Friday, November 19, 2010

Oral History, Labors of Waste, and the Value of Knowledge (Taught by Robin Nagle)

Dear Students-

There are a lot of interesting 'Topics' seminars on offer at Draper next semester, so we'll be highlighting these over the next few weeks. First on our list is "Topics in the City: Topics in The City: Oral History, Labors of Waste, and Values of Knowledge" which will be taught by Draper's director, Robin Nagle. The course description is below; if you're interested in enrolling, please contact Robin directly at robin[dot]nagle[at]nyu[dot]edu.


Oral History, Labors of Waste, and the Value of Knowledge

This class uses oral history to consider the role of unappreciated labor and invisible knowledge in an urban setting. Working in collaboration with current and former members of New York City’s Department of Sanitation to, we will explore the dynamics of a historically significant work force to consider some overlooked elements of the city’s past and to become acquainted with the complexities of a vital but largely hidden infrastructure.

Oral history, both as a discipline and as a practice, serves many functions. It can be an investigatory and documentary technique, a fact-finding strategy, a professional tool, a casual practice, or a personal reflection. Methods of oral history are useful to historians, anthropologists, museum curators, educators, journalists, playwrights, and novelists, among others. Some who use oral history are quite self-conscious about the larger intellectual conversations in which it fits, while others simply find it a helpful way to learn details about particular events, individuals, or moments in time.

Within the academy, these many understandings and uses of oral history are considered through a variety of theoretical frameworks that ask questions about truth (who claims it, and who contests it), perspective (whose voice is heard, whose is ignored, by whom, in what contexts), relevance (who cares? why or why not?), bias (of everyone involved), access (to the stories, to the people telling the stories) and power (woven through the entire enterprise, but not always easy to measure). We will delve into these and related concerns throughout the semester.

At the same time, we will give equal attention to practicalities, including interview skills, research techniques, equipment choices, and transcription software and protocols.

Students will complete two life-history interviews, including transcriptions finished to deposit standards. Assignments will include journal articles, book excerpts, and examples of oral histories. Students will also be responsible for a series of reflective and analytical writing assignments as well as research outside class that will be necessary preparation for the interviews themselves.

By the end of the semester, students will have learned basic oral history methods and theories, and will be able to “read” the city with more nuance and insight. The interviews that the class gathers will become permanent records within the Sanitation Oral History Archive, a joint NYU/DSNY venture.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Addictive Fiction: April Bacon on Fiction Fix

Although Draper alumna April Bacon calls New York City home, that hasn’t prevented her from becoming the editor-in-chief of Fiction Fix, an online literary journal founded on the “premise of fiction as an addictive experience,” which is produced by faculty, current students, and alumni of the University of North Florida (UNF). An alumna of UNF herself, April moved to New York in 2008, with the intention of enrolling in NYU’s Creative Writing Program. Instead, she was accepted to Draper, where she spent the next few years investigating intersections of science and literature.

It was during her time at Draper that April got involved with her alma mater’s literary journal, an entirely volunteer-maintained collaboration. “Everything is done online,” April explains. “It seems like it would be restrictive, but it really isn’t.” Fiction Fix, she says, has cultivated a strong community for people who want to “talk about stories.” The journal has gone through some major changes since April’s arrival as editor, most notably its transition from being a print magazine to an entirely online publication. But although April would like the journal to be published in print format once again, she sees this development as being a very positive one for Fiction Fix. “It’s always been our goal to have a strong online presence,” she says, explaining that this shift has vastly increased the journal’s readership, not to mention the number of subscriptions that it receives each cycle. “We receive five times as many submissions as we did before.” And where Fiction Fix used to only receive submissions from writers in Florida, it now attracts submissions from all over the United States and even other countries.

Another change that April brought about when she joined as editor was to adjust each issue’s focus. Fiction Fix now alternates between its usual fiction issues (which feature a wide variety of traditional and experimental pieces) and “special issues,” which highlight a particular literary genre. “We introduced ‘the special issue,’” April explains, “because, unlike the fiction issue, it is entirely malleable based on what connections and fun we might take advantage of at any moment –because of this, for example, we are incredibly grateful that Mark Ari, an author and UNF faculty member, has agreed to guest edit the Spring 2011 special issue—a Creative Nonfiction issue. And issue 7 allowed us to explore the many and potent forms of ‘the short short.’ We also hope that by diversifying this way, we will reach an even greater reader- and author-ship, which is always partially the goal... We hope that writers and readers know that they can count on Fiction Fix not only for an excellent full fiction issue each year, but also for something unexpected.”

