Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ayanna Thompson Campus Visit and Talk

For those of you who haven't heard the exciting news, Professor Ayanna Thompson is being considered for a position in the GW English department starting Fall 2013.  Professor Thompson is currently a professor at Arizona State University and she specializes in Shakespeare, Renaissance Drama, and issues of race and performance.  She has authored two books, Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America and Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage, in addition to numerous other important essays.   

Professor Thompson will be visiting our campus on Monday, November 26 and is scheduled to give a talk, "Interdisciplinary Shakespeare," at 6.15-7.45 PM, in Rome Hall 771.  She will also be in the student lounge at 10:30AM on that day and will be available to meet and talk with graduate students.

Stay tuned for more details about Professor Thompson's visit, but be sure to mark your calendars for November 26th!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Look Ahead to Spring 2013

GW English Graduate Courses for Spring 2013

Spring 2013 Graduate Seminar: Digital Humanities in Theory and Practice 
ENGLISH 6130 // Prof. A. Huang  
Monday 6:10-8:40 pm, Rome 771

Digital and communication technologies are transforming humanities research. This seminar explores the history of digital humanities, theoretical issues it raises, and major methodological debates. 
  • Participate in the Digital Humanities Symposium at GW, Friday January 25, 2013 
  • Develop the skills necessary for working at, and engaging with, the intersection of the humanities and technology
  • Grasp major theoretical developments (orality / textuality / paratext / race / disability / canon formation / close and distant readings / data mining / history of the book / new media theories)
  • Examine existing digital humanities projects in your field
  • Situate your own research interests within the larger context of digital humanities theories and practice
  • Interact with guest speakers in class 
  • No computer skills beyond basic familiarity with word processing and Internet access are required

Sample Readings 
  • David M. Berry, ed. Understanding Digital Humanities
  • Matthew K. Gold, ed., Debates in the Digital Humanities
  • Jacque Derrida, Archive Fever
  • Umberto Eco, Travels in Hyperreality
  • Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge
  • Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, Remediation: Understanding New Media
  • William McCarty, Humanities Computing
  • Gerard Genette, Paratexts
  • N. Katherine Hayles, My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts
  • Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture
  • Alexander Huang, "Global Shakespeare 2.0 and the Task of the Performance Archive," Shakespeare Survey (
  • Jonathan Hope and Michael Witmore, "The Very Large Textual Object: A Prosthetic Reading of Shakespeare"  (
  • Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy
  • Jerome McGann, Radiant Textuality: Literature after the World Wide Web
  • Franco Moretti, Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History
  • Ray Siemens and Susan Schreibman, eds. A Companion to Digital Humanities
  • Ray and Schreibman, eds.  A Companion to Digital Literary Studies
  • Alan Liu, The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information 
  • Lisa Nakamura, Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet 

Sample Digital Projects

Journals and Guidelines

Partitioned Modernities: Intimacy, Secularism and National Culture in South Asia

ENG 6560: Postcolonialism
Kavita Daiya
Wednesdays 3.30-6 pm

1947 was a crucial year for world history, as the end of WWII and decolonization over 1947-48 ushered in many new nations and invented new national communities and identities. This course focuses on what happened in 1947 in India, in relation to these global transformations; it engages postcolonial theories of nationalism, gender studies and historiography with literature and cinema to illuminate the cultural representation of the 1947 Partition of India and its social and political legacies for contemporary South Asia.  Drawing upon a range of disciplines, the course examines the violent migrations that occurred during 1947, and its link to contemporary conflicts (war, ethnic conflict, refugee displacement, property rights) and ideas about citizenship, political belonging, intimacy, and secularism. We will look at different registers: literature, film, print media, visual and new media.  How gender, ethnicity and disability inflect these histories and texts will be integral to the story we will tell. No prior knowledge of South Asia required. Readings include works by Paul Scott, Salman Rushdie, Homi Bhabha, Judith Butler, Vikram Chandra, Amitav Ghosh, Saadat Hasan Manto, Shauna Singh Baldwin, Tim Brennan, Pheng Cheah, Talal Asad, Sunil Khilnani, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Gayatri Spivak, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, Deepa Ollapally, among others.  Films we will watch include Hindi cinema as well as third cinema, like "Delhi 6", "Parzania," and "My Son, the Fanatic." 

