Announcing Dr. McHaney’s appointment as the Kenneth M. England Professor of Southern Literature, Dr. Randy Malamud said, “Her work in the field defies a quick summary, but some of the highlights include her book A Tyrannous Eye: Eudora Welty’s Nonfiction and Photography (UP of Mississippi 2014); five other edited volumes about Welty’s photography, essays, and book reviews, and reviews of her work; an annual journal, Eudora Welty Review, of which Pearl is the founding editor; 30 book chapters and essays (many about Welty, but other figures of southern literature as well including William Faulkner, Barry Hannah, Kathryn Stockett, Natasha Trethewey, and Tennessee Williams.
“Professor McHaney has given lectures around the world about Welty and other writers in an effort to bring southern literature to international audiences. And closer to home she has organized numerous conferences and performances celebrating the writing of our region. Combined with her work as director of GSU’s Center for Collaborative and International Arts (CENCIAhttp://cencia.gsu.edu/) and as a champion of the Decatur Book Festival, Professor McHaney has striven throughout her career to ensure that a strong presence as a public scholar accompanies her extensive academic research.” She also serves on the Advisory Committee for the Rialto Center for the Arts.
Dr. McHaney also researches and teaches twentieth-century American prose (fiction, essay, drama) and poetry from an American Studies point of view. The cultural contexts revealed through art, music, history, and biography inform her teaching. While the work of Eudora Welty is the primary focus for Dr. McHaney’s research and publications, she has also written on and/or lectured on F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tony Grooms, Sindiwe Magona, David Mamet, Alice Munro, and Flannery O’Connor. She has given invited lectures on Welty and others in the U.S. and in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, and Spain. The courses that Dr. McHaney teaches are varied: Children’s and Young Adults’ Literature, Literature and Culture of the Harlem Renaissance, Literary Perspectives of New York City, Race, Rights and Resistance: Literature of the American South and South Africa, Senior Seminar for Secondary English, Twentieth-century American Poetry, and Welty’s Cosmos.
Dr. McHaney serves on the Secondary English committee, guiding undergraduates in the Secondary English Concentration, working with the College of Education and Human Development’s TEEMS English masters of arts in teaching degree program (http://mse.education.gsu.edu/programs/masters-specialist-programs/english-education-m-a-t/ ). She served as chair (2006-2007 and 2008-2009) and chaor-elect (2005-2006, 2007-2008) of the Professional Education Faculty (http://education.gsu.edu/faculty-staff-resources/coe-professional-education-faculty/ ). With colleague Renee Schatteman, she created an outreach program for K-12 teachers called Conversations among Partners in Learning (2000-2011. She and Schatteman won an NEH Summer Institute for Teachers grant in 2002. One of her current projects in completion of a textbook of Georgia literature that tells the stories of the state’s history, a book intended for Georgia’s eighth grade language arts and history students.
Dr. McHaney has been active in international programs development as well, originating and directing the college’s student and faculty exchange program with the University of Versailles Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines in France.
Beyond the university community, Dr. McHaney is a frequent presenter for the Georgia Center for the Book and guest leader for numerous book clubs and study groups. She has garnered grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Georgia Humanities Council for the study and promotion of the importance of literature.
In addition to the ongoing editing of the Eudora Welty Review, Dr. McHaney is compiling Eudora Welty Remembered for a series edited by Jackson Bryer and published by University of Alabama Press (2015). She also continues her scholarship on the work of Natasha Trethewey (U.S. Poet Laureate 2012-2014) with a presentation to “The Trans-South” Southern Studies Forum 2015 conference in Essex, U.K., in September 2015.