Friday, November 20, 2009

GSAS Master's College End of Semester Toast, 12/2

GSAS' Master's College extends its invitation to you for its End of Semester Toast on Wednesday, December 2nd celebrating the achievements of Master's students throughout GSAS. This event will take place from 4:30 - 6:30 PM at the NYU Torch Club and hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be served. They will also be accepting voluntary donations at the door for the NYU Holiday Food Drive. All varieties of canned food will be gratefully accepted.

If you'd like to attend this event, please RSVP at for the event by Monday, November 30th.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Call for Papers: Women's and Gender Studies Conference, Stony Brook Manhattan (Submissions Due 12/15)

Dear Graduate Students,

The Stony Brook Women's and Gender Studies Program is pleased to announce its Third Annual Women's and Gender Studies Graduate Conference, to be held on Saturday March 13th, 2010 at the Stony Brook Manhattan Campus. This conference aims to facilitate academic dialogue between disciplines, and to open a space for us to share and exchange feedback on on a wide range of student work. After two successful conferences in previous years, we are excited to invite graduate students from a variety of disciplines and theoretical positions to submit original papers so that we may again engage each other in invigorating discussion.

Attached please find our Call for Papers that includes a description of the conference topic and submission information. The deadline for submissions is December 15th, 2009.

Please feel free to direct any questions or comments to
Your conference organizers,
Dean Albritton, Kristin Hole, Briana Martino, Betsy Shapiro

Women's and Gender Studies
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY


The Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Stony Brook University Announces its 3rd Annual Graduate Student Conference

Saturday, March 13th, 2010
Stony Brook University’s Manhattan Campus

Please email your 250-word abstract by December 15, 2009 to:

Life is shaped by cycles. From patterns of migration and biological processes to the recycling of ideas and objects in mass culture, forms of re-circulation define our experiences. Cycles explores reiterations of gender categories, social movements, as well as what it might mean to have a temporality opposed to a teleological notion of history. This conference provides a critical space to map the terrain of the cycle by approaching it from various theoretical, analytic, and disciplinary positions of feminism. How might this process inform science, visual culture, music, and literature? Furthermore, can cycles as repetitions help us to negotiate the past by working through the traumas and mistakes of history? Or are we destined to repeat the past without the possibility of meaningful change?

This conference aims to generate an interdisciplinary and critical discussion about how gender and sexuality relate to the concept of the cycle. Papers are invited from all disciplines and theoretical positions. Some suggested topics include but are not limited to:

๏ Feminist and/or queer temporalities
๏ Trauma, repetition, and death
๏ Social movements and political change
๏ Technologies of reproduction
๏ Theorizing menstruation in literature and film
๏ Visual or textual strategies of repetition as an aesthetic or cultural politics
๏ The bicycle as an instrument of women’s liberation
๏ Migrations and geo-spatial movements
๏ Cycles of narrative: series, adaptations, remakes

Guest entry by Nina Hien, Art Worlds

Serial Memories of Seminars
[part 1]

The word seminar comes from the term seminarium or “seed plot”. Add a “y” and you have “seminary”, which attaches a religious institutional connotation to it. Discipline, dissemination, and devotion are clearly written into the success of this process of the germination and cultivation of knowledge. Like gardening, it is a hands-on pursuit that ideally relies on communal efforts. Someone lays out the plot with the intention of inseminating and reproducing his ideas. I say “his” because this is the role of the professor, who, by no small note, has commonly been gendered as male through these seminal terms. But the growth of the patch also falls into the dutiful hands of the group, the students, who are supposed to reap the greatest amount of fruits from the harvest. Beyond the roots of patriarchy and agriculturing found at the bottom of the concept of the seminar, a utopian strain seems also to be grafted onto it. (But perhaps I am reading these qualities into the practice because I spent so many years at Cornell University—a land-grant institution in a rural upstate farming community that had been founded by a former Quaker.)

With all that in mind, even with all of the variations that a seminar can take due to diverse subject matter, disciplinary modes, institutional contexts, and individual pedagogical styles and professorial personalities, it seems that perhaps some tiny seedlings of insight about them can be culled from a private conservatory filled with snaps and shoots of memories from the more than two decades in which I was a participant and witness in university seminars (both as a student and as a teacher). With the following recollections, I have no intention of asserting any grand, generalized or scientific claims about the current state of “the seminar”. However, from these seminal fragments (and their contexts) perhaps this rarefied form of language and interaction and academic construct can be demystified a speck, which could then be particularly relevant to us here at the Draper, a program based on seminar learning and positioned on the ground and in the air between the more square plots of traditional disciplines.

