Friday, April 9, 2010

Draper Open Houses for Prospective Students (Current Students Welcome!)

Draper will be holding three open houses over the summer for prospective students. These open houses will be an opportunity to meet with Draper staff, learn more about the program, and have prospective students' questions answered.

The dates are:
Tuesday, May 25th
Wednesday, June 2nd
Thursday, June 17th

We're also more than happy to have current students attend and be on hand to answer questions from a current-student perspective. Let us know if you're interested!

All open houses will be held from 5:00 - 7:00 pm in Draper's office at 14 University Place, 1st floor. A map with walking directions can be found here.

Prospective students, please RSVP at draper.program[at]

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Draper Alumn Matt Williams on the Barnes Club Graduate Conference (March 2010)

Matt Williams graduated from Draper in 2008 and is currently a Ph.D. student in the history program at SUNY Binghamton. Matt recently presented a paper at the Barnes Club Graduate Student Conference and agreed to write about the experience for in.ter.reg.num. Thanks, Matt!

Over the weekend of March 26-27, I had the chance to present an early version of a new paper at the 15th Annual James A. Barnes Club Graduate Student Conference at Temple University. Bringing together students from across the country, working in fields as varied as media, comics, political history, and the Cold War, the conference offered an almost dizzying array of temporal and theoretical perspectives. I recommend it highly to anyone working in nearly any American, European or Global history field.

The weekend’s activities began on Friday evening with a panel discussion on how articles and books get published. Racing down from upstate New York, this panel alleviated a lot of confusion on my part about the process, despite the fact that I spent a decade in trade publishing before attending Draper. Academic publishers welcomed work from graduate students; in fact, few seem to submit material meaning that there is opportunity for those of us willing to try. The bad news is that peer review is not for the impatient: even accepted articles undergo months of revision and publication is contingent on producing an acceptable final article.

After some chit-chat with panelists and fellow presenters, I went back to my hotel and practiced reading through my article a few more times before collapsing into bed. My panel began at 9:00 am Saturday and I went first. My paper is a new work titled ‘“Launched among Strangers”: Personality and Politics During the Administration of Governor William Cosby, 1732-1736.’ This era in New York history was highly contentious, and historians often consider it as a precursor to the American Revolution. In contrast, I focus on the personal disputes between Britons like Cosby and their colonial adversaries in more personal terms where each was strange to the other, especially in their assumptions over who got the short end of the imperial relationship. I got some good comments on my paper and Power Point but almost would have welcomed more criticism.

Of course, I can’t blame anyone for not knowing or being interested in my specific little field. I suppose that’s the one drawback to a conference with such a wide range of work: it’s difficult to know enough about various fields to think of a probing question. I felt this myself later in the day while attending others’ presentations, wanting to comment critically without coming across as a wind-bag or know-it-all.

The day concluded with some awards (not won by me!) and comments from the student and faculty organizers. I would have loved to stay for the post-conference karaoke at a nearby bar, but had to high tail it back to New York, where I still live while commuting to Binghamton. Not only did the conference motivate me to get working on a new project, it also opened my eyes to some of the creative work being done at campuses across America.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Trauma and Violence Studies Event: Narrativation of Traumatic Experience through Testimony (4/14)

Please join us.

Trauma and Violence Transdisciplinary Studies


(Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine; Cofounder of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale)


Wednesday, April 14th at 6:45 p.m.
13-19 University Place, Room 102

Discussant: Sue Grand, Ph.D. (Faculty and supervisor NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis; Faculty Mitchell Center for Relational Psychoanalysis; Associate Editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues; Author of The Reproduction of Evil: A Clinical and Cultural Perspective and (just off the press) The Hero in the Mirror: From Fear to Fortitude.

Introduced by Judith Alpert, Ph.D., (Professor of Applied Psychology, NYU; Faculty and Training Supervisor, NYU Postdoctoral Program for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis; Co-Director, Trauma and Violence Transdisciplinary Studies, NYU; psychoanalyst)

This event is free and open to the public. Photo I.D. required.

