Wednesday, December 7, 2011

EGSA This Week

Apologies for the temporary absence of new posts, but please take a look at this week's EGSA events.

Please joins us this Friday, December 9th from 11 am to 2pm for the EGSA Book Sale! (Rome 753) All proceeds will go toward funding our EGSA Symposium in Spring 2012. Please take a look at our CFP for the Symposium and consider submitting your work.

Looking for something to read over break? Do you have a bunch of library books on your shelves because you can't afford to buy a copy? Do you already know what books you'll need for the spring semester? Come by the EGSA book sale and see if we have what you need! Our selection contains books from multiple disciplines and periods, including Norton editions, critical works, and anthologies. Prices range from $1 - $5.

Spread the word among your GWU peers. And if you teach or TA a class, consider making an announcement to your students or emailing them.

Also Friday December 9 we are getting together for the final EGSA Happy Hour of the year (4-6pm). We know it is a stressful time, so come blow off some steam with us over a few cocktails. Location is TBA (but it will be near campus) - so watch our Facebook Group and Fan Page for Updates.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

EGSA Spring 2012 Symposium Call-for-Papers

The EGSA is happy to announce that we will be holding our second annual graduate symposium, Bodies in Space: Emerging Scholarship in Literary and Cultural Studies, on Feb. 10, 2012.  We welcome any graduate student work, from seminar papers to works in progress, and encourage everyone to submit an abstract and share their work with their peers from other concentrations.  This is also a great chance for those who haven't yet presented at a conference to get some practice before a very generous audience.  

Call For Papers

Call for Papers: Bodies in Space: Emerging Scholarship in Literary and Cultural Studies

[The Panopticon] is a type of location of bodies in space, of distribution of individuals in relation to one
another, of hierarchal organization, of disposition of centres and channels of power, of definition of the
instruments and modes of power ... – Michel Foucault

The English Graduate Student Association is pleased to announce the call for papers for our second
annual graduate student symposium Bodies in Space: Emerging Scholarship in Literary and Cultural
Studies to be held Friday, February 10, 2012.

Foucault’s reading of the production of docile bodies notwithstanding, the aim of this conference is not
to consider the ways that the multiplicity of concentrations in the fields of Literature and Cultural Studies
stand in relation to each other, but instead consider how they stand in relation with each other (and the
ways that these relationships are always promiscuous and overlapping). Thus, rather than an image of
a body pinned to a specific space, the title alludes to the many ways that bodies and spatiality might be
productively considered in literary criticism. More generally, we mean to provide a frame large enough
to encompass all of the interesting work going on in the GW English department. In this symposium, we
hope to foster conversation between presenters and participants across concentrations and even disciplines
through the intersections of current graduate student work. We welcome any and all submissions and
encourage submissions from previously written course work or works in progress, including dissertation
chapters and conference papers.

Submission Guidelines

Abstracts should be submitted, along with your contact information, to by 11:59pm
on Tuesday, January 10, 2012. Submissions must be 250 words or less and must be submitted as a
Microsoft Word document or PDF. Please include 2-3 keywords at the bottom of your submission and
include the words “Conference Submission” in the subject line of your email. Conference presentations
will be approximately 15 minutes, and panels will be organized after submissions have been accepted.

We also welcome any volunteers who would like to be involved in the organizational / logistical side of
the symposium, be it chairing a panel or assisting with lunch.

Teaching Resources

Here is part of our online content from the recent Teaching Seminar. If you have additional resources, please share them with us! Also, take a minute to follow this blog, or subscribe via email - we have many more exciting posts planned.

Teaching Resources
Learn about our school's Writing in the Discipline Program, and use the new WID Board to find helpful writing resources:
GW WID Program -
WID Board (find handouts, advice, hot topics in teaching writing) –
Consider encouraging your students to use these campus resources:
GW Writing Center -
GW Gelman Library -
General Writing Resources for Students and Faculty:
List of Writing Resources for Students -
Dr. McClennen’s Close Reading Guide -
Even if you do not teach an online class, this site can offer guidance in using course management and incorporating technology into your curriculum
Online Teaching Resource -
Good Resources to list on your syllabus:
MLA Resources – and and
Teaching Students with Disabilities -
GW Disability Support Services (Faculty Resources) -
GW English Department (Undergraduate Information) -
Explore the possibilities for digital humanities, using technology for teaching, and alternative course management systems:
Digital Humanities - and
Dr. Alex Huang Projects and Resources -
Dr. Jonathan Hsy's Course Management Blog: 
For ideas, developments, and issues in pedagogy, subscribe to news updates at the Chronicle: 
The Chronicle of Higher Education –

