Congratulations to Vincent Carretta on his Retirement!

June 9, 2016

The English Department congratulates and thanks Vin Carretta for his dedication to teaching, his significant research in eighteenth-century transatlantic historical and literary studies, and his remarkable service to the English Department.

The illustrious nature of Carretta’s career is evident in the countless fellowships and awards Professor Carretta has received.

In 2007, Carretta was the recipient of a Kirwan Faculty Research and Scholarship Prize, which recognizes a faculty member for a highly significant work of research and scholarship. Carretta received the Kirwan Prize for his book, Equiano, The African: Biography of a Self-Made Man (The University of Georgia Press, 2005; Penguin, 2007), in which Carretta argued that Equiano may have been born in South Carolina, rather than Africa. According to Hana Layson and Valentina Tikoff from The Newberry, “Vincent Carretta discovered two eighteenth-century documents that indicate that Equiano may indeed have been born in the British colony of South Carolina. Carretta’s discovery has fueled an impassioned and as yet unresolved debate among literary critics and historians about Equiano’s identity and our evaluation of different kinds of historical evidence.”

From 2009-2010, Carretta was a Guggenheim Fellow and spent the tenure of his Fellowship researching and writing about Phillis Wheatley. In 2011, Carretta published Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage (The University of Georgia Press, 2011).

Carretta spoke at the British Library on the Iganatius Sancho manuscripts in 2013 and in 2014; he spent the summer teaching at the University of Tübingen, Germany, where he gave a lecture entitled “Race, Religion, and Rights in the Age of Revolution: The Case of Phillis Wheatley.” Most recently, in 2015, Carretta gave a keynote address, “Uncovering Lives: The Biographical Challenge of the Early Black Atlantic,” at the First Biennial Conference of the International Auto/Biography Association, Chapter of the Americas, University of Michigan. He was also chosen as the Inaugural Senior Fellow of the Omohundro Institute George III Project at Windsor Castle.

In addition to Equiano, The African: Biography of a Self-Made Man and Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage, Carretta is the author of George III and the Satirists from Hogarth to Byron (The University of Georgia Press, 1990, 2007), and "The Snarling Muse": Verbal and Visual Political Satire from Pope to Churchill (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983).

He is the editor of Scholarly Editions - Philip Quaque, Correspondence (Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 2010), Phillis Wheatley, Complete Writings (New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 2001), Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery and Other Writings (New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1999), Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African (New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1998), Unchained Voices: An Anthology of Black Authors in the English-Speaking World of the Eighteenth Century (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1996; revised and expanded edition, 2004), Olaudah Equiano (New York: Penguin USA, 1995; revised and expanded edition, 2003), and Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African (Peterborough, Canada: Broadview Press, 2015).

According to Garth Libhart, a PhD student, Vin offered him a warm welcome into the department.
"Dr. Carretta was one of the first people to personally welcome me to the University of Maryland's graduate program, and I greatly appreciated his warmth and helpful guidance as a prospective student. Moreover, I am grateful for Dr. Carretta's supportive and encouraging attitude in the early stages of my graduate career and I am glad I had the opportunity to meet him," said Libhart.
PhD student Jonathan Williams thanks Vin for his support.
"Vin has taught me many things about the eighteenth century in the five years that I have known him (as anyone who is aware of his reputation in the field of eighteenth-century studies would imagine), but just as important, Vin has taught me how to be a professional scholar. In March 2015, I was giving a paper at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies in Los Angeles. Vin was the first person to show up to the panel and the last to leave (especially meaningful since this panel was at 8 a.m.). Not only did he ask provocative questions about the talk; he also took me to lunch afterward to have a generous and provocative conversation about the ideas in the talk and about the field of eighteenth-century studies in general. Working with Vin has been one of the highlights of my graduate career; the impact he's had on my thinking very nearly defies words," says Williams.

Vin's influence on the department has been significant. His colleagues and students alike thank him for his dedication and tireless research and his presence will be missed in Tawes Hall!