Call for Papers: Recycling (Abstracts Due 5/15)

Call For Papers…


The Department of Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at Stony Brook University is pleased to announce its inaugural graduate student conference will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2010 at the Stony Brook Manhattan campus. We are also excited to announce that Lisa Gitelman, Associate Professor of Media, Culture & Communication and Associate Professor of English at NYU will be the conference keynote speaker.

The conference will be structured around the theme of recycling, such that we will not only invite graduate students to present papers on recycling itself, but also make space for interactive projects that use recycling practices to alter the proceedings of a conventional conference. We are currently soliciting papers that explore the significance of recycling as a cultural practice and as a metaphor for understanding artistic and literary production. We also welcome creative modes of presentation, including performance art, short films, musical acts, visual art, collages, video games, and other expressive forms.

In recent years, “going green” has become an increasingly popular buzz-phrase. Advice on resource and waste management is ubiquitous, coming from such sources as credit card companies, Greenpeace, reality TV shows, the Environmental Protection Agency, car manufacturers, and Facebook applications. A successful generator of capital in its own right, “greening” has become a pop culture sensation in a world poised on the brink of environmental collapse. How do discourses of "reduce, reuse, and recycle" take shape in a corporate culture premised on planned obsolescence? Might our relationship to waste change as we search for new sustainabilities?

As we are called to be conscious of our resource management, how might we become conscious of our idea management? Taking the notion of recycling as an environmental concept and applying it to the cultural realm, we want to explore how old and new media forms navigate their own forms of recycling. How does the concept of recycling, the act of reusing materials and/or ideas once considered “wasteful,” apply to cultural, artistic, and literary production? What happens when we characterize a once-useful idea with waste? What strategies enable us to recover a supposedly wasteful idea?

Concerning the problem of idea management, we invite proposals covering topics such as:

-- copying of themes, tropes and characters in literature

-- literary translation

-- the "remake" in popular film

-- the digital music mash-up

-- the televised rerun

-- the video game engine

-- fan cultures (including fan vids, fan sites, fan blogs, fan discussion boards, fan events)

-- technology law

-- literary genres

-- bootlegging, piracy

-- appropriation, plagiarism

-- literary and film adaptations

-- collage

-- virtual lives (e.g. Second Life)

-- recycling of history

-- mutation of myths over time and across cultures

All of these topics gesture toward cultural practices that may be thought of by some as recycling and reusing or as appropriation and plagiarism by others. These are just some of the possible areas ripe for examining the implications and intersections of intellectual, creative, and environmental "recycling.” We welcome submissions that play with the theme of recycling in creative and unexpected ways.

Concerning the problem of resource management, we invite proposals covering topics such as:

-- the history of the slogans “reduce, reuse, and recycle” and “going green”

-- case studies of recycling’s environmental impact

-- waste disposal

-- the history and future of environmental movements

-- environmentalism in the developing world

-- land appropriation and reappropriation

-- the branding of environmentalism

-- capitalism’s co-optation of environmental movements

-- recycling as a form of cultural reconstruction and its impact on communities

-- political and cultural attitudes toward sustainabilities and conservation

-- the rise of Green Parties across Europe and, to a lesser extent, in North America

Please submit abstracts of 250 words (for individual proposals) or 400 words (for panel proposals) to by May 15th, 2010. Please include your full name, contact information, and institutional affiliation. If submitting creative work, please explain how you plan to present your work (paper, performance, installation, etc.)

Individual presentations should be no longer than 15 minutes. Panels should be no more than one hour.

For more information, please see the conference website at Also, feel free to email with any questions or concerns.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reminder: DSO Colloquium This Friday, April 9th

DSO Spring Colloquium
Friday, April 9th
7:00 PM in the Draper Map Room

with presentations by:

Alex Ponomareff
"Little Boxes: A brief excursion into the panels of American comic books"

John Allen
"The Structure of an Empirical Theory of Taste"

Sarah Broderick
"One Creator + One Creature = One Trickster:
Secondary Title as Frame for Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus"

Coney Island Congress of Curious Peoples, 4/8-18

Draper Alumni Aaron Beebe, current curator of the Coney Island Museum, recently informed us of the Congress of Curious Peoples, presented by Coney Island USA and the Morbid Anatomy and Observatory. The Congress starts this Thursday, April 8th

For a pdf of the Congress of Curious Peoples poster, which includes the full schedule, click here.

Below is a past interview Draper did with Beebe about his role as curator of the Coney Island Museum. Enjoy!

Tell us a little about your position as curator of the Coney Island Museum and what initially drew you to this line of work.

The Coney Island Museum is a program of Coney Island USA, the nonprofit that brings you the Mermaid Parade, the last 10-in-1 circus sideshow in the nation, the Coney Island Film Festival, and others. The organization as a whole fulfills its mission by using the history of Coney Island to create the future of Coney Island through art and humanities programs. So the Museum is the intellectual heart of what we do.

The first time I saw the Coney Island Museum, a small collection on the second floor of a nondescript building, hidden above a reader/ advisor on Surf Ave., I was surprised by how wonderful the collection was, and how little had been done to show it off. So I offered my services to Coney Island USA’s director and offered to do a lot of volunteer work. First weekends, then evenings; writing grants and talking to potential funders until we’d secured money for a full-time position. Finally one day, I quit my day job and became the first full-time staff person dedicated to the museum itself.

Since then, I’ve built walls, written text, and written grants. On any given day I might be engaged in lighting design, historical research, purchasing stock for our giftshop, event planning or coordinating volunteers. I now curate several historic exhibitions in the main gallery each year, 4 shows of contemporary art, our summer lecture series, and the permanent collection.

Obviously, this is interdisciplinary work. It’s a position that engages all of my passions: artistic expression, scholarly research, historic preservation, even urban planning.

What did you study/research while at Draper? Describe some of the ways in which your experience at Draper has most significantly influenced you. What kind of benefits do you think result from a background in interdisciplinary study?

When I entered the Draper Program, I had already had several years of practical experience in museums and art conservation studios. I saw the program as a chance to explore a scholarly side of that world without getting trapped in a particular academic field, say Art History or American Studies. My thesis was on the use of photography as a marker of identity, both in a historical example and in a contemporary artistic setting. Having the freedom to take courses from a variety of departments meant that I was creating my own approach, combining the social sciences and the humanities. And, in the end, this is exactly what I’m trying to do in the museum. In fact, we’re trying to create an institution that brings the worlds of the museum and the performing and visual arts together in a way they haven’t been in over a century.

I think what defines my interests isn’t a particular field, but a love of ideas of memory and nostalgia. So I’m trying to keep the freedom to follow that wherever it leads me. For the moment, its led me to help design a museum that is also a work of art, working in a critical fashion without being too worried about the propriety of it all.

What advice would you give to a student going through the Draper program?

Follow your interests. And don’t think that what you study has to be your lifelong passion. It’s not as easy as it sounds. The difficult part of making your own path is that you’re the only one who can really judge its merits fully.

Draper students presenting at Toronto conference this weekend - poster and abstract

Draper students Kristyn Goldberg and Ali Abbas are presenting at the following conference, this weekend:

Strategies of Critique XXIV: The Future (TBD)
Graduate Program in Social & Political Thought
York University, Toronto
April 9-10, 2010

Their poster is above (sans animation, unfortunately) and their abstract below. Congratulations, Kristyn and Ali!

Panel 2: 11:30 – 1:00, Saturday, April 10th

Panel Title: Techno-Futures

Kristyn Goldberg and Ali Abbas

“Technological Intercourse: (Pop)ular Representations of

the Diva”

A: Technological Intercourse: (Pop)ular Representations of the


B: we should totally just talk about lady gaga

A: haha that has been such a hot topic of discussion for us

Of all the critiques I have read of her work the "scholarly" one has

strangely been most absent

B: we should submit a discussion on her artistry but a truly

scholarly discussion would be couched in discussions of diva and

fame and reproduction

A: Yes! Representation, reproduction, essence, and aura the

whole shabang! It will be when anthropology, philosophy, art

history, and pop culture have a child! How should we present it


Like just sit and reference her to other source material or write a


B: in the same format we always talk about it in!

A: Yessssssss. Just get up there and gchat! It will be a visual

sensory experience!!

B: a performative dialogue/diorama that illustrates

communication WHILE we communicate about what it means

to be a diva in the future only the future is now!!!

(do you think I needed crazy music there for emphasis)

A: Dum-dum-dum!!

So the content will be a critique of "the Diva" and the form will

be on technology colliding with oral and written communication?

complete with all the mispellings, catchy lyrics, and slang of our

regular conversations?

B: i feel like that could potentially be very potent and fun....they

have a projector or two that shows each of our desktops and our


A: Yesssssssss

And it would allow us to pull up sources on the fly. the

computer will represent a whole new set of rules and limitations!


NYU Visual Culture in Italy and Germany conference

Visual Culture in Italy and Germany
after Dictatorship and War

April 8-9, 2010

New York University

Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò
Department of Italian Studies and Deutsches Haus

Conference Themes

This symposium examines visual culture in Italy and Germany in the years of transition from dictatorship and World War Two. This period, roughly 1945 to 1955, has often been treated through the lens of forward-looking Cold War historiographies that reflect an investment in 1945 as a “year zero.” The sympo­sium will reflect the newest research in this direction, but will consider how visual culture also expressed experiences of loss, disorientation, and victimization brought on by war and the end of dictatorship in Germany and Italy. Visual culture in particular can be a privileged source for the exploration of the dramatic contrasts between idealism and despair that marked this com­plex period in both Italian and German history. The tensions be­tween processes of unmaking and remaking a national past, set within a broader context of the negotiation of American and other foreign influences, figure heavily in Italian and German visual culture of the period.

FEATURING: Angela Dalle Vacche, Noa Steimatsky, Erica Carter, Massimo Perinelli, Ara H. Merjian, Lara Pucci, Sa­bine Eckmann, Emily Braun, Ulrich Baer, Antonella Peliz­zari, Andrés Mario Zervigón, Andreas Huyssen


The Arts in Haiti Now talk tomorrow, 4/7

"The Arts in Haiti Now: Perspectives from Three Haitian Playwrights"

We are fortunate to have three contemporary Haitian playwrights visiting NYU this week, Dominique Battraville, Duckens Charitable and Coutechève Lavoie Aupont. We’d like to invite you to join us for a conversation with them about the cultural scene in Haiti today, and the future of Haitian theater in the wake of the January earthquake.

This is a unique opportunity and we invite anyone who is interested in Haiti, contemporary theater and the humanities to join us *Wednesday, April 7 at from 12:30-2:00pm* at the Maison Française at NYU.

More information to follow next week, as well as additional information concerning excerpts of these playwrights’ works, which will be available upon request for you to consult before the event. The conversation will be conducted in French, but English translations of the plays will be available.

Organized by the graduate students in the Department of French at NYU

NYU History of the Telescope Conference 4/16-17

The Polytechnic Institute of NYU, the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and the Humanities Initiative at NYU

The History of the Telescope:
Exploring the Boundaries Between Science and Culture

April 16-17, 2010
20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor

On April 16-17, NYU will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the invention of the telescope, as leading scholars come together to explore the interfaces between the humanities and social sciences, and science and technology. For two days, humanists, scientists, and engineers will discuss how the instrument's use led not only to a multitude of discoveries and the development of new branches within the physical sciences, but to probing questions about the role and purpose of humanity in the universe. Far from being just a crucial scientific instrument, the telescope since Galileo has served as a potent symbol of aristocratic patronage as well as a genuine threat to received ideas about how the heavens work. From the 18th century to the present, it has conferred power and prestige on those who used it to redefine the origins of the universe. Ethical, political, economic, religious, cultural, and aesthetic ideals converge in this exciting history. By placing the invention and development of the telescope within their proper historical contexts, we can appreciate the role of science in culture as well as the role of culture in framing the scientific enterprise -- and how both scientific and cultural ventures engage creativity and ingenuity.

The Saturday talks will conclude with internationally-acclaimed actor Jay Sanders' readings of key scenes from Robert Goodwin's recent play, "Two Gentlemen of Florence," in which Sanders performed the role of Galileo. Sanders' performance will be followed by a reception.

