Thursday, January 19, 2012

CFP: Principals of Uncertainty, CUNY Grad Center (Comp Lit): Abstracts Due 3/1

“Principles of Uncertainty”
A Conference on Critical Theory
Keynote Speaker: Martin Hägglund

The students of the Department of Comparative Literature at the City University of New York Graduate Center present the first annual interdisciplinary conference on literary and critical theory to be held Friday, May 4, 2012. This conference is being given in support of the CUNY Graduate Center’s proposed certificate for Critical Theory, which is dedicated to the study of literary and critical theory.

We invite papers from all disciplines focusing on works from any period that explore the theme of uncertainty as it pertains to literary and critical theory.
This conference welcomes papers centering upon any individual theorist, period, or school of critical theory, as well as comparisons of various theoretical approaches, including, but not limited to literary theory, psychoanalysis, philosophy, gender studies, and political theory. Some of the questions this conference seeks to answer include, but are not limited to:

• How is the meaning of a text uncertain?
• Is this uncertainty purposefully placed within a text or a by-product of the act of reading?
• How is this uncertainty demonstrated in the relationship between author and reader?
• How can uncertainty be understood not only with respect to literature but in ethical, gendered, political, and/or social terms?
• How is identity shown to be uncertain?
• How does an “undecidable” future impact present ethical and political actions?
• How is history (whether of language, narrative, and/or society) destabilized and called into question?
• How does language contribute to the uncertainty of meaning and interpretation?
• How does the theorist’s own writing present the reader with an example of uncertainty?
• How does uncertainty function in the methodologies of interpretation and the making of meaning?
• Can a text have a stable meaning or is it always uncertain?

Please submit a 300 word abstract for a 15-20 minute paper by March 1, 2012 to Proposals should include the title of the paper, presenter’s name, institutional and departmental affiliation, and any technology requests. We also welcome panel proposals of three to four papers.

This conference is co-sponsored by:

The Writer’s Institute at the City University of New York Graduate Center: an un-MFA program devoted to bringing together the country’s most talented writers and today’s most celebrated editors.

The Doctoral Students’ Council: the sole policymaking body representing students in doctoral and master’s programs at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Religion as Media: Spring 2012 Course Open for Enrollment

The following non-crosslisted course that has opened for enrollment. If interested, please contact Janine Paolucci at Again, please note that this is not a Draper course.


Religion as Media RELST-GA.3397 ANTH-GA.3393
Spring 2012/ Tues 2:00—4:45

Angela Zito
726 Broadway room 560
phone 992-9656

This course will introduce you to the longstanding and complex connection between religious practices and various media, based upon the premise that, like all social practice, religion is always mediated in some form or other. Yet, religion does not function simply as unchanging content, while media names the ways that content is formed. Instead shifts in media technique, from ritual innovations to the invention of printing, through TV, to the internet, also shape religious practice which has, in turn, influenced its media. We are interested in gathering theoretical tools for understanding the form and politics of this mutual dialectic.

We will analyze how human hearing, vision and the performing body have been used historically to express and maintain religious life through music, voice, images, words and rituals. Then we will spend time on more recent electronic media such as cassette, film, television, video, and the internet. We will consider, among other things: religious memory, both embodied and out-sourced in other media; the role of print and reading; the role of TV in the rise of the Hindu Right; the material culture of Buddhism (icons, relics, sutras); religion and commodification; film as religious experience; Christian Evangelical media; indigenous and digital media.

Books for the course:
The following *books are required in their entirety—find them at Shakespeare’s, Broadway at Washington Place:

*Berger, Peter. The Sacred Canopy: elements of a sociological theory of religion (well, 100 pages)
*Connerton, Paul. How Societies remember
*Dorsky, Nathaniel. Devotional Cinema
*Graham, William A. Beyond the written word: oral aspects of scripture in the history of religion
*Hendershot, Heather. Shaking the world for Jesus: Media and conservative evangelical culture
*Hirschkind, Charles. The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons And Islamic Counterpublics
*Lyden, John. Film as religion: myths, morals and rituals
*Morgan, David. Visual Piety: a history and theory of popular religious images
*Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy: the technologizing of the word
*Rachel Wagner. Godwired: Religion, Ritual and Virtuality

Two recommended collections (we’ll read at least 3 pieces from each):
DeVries, Hent and Samuel Weber, eds. Religion and Media. Stanford University Press, 2001.
Hoover, Stewart and Knut Lundby, eds. Rethinking media, religion and culture. Sage

Publications, 1997

Xeroxed readings will be placed on: Blackboard. The books will be on reserve at Bobst.

