Letter from the Director, Spring 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

posted under by Unit for Criticism
Dear Colleagues,

Happy New Year! It’s a busy time of year but I hope you can take a minute to read about the many good things going on at the Unit this spring. Yesterday I announced the application process for this year’s Criticism & Interpretive Theory fellowships at both the junior and senior levels. Please help us to publicize this important opportunity for new tenure-track junior faculty who may not yet know about the Unit for Criticism—and consider applying yourself! And for graduate students, we are still accepting applications for this year’s fellowships at the School of Criticism & Theory at Cornell: the deadline is January 24.

The Unit’s semester opens on Monday, January 21st, with the first of a 2-meeting seminar devoted to readings from our February 8 symposium "Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture at 25: Theories for the New Millennium.” In collaboration with former Unit director, Michael Rothberg (English/Holocaust, Genocide, Memory Studies), we have organized an exciting group of interdisciplinary presentations from Gopal Balakrishnan (UC Santa Cruz), Laura Chrisman (Washington), David Kazanjian (U of Penn), Shu-mei Shih (UCLA), Carolyn Lesjak (Simon Fraser), and Nikhil Singh (NYU). The event will also feature opening remarks from our own Cary Nelson one of the editors of the book that, 25 years ago, helped to put the Unit for Criticism on the map as a major center for critical theory. The first seminar meeting (on M 1/21) will be co-led by Ericka Beckman (Spanish/CWL), Peter Garrett (English), and Jim Hansen (English); the second (on M 2/4) will be co-led by Tariq Ali (History), Chris Freeburg (English), and Manuel Rota (Italian). Both meetings are at 8pm in the IPRH seminar room. We also hope you will join us for our annual faculty lecture on M 1/28 at 8pm (Levis, 2nd fl) by Samantha Frost (Political Science/GWS), “Body, Cause, Politics: The Beginnings of Biology for Humanistsas well as a response from Stephanie Foote (English/GWS). An abstract of the lecture is available on our events page.

This year’s spring conference and faculty/graduate seminar is on the topic of “The 80s in Theory and Practice.” I’m thrilled to be working on this exciting 2-day event, scheduled for Th 5/2 and Fri 5/3, with a fantastic team of faculty affiliates which includes the Unit’s associate director J. B. Capino, Jennifer Greenhill (Art& Design), Justine Murison (English), Gabriel Solis (Musicology/African American Studies), and Terri Weisman (Art& Design). The conference features keynote lectures by Jeremy Gilbert (East London) and Howard Singerman (Virginia) as well as papers by Johanna Burton (Bard), Chris Castiglia (Penn State), Roger Hallas (Syracuse), Travis A. Jackson (Chicago), Jonathan Katz (Buffalo), Kembrew McLeod (Iowa), and Nancy Condee (Pittsburgh). There will be four seminar meetings, the first taking place on M 2/11. Please email us if you are interested in co-leading one of these meetings to read the work of these leading scholars in cultural studies, visual and media studies, queer theory, music, and the arts.

The Unit’s ever-productive Graduate Research Assistants, MC Anderson (Education) and Esti Ezkerra (Comp Lit) are planning an annual student event entitled “The Politics of Identity in the 21st Century” and a call for papers is now circulating with a deadline of 1/17. We also have two wonderful collaborations with INSPIRE on our calendar. The first is a M 3/11 lecture on Hitchcock’s body politics from Jan Olsson (Stockholm) with a response from Pat Gill (Communications/GWS); and the second is a M 4/8 author’s roundtable with Stefan Helgesson (Stockholm) on “The Writing of Colonial Time” with brief responses from Dara Goldman (Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies) and Ken Salo (Urban & Regional Planning). The first event is a collaboration with Ramona Curry, the Department of Media & Cinema Studies, and the English Department’s Film Studies Committee; the second with our good friends at the Trowbridge Office on American Literature, Culture & Society.

In other good news, on behalf of myself and my co-editors, Lilya Kaganovsky (Slavic/Comp Lit) and Robert A. Rushing (Italian/Comp Lit), I’m delighted to announce that the Unit for Criticism’s most recent publication, "Mad Men," Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style, and the 1960s" is out from Duke University Press this March. We very much hope to celebrate the book’s appearance with you in some fashion though I have a sneaking suspicion that if there is a dance party in May it will not resemble anything out of an episode of Mad Men.

If you are new to campus or just new to Unit for Criticism please write to me if you would like to be added to our listserv or, better still, please set up a meeting with JB and me to share your ideas for programming. For those fond of social media here is a link to the Unit’s Facebook page.

Warm wishes for the cool season ahead,

Lauren Goodlad

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