The Seminar of the Confusion of Tongues (tied or babbling), circa late 1980s at The University of Missouri Journalism School—Columbia, MO

During this period, two earth-shattering shifts that would change our perception of the world as we knew it were underway. The first could be spotted through what turned out to be the tragic fate of an innovative professor at the J-School who had been formulating ideas about what he called, “The Knowledge Tablet”. Conceiving this to be the ultimate tool in which anyone could punch in a question and get spit out an answer, his research was likely blown to bits as soon as the World Wide Web and Google—the ultimate knowledge tablet—exploded onto the scene a few years later. The second shift could be marked when the multi-cultural management program at the school published its "Dictionary of Cautionary Words and Phrases"—a list of politically incorrect words. The student reporters working at the J-School newspaper—one of the two daily papers in the city—could no longer use terms like “Dutch-treat”, “illegal aliens” and “third-world countries” in their articles. “Black”, once an acceptable word to identify an “African-American” person, was also to be avoided for that objective. Needless to say, these constrictions resulted in much convoluted and repressed thought within an enterprise in which clarity and concision are major goals. They were also the cause of many daily practical blunders. But at play as well at this point when racial and ethnic categories were being reconfigured through a strong wave of identity politics, were the J-School’s own black-and-white categorical binaries and hierarchies that transcended skin color. People were either pegged as innate “word people” or “picture people”. I believed that the basic word-image distinction was ludicrous because in my experience as a writer, sights and visual senses informed the images that were used to produce good writing.

So in this technologically transforming, racially charged and dichotomizing environment, I enrolled in a seminar on cross-cultural mass media. The teacher, who had a doctorate in communication studies, was a new professor (and was, if not the first “black” female professor in the history of the program, definitely the first “African-American” woman faculty member). The course content included press systems in “developing countries” and interrogated the strategic power maneuvers and values that determine what becomes newsworthy in the United States. This was a loaded focus because it directly considered “racial” and “minority” injustices as well as “ethnic” and “cultural” “issues”. The discussions throughout the semester were pretty stilted and stifled with only certain students speaking up, and others remaining silent. Attempting to explain this awkward imbalance, the professor remarked that the class was comprised of two kinds of people—adding to the order a new set of binaries, which resonated with the word/picture one.

The broadcast journalists (the image people) were articulate, chatty, expressive, and could work magic with surfaces. The print journalists (the text people)—and I was in this print-concentration camp—were reticent, but better at writing papers and achieving depth. As much as I hated tags, there did seem to be some truth to these. I then started to think that what may have actually been squelching the speech of some students had a lot to do with their anxiety about using the wrong terms and language, especially when discussing these sensitive topics with an African-American professor in this awkward environment of political correctness. And perhaps the text folks were more easily susceptible because of their attachment to word craft, which clearly affected newspapers more than televisions. The broadcasters were not only more comfortable with different modes of self-presentation, but they were taught to speak in sound bytes and be led by the lines of teleprompters. They also dealt with a much more glossy and general form of news, much of which they hadn’t written themselves. Beyond that, some of them had been instructed in public speaking and had developed stellar verbal gate-keeping skills so they were more adept at thinking appropriately in public spheres.

But through these apparent differences, I began also to contemplate the diverse ways and speeds at which individual people acquire knowledge, process information and then articulate it. And also, how aptitude is largely conditioned by professional background and training, as well as the circulating political ideologies, the media technologies already on the table, and the new media impulses coursing throughout the air. At that point, I imagined being a teacher who would bring forms of visual media into active play in the seminar—on the one hand to create engaged discussions, and on the other, to observe the relationships between visual, verbal and textual content and communication. (I knew there would never be an answer to these questions on any old Knowledge Tablet.)

So, in this land located on the edge of the fertile Missouri River bottoms, the seeds of experimentation with vision, visuality, virtuality, textuality, verbality and verbosity were implanted. Here at the Draper Program, they have started to sprout as I plot my seminars, prod the students to really toil the soil, and cultivate courses, always with many more seeds in hand (and pocket).