Evaluation: Discussion: 25% : Students will be expected to read everything for each week and be prepared for discussion: students will sign up to facilitate one week’s discussion
Responses: 25%: Students will post a response to the reading on our online forum each week—and please attend as many of the events mentioned below, posting a short-short response: 50%
Final conference paper/presentation: Depending upon how many we are, the last day of class (and one other scheduled meeting) will be devoted to a “Show&Tell” paper presentation that should read aloud in 20 minutes, including your media. We’ll group them into “conference panels”. We’ll time them! (To be handed in to me at that time.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Grad Eng Class Open to Outside Students: Enlightenment & Counter-Enlightenment in Britain

For registration access codes, please contact


Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment in Britain

Visiting Professor Henry Abelove

Wednesdays, 1-3 pm, beginning Jan. 25, 2012

In this course we will focus on a set of closely related British non-fiction prose works of the middle to late eighteenth century, especially as they treat empire, sexuality, and religiosity. Our approach will include both formal and historical analysis. Several short papers will be required; a research paper will be optional. Principal readings will be drawn from David Hume’s ethical writings, Jonathan Swift’s writings on British imperialism in Ireland, Samuel Johnson’s Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, James Boswell’s London Journal, Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, John Wesley’s Sermons and Journals, and Edmund Burke’s Letter to a Noble Lord and his parliamentary speeches on British imperialism in India. Class meetings will be discussion-based.

Students will be expected to acquire these four paperback books: Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and Journal of A Tour to the Hebrides, ed. Peter Levi, Penguin English Classics; Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. Womersley, Penguin Classics; James Boswell, Boswell’s London Journal, 1762-1763, ed. Pottle, Yale University Press; Edmund Burke, On Empire, Liberty, and Reform: Edmund Burke’s Speeches and Letters, ed. Bromwich, Yale University Press.

Henry Abelove is Visiting Professor of English at NYU for the spring term of 2012. He is Wilber Fisk Osborne Professor of English Emeritus at Wesleyan University. He is the author of The Evangelist of Desire: John Wesley and the Methodists (1992), Deep Gossip (2002). A leading scholar of queer studies in the United States, he is coeditor of the path-breaking volume The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader (1993). He is currently working on a book called George Berkeley and the American Indians.

The Affect Factory: Conference, Co-Sponsored by Draper (Feb. 10-11)

Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory is holding a conference on Precarity, Labor, Gender, and Performance in February, which Draper is co-sponsoring. A preliminary schedule is available below or on the conference website here. Please note that all conference events will take place at the Barney Building, 34 Stuyvesant (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues).

Friday, February 10, 2012
6 - 7:30 Keynote Speaker: Emma Dowling, Queen Mary, University of London; Respondents: Patricia Clough (CUNY) and Tavia Nyong'o (NYU); Introduction: Barbara Browning (NYU/Women & Performance)
7:30 Opening Reception (Performance: Ivan A. Ramos)

Saturday, February 11, 2012
(Durational Performance: Julie Tolentino)
9:30-10 Brunch and Coffee
10 - 11:45 Panel
12 - 1 Lunch
1 - 2:45 Panel
3 - 4:20 Performances: Kathryn Garcia and Katherine Behar & Marianne M. Kim (Disorientalism)
Q & A Moderated by Karen Shimakawa
4:30 - 6:15 Panel
6:30 - 7:30 Roundtable: Tavia Nyong'o, Rebecca Schneider, Nicholas Ridout, Jasbir Puar, Patricia Clough and more
7:30 Closing Reception (Performances: Aliza Shvarts and Edisa Weeks)

Panel Respondents: Randy Martin (Art & Public Policy), Gayatri Gopinath (SCA-Gender & Sexuality), and Una Chaudhuri (English).

Our panelists include:
Alex Pittman, NYU
Professor T. Nikki Cesare, University of Toronto
Evan Litwack, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Benjamin Gillespie, CUNY
Alice Coleman Nye, Brown
Josh Lubin-Levy, NYU
Johanna Linsley, Queen Mary, University of London
Anna Fisher, Brown
Thea Michailides, Sarah Lawrence College
Gabriella Alberti, Queen Mary, University of London
Professor Jasmine Rault, New School
Karen Gregory, CUNY

Our preliminary posters have been getting the word out about The Affect Factory and your sponsorship. A new poster with more detailed information will be coming out shortly. We greatly appreciate your generosity. Thank you again, and we hope that you will be able to join us.

