Friday, March 5, 2010

Fales Lecture (3/11): Continental Philosophy & American Culture

Dear Students:

Please see below for information on a celebratory lecture on Semiotext(e), the publishing group that is credited with bringing French Theory to the US. The event was brought to our attention by Draper student Christine Woody, who works as a graduate assistant at Fales and has been processing the recently acquired Sylvere Lotringer Papers and Semiotext(e) archive for the past year.


Continental Philosophy and American Culture: Semiotext(e) between Theory, Art, and Politics – A Celebration

Thursday, March 11, 2010, 6:30 pm
Fales Library, NYU

The 2010 Fales Lecture will celebrate the acquisition of the Sylvere Lotringer Papers and Semiotext(e) Archive.


Sylvere Lotringer, co-founder of Semiotext(e), professor emeritus, Columbia University.
Bruce Benderson, writer and critic.
Gregg Bordowitz, Associate Professor, Film, Video, and New Media, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Tim Griffin, Editor, Artforum.
Avital Ronell, Professor of German, Comparative Literature, and English at NYU.

Emily Apter, Professor of Comparative Literature and French at NYU, (moderator).
Denis Hollier, Chair, and Professor of French Literature at NYU, (respondent).

RSVP to 212-992-9018 or

Between Hope and History: When Disaster Strikes (Symposium, 3/13)

The New York Institute for the Humanities and
The Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU present

When Disaster Strikes

An All-Day Symposium

Saturday, March 13, 2010
Cantor Film Center
36 E. 8th Street, NYC

Free and Open to the Public

Recent and continuing calamities, man-made and natural, continue to provoke
profound and disturbing questions. At their root, almost all the issues are
bound up in the vexing and complicated relationship of history to hope. On
Saturday March 13, 2010 the all-day symposium BETWEEN HOPE & HISTORY: WHEN
DISASTER STRIKES will bring together a dozen writers, thinkers, and
activists who have reflected deeply about the strange dialectic between
suffering and solidarity.


11 am
Philip Gourevitch
Lori Grinker
Jonathan Schell


Ruth Franklin
Lewis H. Lapham
Francine Prose
Peter Trachtenberg

Kevin Rozario
Laura Secor
Richard Walden


Leon Botstein is the President of Bard College, and Music Director and
Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra.

Ruth Franklin is a literary critic and Senior Editor at the New Republic.
She is finishing a book of essays about literature and the Holocaust.

Philip Gourevitch, staff writer at the New Yorker and Editor of the Paris
Review, is the author of The Ballad of Abu Ghraib and We Wish To Inform You
That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families.

Lori Grinker is an award-winning photojournalist whose work ranges from the
world of child boxing to the Iraq War. She is the author of two books The
Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women and Afterwar: Veterans
from a World in Conflict.

Lewis H. Lapham is Editor of Lapham's Quarterly, and formerly the longtime
Editor of Harper's magazine. He is the author of, among other books,
Waiting for the Barbarians, Theater of War, and Pretensions to Empire; and
editor of The End of the World, an illustrated anthology of first-person
accounts of disaster from Thucydides to the end of the 20th Century.

Francine Prose is the author, most recently, of Anne Frank: The Book, the
Life, The Afterlife. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic
Monthly, and the Paris Review. She is a former president of PEN America
Center and a contributing editor at Harper's magazine.

David Rieff, author and policy analyst, is a contributing writer to the New
York Times Magazine and the author of eight books, including
Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West and A Bed for the Night:
Humanitarianism in Crisis.

Kevin Rozario is Associate Professor of American Studies at Smith College,
and the author of The Culture of Calamity: Disaster and the Making of Modern
America (Univ. of Chicago, 2007).

Jonathan Schell, journalist and author of The Fate of the Earth, The Village
of Ben Suc, and The Unconquerable World, among other books, is the Peace and
Disarmament Correspondent at the Nation magazine and a Fellow at The Nation

Laura Secor, an independent journalist who covered the conflicts in Serbia
and Kosovo, is currently working on a book about Iran. Her articles have
appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, and the Nation
among other publications.

Peter Trachtenberg, author of The Book of Calamities: Five Questions on
Suffering and Its Meaning, is a writer and journalist whose work has
appeared in the New Yorker, Harpers, Bomb and A Public Space.

Richard Walden is President, CEO, and Founder of Operation USA, a Los
Angeles-based nongovernmental organization specializing in disaster relief
as well as international health and economic development projects.

The symposium Between Hope and History: When Disaster Strikes is conceived
as part of a continuing conversation. It is inspired by three quotes from
the works of Anton Chekhov, Heinrich von Kleist, and Seamus Heaney:

"We do not see and we do not hear those who suffer, and what is terrible
in life goes on somewhere behind the scenes. . . .Everything is quiet and
peaceful, and nothing protests but mute statistics: so many people gone out
of their minds, so many gallons of vodka drunk, so many children dead from
malnutrition. . . .And this order of things is evidently necessary;
evidently the happy man only feels at ease because the unhappy bear their
burdens in silence, and without that silence happiness would be impossible.
It's a case of general hypnotism. There ought to be behind the door of every
happy, contented man someone standing with a hammer continually reminding
him with a tap that there are unhappy people; that however happy he may be,
life will show him her laws sooner or later, trouble will come for
him - disease, poverty, losses, and no one will hear or see, just as now he
neither hears nor sees others."

-- "Gooseberries," Anton Chekhov

"And amidst these awful moments that had brought about the destruction
of all of humanity's worldly possessions, and during which all of nature
threatened to be engulfed, it did indeed seem that the human spirit itself
blossomed like a lovely flower. In the fields all around, as far as the eye
could see, there were people of all social classes lying together, nobles
and beggars, matrons of once stately households and peasant women, civil
servants and day laborers, o and nuns: all commiserating with each other,
helping each other, cheerfully sharing the little of life's necessities
they'd been able to salvage, as though the common calamity had joined all
those who'd managed to survive it into a single harmonious family of man.

"Instead of the meaningless chatter for which the world ordinarily
furnished material aplenty at teatime, people now recounted cases of
inconceivable heroism; they spoke of individuals who in the past had been
but little respected in society who rose to the grandeur of ancient Romans;
countless examples were given of fearlessness, of cheerful recklessness in
the face of danger, of self-denial and godly self-sacrifice, of the
unflinching abandonment of life as though it were the most worthless
possession, which one was likely to find again round the next bend. Indeed,
seeing as there was not a soul to whom something stirring had not happened
on that day or who had not himself performed some magnanimous deed, the
bitter pain in every human heart was mixed with the sweetest sense of
gratification, so much so that it was impossible to assess whether the sum
total of general well-being had not increased just as much as it had

--"The Earthquake in Chile," Heinrich von Kleist

"History says, Don't hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal-wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history can rhyme."
-- "The Cure at Troy," Seamus Heaney

For further information, visit
or email

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Draper Student & Alumni Announcements

Draper students and alumni have been as busy as ever since we posted our last update. Thanks for letting us know what you've all been up to! Remember that if you would like to write a post for the blog about your experiences presenting at conferences, your academic work, or events/accomplishments of interest outside of academia, we love to have student contributions. Get in touch with us at if you have news to report or are interested in writing a blog post.

Student and Alumni News

Marcia Alesan Dawkins (alumna '00) is an Assistant Professor of Human Communication at California State University, Fullerton. She is writes about political communication, diversity, popular culture and new media for "The Huffington Post" and "Truthdig" ( Her forthcoming book, “Things Said in Passing,” is a critical analysis of instances of racial passing in the United States from the late nineteenth through early twenty-first centuries. She lectures and consults on these and other issues related to contemporary communication.

Shayne Leslie Figueroa (alumna, September 2008)
was accepted to Steinhardt's doctoral program in Nutrition and Food Studies. Shayne will start the program in the fall while continuing to act as the administrator at NYU's Taub Center for Israel Studies.

Yelitzaveta Goldfarb's article, "Irony Behind the Iron Curtain" is set to be published in the Nabokov Online Journal (NOJ/НОЖ) on April 23, 2010. A link to her article will be made available when the journal is published.

Tara Haskins is presenting her paper "Put What? Where? Why Americans Don't Like Squat Toliets" at the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association's National Conference in St. Louis, Missouri (March 2010).

Everett Kramer will be presenting his paper, "A Teapot Arsenal: on Propaganda Porcelain in Mao's China" at Bard Graduate Center's "Materials of Persuasion" Conference (April 2010).

Ji Hyun Lee will be presenting papers at two upcoming conferences. At NYU's Graduate English Organization Conference on Literature and the Mass-Produced Image (April 2010), she will be presenting a paper entitled ""The Ontology of a Novel: Reading Dennis Cooper's Period alongside Andre Bazin's 'The Ontology of the Photographic Image.'" She will also be presenting at York University's conference, "The Future (TBD)," in Toronto (April 2010). Her paper for this conference is called "(An)Archiving after the Apocalypse: The Death Drive, Representation, and the Rise and Fall and Rise of Civilization in Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz."

Ji Hyuck Moon published a Science Fiction short story entitled "Chaser" on, the largest and the most famous portal site in Korea (similar to Google in the US.) "Chaser" was featured on the main page of on Feburary 5, 2010 and will be published later by Minumsa, a popular publishing company in Korea.

Ji Hyuck's translation of Elephant Faith, by Cynthia Boykin, was published in Korea in January. He has also completed a Korean translation (his 7th) of In Quiet Light: Poems on Vermeer's Women by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre. The book will be published later this year.

Chandani Patel (alumna, May '08) is the recipient of a four year Jacob K. Javits fellowship supporting her research, which examines literature from East Africa, South Africa, and Mauritius revolving around movements and migrations within the Indian Ocean. Chandani is currently in her second year in the University of Chicago's doctoral program in Comparative Literature.

Yehudit Robinson (alumna, May '08) presented at SUNY Stony Brook's "Cycles" Conference in January 2010. Her presentation, entitledPlus de MetaFood: Economies of Consumption and the Disappearance of the Subject in Eating Disorder Literature," was based on her Draper Master's thesis and focused on the "cyclicality of want and our collective fantasy of avowal; on anorexia's relationship to metaphor, bulimia's to metonymy, and the potentially fatal consequences."

Jackie Simonovitch is presenting her paper, "The Cycle of Madness in Wide Sargasso Sea" at Stony Brook University's 3rd Annual Women's and Gender Studies Graduate Conference (March 2010).

Matt Williams (alumn, May '08) will be presenting a paper entitled "Launched Among Strangers": Personality and Politics During the Administration of Governor William Cosby, 1732-1736" at the 15ht Annual Barnes Club Graduate Student Conference (March 2010) at Temple University's Center City Campus. Matt is in his second year in SUNY Binghamton's doctoral program in History.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rescheduled! MA Thesis Workshop, 3/12

M.A. Thesis Writing Workshop
Led by Professors Robin Nagle and Rebecca Colesworthy

*Friday, March 12, 5-7 PM*
Draper Map Room

This workshop is primarily intended for students who are in the early
phases of thesis preparation, but also for those at later stages of the process. Students will receive guidance on how to refine their topics
and narrow the scope of their theses, and on some of the basic mechanics of writing up their work.

Call for Papers: "Afterlives" (Due 3/22)

UCLA English Department

Southland Graduate Conference


June 4, 2010

Keynote Speakers

Mark Seltzer (Evan Frankel Professor of Literature, UCLA)

Saree Makdisi (Professor of English and Comparative Literature, UCLA)

The term "afterlives" has become increasingly predominant in recent literary criticism. But what is meant by afterlives? How do its ghostly connotations distinguish it from older critical models of influence, and how can we understand its proximity to haunting as divergent from previous theorizations of spectrality? How do afterlives function within and between texts?

This conference is interested in exploring the multiple meanings of afterlives, from its genealogical underpinnings to its political and theoretical ramifications. Papers may address any aspect of afterlives including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Haunted genres: ghost stories, fairy tales, the gothic
  • Genealogy, ancestry, racial identity
  • Architecture/Urbanism: rehabbed & re-purposed space
  • Afterlives of capitalism & economic systems
  • Biology, genetics, biopolitics
  • War, trauma, flashbacks
  • Afterlives of Empire: citizenship & postcolonial subjectivity
  • Spectral citizenship & imagined communities
  • The body & its echoes: raced, queered, & transgendered bodies
  • Organ transplantation & affective resurrection
  • Periodicity, historicization
  • Film and photography: indexicality & death
  • The afterlives of living authors/dead characters
  • The resurrection of the "dead author"
  • Psychoanalysis & the Unconscious
  • Philosophies of radical change versus continuity
  • Archivization

Abstracts for 20-minute papers and panel proposals are due by Monday, 22 March 2010. Please paste the abstract (200-300 words) or panel proposal into the body of an e-mail message and submit to Panels should consist of three papers and may include a respondent. Be sure to include your name(s), contact information, department(s), and institution(s). The conference will be on 4 June 2010 at the University of California Los Angeles. More information will soon be available at