Monday, November 21, 2011

Upcoming Events

November 18
Teaching and Pedagogy Seminar hosted by EGSA 12:30-4:30pm in Rome 771. Please join us for three sessions – 12:30-1:30pm Brown Bag Lunch Session “Teaching Composition” 2:00-3:00 “Issues in Pedagogy” and 3:30-4:30 “Using Technology in the Classroom.” Light refreshments will be available for the breaks. Watch our blog for the final schedule and speakers list. To r.s.v.p, check out our Facebook page.
December 1
Symposium on Karl Steel's important new book How to Make a Human: Animals and Violence in the Middle Ages (Ohio State University Press, 2011). The book is available for $40 in hardcover via Amazon, and $10 for an e-version on CD. If you plan to attend, please try to read the book ahead of time. The symposium features Julian Yates, Peggy McCracken and Tobias Menely, as well as Karl Steel. The event will take place from 4-6 PM (note change of time) in GW's Academic Center, 801 22nd St NW, Rome Hall 771. The symposium is free and open to all who wish to attend. It will be followed by an informal vegetarian dinner. The cost is $15 exclusive of beverages. If you would like to join us for dinner, you must register by Tuesday November 29 here:
December 2
 Critical Animal Studies Seminar, with all the guests from the previous night's symposium speaking about the field. You do not need to attend the Thursday symposium to participate in the Friday seminar. Some short readings will be distributed ahead of time. Lunch will be served. If you would like to attend, you must reserve a spot and secure the readings by emailing Lowell Duckert ( no later than Tuesday November 29. If you RSVP please come: we pay for every lunch reserved, and it is a shame when people hold a spot but do not attend the seminar.
December 2
Join the GWU English Department for a Symposium on Francophone Studies featuring Sylvie Durmelat (Georgetown), Valerie Orlando (UMD), and Lydie Moudileno (U Penn). The event is located in Phillips Hall #411 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm with a reception to follow. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

TGIF - Teaching Advice and November Happy Hour

Please join us for the EGSA Teaching Seminar today from 12:30-4:30pm in Rome 771. We have three interesting sessions with an exciting group of speakers. For more details, check out Facebook or this blog post. We would also like to invite you to join us after the event for a November Happy Hour at TGI Fridays right near main campus (see the location and map to the right of this post). We will meet up from 4:30-6:30, and we hope you can take a study break and join us!

We also want to begin the online content from the Teaching Seminar today, knowing that many of you will not be able to join us. Throughout this process we have come across many interesting articles, resources, and teaching suggestions that will appear on this blog over the next few weeks. To begin with, we polled some faculty and graduate students about their top advice for new or beginning teachers. Our department chair, Dr. Gayle Wald, kindly offered the following advice:

1. Plan well but don't over-plan. Unless you're lecturing, scripted classes will inevitably disappoint. 
2. Try using rubrics for grading. I'm using them for the first time this semester, and it's going very well. I never thought I'd say that, but it's true.
3. Students today are accustomed to multimedia. It's nice to be able to give students various ways in to material: visual, oral, tactile, etc. Try using video, reading aloud, incorporating handouts, having students compile notes which someone writes on the board.
4. Try at least one experimental assignment each time you teach--you never know what will work. 
5. Approach each class with a set of objectives. What do you want your students to LEARN? (This is different from what you want to get through.) 
6. Be VERY clear about your expectations on the first day and on the syllabus. After that, don't be afraid of enforcing them.
7. Do not get involved in students' dramas. This is especially important when you are a grad student and (often) closer to undergrads in age. Be friendly and supportive, of course, but draw the line clearly. Refer students to other resources (deans, counselors, etc.) when necessary.
8. Don't forget to use your Chair! (Not the one you sit on--me!) If you need back-up or want an opinion about how to handle a situation, please ask. Often there are department policies that can guide you challenging situations. If a student is every disruptive, let the chair of the department know.

Do you have any suggestions or advice? Please leave a comment or email us - and don't forget to check back often (or subscribe with our new email service) because we will continue to post online content from today's sessions. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

EGSA Teaching Seminar Schedule and Sessions

Many of you probably saw the schedule for the Teaching Seminar (this Friday November 18) in your email box, but we would like to elaborate on the schedule here so that you know what to expect. This seminar is designed for all graduate students who have been teaching or are thinking about teaching writing and/or literature courses. We are lucky to have such experienced and interested faculty and grad students available to speak in these three sessions. We know that some of you will not be able to attend all of the sessions, so we will be posting online content following the seminar. However, we encourage you to attend as many sessions as you can. These will be unique opportunities to ask questions, get feedback on your ideas, and learn from the personal experiences of our distinguished colleagues. All of these sessions will take place in Rome 771. 

