Department of English

Events Spring '24

Theresa Rebeck

Theresa Rebeck

A Conversation with Brandeis Alumni: Then and Now

January 16, 2024

Time: 7:00 - 8:15 pm EST
Location: Zoom (register here)

Please join us for A Conversation with Brandeis Alumni: Then and Now, featuring alums from the film Brandeis at 50: Minds That Matter, produced by Ann Carol Grossman '69 and the late Arnie Reisman '64. The panel will be moderated by Professor Emeritus Stephen Whitfield, PhD '72 in History of American Civilization, and will include a range of Brandeis alums, among them Theresa Rebeck, MFA '86 in Theater Arts and MA '83 and PhD '89 in English.

Theresa Rebeck GSAS MA ’83, MFA ’86, PhD ’89 is an award-winning playwright whose work has been staged across the globe. Her notable works include I Need That, currently starring Danny DeVito on Broadway; Bernhardt/Hamlet; Dead Accounts; and Seminar.

More information. Sponsored by Alumni Relations.

Strolling in the Ruins - A Provocation

January 23, 2024

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Time: 12:00 - 1:15 pm
Location: Mandel Center for the Humanities Reading Room (303)

Speakers: Faith Smith, Darlene Brooks Hedstrom, Gustavo Herrera Díaz, Howie Tam

The title of Professor Faith Smith's new book offers a reconsideration of the stroller who, like the flaneur, suggests a male, bourgeois figure paradigmatic of European modernity... Read more.

Sponsored by the Mandel Center for the Humanities. 

Get Curious! Alternatives to Policing

February 7, 2024

Get curious poster

Get Curious!

Get Curious! is a new speaker series organized and co-sponsored by the Mandel Center for the Humanities and the Department of Sociology. The series aims to offer brief, one-hour introductions to important current topics that students and community members might be interested in but haven’t had the opportunity to take a class on. Covering a range of topics, both national and global, and led by two faculty presenters from different fields, the idea is to both pique and satisfy students’ curiosity.

Get Curious! Alternatives to Policing

12pm - 1:00pm Mandel 303

Sarah Mayorga and Alexandra Pineros-Shields

Lunch will be served!

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Meet the Majors: Valentine's Day Book Swap

February 14, 2024

Time: 12:00 - 1:00 pm
Location: English Department Office - Rabb 144

Fall in love with a new book while learning about the majors! Enjoy freshly baked cookies and Valentine's Day treats! Bring a book to exchange, or grab a new favorite from the table! Information on fall 2024 Humanities courses will be available.

Presented by the English and Creative Writing UDRs.

Strolling in the Ruins - Translation: Theory and Practice

February 27, 2024

Time: 12:30 - 1:45 pm
Location: Mandel Center for the Humanities Reading Room (303)

Speakers: Emilie Diouf, Yuval Evri, Pu Wang

Panelists will discuss their recent work on or around translation. Presenting one text or problem, the panel asks: What are major questions that appear around translation processes and practices? How is translation an act of resignification, and what local and global forces must be contended with to render a text legible beyond its immediate language? How do specific acts of translation speak to broader global concerns?

Sponsored by the Mandel Center for the Humanities. 

English 4th Year PhD Symposium

March 7, 2024

Time: 3:30 - 4:45 pm
Location: Mandel Center for the Humanities Reading Room (303)

4th year English PhD students present their work:

Jessi Brewer

  • Visions of Social Impact: The Literary Nexus of Abolitionist and Literary Imaginaries

Anik Chartrand

  • Animating Belonging: The Role of Animate Objects in Reviving Native Identity in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Indigenous Literature

Rachel Dale

  • The Political Aesthetics of Surrealist Realism: Development in Contemporary Literature

Daniel Schwartz

  • In the Mental Flesh: Unhappy Interiority from Dostoevsky to Faulkner with Continual Reference to Wittgenstein
Marjan Kamali Reading

March 7, 2024

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Time: 5:30 pm
Location: Mandel Center for the Humanities Atrium

Marjan Kamali is the award-winning author of The Stationery Shop (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster), a national and international bestseller, and Together Tea (EccoBooks/HarperCollins), a Massachusetts Book Award finalist. She is a 2022 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship.

Professor Kamali will be joining Brandeis Creative Writing as the Fannie Hurst Writer in Residence in fall 2024.

This event is part of the Creative Writing Reading Series and is made possible by the Dafna Zamarripa-Gesundheit Endowment.

