Upcoming events and the Fall 2011 schedule!

Dear Everyone:

Hope you all had restorative and wonderful summers.  We’re excited to be continuing the conversation begun last semester with what we think is a fantastic slate of events, the details of which are below.  There are two main kinds of programming this initiative will offer this year: public lectures and a seminar that meets about once a month that we’re delighted to be running as part of the Center for Humanities seminar series.  (For general information about the Center’s seminar series, please see http://centerforthehumanitiesgc.org/).  We are very pleased that Cambridge Ridley Lynch, a doctoral student in history, and Chris Eng, a doctoral student in English, are our co-chairs for the seminar series.

The Revolutionizing American Studies (RAS) programming begins this Friday, 9 September 2011!  We hope to see many of you for this opening event!  (Participation in the Center for Humanities seminars is free and open to the public but registration is required.  Please see http://centerforthehumanitiesgc.org/ for more information.)

Please give us a holler if you have any questions or whatnot.  Looking forward to an engaging year!


Kandice & Duncan

Revolutionizing American Studies, Fall 2011 Schedule


Friday, 9 Sept, 12-2p: Inaugural Meeting, Room 8201.01

Please join us in initiating our yearlong conversation dedicated to the investigation of revolutionizing thought and action in and through American studies.  In this session, we will use the Presidential Addresses of recent past American Studies Association presidents in an effort to assess where we are, as a first step in working toward envisioning where we might want to go.


Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s presidential address, “What is to be Done?”


Kevin Gaines’s presidential address, “Of Teachable Moments and Specters of Race”

Thursday, Sept 15, 4-6p: Roderick Ferguson Public Lecture, Room 8201.01

Roderick A. Ferguson is associate professor of race and critical theory and chair of the Department of American Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. In the year 2000, he received the Modern Language Association’s Crompton-Noll Award for “best essay in lesbian, gay, and queer studies in the modern languages” for his article “The Parvenu Baldwin and the Other Side of Redemption.” From 2007 to 2010, he was associate editor of American Quarterly: The Journal of the American Studies Association. He is the author of Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique and is completing a manuscript entitled The Reorder of Things: On the Institutionalization of Difference.

Title of lecture:  “Lumumba-Zapata and the Proliferation of Minority Difference”

This talk looks at the Lumumba-Zapata Movement that took place at UC San Diego from 1969 to 1972. The talk situates the movement within the emergence of minority difference as a lever for both critical and dominant formations. Using the Nixon administration’s investment in the Black Power Movement as well as corporate capital’s increasing interest in radical political movements, the talk theorizes the San Diego movement as a formation that helped to identify minority difference’s current predicament as both a site of contestation and hegemonic affirmation.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

This event is made possible by the generous sponsorship of President William Kelly, the Center for the Humanities, and the American Studies Certificate Program.


Friday, Sept 16 12-2p: Roderick Ferguson seminar, Room 8201.01

Please join us for a focused conversation on the possibilities of transformation within and through American studies.  How/Can “difference” be institutionalized? administered?  Participants in this session should please read “An American Studies Meant for Interruption” and “Administering Sexuality, or, The Will to Institutionality,” both by Professor Ferguson.


Roderick A. Ferguson’s “An American Studies Meant for Interruption,”


Roderick A. Ferguson’s “Administering Sexuality, or, the Will to Institutionality”



Thursday Oct 13 4-6p: Anne McClintock Public Lecture, Room 8201.01

Anne McClintock is the Simone de Beauvoir Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  She is the author of Imperial Leather. Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest (1995), and has written short biographies of Olive Schreiner and Simone de Beauvoir and a monograph on madness, sexuality and colonialism called Double Crossings (2001).  McClintock is also co-editor, with Ella Shohat and Aamir Mufti, of Dangerous Liaisons (1997), and has written over 40 articles and reviews that have appeared in a wide range of prominent venues and journals, including Critical Inquiry, Transition, Social Text, New Formations, Feminist Review, The New York Times Book Review, The Guardian (London), The Times Literary Supplement, The Village Voice, The Women’s Review of Books, among others.  Her creative non-fiction book Skin Hunger. A Chronicle of Sex, Desire and Money is forthcoming from Jonathan Cape. Her anthology The Sex Work Reader is forthcoming from Vintage; and Screwing the System, a collection of essays on sexuality and power, is forthcoming from Routledge. She is working on a new book called Paranoid Empire. Specters from Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, which has been solicited for consideration by Yale University Press.