Session 1 12:30-1:30pm Brown Bag Lunch “Teaching Composition.” Please bring your lunch and join us for this session which will focus on the field of composition and writing. We have both Professor Reidner and Mr. Cobb speaking on the GW WID program. They will cover teaching first-year UW courses as well as WID courses and the opportunities for graduate student teachers. One of our own board members, Erin Vander Wall, will discuss her experiences with teaching composition at a community college and her current post at GW. Our EGSA Board President, Leigha McReynolds, will be speaking on her experience teaching business writing at GW in the WID program. We are excited to hear what these speakers have to say about these teaching opportunities, as well as the skills necessary to apply for these positions and, of course, to become successful teachers.

Break and Light Refreshments 1:30-2:00pm (Otherwise known as Tawnya's famous cookies)

Session 2 2:00-3:00pm “Issues in Pedagogy.” This session has a broad theme, and an equally broad range of presentations by our speakers. These speakers will address challenges, issues, and solutions that teachers face on a daily basis. Many of these subjects are not even on your radar as a new teacher and continue to be important and difficult subjects after teaching for years. Dr. Schreiber has elected to speak on a variety of pedagogical issues specific to teaching literature courses. Both Elizabeth and Nedda are going to speak to their experiences in the classroom and what they believe to be important pedagogical issues. 

Break and Light Refreshments 3:00-3:30pm

Session 3 3:30pm-4:30pm “Using Technology for the Classroom.” This session will focus on using basic technology for teaching as well as more advanced, creative uses for technology in the classroom. For many new (and experienced) teachers, Blackboard is something like a dinosaur - mysterious and cumbersome. I will address the ways in which I personally use technology for my own teaching, and how I use blackboard specifically. Dr. Huang has kindly agreed to share his own innovative uses of technology for enabling students to engage more critically with online media. He may also address the importance of cultivating a professional online presence for graduate students. Dr. Hsy will be our final speaker to address his way of using technology for teaching by exploring an alternative to Blackboard for course management. He will also address the possibilities for power-point presentations in literature courses. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

EGSA November Meeting

Please join us on Wednesday November 16 at 2:00pm for our November EGSA meeting. We will address pending events and business, but you are all welcome to attend. If you have any suggestions, concerns, or even if you would just like to listen in, we would love to have you. This meeting will be in Duques Hall 458.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This Week on EGSA

Check out this week's GW EGSA events as well as events coming up this December.

November 14
From Jenna Weissman Joselit, GWU Judaic Studies:
In conjunction with The Merchant of Venice production and class that I'm team-teaching with Leslie Jacobson in TRDA, the law school will be holding a conversation next Monday, November 14th, at 3 p.m. in the Burns Faculty Conference Center (B505) of the law school, between Dean Paul Schiff Berman and Barry Edelstein of New York's Public Theater on the legal implications of the play.  The conversation will be moderated by The New Republic's legal affairs editor and GW law professor, Jeffrey Rosen.  It promises to be quite a lively occasion.

November 16
 "Funding Your Dissertation Research," on Wednesday, November 16th from 4:00pm to 5:00pm in Marvin Center 302. This information session is for PhD candidates focused on funding for doctoral research at the dissertation phase. The session will also touch on general funding opportunities for PhD candidates.
November 16
Join George Washington University's Visiting Artist and Scholars Committee for our last lecture of the fall series featuring art historian Mitchell Merback!  Dr. Mitchell Merback is a professor in Art History at Johns Hopkins who specializes in Medieval and Renaissance, particularly German, Central European and Netherlandish art of the 15th and 16th centuries. He plans to deliver a lecture to a GW audience entitled "From Icon to Mirror of the Soul: Ritual Reciprocity and Therapeutic Exchange in Medieval and Renaissance Man of Sorrows Imagery." Dr. Merback will visit GW on November 16 at 6:15 in Smith Hall 114.