Mandel Lectures in the Humanities: The Deep Sea as the New Frontier of Accumulation

March 11, 2024

Time: 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Location: Mandel Center for the Humanities Reading Room (303)

First Mandel Lecture by Jackie Wang

Nauru is the world's smallest island nation. Across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Nauru came under the colonial rule of Germany, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, who exploited the island for its phosphate resources and geostrategic location in the Pacific. After the depletion of phosphate reserves in the 1990s, Nauru has struggled to find new revenue streams to replace terrestrial mining revenue and has begun to work with Canadian-owned The Metals Company (TMC) to explore deep sea mining. The “green energy” transition has launched a scramble for minerals such as lithium, cobalt, copper, and nickel, which are essential for electric vehicle batteries. Yet little is known about how the mining of polymetallic nodules on the seabed of the Pacific’s Clarion Clipperton Zone will affect delicate ocean ecosystems... Read more.

Mandel Lectures in the Humanities: Poetry and Tidalectics

March 12, 2024

Time: 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Location: Mandel Center for the Humanities Reading Room (303)

Second Mandel Lecture by Jackie Wang

How has the element of water irrigated the imagination, inspiring works of poetry that attempt to capture fluidity, both in form and content? Using Kamau Brathwaite’s concept of tidalectics as a point of departure, this lecture will explore the theme of water, with an emphasis on the role of water in the literary and ethical imagination across poetic traditions, particularly Caribbean and Black diasporic poetry and the writings of authors such as Dionne Brand and Édouard Glissant... Read more

Mandel Lectures in the Humanities: Oceanic Feeling and the Politics of Mysticism

March 13, 2024

Time: 12 - 1:30 pm
Location: Mandel Center for the Humanities Reading Room (303)

Third Mandel Lecture by Jackie Wang

Between 1923 and 1936 the French novelist and mystic Romain Rolland exchanged twenty letters with Sigmund Freud. Inspired by his exchanges with Rolland, Freud elaborated the concept of “oceanic feeling” in his 1930 work Civilization and Its Discontents. In the book, Freud characterizes the "oceanic feeling" as an experience of boundlessness, signifying a regression to the infantile state where the infant perceives no distinction between itself and its mother. In contrast, Rolland views the "oceanic" as an affective state underlying all religious experience... Read more

Care as Literature, Care as Praxis

March 18, 2024

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2024 Brandeis English Graduate Conference
Register here.

Time: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: Mandel Center for the Humanities Reading Room (303)

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
—Audre Lorde, A Burst of Light

Literature, as a vehicle of care, has often been undervalued and neglected. “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” Audre Lorde’s biomythography Zami: A New Spelling of My Name manifests care as the basis for survival and formulates the self in a way that foregrounds the work of literature itself as care work. In her collection of essays, A Burst of Light, Lorde explicates this care into the concept of radical care, emphasizing the importance of self-care for the Black body as an imperative to self-preservation, one that is necessary to be part of a collective and reach eventual liberation. If we take Lorde’s approach to self-care to radically turn towards decolonial praxis, we can situate care itself in a realm of imagination and “the making of” collectivity and vulnerability that acknowledge the historical, bodily, and aesthetic differences. In these mechanics of care, BIPOC, queer, and women writers have used literature to insert care into their work. But, the complexity of “literary care work” falls into the wider scope of the humanities and sciences.

This conference takes seriously what it means to write with - and about - care. How do we manifest care as a methodological and tangible practice in our work, livelihood, and subjectivity? How do we contest and resist capitalist and neoliberal agendas of the academic systems by embodying praxis of care? Finally, how does care expand the scope of the humanities to a broader audience? By exploring these and more questions, we hope to consider how care work might allow us to better foster kinship, alliances, and commitment to our various communities in and beyond the academy.

Keynote by Dr. Ianna Hawkins Owen, English & Black Diaspora Studies Assistant Professor, Boston University.

See the conference website for more information, including the call for papers.

This conference is cosponsored by English, Mandel Center for the Humanities, Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Office of Graduate Affairs, Sociology, and Anthropology.

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Jackson Holbert Reading

March 19, 2024

Jackson HolbertTime: 5:30 pm
Location: Rapaporte Treasure Hall

Jackson Holbert was born and raised in eastern Washington. He received a BA in English and Creative Writing from Brandeis in 2017 and an MFA in Poetry from the Michener Center for Writers in 2021. From 2021-2023 he was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. His poems have appeared in The Nation, Narrative, The Iowa Review, Poetry Magazine, and three editions of Best New Poets. His first book, Winter Stranger, won the 2022 Max Ritvo Poetry Prize and is out from Milkweed Editions. He lives in Oakland, where he is a Jones Lecturer in Poetry and Creative Nonfiction at Stanford.

This event is part of the Creative Writing Reading Series and is made possible by the Grossbardt Memorial Fund. It is cosponsored by the Brandeis library.

Get Curious! Trans Justice

March 20, 2024

Get Curious flyer

Get Curious! is a new speaker series organized and co-sponsored by the Mandel Center for the Humanities and the Department of Sociology. The series aims to offer brief, one-hour introductions to important current topics that students and community members might be interested in but haven’t had the opportunity to take a class on. Covering a range of topics, both national and global, and led by two faculty presenters from different fields, the idea is to both pique and satisfy students’ curiosity.