The Affect Factory Conference Planning Committee

CFP Deadline Extended for UVic 2012 CSPT Conference

Call for Papers Deadline extended to 10 February 2012.

In/coherence: expression, translation, violence

Cultural Social and Political Thought Workshop

University of Victoria: April 21-22, 2012

The Cultural, Social, and Political Thought program at the University of Victoria is pleased to announce a call for papers and projects for our annual graduate conference on April 21-22, 2012. The title of this year’s conference is in/coherence: expression, translation, violence. Thematic workshops will feature keynote speakers and student submissions (papers, performances, art pieces). This interdisciplinary conference seeks to engage in/coherence in social, cultural and political discourses, especially with respect to contemporary events.

Dynamics of expression, translation and violence in current contexts present opportunities for discussing in/coherence. As an interpretive thematic, in/coherence can be explored in ways that destabilize the binary reduction of “coherence versus incoherence”. How does in/coherence function politically, socially and culturally in contemporary arenas? Actions viewed as “incoherent” are frequently disregarded as illegitimate, yet claims of “coherent” actions are equally problematic. In response to recent expressions of dissent, a common insistence for actors to “bear reasonable witness” to their choices has illuminated the hegemonic scope of legitimacy. How do both demands and rejections of coherence complicate notions of incoherence (and vice versa)? Discussing in/coherence in these ways has potential ramifications for discussions around citizenship, postcolonialism, democracy, resistance, identity, liberal normativism, gender, nationalism, biopolitics, indigeneity, aesthetics, multiculturalism, the urban, language, globalization, critical theory, posthumanism, and capitalism, among others. We invite participants to submit original projects and aim to foster dynamic debate of these themes.

The conference will offer four workshop foci through which to approach these issues:


Narratives form horizons of consciousness: while they open up some ways of relating, they simultaneously close off the possibility of others. Proposals around this theme explore how the norms of “good,” i.e. coherent, narrative correspond to the dominant ideologies of our time (capitalism, neoliberalism, colonialism and so on). We also look for contributions that address the possibilities for new genres and narratives to reject the norms of efficiency and coherence.


Is the material synonymous with the concrete? Can materiality be understood outside of language? Contributions to this workshop might consider the irreducible number of determinations (linguistic, topographical, concrete, etc.) that come into play in discussions of materiality.


We are often told that a coherent notion of space and time, and conceptualizations thereof, are fundamentally imbricated in our ability to identify and make ourselves. Homelands and histories are presupposed as the fundamental conditions under which our being together is made and understood. We invite proposals which seek to describe, interrogate and trouble considerations of spaces and times (or spatiotemporalities) imagined as coherent or incoherent, and to call into question the rationalities that mobilize such discourses.


The clean lines and binary choices presented by contemporary technology give the strong impression of clarity, control, and coherence, but under the surface lurk power failures, code exploits, and unexpected mutations. In this spirit, proposals to this workshop might, among other aims, interrogate the in/coherent character of key technologies – questioning the reasons for their design, the way that they function, and the effects that they have on their users – interrogations that may demonstrate that an in/coherent logic informs the algorithmic operation of technology.

Please submit project proposals between 250-500 words (with expression of interest in one of the four workshop nodes) to by February 10, 2012.

For more information, contact us at or go to

Graduate Students: Join NYU Libraries for Spring Welcome Week Workshops

From the NYU Libraries:

As another spring semester kicks off, we're offering a chance to brush up your skills with a series of Graduate Student workshops. These workshops focus on learning how to organize your bibliographies, finding out to how to track down tricky citations, understanding the intricacies of processing and analyzing data, and even simply knowing your way around an American research library. For the complete listing of these sessions, and to sign up, go to:


Cyber Crime. Discussion w/ SEN Gillibrand, Helen Nissenbaum (1/23)

The Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU and the The Citizens Crime Commission of New York City are hosting a public discussion on Cyber Crime. The event will take place on Jan 23, 2012, from 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM in the Kimmel Center, at 60 Washington Square South, in the Eisner & Lubin Auditorium, 4th Floor.

Cyber crime is a growing concern for law enforcement, corporations, and individuals costing billions per year. Each data breach costs American businesses an average of $6.6 million, and every hour, the FBI processes 35 cases through the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The panel will address the policy and law enforcement challenges from a broad perspective, as well as the unique issues facing social media sites and users.