November 18
Teaching and Pedagogy Seminar hosted by EGSA 12:30-4:30pm in Rome 771. Please join us for three sessions – 12:30-1:30pm Brown Bag Lunch Session “Teaching Composition” 2:00-3:00 “Issues in Pedagogy” and 3:30-4:30 “Using Technology in the Classroom.” Light refreshments will be available for the breaks. Watch our blog for the final schedule and speakers list. To r.s.v.p, check out our Facebook page.
December 1
Symposium on Karl Steel's important new book How to Make a Human: Animals and Violence in the Middle Ages (Ohio State University Press, 2011). The book is available for $40 in hardcover via Amazon, and $10 for an e-version on CD. If you plan to attend, please try to read the book ahead of time. The symposium features Julian Yates, Peggy McCracken and Tobias Menely, as well as Karl Steel. The event will take place from 4-6 PM (note change of time) in GW's Academic Center, 801 22nd St NW, Rome Hall 771. The symposium is free and open to all who wish to attend. It will be followed by an informal vegetarian dinner. The cost is $15 exclusive of beverages. If you would like to join us for dinner, you must register by Tuesday November 29 here:
December 2
 Critical Animal Studies Seminar, with all the guests from the previous night's symposium speaking about the field. You do not need to attend the Thursday symposium to participate in the Friday seminar. Some short readings will be distributed ahead of time. Lunch will be served. If you would like to attend, you must reserve a spot and secure the readings by emailing Lowell Duckert ( no later than Tuesday November 29. If you RSVP please come: we pay for every lunch reserved, and it is a shame when people hold a spot but do not attend the seminar.

Tempest Debate

EGSA would like to announce the Tempest Debates hosted by Dr. Alex Huang and Dr. Holly Dugan. On November 10, 2011 at 6pm Funger Hall 210, their classes will be debating about The Tempest. The Topic: Resolved that Prospero genuinely pardons his foes and is a model of true forgiveness and reconciliation. 

This is a unique opportunity for academic enrichment and to witness an interesting teaching approach. This is why we encourage our fellow grads to attend this event. For the flier or for more information, contact Dr. Alex Huang at 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Attending Conferences

Borrowed Image
This is our final post of online content from our "Designing Abstracts and Attending Conferences" Workshop in October. We want to begin by pulling a recent quotation from an article in The Chronicle for Higher Education (a highly recommended resource for Eng. Grads):

“I advise students to attend professional conferences for a number of reasons. First, there is the inevitable networking, which helps you not only now but also later in your career. Second, by attending sessions at the conference, students can learn the latest scholarly insights circulating, well before the publication of those ideas (which will take those glacial several years of research and publication that I mentioned). Third, the book exhibits of such professional organizations will let students browse the newest texts and even unpublished page proofs before the material is filtered through the review mill and enters the consciousness of scholars and critics.”
 Chronicle for Higher Education

We want to encourage you to think about conferences no matter where you are in the program. You may not be ready to jump right in, but keep tabs on annual conferences in your field, on themes and CFPs that apply to your work, and any local opportunities to attend conferences. 