Get Curious! Trans Justice

12pm - 1:00pm Mandel 303

Brian Horton and AJ Murphy

Lunch will be served!

Alex Hinton

Photo Credit: Lawrence Lerner

Global Community Engagement presents Dr. Alexander Hinton speaking about "Perpetrators: Genocide and the Dark Side of Humanity"

March 20, 2024

Time: 2:30 - 3:45 pm
Location: Zinner Forum, Heller

Part of the Global Community Engagement Program’s Spring 2024 “Focus on Cambodia,” marking the 45th anniversary of the end of the Cambodian genocide.

Perpetrators of mass violence are commonly regarded as evil. Their violent nature is believed to make them commit heinous crimes as members of state agencies, insurgencies, terrorist organizations, or racist and supremacist groups. Upon close examination, however, perpetrators are contradictory human beings who usually lead unsettlingly ordinary lives. Drawing on his co-authored book Perpetrators: Encountering Humanity’s Dark Side (Stanford, 2023), and decades of on-the-ground research with perpetrators of genocide and mass violence in Cambodia, and more recent research on white power extremism in the U.S., Professor Alex Hinton's talk will discuss what his research reveals about the dark side of humanity.

Dr. Alexander Hinton is director of the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers. Read more

Coordinated by COMPACT's Global Community Engagement Program Assistant Director and Anthropology Cooperating Faculty member Toni Shapiro-Phim. Sponsored by COMPACT's Global Community Engagement Program, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Anthropology, English, and Asian American Pacific Islander Studies.

Chris Suh
Between the ‘American Century’ and the ‘Asian Century’: Toward a New Paradigm for Understanding Racial Inequality

March 22, 2024

Chris Suh, Assistant Professor of History, Emory University

Time: 2:00-3:20 pm
Location: Zoom

Register at the Challenging Racial Knowledge in the University series webpage.

Strolling in the Ruins - Afterimage: Theorizing the Image

March 25, 2024

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Time: 12:00 - 1:15 pm
Location: Mandel Center for the Humanities Reading Room (303)

Speakers: Patricia Alvarez Astacio, Elizabeth Bradfield, Aida Wong

This panel asks how visual images operate in different kinds of scholarly and creative production... Read more

Sponsored by the Mandel Center for the Humanities. 

Jessi Brewer

Jessi Brewer

Law, Legality & Social Identity: An Event with Mandel Grant Graduate Winners

April 2, 2024

New Time: 12:15-1:15 pm
Location: Mandel Center for the Humanities Reading Room (303)

Speakers: Jessica Brewer (English), Sarah Han (Anthropology), with responses from Dr. Mariam Sheibani (NEJS)

How do law and legality shape people's perceptions of themselves and their social identities? In this lunchtime talk, Jessica Brewer (English) and Sarah Han (Anthropology), winners of Mandel's 2023 Graduate Dissertation Innovation grants, discuss their research.

From Jessica Brewer's project description: "As the turn of the 19th century saw a shift in prison architecture and reform, the emergence of solitary confinement and increasing incarceration of the poor, I aim to examine mainstream authors and alternative/street literatures to map how social narratives develop around incarceration. My research asks: how did Victorian narratives create social others and how did these narratives affirm/challenge public opinion and policy? How do dominant narratives continue to shape social attitudes about specific groups? And can narratives be reshaped for social good? What tools do the Victorians offer us for modern social, political and/or police reform?"

From Sarah Han's project description: "Originating from the Balochistan region spanning Western Pakistan, Eastern Iran, and Southern Afghanistan, some Baloch have obtained Emirati citizenship, while other Baloch have passports from their "country of origin," as part of the nearly 90% of non-citizen workers living in the UAE on temporary visas, and still others remain document-less and stateless. Across all the three documentary categories, Baloch women share in the experience of being perceived as Arab and assumed to be Emirati citizens because they wear the unofficial national dress of the abaya [a long black robe] and shayla [a loose black headscarf] in many public spaces. As a result, they are treated with respect as presumably high class, socially advantaged women with social power, regardless of the reality of their legal ambiguity."

Sponsored by the Mandel Center for the Humanities.

Remake, Resist, Rewind: Surviving the Horror Film

April 4, 2024

Time: 12:00 - 2:00 pm
Location: Virtual (Register)

Mellon Sawyer Seminar, Session 3 (Rescheduled).