[More to come…Part 2: “The Seminars of Striking Poses, Seminar Vogue-ing and Blush Exchanges". Part 3: "The Seminars of Artificial Insemination & Artificial Intelligence"]

Recap: Resumes for Master's Students

This year, GSAS' Master's College is attempting to expand the number of events, workshops, and resources that are created with Master's students in mind. As part of this effort, the Wasserman Center for Career Development has also begun to hold more 'Master's-centric' career-planning workshops, such as "Resume Writing for Master's Students" session. I attended this session this week, and would like to share some of the general tips that Wasserman counselor Lisa Wong provided, as well as give a few more details about the resources available at Wasserman.

The workshop, which about 10 other people (including a few Draper students) attended, was about an hour long and largely informal, structured to allow students to ask specific questions and also review several sample resumes that Ms. Wong handed out in a packet of "Resume Guidelines and Samples for Master's Students." As a Master's student planning to transition into a new profession myself, I found the examples very useful. Each one uniquely addressed the difficulty of entering a field in which one has very little previous experience, and provided a basic template that could be simply adjusted to match one's own particular goals and skill set.

Ms. Wong enumerated a variety of approaches for selecting the most effective resume format for your needs and deciding how best to present skills and information to a potential employer. Some of these are as follows:
  • Resumes should be no longer than one page, unless you have 7-10 years of experience in the field in which you are applying.
  • Margins should be no larger than one inch, no smaller than 1/2 inch. Font should be 10-12 point font in a standard typeface (make sure its readable when you hold it in front of you at arm's length).
  • Organize your experience in subsections that are easy to skim quickly.
  • Many recruiters and employers get around a hundred applications for the same position and will spend 15 seconds to one minute skimming your resume. Make sure your most pertinent information is near the top of the page, clearly organized and concisely summarized.
  • Don't worry if there are 'holes' in your employment history. While common practice once suggested that it was important to show consistent employment, it is now generally preferred that resumes highlight pertinent experience, even if there are chronological gaps.
The last fifteen minuets of this workshop were set aside so that students who brought their resumes could receive a more personalized review. Ms. Wong reminded us that Wasserman holds daily walk-in hours. During these walk-ins, students can have multiple counselors review their resumes and provide feedback and suggestions for possible improvements. Each day's walk-in hours can be found on the Wasserman Web site, here.

It's Draper's hope to co-sponsor a career-planning workshop for Master's students next semester, so we'd love to hear students' feedback on what kind of workshops would be of interest. Possible topics include resume building and interview skills, but we welcome your other suggestions! Feel free to leave them in a comment or email us directly at draper.programATnyuDOTedu.

Reminder: Panel Discussion with Kathryn Bond Stockton & Lisa Duggan Tomorrow, 11/20

Those of you taking Gender Politics this semester and reading Bond Stockton's Beautiful Bottom, Beautiful Shame may find this event of interest.

November 20, Friday
4 to 6 PM

Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, NYU
20 Cooper Square, 4th Floor
Bowery @ East 5th Street

Monday, November 16, 2009

Reminder: Master's Thesis Submission Deadline, January Grads: December 16th

Students who intend to graduate this coming January will need to submit their completed and approved Master's theses to Draper no later than one month from today:
Wednesday, December 16th
Any theses received after 6:00 PM on December 16th will be held over for May graduation. There will be no exceptions.

For more information on thesis guidelines, please see Draper's Web site, here:

All thesis related forms--including a sample cover page and second reader sheets--can also be downloaded from the Draper website, here:

Workshop: Resumes for Master's Students, Tomorrow, 11/17

Resumes for Master's Students
Wasserman Center for Career Development

Tuesday, November 17th
12:30 - 1:30 PM
133 E. 13th Street, 2nd Floor
Wasserman Presentation Room B

Master's Students bring to their job search an extra level of knowledge and training; but how best to communicate this to prospective employers?

Attend this workshop and learn how to write a resume that will:

* Effectively highlight your academic strengths and contributions
* Incorporate your previous professional and academic activities
* Explore the difference between a business resume format and a CV format, and learn when which one is most appropriate to use
* Learn about formatting tips and tricks to make your resume stand out!