How to Choose a Conference: We know that it can be difficult wading through all of the conferences out there, so we recommend first relying on your peers and faculty advisers for guidance. It is certain that your faculty advisers will have some suggestions for conferences that pertain to your field. See our previous post for more suggestions about finding relevant CFPs. However you come across these conferences, we encourage you to consider a few important factors:
1) Your Field - not every conference is created equal. This is where your adviser and peers come in handy; find out if the conference you are looking at is worth the following two factors. 
 2) Time/Deadlines - Consider the date of the conference as well as the deadline for the abstract, and ask yourself "Do I have enough time to work on this? Are the conference dates doable with my schedule?" 
 3) Money - an important factor for any grad student. Check with Connie in the GW English Dept. for current department reimbursement policies. The department will reimburse you up to a certain amount in a given academic year. The rest is up to you (and some conferences offer scholarship opportunities), so plan carefully how much the trip will cost you. 
Preparation Tips:
Square Away Travel Plans: Once you are accepted and you confirm with the conference, fill out the appropriate forms to send the Department Chair (Gayle). If you are traveling internationally, you must register your travel details (flight, duration, etc) with GW (and when you do this GW has you covered for travel insurance). 
Research the Conference Website: These will often have great recommendations for housing as well as important details about the conference fee (how/when to pay it), and the schedule (you may be required to submit certain items by certain deadlines). 
Time Your Presentation: We all speak at different speeds, so adjust your paper length accordingly. It is important and respectful to stay within the amount of presentation time allowed by the conference. 
Get Feedback: Ask your advisers for their feedback on your conference paper - they can give you great insight on the paper itself as well as conference/presentation tips (you may have to bug them, however, so do not hesitate to send them "friendly reminders" in order to hear back before the conference).
Your Panel Chair: Check out the program when you can to see who will chair your panel and who is on your panel. Often, the chair will contact you in advance to ask for bio details or a copy of your paper. You can also send these ahead of time and introduce yourself. Take at least a little time to familiarize yourself with your panel members - read their abstracts if you can (you will likely be asked questions from the audience about how your work and another panel member's work speak to each other).
Make Business Cards: Not all conferences have a strict "business" aspect to them, but many emphasize the importance of networking. I suggest business cards because I have been handed many over the few conferences I have been to, and have had nothing to give them in exchange. Most conferences will set up a listserve or email contact details, but I still recommend printing off some cards to exchange with people you meet. 
Carry copies of your CV, prospectus, and conference paper: Part of this recommendation is to prevent any technology errors that can ruin your experience (not having access to your paper digitally for example). The other part is that you will be making valuable contacts, and if you are on the market, it might be useful to have these items with you.
Bring a Notebook: I recommend having one at least when you are on your panel waiting for your turn to present for a couple reasons. One, it gives you something to do while you are listening to your panel's presentations (this can be awkward). Two, if you jot down notes about your panel members' presentations (or how they connect to yours) it will be much easier to field questions from the audience when they address two or more presentations. 
During and After
Responding to Your Panel: As previously stated, audience members may want you to respond to something someone else said on your panel - so pay attention! 
Criticism means they care – How to Respond to the Audience: We all dread the prospect of audience members critiquing our work or asking us obscure questions that we can hardly process, let alone explain. A few things to remember - it is a good thing that someone is interested enough to say something, and a good response when you do not know what to say is "I have not considered that before, so thank you." You also have the right to ask them to explain their questions. 
Back Up Everything: Bring printed copies and save your items to multiple locations (use dropbox) to avoid stress (also, check ahead with the conference organizers or your hotel about internet options). 
Dress Code: Most conferences will send out information regarding dress code, but if you are unsure you can ask the organizers and/or play it safe with casual business attire (and a possible cocktail/evening item).
Attend Events – Networking: We cannot stress this enough - attend all of the events! Most conferences will have meal times, tea/coffee hours, cocktail hours, etc. These are great networking opportunities and a lot of fun (believe me, sitting in one chair or another for 10 hours is not as easy as it sounds - you will need these breaks). Try not to think of "networking" as a dirty word - see it as creating connections and building relationships. (Note: wear your name tag on your right shoulder, that way when you extend your hand to shake hands, the person can clearly see your name as you say it).
Keep Receipts! In order to be reimbursed for any part of your trip, you need to produce all the receipts related to it, including housing, travel, conference fees, etc. 
Follow Up: It is always polite and nice if you send a thank you note to one of the organizers. You should also keep any promises you made to the people that you met - friend them on facebook, shoot them an email, send them that link or picture, etc. This is where you take the initial "networking" of the conference and cultivate it into valuable relationships. 

We discussed much more than this at our workshop, so if you have any questions, please send us an email. Also, if you have resources, ideas, or suggestions regarding Abstracts/Conferences, please leave a comment below. 
This is a reminder that copies of these handouts and resources can be found outside Rome 751. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

This Week and Next in EGSA

The next few weeks are brimming with academic and professional development events, so mark your calendars! Of special note is EGSA's upcoming seminar on Teaching (note the date change: now November 18). Please visit Facebook to r.s.v.p. and for more information. Additionally, we have an update on one of the CFP posts - an extension for Predicate Abstracts to November 7 - they really want to see contributions from GW grads! Visit their website for more details.
So here is a list of upcoming events - and stay tuned for the second part of our online Abstract/Conference content.

November 8
Flying High Like a Disco Jalebi: Gay Bombay and Beyond, a talk and reading
Parmesh Shahani, TED and MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow, and author of Gay Bombay: Globalization, Love and (Be)Longing in Contemporary India (2008)
Tuesday, November 8,  2-3.30 pm  Rome Hall 771 (801 22nd St. NW)
Parmesh Shahani is not your usual academic. He runs a newly formed corporate funded ideas lab that examines the nature of modernity in contemporary India. He also has a parallel life in which he travels all over India as Editor at Large for Verve, India’s leading fashion and lifestyle magazine, and tops lists like 2010 CNN list of “Mumbai’s coolest queers”. In his talk (accompanied by feature and documentary film clips), Parmesh will reflect on the changes taking place on the ground for LBGT people in India, set against the context of the larger national changes that the country is going through. Drawing on his ethnographic research within an online-offline gay community in the city of Bombay, Parmesh will mull over questions of identity, community and the national imagination. He will also read excerpts from his book.
Co-sponsored by GW's English Department and Women's Studies Program

