Claggett selected for annual humanities honor

Shalyn Claggett, associate professor of English, has been named Mississippi State University's 2012 Humanities Teacher of the Year by the College of Arts & Sciences and Mississippi Humanities Council.

Claggett will offer a public lecture on her humanities-based research Monday, Nov. 26, at 3 p.m. in the forum room on the fourth floor of Shackouls Honors College's Griffis Residence Hall: "The Animal in the Machine: Projecting and Policing Pleasure in Victorian Magic Lantern Shows." Her talk will be free and open to the public.

As the MSU Humanities Teacher of the Year, Claggett receives a $500 honorarium and will be recognized at Mississippi Humanities Council's annual spring awards banquet, which honors the contributions of humanities faculty with a teacher of the year award at each of the state's junior and senior public and private postsecondary institutions.

Not only is Claggett a Victorian literature specialist and Vanderbilt University doctoral graduate, she is also an expert in Victorian culture. Her research has appeared in numerous journals, including "Studies in English Literature," "The Henry James Review," "Prose Studies" and "Victorian Literature and Culture."

In addition to her English department teaching duties, Claggett serves as program coordinator for the MSU Institute of Humanities and is working on two books.

In "The Science of Character in Victorian Literature and Culture," she explores how phrenology, the popular 19th-century science of studying protuberances and the shape of the skull to reveal character traits and mental capacity, influenced both narrative and scientific concepts of character.

Claggett is also working with co-editor Lara P. Karpenko on "Strange Science: Investigating the Limits of Knowledge in the Victorian Age," an effort to chronicle unconventional forms of scientific inquiry and its cultural representation in Britain during the Victorian period.

Claggett and her husband, Matt Lavine, live in Starkville. For more information on Claggett and her work, visit

Leah Barbour | University Relations

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