While much of April’s creative attention goes toward editing Fiction Fix, she’s also a writer herself. She’s published work in Deadpaper and Outsider Ink, as well as in Draper’s own journal, Anamesa, where her essay "Exquisite Patterns and Sympathies: Anthropomorphism in Darwinian Thought" will be featured in the forthcoming spring issue.

April recently also published a short story entitled “When the Sun is Glorious” in a young literary journal called Prick of the Spindle. The story, which imagines the first hot air balloon flight, draws on her interest in science—and more particularly, technology—in literature, and stems from a reading that she encountered in Daniel Thurs’ “Thinking About Tomorrow” class in 2008. “I have a bit of ‘science envy,’” she admits. “Scientists do such cool, tangible things.”

We asked April to highlight some notable fiction in recent Fiction Fix issues. Below are some of the more remarkable pieces that she thinks you may enjoy (she also mentions that the journal features great original artwork in many of its issues).

From the short short issue (issue 7)

*"Empty" by Harmony Neal describes the irremediable loss one feels on giving up the demon after an exorcism.

*"The Wheelchair Pusher" by Malcolm Murray follows the tale of "Mr. Z" a hospital volunteer who remembers a tragic mistake from his young life.

*"Paper Wait" by Travis Wildes envisions the future post-"ThinkWrite," an AppleSoft word processing program that taps into the minds of humans to write stories better than they ever knew they could.

Forthcoming in issue 8:

*"[ ]" by Thomas Karst. Imagines a boy in the age of cave paintings, making his mark in a timeless space. [ ] is an experimental piece of fiction. On one page, words are worked into the shape of a hand-print -- a pictorial reference to what was, the words seem to try to squeeze out of that tiny space in the same way human beings try desperately to make a permanent voice across ages.

*"Death of a Fat Man" by Scott Neuffer chronicles the last days of a young and morbidly obese man, and the reactions of his wispy and shrinking girlfriend.

*Through the eyes of a writer, "His Malaise" by Anthony Bell scrutinizes the all-too-familiar "Process of Rejection." A notable metaphorical moment: the narrator gets "mooned" by a literary journal.

Fiction Fix's forthcoming fiction issue will be available on the website in early December.

Event Planning and Development Intern: Scenarios USA

Event Planning and Development Intern

Location: Brooklyn, New York, 11217, United States
Organization: Scenarios USA
Language(s): English
Start date: Early January 2011
End date: Early May 2011
Last day to apply: December 8, 2010


The Event Planning and Development Intern will work under the supervision of and in close partnership with the Director of Development and the Database Manager. The Event Planning and Development Intern will assist in achieving major development department goals: assist in the management of 2011 REAL DEAL Awards and Gala logistics and work with the Database Manager to develop the resources in Convio Common Ground including input and tracking for the event and foundations/corporations cultivation as well as other database tasks.

The Event Planning and Development Intern is a leading contributor to Scenarios USA program
development and Scenarios USA seeks a passionate and persuasive representative of the organization
and its mission. Scenarios USA is a small but very accomplished organization. This position will
provide a great deal of experience in event planning and development to a responsible and ambitious


Event Planning (75%)
• Assist with production of event journal
• Prepare correspondence: edits, proofreads, and formats reports, documents, etc.
• Research topics as needed for gala
• Assist in the planning and execution of logistics surrounding our annual gala (April 12, 2011)
• Create, organize and maintain program and event files as needed
• Field telephone calls and emails about gala as needed
• Ensure that internal follow-up is completed; assist with follow-up to donors and volunteers
• Enter information into and help manage database

General Development/Database Maintenance (25%)
• Assist in the tracking and entering of event donor information
• Keep track of event donations
• Make copies, collate, and distribute materials
• Organize information in electronic and hard copy files

Reports to: Director of Development
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Start Date: Early January 2011
End Date: Early May 2011
Hours: 3 days per week – hours flexible
Compensation: lunch and transportation reimbursed

• Bachelor’s degree
• Superior organizational skills, attention to detail
• Excellent interpersonal and communications skills; ability to interact effectively with a range of
• Fluent English
• Experience in a professional environment
• Experience in supporting program, conference, and/or event planning preferred
• Demonstrated proficiency in word processing, spreadsheets, internet research, email, and file
management (prefer Microsoft Office Suite); experience with Constant Contact and/or
fundraising software preferred
• Commitment to the mission of Scenarios USA

To apply:

Send cover letter and resume by December 8, 2010, no calls please.
By email:
Subject line: Event Planning and Development Intern
By mail: Event Planning and Development Intern Search
Scenarios USA
80 Hanson Place, Suite 305
Brooklyn, New York 11217

Scenarios USA seeks to hire staff who reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.

