Thursday, May 17, 2012

Draper has a new blog!

We're upgrading the blog and from now on will be hosting it at Wordpress. All of our old posts are archived on the new site, too. So from now on, please look for us at:

Congratulations to our Hirschhorn Award Nominees and Winners!

Draper would like to congratulate our 2011-2012 Hirschhorn Award nominees and winners! The Hirschhorn is given annually to the most outstanding thesis written by one of our students during the previous year. Theses are judged on the originality of the project, the strength of the research, and the quality of the writing.

This year we had thirteen total nominees and a tie for the award! The winners were Joey McGarvey (May 2012) and Scott Kaplan (January 2012). Their thesis titles and abstracts are below.

Our nominees were:

Christopher Cappelutti (May 2012)
The Many Faces of Ulysses: Joyce and Dante Rewrite Tradition

Michelle Dennis (May 2012)
Unyielding Passions: Reexamining Sentimental Fiction

Nick Gutierrez (January 2012)
Some Small Measure of Hope for the Possibility of Meaning: Reading the Ethics of Literature and the Literature of Ethics

Sarah Latanshyn (September 2011)
"From Uzhhorod there is a road" to Lemkovyna: Music and Identity Among the Lemkos

Tamir Morag (September 2011)
Public Atmosphere and Policy Making in Israel on the Eve of the Six Day War

Beatriz Olivetti (January 2012)
Conceptual Strategies: Curating Emptiness and Performance at the 28th Sao Paulo Biennial

Ryan Petersen (May 2012)
Heavy Metal Warriors and The Monster-Terrorist-Fag: subcultural Biopolitics and Heavy Metal Masculinity in America's War on Terror

Cara Ryan (May 2012)
American Catholics Meeting Islam: Soidarity, Partnerships and Resistance

Zeinab Saiwalla (May 2012)
Unpacking Rituals: Understanding What Lies Beneath Two Commonplace Dawoodi Bohra Practices

Roy Schwartz (May 2012)
Is Superman Circumcised? The Secret (Jewish) Identity of Superheroes

Eric Silver (May 2012)
Teacher/Preacher: Secular Proselytization in a Classroom Setting

And our winners:

Scott Kaplan
From an Elegant Despair to a Moral Exuberence: A Search for Utopian Feeling in Tony Kushner's Theatre of the Fabulous

In this paper, I will be exploring the political theatre of Tony Kushner and his Theatre of the Fabulous. By breaking down the various meanings attributed to fabulousness, I will be attempting to explain an evolution in quer theatre that Kushner is actively pursuing from the Theatre of the Ridiculous to his Theatre of the Fabulous. I will argue that Kushner’s methodology for this change is related to the way in which he politicizes feeling within two of his most Brechtian plays: A Bright Room Called Day and Slavs!. In these two plays, I will examine how Kushner’s characters both indulge in a hopeless complacent feeling I will refer to as elegant despair as well as willfully and hopelessly struggle with a complicated hopeful and powerful political feeling, which I will refer to as moral exuberance. Through these two emotions, I argue that Kushner’s political theory of the fabulous becomes most apparent, and invite us to imagine a way in which our queer aesthetic can imagine and feel toward utopia.

Joey McGarvey
The Stagecoach and the Pear: The New York Fruit Festival and the Metaphors of Ninetheenth-Century American Authorship

“The Stagecoach and the Pear” is divided into two chapters. The first takes a primarily historical approach and represents the first real exegesis of the Complimentary Fruit and Flower Festival, an event hosted by the New York Book Publishers’ Association on September 27, 1855. The event brought together seven hundred booksellers, publishers, and authors in New York City to celebrate the decade’s literary success. Significantly, as many as fifty—and probably far less—of those who attended were female authors. In this first chapter, I ask the question: Why fruit? Why did the Association’s secretary, publisher George Palmer Putnam, decide his menu would consist almost entirely of produce and pastries (and would entirely omit alcoholic beverages)? One clear answer is as an enticement to these women, who were both apprehensive about attending and phenomenal sources of profit to the publishers who could gain their trust. As I develop the macrohistorical themes of the Festival in a way that has not previously been done, I also reveal the Festival as an active site of negotiation among some of the most prominent men and women of letters at a highly charged moment in literary history. Specifically, I argue that male publishers develop a metaphor for authorship—particularly female authorship—through fruit, allowing them to treat these women as commodities.

In the largely literary second chapter, I theorize a genre of women’s writing that I call the tale of mobility. Here, I claim that the women writers invited to the Festival had begun to develop their own metaphor for authorship through periodical tales of travel and place beginning in the 1830s. This metaphor stressed experience over commodification, and suggests both women’s excitement and anxiety about authorship. In both chapters, I repeatedly draw on a previously untapped archive, the New York Public Library’s collection of over 190 response letters from authors and other literary notables invited to the Festival, preserved by Putnam in a scrapbook. These letters, I argue, reveal the dialogue, hopes, and fears inherent in the Festival—and in mid-century literary culture—in an entirely new way.

