa, India, and the Middle East who were first generation immigrants to Britain. Romanow examines their “queer” works in comparison to their British counterparts. The works of authors like Hanif Kureishi, a Pakastani-Briton, who write “The Buddha of the Suburbs,” were analyzed.

An Alumni of Boston University where she received both a BA in English Literature in 1974 and a MBA in 1978. After that time Romanow worked her way up the corporate ladder at Bank of Boston. When she left in 1982 she was the Assistant Vice President in charge of Corporate Services. She received her masters’ degree from UMass Boston in 2000, exploring the idea of becoming a high school English teacher. Still not having satisfied her thirst for knowledge and not quite sure where to take her new scholarship, she decided to continue on with her PhD. She started out as a graduate assistant in film course taught by Dr. John Leo of URI, who also happened to be her dissertation advisor and mentor through her doctoral studies and research. Last August, Romanow received her PhD in English Literature from the University of Rhode Island in Providence (URI).

Romanow now commutes back and forth between Boston and Providence, where she teaches English and Film courses at both UMass Boston and URI. She also teaches a five-week course here at UMass Boston for the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLLI) in “Rock ‘n’ Roll in Film.” Romanow speaks highly of her students and even dedicated her book them. “Thanks to my students who were the greatest source of inspiration and academic conversation”, she states. Though splitting her time between URI and UMass Boston, Romanow considers herself a full-time UMass Boston community member. She states, “UMass Boston has a flourishing academic environment,” which is one of the main reasons she chose to continue with her teaching career at UMass Boston. She acknowledged that the English Department here had such an extremely comfortable atmosphere which allowed for the much needed “social exchange” required for her to complete her work and move past obstacles in research.

Romanow is looking forward to doing future work on films. This book, while still carrying the same theme of post-colonialism will focus in on the Middle East, narrowing in on countries like Iran, Iraq, Israel, and Palestine. She explains that expanding beyond the written English form to film studies is not far from the realm of English literature roots. Though still in the planning stages, Romanow gushes with enthusiasm about this future ambition and can’t wait to dig into the research and writing.

Romanow’s alternative approach to scholarship has made her work all that more fascinating. Professor Romanow’s leap from the corporate to academic world seems to have fit her just fine. Now as an official expert of English Literature, Romanow will no doubt continue to bring her passion to the classroom here on UMass Boston.