Last week, we celebrated the contributions of Tim Dayton and Jim Machor, two of our faculty members who are retiring this May after 30 years of service to Kansas State.
Our celebration was, of course, on Zoom, thanks to the continued challenges of the COVID pandemic. We debuted the official retirement citations below and enjoyed additional remarks from Greg Eiselein (for Tim Dayton) and Christina Hauck (for Jim Machor).
Both Tim and Jim have research projects underway — Tim is working on an open-access online archive of American poetry of the First World War, and Jim is completing a monograph on the reception of Mark Twain — and so we’ll look forward to seeing them around the department in the time ahead.
For now, we thank them for their significant and lasting contributions to our students, the department, the college, the university, and the profession.
Thank you, Tim and Jim!
— Karin Westman, Department Head
Arts and Sciences
Department of English
Dr. Tim Dayton retires in May 2021 after 30 years of service to Kansas State.
Tim earned his B.A. (1982) in English from Siena College, his M.A. (1984) in English from the State University of New York at Albany, and his Ph.D. (1990) in English from Duke University. Tim joined the Department of English in 1990 as an assistant professor in American literature. He was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 1997 and promoted to Professor in 2009.
Grounded in historical materialism and practical criticism, Tim’s scholarship on 20th century American literature and culture has offered new sightlines on conventional narratives of literary history. His books on Muriel Rukeyser and on American poetry of the First World War reframe and complicate our understanding of 20th century American poetry and its relationship to prevailing ideas of nationhood and to the role of the artist. Locating value in both the popular and the canonical, Tim asks us to pay attention a greater range of voices in our cultural past and present. His most recent project – an open-access online archive of war poetry – expands this practice for the 21st century public.
A skilled lecturer in the classroom and valued contributor to department planning, Tim is admired by students and colleagues for his ability to sort through complex issues and provide cogent insight in humane and generous ways. Undergraduate and graduate students and colleagues have benefited from his wide-ranging knowledge of American literature and theory. Students and colleagues have also benefited from Tim’s knowledge about New York State, soccer, bike routes through Kansas, and other details of a life well-lived – information we may not realize we needed until Tim shares it with characteristic humor and wit.
Tim has made significant contributions to the Department of English, to the College of Arts and Sciences, to the University, and to the community. Of particular note are his appointment as Director of Graduate Studies (2010-2012, 2013) and his many years serving on the College’s Course and Curriculum Committee. In 1991, he joined Professors Don Hedrick and Jim Machor in co-founding a new graduate Track for our M.A. program: the Track in Cultural Studies. He also served as the Head of the Literature Track (2000-2002) and often arranged lectures by visiting scholars.
The words of a former Department Head from thirty years ago still capture Tim’s singular contribution: “Professor Dayton has performed commendably, bringing energy, imagination, and care.” With gratitude, we recognize Tim’s significant contributions to the mission of the Department of English at Kansas State University.
Arts and Sciences
Department of English
James L. Machor
Dr. James L. Machor retires in May 2021 after 30 years of service to Kansas State.
Jim earned his B.A. (1972) in English from The Ohio State University, his M.A. (1974) in English from the University of Idaho, and his Ph.D. (1980) in English from the University of Illinois Urbana. Following appointment as Assistant Professor (1980-1986) and Associate Professor (1986-1990) at The Ohio State University, Lima, Jim joined the Department of English in 1990 as an associate professor in American literature. He was promoted to Professor in 1995. He also received a Senior Fulbright Fellowship in American Literature and American Studies and held a Visiting Professorship (1990-1991) at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
A scholar of reception and cultural studies within the field of 19th century American literature, Jim has published five books, with a sixth forthcoming, in addition to numerous essays, book chapters, and book reviews. His early scholarship established his contribution to the interdisciplinary fields of American Studies and Cultural Studies, growing areas of study in the 1990s. His analyses of canonical texts of American literature, such as works by Melville and Poe, re-positioned these key texts within the historical moment of their initial composition and publication. His continued attention to the reader represented a key development in literary and cultural studies and, consequently, placed him at the forefront of an emerging field: reception studies. He retires as a leading scholar in that field.
Further proof of Jim’s success as a scholar and researcher resides in its academic rigor, evidenced by the venues for publication and presentation, its support through research grants (including one from the NEH), and nomination for the Modern Language Association’s prestigious Scaglioni Award. His significant contributions were recognized by his peers when he became co-editor of the refereed journal Reception: Texts, Readers, Audiences, History in 2009, an appointment that followed closely on his co-founding of the Reception Study Society, an international scholarly organization. Undergraduate and graduate students in his classes on American literature and theory have valued his range of knowledge, his incisive assessment of their writing, and his sustained interest in their ideas.
Jim has made enduring contributions to the Department of English, to the College of Arts and Sciences, and to the University. In 1991, he joined Professors Don Hedrick and Tim Dayton in co-founding a new graduate Track for our M.A. program: the Track in Cultural Studies. During its early years, Jim assisted with the planning and organization of the Track’s national conference, which continues today. He served on over 50 M.A. committees. He re-shaped the keystone course for our M.A. at a key moment in the program. He also served as the Head of the Literature Track (2008-2010).
With gratitude, we recognize Jim’s significant contributions to the mission of the Department of English at Kansas State University.