This discussion will feature:

-Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
-Associate General Counsel of Facebook, Chris Sonderby
-FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Cyber/Special Operations Division, Mary Galligan
-Senior Faculty Fellow at the Information Law Institute and NYU Media, Culture, and Communication Professor, Helen Nissenbaum

NYU President John Sexton will introduce the speakers, and Crime
Commission Director Richard Aborn will moderate the discussion.

Steinhardt Courses Open to Draper Students

Steinhardt's Department of Media, Culture and Communication has opened up the following spring 2012 courses to all graduate students.

If you are interested, you must first email to obtain approval from Robert Dimit. Please also note that these are non-GSAS credits, of which Draper students are only allowed a total of eight.


The following courses in the Department of Media, Culture and Communication are now open to all graduate students in Spring 2012 and seats are still available. We encourage you to read through the course details below. Should you need any assistance with registration, please contact Mary Taylor via email at


MCC-GE 2184 Comparative Media Systems
Rodney Benson
Tuesday 7:15 – 9:25 PM
Class#: 3060 (4 credits)

How does journalism differ around the world? And to the extent that it does, why? Beyond the personal idiosyncrasies of individual journalists and media owners, which factors play the greatest role in shaping 'national news cultures': professional values and traditions, level and type of commercialism, government regulations, bureaucratic pressures or organizational dynamics, and/ or audiences? Too much of our media criticism proceeds from hunches and assumptions, rather than real evidence, for the simple reason that it limits itself to a single national context ( and often a single time period). Adequately sorting out the factors that shape our media environment can best be accomplished via comparative research. This course offers a conceptual roadmap to such a project as well as a close empirical look at the news media in a variety of national contexts. After a general consideration of the factors that structure news media systems and the roles that media play in democratic societies, the course incorporates (1) a survey of comparative methodologies: surveys, ethnographies, news content analyses, etc., and (2) national and comparative case studies, representing the major types of Western European journalistic 'models' as well as some important non-European variants.

[MA Area of Study: Global and Transcultural Communication & Persuasion and Politics + MA Research Course]


MCC-GE 2284 Religion and Media
Arvind Rajagopal
Tuesday 2:00 – 4:10 PM
Class#: 13735 (4 credits)

In this course, we will begin with an overview of some of the problems in thinking about religion in the context of what Derrida has identified as ‘globalatinization.’ We will consider the extent to which many of our ideas about religion are shaped not only by historical legacies, but as well by material cultural practices and conditions, and techiques of mediation that are irreducible accompaniments and constituents of the beliefs in question. We will consider how the narrative arc of the Enlightenment sought to place religion, in ways that shifted over time. An influential self-conception about the European Enlightenment was that it expressed the triumph of secular reason over the ancien regime, and the defeat of inherited privilege of all kinds. the relegation of religion to the private sphere was in effect to declare religion to be free from politics; such a gesture could only be a prelude to a new form of politicization. We will observe the playing out of an interesting set of contradictions: religion is widely present, but understood in terms that fail to grapple with what is properly religious, due variously to Enlightenment conceits, imperial reasoning, nationalist self-fashioning, and the deification of technology. No definitive statement or argument can be attempted on religion as a result, although we will read authors who essay authoritative definitions.

We will consider early modern mobilizations of religious identity, and oppositions between Jewish and Christian, Christian and Islamic, and religious and secular identities, and assess how religious beliefs and practices can be rendered into a historical telos, racialized and/or nationalized. We will also examine how religious identities can be mapped onto language, and onto technology. Last but not least, we will conside how what was recently hailed as the End of History soon led to a theological display of power with Operation Shock and Awe, and a global war against Evil, a.k.a. “Islamic fascism.” We will conclude by examining the sacralization of democracy, and the profane quality of the terror it opposes itself to, and what appears in their wake as a serious challenge to Enlightenment conceits about the separation of church and state, and about the ability of reason to defend itself by purely reasonable means.

[MA Area of Study: Visual Culture and Cultural Studies & Global and Transcultural Communication]


MCC-GE 2344 The Social Life of Paper
Lisa Gitelman
Monday 4:55 – 7:05 PM
Class#: 13617 (4 credits)

What is the cultural work performed by or with the technology of paper? How can a history of paper supplement and enrich recent histories of printing technology and printed artifacts like "the book"? What would it mean to imagine a paperless future? Organized around discussions of readings in common, this course considers the history, production, circulation and use of paper in the social production of knowledge, the shared imagination of value, and the mutual relations of consumers and commodities.