 Tony Lopez's graduate seminar, ENGL 6453:

English 6453: ¡Vámonos!  Latino Transit Cultures

This course considers the cultures of Latino transit: the literary and popular expressions of walking and riding in their embodied varieties across public and private U.S. transportation infrastructures.  Students will become acquainted with a range of 20th and 21st-century U.S. Latino works in conversation with theories of movement, space, and the body from Walter Benjamin to disability and diaspora studies.  Through such works, we will explore recent debates regarding the built environment, citizenship, and the state.

English 6220 (Topics/Medvl&EarlyMod Studies)
Environ, Body, Object, Veer

This cartographic seminar follows the lines of possibility that might be generated when the words environ, body, object and veer are simultaneously nouns (surroundings; corpus; impedimental thing [from the Latin “to throw in the way of”]; abrupt directional shift or change of vector) and verbs (to circuit inward; to materialize an abstraction; to protest or differ; to fly off course). Some of the problems we will unpack through these four keywords include: what does it mean to possess life? What worlds commence in medieval texts when the nonhuman exerts its sidelong agency? Is anthropocentricity an inevitable circumscription to thought? How does travel (in space, in time, in scale) open vistas that might otherwise remain unperceived? Are medieval and contemporary one or several temporalities?

We will create a confluence of contemporary theory (disability studies; queer theory; the new materialism; object oriented ontology; ecocriticism) and medieval English, Latin and French texts to map (environ, body, object and veer) possibilities for both. Among the medieval texts we will read: Beowulf, Chaucer (The House of Fame, General Prologue, The Pardoner’s Tale, The Franklin’s Tale, The Wife of Bath’s Tale, The Squire’s Tale); Geoffrey of Monmouth (History of the Kings of Britain), The Book of John MandevilleSong of RolandSaint ErkenwaldSir Gawain and the Green KnightPearl. Among the works of contemporary theory we may discuss (in entirety or selections): Ian Bogost, Alien Phenomenology; Robert McRuer and Anna Mollow, eds. Sex and Disability; Margrit Shildrick, Dangerous Discourses of Disability, Subjectivity and Sexuality; Mel Y. Chen, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering and Queer Affect; Carolyn Dinshaw, How Soon Is Now?: Medieval Texts, Amateur Readers, and the Queerness of Time; Tim Ingold, Being Alive; Will Stockton, Playing Dirty; Stacy Alaimo, Bodily Natures.

Robert McRuer and Holly Dugan's Queer Theory: Now and Then seminar (ENGL 6120):

This seminar examines the ways in which queer theory appears, now and then. From sixteenth century narratives of seduction and eroticism to postmodern, hyper-mediated sex play, we will engage in a transtemporal and interdisciplinary conversation about both shared and contested assumptions about queerness. Weaving seemingly disparate strands of this field through and around each other, we seek to pose the following questions: how queer is historicism? Is there a way to do queer historicism, or are the terms mutually exclusive (as some in the field might claim)? If queer theory “now” is arguably obsessed with global technologies that locate bodies within systems of commodification, consumption, and resistance, what about queer theory “then”? When we approach these questions from a transtemporal framework, what happens to practices and desires we think we recognize as “alternative”
or “normative”? How is the alternative constitutive of the norm, now and then? What bodily practices and desires remain resistant to categorizations, whether temporal or otherwise? Readings may include work by Lynne Huffer, Kevin Floyd, Madhavi Menon, James Bromley, Will Stockton, Valerie Traub, Margot Weiss, Darieck Scott, Jasbir Puar, José Esteban Muñoz, Elizabeth Povinelli, and others.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Upcoming Events

Join us in November for two exciting events at George Washington University Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute and Dean's Scholars in Shakespeare Program: 

On Monday, Nov. 12, from 1-2 pm, Dr. Dennis Kennedy will be presenting a lecture on “The Culture of the Spectator.” Currently Beckett Professor of Drama Emeritus in Trinity College Dublin, Dennis Kennedy will consider examples from sports, popular culture, and the theatre in order to open up a discussion about a ‘culture’ of the spectator in the present. 

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Erika Lin will be with us on Tuesday, Nov. 27, from 11:10 am-12:20 pm, to explore early modern theatre. Lin, an Assistant Professor of English at George Mason University, takes a close look at Thomas Dekker’s play “The Shoemaker’s Holiday” as she explores the process by which festivity was transformed into commercial theatre through the act of performance in “Playing with Time: Pancakes and Bells in ‘The Shoemaker’s Holiday.’”

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Both of these events are open to the public and will be held on the George Washington University campus in Rome Hall, room 771 (801 22nd St. NW, Washington, D.C., one block from the GW/Foggy Bottom metro station). 
For Flyers on each of these events visit: