Department of English

Past Events - Spring '23

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Say My Name Workshop

January 27, 2023

How do we say our names, or better yet, what do our names say about us?

Join Angelica Maria Aguilera for a spoken word presentation, poetry workshop, and open mic night focusing on topics surrounding Latinidad, machismo, womanhood, and immigration.

Hosted by the Brandeis Latinx Student Organization and cosponsored by creative writing, among others.

Sashi James on Incarcerated Women

February 3, 2023

12:45-2 p.m.
Mandel G03

Everyone is welcome to this open session of Literature in the Age of Mass Incarceration (ENG 121b), featuring Sashi James of the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. For more information, contact Prof. David Sherman.

banner showing back of tee shirt with #FreeHer on it, and the words on the banner, "Ending incarceration of women and girls"

Sophia Hsu
White Orientations in Late Victorian Slum Fiction

February 3, 2023

2-3:30 p.m.

Professor Sophia Hsu, Lehman College (CUNY)

Part of the Challenging Anti-Blackness in Literary Studies series.

Creative Writing Reading Series: Gabrielle Calvocoressi

February 7, 2023

Calvocoressibook cover5:30 p.m.
Harlan Chapel

“A dance of self-discovery, subverting our assumptions of gender and the body... Both innovative and sensual.” — San Francisco Chronicle

Gabrielle Calvocoressi is the author of The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, Apocalyptic Swing (a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize), and Rocket Fantastic, winner of the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry. Calvocoressi is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships and their poems have been published or are forthcoming in numerous magazines and journals including The New York Times, POETRY, Boston Review, and The New Yorker. Currently the Beatrice Shepherd Blane Fellow at the Harvard-Radcliffe Institute, Calvocoressi teaches at UNC Chapel Hill and lives in Old East Durham, NC, where joy, compassion, and social justice are at the center of their personal and poetic practice. 

This event is made possible by the Grossbardt Memorial Fund.

Public Scholarship at Brandeis: New Directions

February 10, 2023

2:20-3:50 p.m.
Schwartz 103 — refreshments served

Professor Émilie Diouf (English), Professor Elizabeth Ferry (Anthropology), Professor Sara Shostak (Sociology), and Gowthaman Ranganathan (Anthropology), with Angel Queentus.

Co-sponsored by Mandel Center for the Humanities, COMPACT and the Department of Anthropology.

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Sad Valentine's

February 13, 2023

5-6 p.m.
Geller Conference Room, Hassenfeld

Write love letters and share your stories at the mic.
Featuring: love letters, stand-up, poetry, diary entries, candy, hot chocolate, friends.

Presented by the English and Creative Writing UDRs.

Transitional States: Exploring and Experiencing Sand, Clouds and Other "In Betweens"

February 28, 2023

Note: This Critical Conversation will first be held on Feb. 28, and will repeat  March 1.

5:30-6:30 p.m.

Levin Ballroom, Usdan

Some objects are simple, such as a block of ice or a glass of water. One is a solid that holds its shape, and the other is a liquid that flows. But other in-between objects force the question: "What is it, exactly?" Scientists and artists ask this question in different ways, using diverse methods and seeking distinctive results to unravel their mystery. This conversation focuses on how scholars from different disciplines engage the puzzle of "transitional states." Beginning with things that are neither liquid nor solid — or perhaps both — we will use interactive exercises that enable students to participate in the workings of such transitional states. We will explore how the “in between" cannot be neatly categorized. Making use of professor Chakraborty’s work on sand, poetry by Yeats and immersive sculptures by artists such as Yayoi Kusama and James Turrell, we will invite students to reflect on how poets, artists and physicists may all approach such in-between objects with wonder and curiosity.


Bulbul Chakraborty, Enid and Nate Ancell Professor of Physics

Tory Fair, professor of sculpture


John Plotz, professor of English and Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities

View the full schedule of Critical Conversations

Cassander Smith
Teaching to Learn: The Stakes of Anti-Racist Pedagogy for Literary Studies

March 3, 2023

2-3:30 p.m.

Professor Cassander Smith, University of Alabama

Part of the Challenging Anti-Blackness in Literary Studies series.

Dark Fictions of Blood: A Conversation about Blackness and Vampires

March 13, 2023

(Note date change from 3/6 to 3/13)
12-1:30 p.m.