[MA Area of Study: Technology and Society & Visual Culture and Cultural Studies]


MCC-GE 3100 Special Topics in Visual Culture and Cultural Studies: Fundamentals of Moving Images
Susan Murray
Wednesday 2:00 - 4:10 PM
Class#: 13736 (4 credits)

This course will examine the history of moving images, focusing primarily on the ways that institutional, technological, and social/cultural factors contributed to the aesthetics and form of film and television during the 20th century in the U.S.. Moving from early silent cinema to the early days of digital cinema, students will read key texts in film/media theory and history, view a selection of films and programs in out-of-class screenings, and consider both in relation to specific historical movements and developments. Reading will likely include works by: Tom Gunning, Jonathan Crary, Phillip Rosen, Mary Ann Doane, Raymond Williams, Samuel Weber, John T. Caldwell, Lisa Parks, Anna McCarthy, D.N Rodowick, Brian Winston, Vivian Sobchack, Lev Manovich and more.


MCC-GE 2400 Topics in Visual Culture: Politics of Visual Display
Olga Kopenkina
Wednesday 2:00 – 4:10 PM
Class#: 13622 (4 credits)

Taking the exhibition and museum site as an object of study, this course examines the modern history of visual display. The artistic avant-garde radically altered the way we look at visual display by eliminating the separation between image and audience. Nevertheless, this visual “rupture” has been echoed in the contemporary discussion about public art and the role of cultural institutions. Since the 1920s, political regimes in Russia and Europe intervened in exhibition techniques connecting avant-garde with totalitarian art – a fact that reinforced the ideological function of the museum. How do museums and contemporary art institutions use the ideological function of the museum display now? How do they create the ideology, which as Guy Debord, theorist of the spectacle noted, conceals the truth of the society that produces it? Does the notion “public art” adequately express the avant-garde desire for the full integration of viewers in the process of exhibiting the artwork? Is there a space for resistance to the ideology of “spectacle,” and corporate economy around art inside the modern museum?

[MA Area of Study: Visual Culture and Cultural Studies]

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Graduate Student Workshops at Bobst

A Message from the NYU Libraries:

As another spring semester kicks off, we're offering a chance to brush up your skills with a series of Graduate Student workshops. These workshops focus on learning how to organize your bibliographies, finding out to how to track down tricky citations, understanding the intricacies of processing and analyzing data, and even simply knowing your way around an American research library. For the complete listing of these sessions, and to sign up, go to:

We look forward to meeting you and wish you the best of luck this semester!
-- The NYU Libraries Graduate Student Working Group

Apply for GSAS' Second Annual Threesis Challenge for MA Students: Applications Due 1/31

Two weeks until the Threesis Challenge deadline!

Draper encourages applications to GSAS' second annual Threesis Academic Challenge for Master's students. Eight of Draper's students participated in last year's challenge and two of our students were semi-finalists. More information about Threesis is below or is available on the GSAS website here. The application is attached, or can be picked up in hard copy in Draper's office.


Save the date and submit your Application today for the 2012 GSAS Threesis Academic Challenge will be held on March 30th (qualifying rounds) and March 31st (final rounds)

The application for the 2012 GSAS
Threesis Academic Challenge is open! This academic competition is for GSAS Master's Students. Students present the work of their thesis or final project (eg. creative project, science experiment or research paper) to a panel of judges in accessible language a non-expert can understand in three minutes or less. Competitors are judged on how well they grasp the subject of their thesis, their ability to discuss the topic to non-experts and presentation skills. Students compete for a grand prize of $1,000 and other prizes while learning to organize ideas and speak about them persuasively in a fun, academic atmosphere.

Look at what one competitor had to say about last year's experience:

The Threesis encourages students to take a step back from their research to see how it sits in a world outside of academia. It is about explaining what you are writing about in a way that grandma and grandpa, mom and dad and the random person that you meet on the street can understand. It is the opposite of what were are trained to do in our masters work and that's what makes it so challenging.
Jailee Rychen 2011 GSAS
Threesis Winner

Have you submitted your 2012 Threesis application? To submit your application, send the application and your abstract to Applications are due by January 31st!

Watch the highlight video from last year's competition here: