Friday, Oct 27th, 2017: Omri Moses – “Poetry and the Environmentally Extended Mind”

Upcoming in fall 2017, co-sponsored by the Twentieth Century Area Studies Group

Omri Moses – “Poetry and the Environmentally Extended Mind”

Friday, October 27th, 4pm – 7pm, room 4406

Over the last two decades, cognitive scientists working in embodied, extended, enactive, and embedded cognition have sought to understand mental processes in ways that take us “out of our heads.” In this paper Omri Moses (Concordia University, Montreal) argues that this new science of mind offers humanists a better entry point than we have so far found into productive cross-disciplinary engagement with scientists. By privileging the role that the body and physical and cultural environment play in organizing and constituting thought, it transforms our understanding of such supposedly “inward” meditative experiences as poetry reading into a more collaborative, individually tailored, and culturally situated activity.

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March 31, 2017: ESA Conference – “The Vibrating World: Soundscapes and Undersongs”

The Twentieth Century Area Studies Group is co-sponsor of this year’s English Student Association Conference – “The Vibrating World: Soundscapes and Undersongs” – on Friday, March 31st, all day. Open to all.

Conference Website and Center for Humanities page

Join us for “The Vibrating World”, the annual English Student Association Graduate Student Conference exploring sound and song with keynote speakers Joseph Straus, Distinguished Professor of Music, The Graduate Center, CUNY, and David Rothenberg, author of Why Birds Sing, composer, and musician.

If we take seriously Jacques Attali’s claim that the world is “not legible, but audible,” what scholarly shifts are possible by turning our focus to acts of listening and representations of sound? Sound has long been represented in literature, philosophy, art, and science, but we are only now encountering a ‘sonic boom’ in critical and theoretical writings on sound in the humanities and social sciences. If we scramble our notions of language, what other sounds, voices, musics, or understandings might become legible or audible to us? We will consider the spaces between words, pauses between calls and responses, and the breaths and rests that produce multidimensional rhythms, harmonies, discordances, resolutions, and meanings, the undersong that carries the burden of a song, the chorus, the refrain.

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Fall 2017 Talk: Matthew Hart – “City-State: Setting and Sovereignty in China Miéville’s The City & the City”

Fall 2017 English Program Friday Forum talk:

The CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue (between 34th and 35th St.), room 4406

Friday March 24th, 4pm, open to all

Matthew Hart (Assistant Professor, English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University): 

“City-State: Setting and Sovereignty in China Miéville’s The City & the City”

The most influential recent theory of extraterritoriality can be found in the work of Giorgio Agamben, whose contentions about the spatial logic of the “inclusive exclusion” show up in artistic and scholarly works across many media and disciplines. This paper stages a strong critique of Agamben’s political theory, except that the medium for that critique is novelistic, not philosophical. Its argument centers on the metropolitan narrative settings of British speculative fiction writer China Miéville — who also happens to be a socialist activist with a PhD in International Relations. Miéville’s settings, Hart argues, reduce what Aristotle called political partnership to its Western ideal type—the city-state or urban polis. Miéville’s novels take place in many zones: floating pirate utopias, perpetual runaway trains, present-day London — and in cities that are not in one country or another, but in both. Those settings have many implications, most of them literary; but they are also legible as allegorical critiques of decisionist theories of sovereignty, like Agamben’s, that identify extraterritorial spaces with coercive states of emergency and see such states of emergency as telling the truth of sovereignty in general. The chapter features an interpretation of Miéville’s hybrid noir novel, The City & the City (2009), embedding that reading in a discussion of the techniques of secondary world developed in his trilogy of “New Weird” novels (2000-2004) set in the fictional world of Bas-Lag. Miéville’s novels certainly take extraterritorial shape but, in them, political power is divisible, distributed across physical and administrative space, and far from the only game in town.

Matthew Hart is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century literature. His publications include Nations of Nothing But Poetry (Oxford U. P., 2010/2013) and, with Jim Hansen, Contemporary Literature and the State, a Special Issue of Contemporary Literature (2008). His new projects include a book, Extraterritorial: A Political Geography of Contemporary Fiction, and, with David Alworth, a special issue of ASAP/Journal, “Site Specificity Without Borders.” Recent essays on contemporary literature and art are out or forthcoming in NOVELCriticismModern Fiction StudiesPublic BooksThe Oxford History of the Novel, and elsewhere. Matt is also Founding Co-Editor (with David James and Rebecca L. Walkowitz) of the Columbia University Press book series, Literature Now, and former President of A.S.A.P.: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present.

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Spring 2017: The 20th/21st Century Studies Workshop Series

The 20th/21st Century Studies Workshop Series for Spring 2017:

The aim of the monthly series is for us to come together informally around our largely independent research and works in progress focused in the 20th or 21st century: to learn about each other’s projects, give or get feedback, and build community through our interests. Presenters are doctoral students and candidates at the GC. All interested parties are welcome!

All interested parties are welcome!

Discussions range from media studies to the literariness of cognitive science, from orals exams to dissertations and articles.

February 24, room 8203, 12:30pm – Yair Solan presenting on work related to his dissertation on Stephen Crane and early film in the late 1890s

March 24, room 5489, 12:30pm – Karen Lepri presenting work on a dissertation chapter “Unstuffing the Doll: Defiguring Magic in Amiri Baraka’s Black Magic“

April 21 – Michele Chinitz, 1st part; Liz Goetz, 2nd part

May 4 (Thurs) – Erin Garrow, 1st part; Alyssa Mackenzie, 2nd part

Supported by the student-run DSC 20th Century Studies Group and organized through the English department 20th/21st Century Area Group.

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Fall 2016 Talks: Vicki Mahaffey and Lisa Goldfarb

Two upcoming talks on 11/11 and 11/18, reception to follow

The CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue (between 34th and 35th St.), room 4406

Friday, November 11th, 4 pm, room 4406

Vicki Mahaffey, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign – “Adultery and the Everyday: Flaubert and Joyce”

In nineteenth-century European literature, adultery (when committed by a woman) was depicted as a deadly enemy of the domestic and the everyday. Such a view is vividly apparent in Paul de Kock’s Le Cocu (1832), a copy of which Joyce owned. The conflict between adultery and the everyday is personified in the tragic relation between Emma and Charles in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Flaubert, however, suggests that Emma’s adultery paradoxically stems from her purity, a purity stoked by the romanticism of religion and novels. In Ulysses, Joyce reconciles adultery with the everyday by connecting the process of adulteration with adulthood. Ultimately, he transfers the site of adulteration from individual adult people to the word. Language reconciles the tension between adulteration and the everyday. Deployed as an “everyday poetics,” language inspires a different model of time, one that can accommodate anachronism. The splitting of the word coincides with a fissuring of the moment, interrupting and scrambling the relentless sequencing of past, present, and future.

Vicki Mahaffey is Kirkpatrick Professor of English and Gender and Women’s Studies at University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign. She is the author of Modernist Literature: Challenging Fictions?; States of Desire: Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, and the Irish Experiment; and Reauthorizing Joyce; as well as the editor of Collaborative Dubliners: Joyce in Dialogue. She has authored many articles on Joyce, as well as articles on W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, and Henrik Ibsen, among others. Her current book project, The Joyce of Everyday Life, is an effort to demonstrate how language can be “played” almost orchestrally if we pay attention to both the history of words and to their associative linkages with other words.

Friday, Nov 18th, 4pm, room 4406

Lisa Goldfarb, NYU Gallatin –  “Three Voices of Modern Musical Poetry: Stevens, Eliot, Valéry”

Opposite as their philosophical aims may be, and however distant he may declare himself from Eliot’s poetic practice, Stevens nevertheless praises Eliot for his modern musicality. Both poets theorize and practice a musical poetic that shares many features. Stevens and Eliot, too, have great admiration for symbolist poetics, and, in particular, for Paul Valéry, who carved a musical aesthetic for modern poetry. This presentation will engage the musical poetics of all three poets, drawing together poetic voices which are not often seen in relation to one another.

Lisa Goldfarb is Associate Professor at the Gallatin School of New York University, President of The Wallace Stevens Society, and Associate Editor of The Wallace Stevens Journal. She is the author of The Figure Concealed: Wallace Stevens, Music, and Valéryan Echoes, co-editor of Wallace Stevens, New York, and Modernism, Poetry and Poetics after Wallace Stevens (forthcoming), and two special issues of The Wallace Stevens Journal. Her current book project explores the resonance of Valéryan poetics in Anglo-American poetry.

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Fall 2016: The 20th/21st Century Studies Workshop Series

The 20th/21st Century Studies Workshop Series for Fall 2016:

The aim of the monthly series is for us to come together informally around our largely independent research and works in progress: to learn about each other’s projects, give or get feedback, and build community through our interests. Presenters are doctoral students and candidates at the GC. All interested parties are welcome!

All interested parties are welcome!

Discussions range from media studies to transnational modernism with articles and dissertations:

Sept. 30 – Sarah Schwartz
Oct. 21 – Erin Garrow
Nov. 11 – Allison Douglass
Dec. 2 – Elizabeth Goetz, 1st part; Wei Wu, 2nd part

The series meets one Friday each month at 12.30, for 45 or 60 min. in Conference Room 5489* (Sept./Oct.) or the English Thesis Room.

Supported by the student-run DSC 20th Century Studies Group and organized through the English department 20th/21st Century Area Group.

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Sept. 9th, 2016: Jane Marcus Feminist University

Jane Marcus Feminist University is a day-long celebration of the life and scholarship of Jane Marcus organized by her former students.

Distinguished Professor of English at City College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, Jane Marcus was a radical scholar, mentor, and activist. Her seminal work established Virginia Woolf as a major canonical writer. Her scholarship laid the groundwork for feminist studies to become a mode of inquiry within the academy. Because of her advocacy and radicalism as a teacher, numerous individuals were able to gain rights and access to professional opportunities—particularly within academia—that had traditionally been unavailable to people of color, women, and members of the working class.

Jane Marcus Feminist University will feature a round table discussion on feminist pedagogy; breakout workshops on her scholarship; readings from her work and primary influences; and a plenary on her legacy. This unconventional conference will honor Jane’s intellectual bravery and her lasting impact on the lives of so many students.

Cosponsored by Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, the Phd Program in English, Global Studies Collective, Doctoral Students’ Council, the Twentieth Century Area Studies Group, and the Feminist Studies Group, the Women’s Studies Certificate Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY; The International Rebecca West Society, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, The Feminist Press, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and Sandi Cooper, Michael Marcus, and Linda Camarasana.

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April 5th, 2016, at 6 pm – Jean Mills visit

Friday, April 5th, 6pm – 7:30pm in the English program Thesis Room, informal conversation with program alum Jean Mills (GC graduate) of John Jay.

Professionalization workshop: Discussion and questions covering student questions about the field of modernist studies, the profession as a whole, turning the dissertation into a book, her publication history and publishing advice, and questions about her work.

Organized by the Modernist Studies Reading Group.

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