Friday, June 11, 2010

Free Summer Film Series: Weimar on Screen

Draper graduate Leah Ammon now works at the Neue Galerie Museum, which is curating a free film series this summer called "Weimar on Screen." Leah thought the series might be of interest to Draper students. Some information on the series is below, but film descriptions and further information is available on the Neue Galerie website, here:



This summer, the Neue Galerie presents the film series "Weimar on Screen." The tumultuous years of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) were a time of far-reaching social, political, and cultural upheaval. In spite of this turmoil, they brought about a flowering of art and culture in Germany, particularly in cinema. The films in this series are brilliant examples of Weimar-era filmmaking, and they illuminate aspects of the culture of the period.

Films are presented to the public free of charge on Mondays at 4 p.m. in Café Fledermaus. For more information about Neue Galerie programming, please visit our website at

Updated Draper Course Descriptions, Fall 2010

Draper is still finalizing course offerings for the fall 2010 semester, but many new classes and updated descriptions have been added to the website. Check out the latest offerings (here: and keep checking back throughout the summer for last minute changes before registration.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Draper Student Profile: Ji Hyuck Moon

A writer since the age of 12 (a “serious writer” since the age of 20), Draper student Ji Hyuck Moon has been relentlessly pursuing his ambition to become a successful fiction author for much of his life. This past year, he published a Science Fiction short story entitled “Chaser” on a prominent Korean website, and the story will be published as part of a larger print anthology this summer. He has also translated seven books from English into Korean. But while he has achieved a great measure of success in both the realms of fiction and translation, Ji Hyuck continues to set new goals for himself. Ultimately, he wants to write in English—to be an authentic Korean voice in American letters.

Choosing not to write fiction in one’s native language is a formidable objective, but Ji Hyuck points to one to one of his favorite authors, the Chinese-American novelist Ha Jin, as an example. (Jin began to learn English at the age of twenty, and now writes exclusively in English.) Ji Hyuck sees the switch to English composition as a creative choice as well as a practical way to break into the American literary community. “Writing in English, I can use language more as a tool,” he says. “Korean is too comfortable for me.” He favors simplicity in his work, and hopes to reduce any “surplus in [his] writing.” This, he says, will be easier to accomplish by writing in English.

Although he’s always wanted to be a fiction writer, he’s found himself involved with many other endeavors during his life. For one, there's his involvement in translation. The process to publish fiction in Korea, he explains, is rather convoluted. It’s expected that authors will win an award from a literary journal or newspaper competition before they can expect to be published in most venues. But although he was frequently a finalist in these competitions, he never won. It was dispiriting, he explains, having “no results” to show for ten years of dedicated work. So he jumped at an opportunity to translate a book from English, when a publishing agency contacted him with an offer.

After completing his BA in Korea, Ji Hyuck applied to MFA programs in the United States, but was not offered admission to any of them. He took a copy-writing job with an advertisement agency, thinking that doing any writing for a living would be better than nothing, but found the work dissatisfying. “You spend all day writing small, trivial ads which no one even looks at in the newspaper,” he explains. And so he turned back to academia, and eventually, found himself at Draper.

Although balancing his creative and scholarly work at the same time has been difficult, Ji Hyuck is now invested in both worlds. He is considering the possibility of pursuing a Ph.D. in the future, but is also continuing to write fiction. He’s recently completed another short story which will be published in a Korean mystery anthology, and is working on a novel. And while sometimes it seems like there’s too much to juggle, he always finds the time to write.

Ji Hyuck Responds to The Draper Dozen:

1. When did you start at Draper?

This is my first semester at Draper. I was admitted to Fall 2009, but I deferred one semester to graduate from my former graduate school, Korea National University of Arts.

2. Are you a full or part-time student?

Full time. Every international has to be full time student.

3. Where are you from?

Seoul, South Korea.

4. What are your primary research interests?

Asian American literature and Asian immigrant writers – Ha Jin and Chang-rae Lee would be ideal examples. Although the Asian population in the United States is increasing rapidly, their presence in literature is hardly visible. Where are they and who is speaking for them? I am curious to know what their voice is and how their voice resonates in this multi-cultural society.

5. Why did you choose to pursue an interdisciplinary degree at Draper?

After I was rejected from an NYU Ph.D program, I received a letter suggesting I consider Draper. At that time, I was totally exhausted from all the application process, so I thought it was spam mail at first. (Actually, it was in the spam mailbox.) A few days later, I read it again before emptying my spam mailbox and found it worth thinking about. I couldn’t decide what I should do, though I knew this might be the last chance for me. I hesitated for two reasons: First, Draper is Master’s program but I was already getting an MFA degree from Korea National University of Arts (KNUA). Second, I had come to mistrust the term “interdisciplinary” because my graduate major, creative writing, was also an interdisciplinary program. At KNUA it is said that students in the interdisciplinary program are “everyone’s children,” But this also means the opposite: Everyone’s children are no one’s children.