Dark Fictions of Blood: A Conversation about Blackness and Vampires with Tananarive Due, Brandon Massey, and Lisa Marie Wood

Moderated by Professor Brandon Callender

Hosted by the Mandel Center for the Humanities

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Creative Writing Reading Series: Mecca Jamilah Sullivan

March 16, 2023

5:30 p.m.
Mandel Center for the Humanities Forum

“Mecca Jamilah Sullivan gives voice to girls and women with unruly bodies who dare to take up space in a world that shames them for being hungry for more. A tender and sumptuous offering of beauty.” ― Janet Mock

"A gift as big, beautiful, and complicated as living itself." ― Jacqueline Woodson

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan’s fiction explores the intellectual, emotional, and bodily lives of young black women through voice, music, and hip-hop inflected magical realist techniques. She is the author of the short story collection Blue Talk and Love, winner of the Judith Markowitz Award for Fiction from Lambda Literary; The Poetics of Difference: Queer Feminist Forms in the African Diaspora; and the highly anticipated debut novel Big Girl, which was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. 

This event is cosponsored by the Mandel Center for the Humanities and the Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. It is made possible by the Dafna Zamarripa-Gesundheit Endowment.

Kyle Grady
"Better to the Commonwealth": Merchant, Mixedness, and Demographic Revision

March 24, 2023

2-3:30 p.m.

Professor Kyle Grady, University of California, Irvine

Part of the Challenging Anti-Blackness in Literary Studies series.

Jordan Kinder
Refining Canadian Oil Today: Four Methods

March 28, 2023

12:45-2 p.m.
Mandel Center for the Humanities Reading Room (303)

Join us for this talk by Jordan B. Kinder, a settler-British and Métis scholar of environmental humanities and media studies from a resource town in what is now called northern British Columbia, Canada. He is an incoming 2022-23 Postdoctoral Fellow with the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University.

Lunch will be served.

This event is part of the Year of Climate Action.

70 years banner with 6 photos of people's faces
Graduate Student Presentations: GSAS 70th Anniversary

March 29, 2023

Noon-1 p.m.

This event will be hosted by Director of Graduate Studies in English Dave Sherman and Dean Wendy Cadge. PhD candidates Miranda Peery and Sungkyung Cho will speak about their research.

Hosted by English and GSAS. Part of the GSAS 70th anniversary

'If A Lion Could Talk': Knowing Animals, Knowing Ourselves

March 31, 2023

2023 Brandeis English Graduate Conference

9:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Mandel Center for the Humanities Reading Room (303)

"If a lion could talk, we wouldn’t be able to understand it,"” Wittgenstein famously remarked. This conference will ask, why not? What would be required to understand a lion? What does it mean to 'understand' another? Is shared language necessary for understanding? What kind of understanding is possible in the absence of language? What kind of understanding do literary representations of animal subjectivity (of non-human consciousness) offer? Are they merely anthropomorphic projections — the fantasy of illuminability belying an unbridgeable chasm? Or does imaginative work foster genuine insight?

The conference will be held in person at Brandeis University on March 31, 2023. Our keynote speaker will be Professor Kari Weil of Wesleyan University.

Morning refreshments and an afternoon lunch will be provided.

More information

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Mud: Ecologies of Racial Meaning, a lecture by Professor C. Riley Snorton

April 21, 2023

12:30 p.m.
Olin-Sang 101

Moderated by Professor V. Chaudhry

Hosted by the Mandel Center for the Humanities

Manu Chander
Medii Homines: Toward a Critical Ontology of Brownness

April 28, 2023

2-3:30 p.m.
Zoom registration

Professor Manu Chander, Rutgers University

Part of the Challenging Anti-Blackness in Literary Studies series.

Nunokawa holding a book and emoting
Jeff Nunokawa on Oscar Wilde

May 1, 2023

2:30-3:50 p.m.
Olin-Sang 201 and Zoom

Jeff Nunokawa, of Princeton University, will visit William Flesch's Victorian Poetry class to talk about Oscar Wilde. This visit, sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences and the English Department, will be open to the public. Professor Nunokawa, a specialist in Victorian literature, is the author of two books on Wilde.


Creative Writing Senior Reading and Reception

May 4, 2023

5:30 p.m.
Women's Studies Research Center (515 South Street) and Zoom

Come toast graduating creative writing majors! This event will celebrate the work of all our seniors and will include presentations by Mattie Doherty, Meg Rock, and Henry Rouslin ahead of a featured reading by Autumn Bellan (poetry) and Lindsey Odorizzi (fiction), who will read from their honors projects. We'll end with a catered gathering for families, friends, and faculty. All are welcome!

English Honors Presentations and Reception

May 8, 2023

2-3:30 p.m.
Women's Studies Research Center (515 South Street)

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!