In Memoriam

Dr. Scott Nygren

Dr. Scott Nygren

Scott Nygren was our friend and colleague from 1990 to 2014. When he passed away he was Professor of English as well as the Director of the Center for Film and Media Studies.

He received his BA from the University of California at Berkeley in 1968 and his PhD from SUNY-Buffalo in 1982. He joined the Film and Media Studies Program at UF in 1990 after helping to create the Center for Media Study at the State University of New York at Buffalo, initiating a film education program at the Museum of Modern Art, heading the film program at the University of Toledo, co-founding and directing a Media Arts Center in northwest Ohio, and teaching at Ithaca College. He lived in Japan and in Paris for extended periods of research.

Professor Nygren was the author of Time Frames: Japanese Cinema and the Unfolding of History (University of Minnesota Press, 2007). He published essays on cultural theory and film in books such as To Free the Cinema: Jonas Mekas and the New York Underground, Otherness and the Media: The Ethnography of the Imagined and the Imaged, Melodrama and Asian Cinema, Kon Ichikawa, and Teaching Film, and in such journals as Wide Angle, the Quarterly Review of Film and Video, the Journal of Film and Video, Afterimage, Jump Cut, Post Script, Field of Vision, Iris, and ARTmargins. He also produced his own video art tapes and installations.

At UF, he introduced seminars on Lyotard, Deleuze, Foucault, and Agamben, on Film History and Historiography, and on Techne, Technique, and Technology. He also taught graduate and undergraduate courses in video production and undergraduate courses in documentary film, avant-garde film, and Asian film, as well as other courses in film history and theory. He designed and taught an experimental undergraduate course called “Post-History and Visual Culture” to consider the representation of networked histories in a postmodern and postcolonial context through visual media.

Professor Nygren was Chair of the Faculty Senate, a member of the Board of Trustees in 2011–12, and a member of the Presidential Search Committee in fall 2012. He was also past Chair of the Senate Policy Council on Research and Scholarship, of the Senate Policy Council on Academic Infrastructure, and of the CLAS International Committee. He taught in Florence, Italy, coordinated UF programs at Aix-en-Provence and the Paris Research Center in France, and taught at Sichuan University in Chengdu, Sichuan, China.

Dr. Jim Paxson

Dr. Jim Paxson

James Paxson was our friend and colleague from 1995 to 2011. At the time of his death he was Associate Professor of English.

Jim was born on Long Island, NY, and earned his MA from the University of Toronto and his PhD from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He taught at Iona College in New York before joining the UF faculty. He taught courses in medieval literature and literary theory. He also taught and conducted research in literature and science, serving in addition as organizing co-chair of the 1998 annual conference for the Society for Literature and Science. He was a beloved teacher and mentor, and in 2001, he was named CLAS Teacher of the Year.

Professor Paxson’s main research interests included theory of allegory and narrative, and he published in Studies in Iconography, Mediaevalia, the minnesota review, Symploke, Criticism, Rhetorica, The Yearbook of Langland Studies, Configurations, and Studies in the Age of Chaucer. He was the author of The Poetics of Personification (Cambridge, 1994). He also co-edited two collections, Desiring Discourse: The Literature of Love, Ovid Through Chaucer (Susquehanna/AUP, 1998) and The Performance of Middle English Culture: Essays on Chaucer and the Drama in Honor of Martin Stevens (Boydell & Brewer, 1998). In later years his most influential work was in the study of the great 14th-century English poem Piers Plowman.

Professor Paxson was also Associate Editor of the distinguished journal Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Dr. John Seelye

John Seelye was Graduate Research Professor of American Literature at UF. Before moving to Gainesville in 1984, he was Distinguished Alumni Service Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and had also taught at the University of Connecticut and the University of California, Berkeley. Seelye received his BA from Wesleyan in 1953 and his PhD from the Claremont Graduate School in 1961.

Professor Seelye’s published work includes scholarship, criticism, and fiction, among which are Melville: The Ironic Diagram (Northwestern, 1970), The True Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Northwestern 1970), The Kid (Viking, 1972), Prophetic Waters: The River in Early American Life and Literature (Oxford, 1900), and Beautiful Machine: Rivers and the Republican Plan, 1755–1825 (Oxford, 1991).

Professor Seelye received a Guggenheim and two NEH Fellowships for his work on the river in American culture. During 1985–86 he was in residence at the American Antiquarian Society as an NEH Fellow. Seelye was a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Professor and from 1979 to 2006 was the general editor of the Penguin American Library.

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