To foster communal intellectual vitality and conviviality, the English Program sponsors Friday Forums weekly. Friday Forums bring to the GC internationally recognized scholars, writers, and publishers to discuss a wide variety of literary and cultural topics. This series of lectures and readings is followed by a reception with food and wine. Forums generally take place at 4 p.m. on Fridays, but many occur in conjunction with all-day conferences and interdisciplinary events. Some Forums are devoted to special issues of student/faculty concern, such as financial aid, adjunct teaching, curricular changes, and the education job market. The first Forum of the Fall Semester is generally an orientation session for new students in the Program, and the last one in each semester, the Winter/Spring Revels, is a party not to be missed.
Friday Forum Schedule: Fall 2013
Unless otherwise noted, all events occur on Friday at 4 p.m. in the English Program lounge (room 4406). Please check back regularly for updates.
New Student Welcome
The English Program welcomes our first year students with presentations from the English Students Association, faculty, Program Officers and current students in the Program.
Workshop for English Program students who are (or will be soon) on the job market.
4:00PM, Elebash, Reception follows in Room 4406
This event brings together prominent scholars of colonialism, race, and religion to discuss whether or not it is possible to speak of globalization in the pre-modern era. We anticipate a lively debate that will cross period boundaries and that will address how the expansion of travel, trade, imperialism, and cultural exchange between 1600-1800 contributed to the process of globalization. Panelists: Leela Gandhi, University of Chicago; Suvir Kaul, University of Pennsylvania; Ania Loomba, University of Pennsylvania; and Feisal Mohamed, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Moderated by Kim Hall, Barnard College.
9:00AM-6:00PM, Segal Theater, Reception Follows in Room 4406
What are the new scenes or spaces of critical invention? What different faces might critique have? Speakers include Ammiel Alcalay, Jamie Skye Bianco, the Hollow Earth Society (Ethan Gould and Wythe Marschall), Bruce Holsinger, Eleanor Johnson, Eirik Steinhoff, Allen Strouse, Henry Turner, Michael Witmore, Marina Zurkow and Una Chaudhuri. Preregistration encouraged.
Cathy Davidson (Duke) "Why Higher Education Demands a Paradigm Shift: Access, Equity, Diversity"
In this Faculty Membership Talk, Davidson analyses new directions in higher education in light of peer-to-peer and connectivist methods of collaborative learning and the top-down, centralized online education being promoted by Massive Online Open Courseware (MOOCs) emanating from a few elite universities and corporate funders. In light of the capacities of the World Wide Web that allow for participation, collaboration, and self-publication, the recentralizing of learning in MOOCs seems, on the face of it more in keeping with 19th centruy forms of silo’d education designed for the Taylorized Industrial Era. In this talk, Davidson looks both theoretically and experientially at some assumptions behind new modes of learning.
Modernism/The Harlem Renaissance/Print Culture
Modernism happened in the magazines, as did the Harlem Renaissance. But the flourishing of the New Negro movement occurred in a far broader context than uptown Manhattan in the 1920s, and the intersections of American print culture and black modernism require further scrutiny and exploration. This panel brings together three scholars working at the intersections of African American literature, modernism, and periodical studies: Jayne E. Marek (Women Editing Modernism: "Little" Magazines and Literary History), Adam McKible (The Space and Place of Modernism: The Little Magazine in New York and Little Magazines & Modernism: New Approaches , and Suzanne W. Churchill (The Little Magazine Others and the Renovation of American Poetry and Little Magazines & Modernism: New Approaches).
2:00PM, Room 9204/5
Beneath the American Renaissance at Twenty-Five: David S. Reynolds and American Cultural Studies, A Symposium
In this symposium, several leading Americanists—Bill Kelly and Robert Reid-Pharr of the CUNY Graduate Center, Annette Gordon-Reed of Harvard, Sean Wilentz of Princeton, and Brenda Wineapple of Columbia and The New School—will discuss the theoretical, conceptual, and methodological implications of David S. Reynolds’s prize-winning Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville (1988), which was recently reprinted and released as an e-book. Many of the impulses behind this seminal book and other writings by Reynolds—such as democratizing literary and historical study, recuperating lesser-known works, taking seriously the relationship between popular texts and canonical literature—have since become fundamental to various revisionist methodologies of criticism and cultural studies. David S. Reynolds of the CUNY Graduate Center will give a brief response.
Informational Meeting and Admissions Workshop for African American and Latino/a Students
We invite everyone, and especially African American and Latino/a students, to this informational meeting and admissions workshop. Learn about the cutting-edge scholarship and vibrant scholarly community at the Graduate Center. Get application tips from a panel of current students and members of the Admissions Committee. Have your questions about doctoral study answered.
