Meet The Professors

by Kat Weigle

UTSA’s English department is known for attracting top-notch professorial talent. Here’s an opportunity to glimpse the personalities behind the PhDs!

Steven G. Kellman, PhD.

Dr. Kellman is a professor of comparative literature and translingual studies. He's also the man who showed up to his wedding on a bike and makes his own vegan ice cream. In other words, if you think you know him, you're probably wrong.

Would you like to share something about yourself that won't be found on your CV?

I suffer from a benign addiction to tennis.

When/how did you get into tennis? What drew you to it, and why do you keep playing? Are you aware of Dr. Lanehart as a tennis player? Would/have you considered challenging her to a match, friendly or otherwise?

I was on my college's tennis team, which was no great accomplishment, since I was seeded 15 out of a squad of 16. My moment of greatest glory came during practice when I defeated our #3 seed. I never got to play in an intercollegiate match. For the past several years, I have been playing singles and doubles on a team in a United States Tennis Association league. Scores are recorded, standings tabulated, and playoffs scheduled. I played against Dr. Lanehart shortly after she came to UTSA. However, she developed a back injury, and we have not played since.

What is your favorite class to teach?

Any class with dedicated, alert students who come to sessions prepared to be challenged and to challenge me.

Your interest in translingualism sounds fascinating. Do you write in a non-native language? Is English your primary language or have/do you speak another language at home?

English is my native language, though I keep working at enhancing my command of it. Though I have translated from other languages (French and Hebrew) and have studied several others, I do not write anything but letters and emails in them. What fascinates me about the phenomenon of translingual literature is how very difficult we all know it is to write well in our primary tongue and what a challenge it is to take on the added handicap of writing in an adopted language. Even the great Michael Jordan floundered when he tried to translate his consummate basketball skills into a career as a professional baseball player.

What is your favorite space in San Antonio?

Friedrich Wilderness Park. It is where my wedding was held.

Would you mind telling me a little more about your wedding at the park? Why did you choose that location?

Though I respect some traditions, I was perhaps trying to avoid the fussy nuptial formalities and celebrating the vanishing freedoms of bachelorhood by arriving at my wedding not in a limousine and dressed in a tuxedo but on a bicycle and dressed in shorts and a T-shirt. The verdant natural surroundings were a humbling and inspiring reminder of the place that a couple of human beings occupies in the larger universe.

Is there a literary figure you could name who had a profound impact on you personally or academically?

W.H. Auden. He was the first of many notable authors I have met over the years. I interviewed him when I was in high school, at his exquisitely disheveled East Village digs. When I, a callow neophyte, asked the great poet what his favorite book was, Auden patiently replied: "The O.E.D. [Oxford English Dictionary]. It is the magical algorithm for generating all of English literature."

Do you have a guilty pleasure, pop culture or otherwise?

Pleasure is not genuinely pleasurable if it is haunted by guilt. I cannot confess to clandestine binges on Hostess Twinkies, Harlequin romances, or Duck Dynasty. I do, though, regularly consume my homemade blueberry "ice cream." Concocted with tofu and coconut milk, it is luscious and nutritious. Because it is vegan, it is a pleasure sans guilt.

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