November 10
The George Washington University History Department Research Colloquium presents
Professor Dagmar Herzog 
Graduate Center, City University of New York
Sexuality in Europe: A Twentieth-Century History
Dagmar Herzog is Professor of History and the Daniel Rose Faculty Scholar at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She has published widely in the history of religion in Europe and the U.S., on the Holocaust and its aftermath, and on the histories of gender and sexuality. Her presentation will be drawn from her recently completed Sexuality in Europe: A Twentieth-Century History (Cambridge 2011). She is also the author of Sex in Crisis: The New Sexual Revolution and the Future of American Politics (Basic 2008), Sex after Fascism: Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany (Princeton 2005), andIntimacy and Exclusion: Religious Politics in Pre-Revolutionary Baden (Princeton 1996).
Thursday, November 10, 4-5:30, 1957 E Street, Room 211

November 10 
The Office of Graduate Student Assistantships and Fellowships Office is hosting an information session for the IAF Fellowship onThursday, November 10th at 3:30 PM in Rice Hall Conference Room 304. A representative from IAF will be presenting at the session.
This session would be of interest to PhD students who need support for dissertation research in Latin America and the Caribbean. The deadline to apply for this fellowship is January 17th, 2012. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or citizens of the independent Latin American countries.
Students interested in attending this event should RSVP to

November 11 
Carla Peterson will be discussing her acclaimed new book, Black Gotham. November 11th, 2:30 pm, 771 Rome Hall. The Africana Studies Cities Series and The Department of English are pleased to host Carla Peterson for a discussion  and signing of her acclaimed new book, Black Gotham: A Family History of Nineteenth Century New York
 “Part detective tale, part social and cultural narrative, Black Gotham is Carla Peterson's riveting account of her quest to reconstruct the lives of her nineteenth-century ancestors. As she shares their stories and those of their friends, neighbors, and business associates, she illuminates the greater history of African-American elites in New York City…Black Gotham challenges many of the accepted ‘truths’ about African-American history, including the assumption that the phrase ‘nineteenth-century black Americans’ means enslaved people, that "New York state before the Civil War" refers to a place of freedom, and that a black elite did not exist until the twentieth century. 

Peterson is Professor of English at the University of Maryland and author of Doers of the Word: African American Speakers and Writers in the North (1830-1880) (Oxford UP). 

November 16 
"Funding Your Dissertation Research," on Wednesday, November 16th from 4:00pm to 5:00pm in Marvin Center 302. This information session is for PhD candidates focused on funding for doctoral research at the dissertation phase. The session will also touch on general funding opportunities for PhD candidates.

November 18 (Friday) Teaching and Pedagogy Seminar – Please join us for this EGSA professional development seminar. 12:30-1:30 - brown bag session on "Teaching Composition." 2:00-3:00 - Session on "Issues in Pedagogy" which will focus on pedagogy questions for literature and writing courses. 3:30-4:30 - Session on "Using Technology in the Classroom" which will cover basic teaching technology, creative and innovative use of blogs, twitter, and other social media, and recent news in digital humanities. Please visit our event on Facebook to r.s.v.p. In the coming weeks we will also post more detailed information about speakers and the schedule. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tips on Writing Abstracts and Managing CFPs

Hello again, grad school community! Apologies for the delay in information - we have been busy gathering information for our upcoming Teaching Seminar. Here is part two of our online content from our "Designing Abstracts and Attending Conferences" Workshop. You can also find copies, example Abstracts, and Handouts from this event outside of Rome 751.

Call-For-Papers: How do you begin thinking about Abstracts and Conferences? Finding call-for-papers is an excellent start. This is a good practice to begin even if you feel that you are a few semesters away from attending conferences. Where should you look for good CFPs? We offer you some tips on locating these opportunities -
1) U Penn's CFP Site is an excellent resource with a useful search engine tool. We all highly recommend it because it is updated fairly regularly and has such a wide variety of CFPs available. 
2) Join List-serves. Chances are, if you have already attended a conference or two, you are on a group listserve - these can be immensely helpful in keeping up to date on upcoming CFPs and conference dates. Keeping in touch with people you meet at conferences can be helpful as well - I personally get between 2-3 CFPs a month just from being on  former conference listserves and connecting with people I met at those conferences via social networks. 
3) Consult your Faculty Advisers! Some of our best experiences with conferences were as a result of a recommendation by a trusted faculty member. Many times they are aware of the most interesting/relevant conferences to your particular field or line of criticism. This is also another way to cultivate a relationship with your adviser - a practice EGSA highly recommends!
4) Check your email and our blog! Faculty and other professionals regularly email CFP information to students, including extended deadlines and updated information - so pay attention to your email boxes! You can also look on our blog - where we will attempt regular updates on CFP and conference information

