Letter from the Director, Fall 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

posted under by Unit for Criticism
Dear Colleagues,

Welcome back! This fall marks the Unit for Criticism’s 30th birthday and I have lots of exciting news to convey. Let me start by saying that this mail will be followed by an easy-to-use “Save the Date” e-memo that lists all Fall 2011 events. I also want to bring you up to date on the Unit’s staffing: our new
Nicholson Associate Director is José B. (“JB”) Capino, a specialist in American and Philippine cinema, media studies, Asian American studies, and transnational and postcolonial theory. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Rob Rushing for his excellent service as the first occupant of this position but also welcome J.B. whom I know will make a wonderful addition to our ranks. I also want to welcome a new Graduate Assistant, Maria Cynthia (“mc”) Anderson. MC, a doctoral candidate in Educational Policy will join Mike Black (English). While Kathy Skwarczek is no longer a fully-appointed GA, she will continue to work with us on an hourly basis.

Our first event for this semester is organized in partnership with the International Forum for US Studies. Giorgio Mariani, Professor of American literature at the Sapienza University of Rome will give an 8pm lecture, “The Rhetorical Equivalent of War,” on Wed. 9/7 in the Levis Center Reading Room. (As with all Unit events we are currently arranging for background readings to be available through our website but it will take a few more days before all links to electronic reserves are “live”). Our first 30th-birthday event is a Fri. 9/16 Author’s Roundtable with Suvir Kaul (U Pennsylvania) on the topic of “The Indian Empire and the Crisis of Kashmir” (4pm on the third floor of Levis). The guest moderator for this event is Zohreh Sullivan (English/African Studies) and she will be joined by two faculty respondents: Antoinette Burton (History) and Rajmohan Gandhi (South Asian & Middle Eastern Studies/ Global Studies).

In October we are excited to welcome this fall’s Nicholson Distinguished Scholar to campus: Dr. Mark Weisbrot, an economist who is Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington D.C. In addition to his Mon. 10/3 8pm lecture at Levis which is our second 30th-birthday event--“The Ignorant Elite: Neoliberalism and Its Consequences,” introduced by Ericka Beckman (Spanish/Global Studies/Latin American & Caribbean Studies)—Weisbrot will meet with undergraduates and hold a faculty/grad student seminar on Tu 10/4 (details will soon be announced). The last of our birthday events is a lecture from Christopher Newfield (Santa Barbara) on Mon. 10/24 at 8pm (Levis 3rd Floor), “The Innovation Conspiracy: Ruin and Rebirth in the American University”; Stephanie Foote (English/Gender & Women’s Studies) will introduce. Also in October, the Modern Critical Theory lecture series which begins later this month will feature a guest lecturer: on Mon. 10/31 (yes, it’s Halloween!) we welcome the very unghostly but spirited Robyn Warhol (Ohio State) who will lecture on Feminist Theory. (This year we are very pleased that Art History is joining English and German in affiliating their grad seminar in critical theory with the Modern Critical Theory lecture series.)

Our final academic event for the semester is a second Author’s Roundtable with Kathryn Lofton, assistant professor of Religion at Yale, and author of Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon. Focused on select chapters from the book, the Mon. 12/5 8pm roundtable (Levis 2nd Floor) will feature responses from Dale Bauer (English), Mimi Nguygen (Gender & Women’s Studies/Asian American Studies), and Diana Jaher, a grad student in Theatre History. And in case you were wondering, there will be one additional 30th-birthday event in December: a dance party to which all and sundry are welcome, the details of which are in progress.

Last but certainly not least, I want to thank Ravi Iyer and Nancy Abelmann in the Office for the Vice Chancellor for Research for their enthusiastic support of the new Unit for Criticism Research Fellowships Program. The program will provide four scholars (two senior and two junior) with $8,000 in unrestricted research funds along with the title of “Criticism and Interpretive Theory Research Fellow” for a period of two years. We are now preparing a detailed website and timeline for this new program which will begin accepting applications in January 2012 and I will write again as soon as everything is in place. In the meantime, I look forward to answering your questions about this exciting opportunity for multidisciplinary research and scholarship and, indeed, to seeing you at various events.

If you are a graduate student curious to know more about the Unit for Criticism and its programs for affiliated grad students, please join us on Th. Nov. 10 at 8pm in the IPRH seminar room (lower-level) for our annual Graduate Student Pizza event. Whether you are a faculty member, an instructor, a student, or anyone else with interest in the Unit’s programs and events, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to meet with you, to add you to our listserv, and to welcome you to our events, all of which are free and the majority of which are fully open to the public.

With all best wishes for a spectacular fall,
Lauren Goodlad, Director


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