Organized by Professor Brandon Callender, this session will host speakers Ashlee Blackwell, writer and producer of Horror Noire and founder of Graveyard Shift Sisters, and Justin Phillip Reed, poet and author of the hybrid collection With Bloom Upon Them And Also With Blood: A Horror Miscellany. Engaging artists and scholars working at the intersections of black feminist and black queer horror, it will discuss how the horror film genre can thematize, trigger, and inspire complex engagements with sexual violence.

dipietro and chen
kiss & release

April 6, 2024

Time: 3:30 pm
Location: Mildred S. Lee Gallery, Rose Art Museum

A poetry reading with Anthony DiPietro and Chen Chen.

Registration and more info. 

Free admission.

Sponsored by the Rose Art Museum and cosponsored by Creative Writing.

Faith Smith
"DreadKin: Some thoughts on Contemporary Caribbean Literature" by Faith Smith, Marta F. Kauffman '78 Endowed Chair in African and African American Studies

April 8, 2024

Time: 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Location: Wasserman Cinematheque, Sachar International Center

Interested students, faculty, staff, and all members of the Brandeis community are invited to attend a public lecture by Dr. Faith Smith upon her installation as the inaugural incumbent of the Marta F. Kauffman '78 Endowed Chair in African and African American Studies.

Part of a larger project on Caribbean literary and visual cultural production, "DreadKin," Dr. Smith's lecture asks how recent novelists and artists are exploring issues of sovereignty, lineage, and the right to interiority and leisure. What are the spaces of desire and reverie that such texts reveal? And in reading for such themes, what are the risks of applying the questions and answers of previous generations?

Sponsored by the Office of the President.

Poetry Open Mic Night

April 10, 2024

Time: 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Location: Rapaporte Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library

Join us for a poetry open mic night hosted by the Brandeis library and the Festival of the Creative Arts, in collaboration with Creative Writing.

woman giving a speech at a table

Moriah King, Brandeis anthro doctoral student

Conference on Community-Engaged and Public-Facing PhD Research

April 12, 2024

Time: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm (Conference Schedule)
Location: Mandel Reading Room (303)

Please join us for a one-day conference on community-engaged and/or public-facing PhD research. Organized by Professor Jonathan Anjaria (ANTH), the conference will feature ten Boston-area PhD students--including Brandeis English PhD students Jessi Brewer and Savita Maharaj -- who will share their ongoing work that is collaborative, innovative and experimental in both content and form.

In addition to our Brandeis students, other participants will come from Tufts, Northeastern, Harvard and other Brandeis departments.

This conference is funded by the American Council of Learned Societies and is intended to complement the recently published Preparing Publicly Engaged Scholars, in which Moriah King (ANTH) and Prof. Jonathan Anjaria co-wrote an essay

View the conference schedule

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A Conversation With Prumsodun Ok

April 15, 2024

Time: 2:30 - 3:50 pm
Location: Mandel Atrium

Prumsodun Ok is a Khmer classical dance choreographer, dancer, educator and scholar, and LGBTQ+ rights activist.

Moderated by Prof. Howie Tam.

Light refreshments will be provided.

Part of COMPACT's Global Community Engagement program's "Focus on Cambodia," commemorating the 45th anniversary of the end of Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia. 

Questions? hjtam@brandeis.edu

2024 Elaine Wong Distinguished Lecture Program: The Fraught Work of Coalition Spaces

April 18, 2024

Time: 5:30-7:30 pm
Location: International Lounge, Usdan

With:

-Derron Wallce (SOC), Brandeis
-Claire Jean Kim, University of California Irvine
-Mia White, The New School
-Moderated by Faith Smith, Brandeis

Sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences.

historical photo of a dance get-together, with women wearing can-can skirts
Translating Dance

April 19, 2024

Rachana Vajjhala, Assistant Professor of Music, Musicology, and Ethnomusicology, Boston University

Time: 2:00-3:20 pm
Location: Zoom

Register at the Challenging Racial Knowledge in the University series webpage.

English Honors Presentations and Celebration

May 1, 2024

Time: 1:30 - 3:00 pm
Location: Mandel Center for the Humanities Atrium and Zoom

English honors students will present their work, and then we'll celebrate over delicious refreshments. This is a celebration of ALL graduating English majors — please attend and invite your family and friends. All are welcome!

Creative Writing Senior Reading and Celebration

May 2, 2024

Time: 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Location: Mandel Center for the Humanities Atrium and Zoom

Join us for a celebration of Brandeis seniors graduating with degrees in Creative Writing! Students will share poems, stories, and screenplays they've created. Refreshments served!

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Environmental Futures: A Conversation with Caren Irr and Beth Daley

May 21, 2024

Time: 12:00 - 1:15 pm
Location: Zoom (details here)

A discussion of Professor Caren Irr's new book, Environmental Futures: An International Literary Anthology  (Brandeis University Press). Professor Irr will be joined in conversation by Executive Editor of The Conversation US Beth Daley. The talk will be followed by an audience Q&A.