The event is free and open to the public. To attend, please RSVP on or before Monday, April 12: send an email to


Friday, 16 April 2010
2:00 pm: Welcoming and Opening Remarks: Myles W. Jackson, The Dibner Family Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, Director of Science and Technology Studies, NYU-Poly, and Professor of the History of Science, Gallatin; Susanne Wofford, Dean of the Gallatin School of Individualized Study of NYU; Jane Tylus, Director of the Humanities Initiative at NYU
2:30 pm: Tom Settle, NYU-Poly and Florence: “When Was the Telescope Possible? The Catalan Background”
3:10 pm: Tom Mayer, Augustana College, "Galileo's Telescope and Roman Elites, 1611: The Casino Malvasia and Vigna Bandini"
3:50 pm: Eileen Reeves: Princeton University, “ ‘Come, give me an instrument’: Telescopes, Trumpets, and Organ Pipes”
4:30-5:30 pm: Questions and Gerneral Discussion
5:30 pm: Remarks by Kurt Becker, Associate Provost NYU-Poly

Saturday, 17 April 2010
9:00 am: Coffee and Bagels
9:30 am: Mario Biagioli, Harvard University, "Did Galileo Copy the Telescope?"
10:10 am: Mordechai Feingold, California Institute of Technology, "Bringing Heaven to the Capacity of All: The Telescope and the Culture of Astronomy from Galileo to Newton"
10:50 am: Myles W. Jackson, NYU-Poly and Gallatin-NYU: “Joseph von Fraunhofer’s Artisanal Optics, Skill, and Experimental Natural Philosophers in the Early Nineteenth Century”
11:30-12:30 pm: Questions and General Discussion
12:30-2:00 pm: LUNCH BREAK
2:00 pm: David DeVorkin, The Smithsonian Institution: “Catch a Falling Star: Meteor and Satellite Trackers: Who Made Them and Why? Who Paid for Them and Why?”
2:40 pm: David Munns, John Jay College: “The Radio Astronomers: New Communities and Knowledge via New Telescopes and Disciples”
3:20 pm: Robert Smith, The University of Alberta: “Telescopes Beyond the Atmosphere: Making Space Astronomy and Building Coalitions”
4:00-5:00 pm: Questions and General Discussions
5:00 pm: Reading by Jay Sanders, from Richard Goodwin’s Two Men of Florence.
6:00 pm: Reception

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dean's Student Travel Grant Program

Dear students,

We've had some inquiries lately about possible funding for students to travel to conferences. While Draper is not yet able to offer travel funds for conferences, we do want to make sure that students are aware of the Dean's Student Travel Grant Program. This program "provides funds to graduate students in the humanities, social sciences and sciences for travel to professional meetings and conferences to present invited papers or posters." Much more information can be found here.

We hope this is helpful!


GSAS Master's College End of Semester Toast, April 21

The GSAS Master's College invites you:

Come celebrate the hard work of GSAS master’s students and all those who support them at the End of Semester Toast on April 28th. The event will take place at the NYU Torch Club at 18 Waverly Place from 4:30 – 6:30 pm. Hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be served, so please RSVP to by Wednesday, April 21st. We hope to see you there.

Draper Alumni Book Set To Release This May

As NeonSeon, Draper alumni Seon Ricks developed a comic strip for his high school newspaper featuring a character named Shouty Mack. Now, NeonSeon has developed the strip into a book series focused on personal issues, which is coming out on May 18th. From the press release:

"If change is the one thing we can count on, why is it so difficult for most of us to change our bad habits? In this clever and entertaining book, Shouty attempts to do just that. Whether you’re an adult or child, Life of Shouty: Good Habits offers a refreshing view of life’s common challenges. The universal story explores themes of hope and persistence in the face of adversity. Concepts of comfort zones, negative self-talk, and setting goals are featured in an artful way. The poetic style, illustrations, and expressions on Shouty’s face are delightful. The journey is filled with memorable rhymes that speak to the heart of those who want to be their best selves. Readers can relate to Shouty’s struggles: procrastination, stagnancy, and habitual ways of thinking that pose obstacles to achievement and personal growth. Changing habits is not easy, but you will be motivated to—or at least have hope that you can—after reading this book."

Shouty has his own website and Life of Shouty: Good Habits is available for purchase on,,
and from the publisher at

Congratulations, Seon!