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 2014
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. All events are subject to change.
New Student Welcome
The event will include welcomes from the English Students Association, faculty and Program Officers and presentations by current English Program students on topics such as: Making the most of the First Year; Middle Years of the Program: Dissertation Years/Job Market; Balancing work and life; Getting the most from seminars; And more! Current students and faculty are encouraged to attend.
This event is designed to showcase the different forms that meaningful intellectual work can take and celebrates the transformative power of performance, improvisation, play, failure, feeling, silence, and sound. Inspired by interdisciplinary and cross-field conversations about music and Experience Music Project’s annual “Pop Conference,” the organizers of this fall’s Critical Karaoke event—Duncan Faherty, Eric Lott, and Danica Savonick—invite brief essays that engage with a particular song. Beyond this stipulation of brevity, stylistic choices regarding format, volume, dance breaks, and dramatic pauses are up to participants. More promiscuous intellectual affair than long-term commitment, this low-stakes event encourages participants to dabble in a different field, flirt with an old fling, or linger with a guilty pleasure.
Research Workshop with Alycia Sellie
The aim of this workshop is to demonstrate research strategies and resources in practice rather than the abstract, centering on the project proposals of two students in our program: Tonya Foster and Alicia Andrzejewski (who have kindly volunteered to share drafts of their doctoral work with us at the early or pre-prospectus stage). To prepare for the workshop, attendees are asked to read the research proposals and Alycia Sellie's recommendations for these students at: http://researchevent.commons.gc.cuny.edu
Feminism & the Archive: A Roundtable Conversation
This roundtable will bring together a variety of perspectives on feminism and the archive, broadly conceived. Participants will speak about their work about and in the archive as archivists, scholars, and feminists, as well as how archival research allows us to consider and reconceive of feminist genealogies and genres. Participants will include: Meredith Benjamin (CUNY Graduate Center), Kate Eichhorn (The New School), Margaret Galvan (CUNY Graduate Center), and Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz (CUNY Graduate Center, Lesbian Herstory Archives).
Led by Professor Ammiel Alcalay, DEO of Placement, this workshop is for anyone going on the job market this year. Bring your questions!
Karl Steel (Brooklyn College, CUNY), “'A Charitable and Pitous Conscience': The Queer Prioress and Her Pets"
Faculty Membership Talk. Chaucer's Prioress is a notorious dog-lover and antisemite, reviled for the latter and pitied for the former. Her strange affections and violent exclusions, so often an embarrassment to the critics, should not be explained away or brushed aside. Rather, her attachments should be maintained in their strangeness and repugnance as a challenge both to the community established by the Canterbury pilgrims and to communities in general.
September 26 & October 3: No Friday Forum scheduled
Terry Rowden (College of Staten Island, CUNY), "Metablackness"
Part of the New Directions in African American Studies series. This paper will conceptualize the term “Metablackness” as a way of considering the emergence of a new type of aesthetic and performative consciousness and practice that, Professor Rowden will claim, is rapidly becoming the dominant mode in African American creative culture. He will argue that in the U.S. the”official” eradication of de jure racism in the 1960s introduced “play” into the structure that has enabled more existentially and representationally self-conscious types of black self-fashioning and artistic production. Rowden will consider the ways in which a growing number of contemporary black artists ground their texts or performances in referential, intertextual, or satirical engagements with key tropes of African American culture in ways that fundamentally and intentionally destabilize the notions of authenticity that have historically bedeviled African American creative artists in their movement beyond folk or assimilationist expressivity. Professor Rowden will teach a course in the PhD Program in English on "Metablackness", Spring 2015.
Siraj Ahmed (Lehman College, CUNY), "Lost Language"
Faculty Membership Talk. In the decades immediately after the East India Company conquered Bengal in 1765, colonial scholars pioneered an approach to language and literature that enabled the Company to seize authority over native traditions and, as a consequence, to consolidate its rule. This approach—which reduced traditions to printed texts and used historical method to define their meaning—remains the tacit framework of our own scholarship. This talk proposes that until we understand how print technology and historical thought served colonial rule, we will have difficulty even addressing the question of a properly post-colonial literary study, much less answering it. Such answers may depend on our capacity to re-imagine the different uses of language and literature our methods were designed to efface.
Please come back soon for the rest of the semester's Friday Forum
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.