After careful consideration, I finally decided to apply to Draper. New York is a place where young writers should go and, above all, NYU was the only school that gave me a second chance. As mentioned above, I deferred one semester to graduate from KNUA, and to get married in that summer. I am still not sure that I made a right decision, but so far, I am satisfied with the courses I am taking and the atmosphere of Draper. Maybe it’s only after everything is finished that I’ll know if I made the right choice.

6. What do you plan to do after Draper?

Basically, I plan to apply another Ph.D. program in literature. If I can call that my short-term plan, my long-term plan is becoming an immigrant writer. I don’t know whether it is possible or not for now, but I’ll try and see what is next. Writing fiction and teaching students (which also means learning, of course) – that’s what I want to do not only after Draper, but also for the rest of my life.

7. Do you have any special activities or projects outside of your academic work?

I write fiction, including short stories and novels. As announced in Draper’s blog, I published a Science Fiction short story entitled Chaser on in this February and it will be published later by Minumsa in this coming fall. I also have a contract with Woongjin, a leading publishing group in Korea, to publish a collection of my short stories later this year. Currently, I am working on a novel entitled Wednesday, which is a story about Jesus’ last (and lost) Wednesday before he died.

I also translate books into Korean. The most recent translation is Elephant Faith, by Cynthia Boykin, which was published in Korea in January. So far, I have translated 6 books and my 7th book, In Quiet Light: Poems on Vermeer's Women by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, will be published later this year.

8. What do you like best about New York City?

People. Comparing with my soul city, Seoul, New York has much more diversity. You can encounter any kind of people around the corner. I like that I can’t predict who I will meet in the street at all. The same thing happens in class. The big picture made by the students who have different background and culture is fascinating.

9. What do you like least about New York City?

The smell. I have to take subway to get to NYU, but the smell of the subway stations is always hard to stand. Especially the smell after the rain – which is really unbearable. Compared to New York, the subway stations of Seoul are just like hotels.

10. If you were not in academia, what would you be doing?

In Korea, my first job was a copywriter at the J. Walter Thompson ad agency. Every day I used to write short copy for advertisements. If I hadn’t quit the job to attend graduate school, I would be a workaholic copywriter. Maybe I would have a lot more things than I do now. Maybe I would have a fancy car or expensive gadgets. But would I be happier? No. I still remember the interview with Ha Jin, which made me decide to quit my job: “In life as a human being, nothing is secure. Just follow your heart.”

11. What was the last book you read for fun (not for class or research)?

Currently I am reading Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Oland, Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang, and The Bridegroom by Ha Jin. These books are so great that I don’t want to finish them too fast.

12. If you could change anything about ______ [fill in the blank: New York City, the world, the economy, your hair…] what would it be and why?

My name. Ji Hyuck is my first name though there’s a space between Ji and Hyuck, but people tend to call me Ji. (Hyuck is not my middle name!) I think the space confuses them. Also, Ji Hyuck is hard to pronounce. If you want to torture or train your tongue, practice pronouncing my name repeatedly. Plus, my family name, Moon, is too weird to be a last name. When I say and spell it, most are surprising with widening their eyes and ask, “You mean the moon in the sky?” What should I do then? Mostly I reply with an awkward smile, “Yes.”

13. How do you feel about social media and which, if any, do you use most?

Social media on the internet is not very attractive to me. In my twenties, I was a big fan of, the leading Social Network Service in Korea, which is similar to Facebook. I was a heavy uploader and would write something on my mini-homepage every day – but now I don’t use as much. It’s okay for keeping in touch with old friends long distance, but definitely not good for making new friends.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Reading and Book Launch Party for Chuck Wachtel, 6/17

Dear Students-

Please join us in congratulating Chuck Wachtel, who teaches "Human Fact I" for Draper each fall, on the publication of his new novel, 3/03. The Lillian Vernon Creative Writers' House will be hosting a reading and launch party for the book next week on Thursday, June 17th, and Draper students are invited to attend. More information is below.

Congrats, Chuck!


Reading/party: For Chuck Wachtel's new book 3/03
Readers: Chuck Wachtel, Hettie Jones, Robert Hershon

Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House
58 West 10th Street (bet 5th and 6th Avenues)

Thursday, June 17, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Free & Open to the Public

Robert Hershon's most recent book is Calls from the Outside World, his 12th collection. His work has appeared in The Nation, American Poetry Review and Poetry 180, and numerous other magazines and periodicals, and he has recently written for the Poetry Foundation and Best American Poetry websites. Among his awards are two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and three from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Hershon has edited Hanging Loose Press since 1966 and served as director of The Print Center since 1976.

Hettie Jones has published three collections of poems: Drive (winner of the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber Award), All Told, and Doing 70. Her celebrated memoir of the Beat Scene, How I Became Hettie Jones, is regarded as a model of the genre. Her many other books include, No Woman No Cry, co-authored with Rita Marley, and several books for children. Jones lectures widely and currently teaches in the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at the New School and at the 92nd Street Y.

Chuck Wachtel is the author of the novels Joe The Engineer, winner of the Pen/Hemingway Citation, and The Gates; a collection of stories and novellas: Because We Are Here (all Viking-Penguin); and five collections of poems and short prose, including The Coriolis Effect and, most recently, What Happens to Me. A new novel, 3/03, will appear in summer 2010. He has written the screenplay for Joe The Engineer currently in pre-production as a film. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at N.Y.U.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


We have discovered a group of sociologists from different colleges and universities studying Brooklyn. Brooklyn has always been legendary, and has more recently regained its stature as the "hippest" borough. We think a collection of demographic, ethnographic, and comparative studies which focus on urban dynamics is timely. The volume, tentatively titled THE WORLD IN BROOKLYN, BROOKLYN IN THE WORLD: GENTRIFICATION, IMMIGRATION, AND ETHNIC POLITICS IN A GLOBAL CITY, will be edited by Judith DeSena (St. John's University) and Tim Shortell(Brooklyn College CUNY). We are soliciting articles on immigration, gentrification, globalization, ethnic politics, development, poverty, and contested landscapes.

Send inquiries and/or abstracts to: shortell@brooklyn.cuny.ed

Submitted for Tim Shortell by:

Jerome Krase, Ph.D.
Emeritus and Murray Koppelman Professor
Brooklyn College
The City University of New York

Call for Proposals: Latino Folk Culture and Expressive Traditions

Call for Proposals: Latino Folk Culture and Expressive Traditions

NY Folklore Society Graduate Student Conference Latino Folk Culture and Expressive Traditions November 20, 2010 New York University New York, NY 10012

Call for Proposals
For over 65 years, the New York Folklore Society (NYFS) has held an annual conference, typically with guest speakers, such as master artists and academic scholars, who have addressed a particular theme. This year, in collaboration with NYU’s Latino Studies and Latin American Studies Departments, we invite graduate students to present their work on Latino Folk Culture and Expressive Traditions. In this way, students will be given a platform at a local conference to share their work and connect with other young academics from around the state. The NYFS seeks to encourage young scholars to continue their studies and become active contributors to the fields of folklore, ethnomusicology, anthropology and more. Theme: Latino Folk Culture and Expressive Traditions A cumbia group belting-out Colombian tunes at an outdoor cumbiamba, a Peruvian curandero diagnosing a patient through the use of animals, a Mexican family building a Diá de los Muertos altar in their home, a décima verse sung by a Puerto Rican jibaro—all of these are examples of Latino Expressive Traditions. While some of these forms have roots in African traditions and others have roots in Indigenous traditions, all are considered Latino Expressive Traditions or Folk Arts. These traditions speak to what Latinos say, believe, make, know and do---things that they first learned from their families and community. The length and breadth of Latino traditions literally covers two continents; and transnational migration to major US cities such as Miami, Chicago, San Antonio, Newark and New York have ensured that the impact of Latino culture continues to be profound. We support papers which explore the topic of Latino Expressive Traditions from both the homeland perspective and immigrant perspective. We particularly encourage papers that address Latino traditions in New York’s tri-state area. Students can cover any number of topics related to traditional performing arts, materials arts, vernacular culture, sacred arts, etc. as long as the research is with a particular Latino group. While attendees should be graduate students from any academic program; they do not have to major in folklore or Latino studies. Participants can be ethnomusicologists, anthropologists, historians, etc. Deadlines and Important Dates Proposals Due September 30, 2010 Notification of Acceptance By October 15, 2010 Registration NYFS members: $15 Non-members: $20 Online at Mailing address: PO Box 764, Schenectady, NY 12301 October 01 – Nov 10, 2010 Conference date - on the campus of New York University November 20, 2010 Questions? Please contact: Dr. Ellen McHale,, 518-346-7008