First Experiences: Intimidated by the variety of conferences or attending a large, professional conference as a newbie? Consider some "starter" opportunities to get used to writing abstracts and attending conferences with ease.
1) Graduate Student Conferences - look out for CFPs which are designed for graduate students. These conferences are made up entirely of your peers, and are often closer to home - a time and money saver. Try these out to begin your career of Abstract writing and conferences. 
2) EGSA Symposium - look even closer to home. This spring (2012) EGSA will host a symposium where you will have the opportunity to turn your course work papers into a conference opportunity. Look out for our CFP coming soon.
3) Program Symposiums or Seminars - Many of the programs at GW offer opportunities to participate in symposiums or seminars. Take advantage of these opportunities to share your work with other GW grads and faculty. It may be intimidating, but it is great experience, and it contributes to the academic enrichment of our program. 

Abstract Elements: What belongs in an Abstract? This of course largely depends on the CFP - its requirements for length and the theme of the conference. Many of us urge you to use work that you already have from course work for conferences. Transforming your seminar paper into a conference length presentation can be challenging, but here are some general guidelines for what belongs in the abstract:
Reason for writing:
What is the importance of the research? Why would a reader be interested in the larger work?
What problem does this work attempt to solve? What is the scope of the project? What is the main argument/thesis/claim?
Introduce your source information and any steps in your project.
What are your findings?
How does this work add to the body of knowledge on the topic?

Tips on Writing Abstracts:
Meet the word limitations/range - it is very important to stay within the word count range for any abstract. 
Delete extraneous words, use meaningful language, Avoid defining terms - the idea is to state the parameters of your argument as clearly and concisely as possible. 
Limit the Jargon, Consider your Audience - part of keeping your abstract clear and concise is limiting academic jargon and appealing to a wider audience than a specific professor or class. 
Pay Attention to Key Words - if your CFP asks for key words, consider carefully which words to include because in  this digital age, they are "key" to being able to find your work. They also can contribute to the way in which the conference organizers put together panels. 
It is okay to deviate (a little) from the Abstract - If you are writing an abstract specifically for a conference, and writing a paper to go with it, do not feel like your end result must match up perfectly with the abstract. You will be writing abstracts for papers that don't exist your whole career - it is okay to deviate a little in your expected results (but don't mislead your conference organizers either).
Reverse Outlining or Cut/Paste - If you are using work you already have, try these methods for pulling an abstract out of your completed paper. Using sentences from your paper to create the abstract is useful and time-saving. 
Ask for Peer or Faculty feedback, Revise! The best advice we can give you is to take advantage of your relationships with peers and faculty. They can give you the perspective that you need and want for a successful abstract. 

Thanks for tuning in for our Abstract and CFP online content. If you have additional suggestions or resources to share, please email us or leave a comment below. Check back with us for the final part of this online content as well as upcoming events and professional opportunities. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This Week with EGSA

First, thank you for joining us at the October Happy Hour last Friday! As part of our continuing Abstract/Conference online content, we have provided some information below on upcoming Conferences. These are recommended by your fellow grads and faculty. We also have many exciting campus events approaching, including some special seminars and professional development opportunities. We hope to see you at some or all of these events. Stay tuned for more online content from our Abstract/Conference Workshop

Upcoming Conferences:

November 3-4, 2011 University of Maryland “Rethinking World Literatures/ Other World Literatures

February 17-18, 2012 British Commonwealth Planning Committee, Savannah Georgia. “21st Annual British Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies Conference.”

March 21-25, 2012 The 33rd International Conference on the Fantastic in Arts “The Monstrous Fantastic” in Orlando, FL. 

Upcoming GW English Events:

October 27 Thursday 4pm (1957 E St NW Rm 213) Please join MEMSI members for a panel on "What Monsters Mean" with Asa Simon Mittman and Jeffrey Weinstock 

October 28 Friday 12:15pm (slight change in time!) Please join us for a seminar on "Monster Theory" co-sponsored by GW MEMSI and EGSA. Lunch will be served, so you should r.s.v.p. for this event by October 25 (today!): Many of your EGSA Board members will be in attendance, so we hope to see you there!