Equal Opportunity Employer: This position will be filled without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.

About Scenarios USA:

Scenarios USA believes that by valuing youth and investing in their stories, we can strengthen academic achievement, promote civic engagement, and support young people in becoming responsible and
healthy individuals. Every aspect of the Scenarios USA program – from the classroom discussion and
reflection to the script-writing contest, to the film production, to the public speaking engagements – is a two-way street that gives young people the power to work as full partners with teachers, professional filmmakers, and community and youth advocates. This formula has been proven effective in our program evaluation, and we are proud that The Ford Foundation, our top funder, continues to cite Scenarios USA as a model in the fields of education, youth development and adolescent health.

For more information:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shift: Graduate Journal of Visual and Material Culture

Press release for third issue of Shift: Graduate Journal of Visual and Material Culture

We are pleased to announce the launch of the third issue of Shift: Graduate Journal of Visual and Material Culture on 01 October 2010. Shift is an online journal created in 2008 by graduate students at Queen’s University. Shift is dedicated to providing a platform for current and original scholarly research by graduate students. This work must aspire to the highest quality, reflecting excellence of content and expression, as well as innovation. The papers in this third issue represent a broad range of topics and approaches to the field of visual and material culture, and reflect the journal’s commitment to fostering cross-disciplinary exchange between students and scholars from different institutions in Canada and the United States.

As well, the launch for this third issue marks the beginning of the transition of the journal into a mobile publication, with its editorial and administrative components moving between host institutions every three years. As of the start of work on the fourth issue, Shift will be hosted by both Queen’s University and the University of Western Ontario. This mobility facilitates the atmosphere of inclusivity and flexibility that Shift seeks to foster as a scholarly publication.

To find out more about Shift and to access these articles, please visit our website at

Library of Congress Photo Finds of the Week

Your Draper staff is quite enamored with the Library of Congress' digital historic photo collection on Flickr. We'll be posting great finds from their collections weekly. We hope you enjoy--let us know if you find any particularly interesting gems that you'd like to have posted here as well.

Selections from "Photochrom Travel Views" Collection

Stabur Bygdo, Christiania, Norway, Photochrom ca. 1890

Fantoft Church, Bergen, Norway, Photochrom ca. 1890

General view, Copenhagen, Denmark, Photochrom, ca. 1890

Save the Date! DSO Colloquium on Practice: Friday, December 3

DSO Fall Colloquium
Friday, December 3rd
7:00 PM in the Draper Map Room

with presentations by:

Greg Wersching
"A Discipline Divided: How Can Creative Writing Programs (Re)inform Literary Criticism?"

Lee Benjamin Huttner
"Theater in Praxis: On the Practical Turn in Understanding Dramatic Literature"

Benjamin Kampler
"De-structing Space: Anti-Gay Violence in Gay Bars"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Translating Classical Arabic Literature: 12/2

Translating Classical Arabic Literature

December 2, 2010 | 6:30 - 8:00 PM

Location: 19 Washington Square North

The lecture is sponsored by the Library of Arabic Literature, directed by Philip Kennedy, Professor of Middle East and Islamic Studies and Comparative Literature, NYU, and Faculty Director of the NYUAD Institute's public programs and conferences. The project is commissioning translations and publishing a library of classic works of Arabic literature and culture in English and Arabic parallel-text editions.

Michael D. Cooperson Professor of Arabic, the University of California, Los Angeles

Space is limited. Please RSVP to

Visit NYUAD Events for more information.

"The Fate of Trans-" Humanities Lecture, 11/22

The Fate of "Trans-"
November 22, 2010
6:30pm (Please note the change of time from 5:00pm to 6:30pm.)
19 University Place, Great Room (1st Floor)

A panel with Francois Noudelmann, Professor of Literature and Philosophy, Universite de Paris VIII, and
Emily Apter, Professor of French and Comparative Literature, NYU
Manthia Diawara
, Professor of Comparative Literature and Africana Studies, NYU
Denis Hollier, Professor and Chair, Department of French, NYU
Shireen Patell, Clinical Assistant Professor of Trauma and Violence Transdisciplinary Studies, NYU
Avital Ronell, University Professor of German, Comparative Literature, and English, NYU
Jane Tylus, Professor of Italian Studies and Comparative Literature; Director, The Humanities Initiative, NYU

This event is free and open to the public. Reception to follow. Please note the location at 19 University Place.

Co-sponsored by the Humanities Initiative, Africana Studies, the Departments of French and German, and Trauma and Violence Transdisciplinary Studies

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