Congrats, everyone!

Call for Applications: Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship

The call for the Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship has just been announced by the U.S. Department of Education. For program information and application, please see the program link on the GSAS Scholarships and Fellowships website: 

NYU Deadline: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 4 PM
Please upload your application electronically, and then submit your signed hard-copy original and 2 copies to the Office of Academic and Student Life, 6 Washington Square North, 2nd Floor. 

You may contact Anna Antoniak (anna.antoniak[at] with any questions or concerns.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Chris Iverson on the "Acceptance in German Literary and Visual Culture" Conference at the University of Washington

 A guest post by Draperite Chris Iverson, 
recipient of one of Draper's recent travel grants

Over May 11th and 12th, 2012, I attended The University of Washington’s Graduate Student Conference 2012, Acceptance in German Literary and Visual Culture, in Seattle, Washington and presented my paper, “Rubble Films on the German and International Screens.” The experience was amazing, as it was my first time presenting at a conference, and the panels covered a broad range of time periods and genres of German and international cultural products. The range of the conference proved impressive, with the notion of “acceptance” arising in many different forms, from the acceptance of a single writer or thinker into the German canon to the notion of the perception of Germany itself from without.

Volker Mergenthaler, a visiting professor from the University of Marburg, delivered the Keynote Address, “Die Regeln des Spiels und das Spiel mit den Regeln: ‘Nine Eleven’ und die deutschsprachige Literatur,” (The Rules of the Game and Playing with the Rules: ‘Nine Eleven’ and German-language Literature). Professor Mergenthaler discussed the effect of 9/11 on German-speaking writers’ work and how the literary landscape changed in the years following the attacks on the Twin Towers.

I presented on a panel with a student from Boston University whose paper, “Seeing the Other Germany: Western Perceptions of Identity in East German Art,” followed through lines of the abstract and the political from the post-World War I paintings of Otto Dix to, more recently, the poster for the film, Goodbye Lennin!, from the “western” perspective.

My paper, “Rubble Films of the German and International Screens,” discussed how German, American, Italian, and Jewish directors dealt with guilt, complicity, and victimhood in post World War II Germany and what roles those notions played in how to re-accept Germany back to civilization after the reign of the National Socialists. The films I covered are called Trümmerfilme or Rubble Films because they take place largely amid the rubble of post war Europe, namely Berlin, and surfaced mostly between 1946 and 1949, between the end of the war and the division of Germany into the eastern and western states. My answer to the question of re-acceptance? Well, though the differences in the films gave hints as to each filmmaker’s views, it seems each one would respond with a different variation on “I don’t know,” given the complexity of the problem and the expressive possibilities of film.

Draper sent out the call for papers and this was, after all, a graduate conference, so I expected a challenging, rigorous, and ultimately rewarding experience. No surprises there, but what I did not expect was the feeling of community among The University of Washington’s graduate students in their Department of Germanics that extended to the guest presenters at the conference. After the final panel had presented and the papers had been explored through a thrilling Q&A session, the organizers and presenters gathered in Seattle’s Gas Works Park, overlooking Downtown Seattle and the Space Needle, for a picnic where we discussed the weekend’s work and got to know each other.

I hope Draper continues to promote The University of Washington’s Department of Germanics Graduate Student Conferences and strongly encourage other Draperites to answer these calls for papers.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Deadline Extended CFP: The Crisis of the Book (Due 6/1)

The Crisis of the Book: Worlds of Opportunity, Worlds of Change
October 18–20, 2012
The Governor Hotel
Portland, Oregon

Hosted by the Reed College Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program
Call for papers deadline is extended to June 1, 2011. Download guidelines
From scroll to codex, printing press to computer screen, revolutions in technology have changed the way we receive and process information, and even the way we think about ideas. This interdisciplinary conference will place the transformation in print culture in a historical framework, and will reflect upon the changing nature of text delivery and the experience of reading.
How is knowledge produced? What role does the book play as cultural, material, and sacred object? What is the place of the modern library in the electronic age? How does the field of new media studies reflect evolving social contexts? How do we “see” graphic novels or navigate through hypertext fiction? What questions concerning copyright and intellectual property does the digital age raise?
Reading is at the heart of what we do in the academy, both personally and professionally. What is the future of your practice of reading? Please join us for a lively discussion of how knowledge is produced and disseminated.

We are now accepting proposals for presentations — deadline is extended to June 1. Download guidelines
The conference will run from Thursday evening, October 18, 2012 through Saturday noon, October 20. The pre-conference workshop will be held Thursday, October 18.  Conference banquet will be held Friday evening, October 19. We strongly advise reserving your hotel room early to secure the desired room/rate at The Governor Hotel, a small, historic hotel with limited rooms in each price category.
Registration and hotel terms and fees: Download Registration form: Download