November 1 Tuesday 5pm Marvin Center 307 The GW Career Center is hosting: Graduate Students: Resume vs. CV. What are the differences between résumés and CVs? Develop a better understanding of these two primary career and job search documents, including appropriate content, format and length. Learn more about how to utilize these two important self marketing materials to advance your career. Co-sponsored by the Office of Graduate Student Enrollment Management. RSVP through the GWork Workshop calendar.

November 3-4 Composing Disability: Writing, Communication, Culture George Washington University, Washington DC. Organized by one of our favorite faculty, Robert McRuer, this event promises to be a unique opportunity to discover how Disability Studies and Disability Culture are transforming higher education. “Composing Disability” brings together Disability and Deaf Studies, Writing Studies, Education, and Global Cultural Studies for spirited, collegial dialogue, about the production of disability culture, disability writing, and disability representation in and beyond academia today. Please click on the link for the program schedule, information about the keynote speakers, and to register for the event. Even if you are only able to attend part of the seminar, please take time to register. 

November 4 4pm Join GW MEMSI for Master Oh Tae Suk's screening of the film of his production, The Tempest. The audience will have an opportunity to interact with the director at a presentation on November 5. Both events at the Harry Harding Auditorium, 1957 E Street. The events are part of this year's Hahn Moo-Sook Colloquium in the Korean Humanities. This event is co-sponsored by MEMSI and co-organized by Professor Alex Huang.

November 11 2:00-3:30pm Rome 771 Carla Peterson will be discussing her acclaimed new book, Black Gotham, a cultural history of free black elites living in antebellum New York. Hosted by the English Dept.

November 18 2:30-4:30 Rome 771 EGSA Teaching and Pedagogy Seminar. Mark your calendars for this final 2011 Professional Development event. Chances are you will be spending some part of your career as an English graduate student teaching in the classroom. We want to provide you with all the tools you need, including information on teaching composition (and how to convince a future employer that you can), information on the latest issues in English pedagogy, and how to use technology in the classroom. This seminar is designed for all English grads, even those that have been teaching for a while. Stay tuned to this blog for more information, and please direct any questions to Tawnya Ravy (

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stress Management

Thanks to your M.A. Representative to EGSA, Haylie, here is a post of compiled resources to help alleviate that burdensome graduate school stress. It is important to take breaks, to at least attempt to achieve a mind/body/soul balance during these rocky years of study, and to take advantage of the stress-relieving opportunities of the DC Metro Area. I would also add to this list that attending EGSA workshops for baked treats and to vent your frustrations is a great way to alleviate stress (shameless plug!).
We welcome your feedback and contributions. If you have additional stress management resources, please share with us!

Health Resources
·         Lerner Health and Wellness Center (aka the gym)
o   Location: 2301 G Street, NW (Corner of G and 23rd)
o   General hours: M-F: 6:30am – 11:30pm; Sat: 9am – 8pm; Sun: 11am – 11:30pm
o   Gym use is free for students. Costs for classes:
§  Drop-in pass: $6 per class
§  Mind & Body pass (unlimited yoga and pilates classes): $65/term
§  Full Fitness pass (all classes): $85/term
o   Other features: racquetball and squash courts, indoor track, three-lane lap pool, free weight and cardiovascular fitness areas
o   Free Mindfulness Meditation class, Tuesdays 1:10 – 1:50 pm in fitness classroom
o   Location: 2141 K St. NW, Suite 501
o   Hours: Varies daily; generally 8:30am – 6:00pm
o   Variety of services; $25 office fee per visit (waived if you are covered by GW Student Health Insurance plan)
·         University Counseling Center
o   Phone: 202-994-5300; email:
o   Location: 2033 K St. NW, Suite 330
o   Hours: M, T, Th: 8am – 6pm; W, F: 8am – 5pm
o   Offers: Individual counseling, group counseling (including dissertation support group and graduate student group), academic support services, career counseling, alcohol/drug services, referral assistance
o   Fees:
§  New this year: Up to first 6 individual counseling sessions free
§  $50 per session after initial six

Other (Vaguely Stress-Related) Resources
·         Career Center (dealing with stress by getting a job)
o   Location: 1922 F St. NW (corner of F and 20th)
o   Hours: M-Th: 8:30am – 6pm
o   Walk-in consulting hours: M-F: 1pm – 4pm
o   Offers a variety of career support services
·         Free in DC (dealing with stress by leaving the house for cheap)
o   LivingSocial (area-specific deals via email)
o   WTD Deals (basically a lot like LivingSocial)
o   Groupon (also a lot like LivingSocial)
o   Thrilllist (Information about events, artists, designers, and coupons for DC area)