Sarah Cole (Columbia), The Wells Era
In her book-in-progress on H. G. Wells, Sarah Cole will make the case for a full revaluation of H.G. Wells's work for scholars of modernism. A major figure spanning literary, political and cultural spheres in the first half of the century, Wells has been almost entirely neglected by literary critics. In reconsidering his achievements, Cole aims to provide a new prism for reading the modernist period. In this talk, taken from the book's first chapter, Cole analyses key aspects of Wells's style with several aims: to account for Wells's massive world-wide audience; to demonstrate the nature of his writerly innovations across different genres; and to suggest that modernism itself might be newly legible in the terms set by Wells.
Caroline Reitz (John Jay College), Good Vibrations: Elizabeth Gaskell in Dickens’s House
This is a Faculty Membership talk. Gaskell was there at the beginning. The first installment of her “Lizzie Leigh” immediately followed Dickens’s “Preliminary Word,” which introduced his journal Household Words on March 30, 1850. Dickens’s journals, which he edited for the final 20 years of his life, represent his greatest thought experiment, not just about the spirit of the age, but about form (literary, social, institutional) itself. The generic variety and collaborative nature of Gaskell’s frequent contributions to the journal in its first years and her understanding of the relationship between social structure and literary form were essential to Dickens’s conception of nation and narrative.
Emily Apter (NYU) in conversation with Peter Hitchcock (Graduate Center and Baruch), Against World Literature: On the Politics of Untranslatability
Presented by the Postcolonial Studies Group. Against World Literature: On the Politics of Untranslatability argues for a rethinking of comparative literature focusing on the problems that emerge when large-scale paradigms of literary studies ignore the politics of the “Untranslatable”—the realm of those words that are continually retranslated, mistranslated, transferred from language to language, or especially resistant to substitution. In the place of “World Literature”—a dominant paradigm in the humanities, one grounded in market-driven notions of readability and universal appeal—Apter proposes a plurality of “world literatures” oriented around philosophical concepts and geopolitical pressure points. The history and theory of the language that constructs World Literature is critically examined with a special focus on Weltliteratur, literary world systems, narrative ecosystems, language borders and checkpoints, theologies of translation, and planetary devolution in a book set to revolutionize the discipline of comparative literature.
Jonathan W. Gray (John Jay College), Heroes in Black: Race, Image, Ideology and the Evolution of Comics Scholarship
Part of the New Directions in African American and African Diasporic Literary and Cultural Studies series. This talk investigates representations of Black Americans in mainstream comics and graphic novels. Given that Black American visibility has often hinged not simply on the documentable fact of one’s presence before an audience, but also on, as Ellison famously put it early in Invisible Man, “the construction of [that audience’s] inner eyes, those eyes with which they look through their physical eyes upon reality” Gray’s talk seeks to trace how these twin understandings of illustration—composing a drawing for visual consumption as well as the political project of bringing information long unacknowledged to the fore—function in the graphic narratives published since the Civil Rights movement waned over 40 years ago.
Tanya Agathocleous (Hunter College),The Aesthete and the Babu: Affect on Trial in Late Imperial Britain
This is a Faculty Membership talk. In turn of the century Imperial Britain, two sets of trials subjected writers to criminal liability for improper affections: one set resulted in Oscar Wilde’s prosecution for “gross indecency” in 1895, while the 1891 trial in Calcutta of the Bangavasi periodical set off a series of court actions wherein the colonial government sought to prosecute Indian newspapers for sedition. In each case, the court created a new literary-criminal other who was cast out of the public sphere, thus defining that sphere as a space of restrained affect. But they also consolidated cultures of opposition that used affective stances as forms of resistance.
Michael Rothberg (U Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), "Holocaust Internationalism: The Witness as World-Traveller"
In this talk, Michael Rothberg explores the half-century-long testimonial project of Auschwitz survivor and filmmaker Marceline Loridan-Ivens. Rothberg illuminates the ways in which Loridan-Ivens helps us to rethink recent approaches to the globalization of Holocaust memory, by shifting our attention from the discourse of human rights to that of anti-colonial internationalism.
Final Forum: Open Executive Committee Meeting, Poetry, Revels
The ESA is a student-run organization that seeks to improve living and working conditions of students in the Program by representing the interests of the students in the Graduate Center English Department. Representation includes expressing the concerns of the students to the faculty and administration as well as relaying information back to the students. The primary tasks of the ESA are to provide a forum for student concerns, sponsor a network of student mentors, oversee course evaluations, and run the student election process. In addition, the ESA runs an annual conference (with faculty participation) open to ESA members as well as students form other institutions.
For more information about the ESA, visit the English Program Student Site.
Students in all programs at the GC have formed the DSC, which brings their concerns to the administration; lobbies for their interests before the University Student Senate, the CUNY Board of Trustees, the Mayor's Office, and the State Legislature; supports intra- and interprogram student organizations; and provides legal services and funding for cultural activities. The DSC subsidizes the Advocate, a newspaper published six times annually. The English Program has three representatives on the council.
For more information about the DSC, visit the DSC website.