Lecture Title: “Imperial Deja Vu: The Unquiet Dead from Ground Zero and Indian Country”

This talk will engage the haunted aftermath of 9/11 through the simultaneous forgetting and remembering of Hiroshima as the first ground zero, and the ubiquitous invocation of Indian Country in the War on Terror, culminating in calling the killing of Bin Laden “Operation Geronimo.” Professor McClintock will be exploring the concept of imperial deja vu as a way of exploring the ghostings and great forgettings of imperial time in the twilight of US power.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

This event is made possible by the generous sponsorship of President William Kelly, the Center for the Humanities, and the American Studies Certificate Program.


Friday Oct 14 12:30-2p: Leti Volpp Seminar, Room 8201.01

Leti Volpp is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.  She is a well-known scholar in law and the humanities. She writes about citizenship, migration, culture and identity. Her publications include the edited volume Legal Borderlands: Law and the Construction of American Borders (with Mary Dudziak) (2006); “The Culture of Citizenship” in Theoretical Inquiries in Law (2007); and “Disappearing Acts: On Gendered Violence, Pathological Cultures and Civil Society” in PMLA (2006). She is also the author of “Divesting Citizenship: On Asian American History and the Loss of Citizenship Through Marriage” in the UCLA Law Review (2005), “The Citizen and the Terrorist” in the UCLA Law Review (2002), “Feminism versus Multiculturalism” in the Columbia Law Review (2001), “Framing Cultural Difference: Immigrant Women and Discourses of Tradition,” in differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies (2011); and “Engendering Culture: Citizenship, Identity and Belonging,” which appears in Citizenship, Borders, and Human Needs, edited by Rogers Smith(2011), among many other articles.

Please join us for this session with Professor Leti Volpp, focusing on citizenship, its racialized histories and contemporary significance, from a critical legal perspective.  Our discussion will be informed by two of Professor Volpp’s essays, “”Obnoxious to their Very Nature: Asian Americans and Constitutional Citizenship” and “The Citizen and the Terrorist.”  Participants may also wish to read “Divesting Citizenship: On Asian American History and the Loss of Citizenship Through Marriage,” also by Professor Volpp.


Leti Volpp’s “‘Obnoxious to Their Very Nature’: Asian Americans and Constitutional Citizenship,”http://ehis.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=8&hid=109&sid=5acb68d1-9698-4a32-84f6-590b6c8b7f65%40sessionmgr114


Leti Volpp’s “The Citizen and the Terrorist,”


(recommended, also, by Leti Volpp, “Divesting Citizenship: On Asian American History and the Loss of Citizenship through Marriage,”http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/lnacademic/?verb=sr&csi=7359&sr=TITLE(DIVESTING+CITIZENSHIP%3A+ON+ASIAN+AMERICAN+HISTORY+AND+THE+LOSS+OF+CITIZENSHIP+THROUGH+MARRIAGE)%2BAND%2BDATE%2BIS%2B2005-12-1

Friday, Oct 14 4-6p: Leti Volpp Public Lecture, Room 8201.01
Title of lecture: “Indigenous as Alien”

Immigration law’s focus is nation-state sovereignty and the ability of the state to exclude or deport aliens, who are understood to move spatially to the nation state, seeking entry or admittance.  But this vision of immigration law fails to recognize settler colonialism, and, in particular, its grounding on preexisting indigenous populations’ territory.  This talk seeks to examine the reasons for this omission, as well as its consequences.  Immigration scholarship tends to presume not only that borders are spatially fixed, but that they are fixed over time, so that states have always existed within their current territorial borders. The focus of inquiry then becomes the lawfulness of the already existing’s state’s deployment of sovereignty to keep out or expel noncitizens.  Forgotten is how states came to be.  This talk will examine the political theory underpinning immigration law, political theory that imagines a social contract quite different from what has been termed a “settler contract.” The consequences of this settler contract for indigenous populations, including their transformation into aliens, will be discussed.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

This event is made possible by the generous sponsorship of President William Kelly, the Center for the Humanities, the Mellon Committee on Globalization and Social Change, and the American Studies Certificate Program.



Thursday, Nov 3, 4-6p, Priscilla Wald seminar, Room 8201.01

Priscilla Wald is a professor of English at Duke University, and the 2011-12 President of the American Studies Association.  Wald teaches and works on U.S. literature and culture, particularly literature of the late-18th to mid-20th centuries.  The author of Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative (2008), Wald is working on a series of essays that explore the impact of genomics on current thinking about categories of social, biological and political belonging and on the narrative of human history. Wald is also working on several essays on American literature and culture for essay collections and co-editing an Oxford University Press volume on the history of the American novel, 1870-1940. Included among her many publications is Constituting Americans: Cultural Anxiety and Narrative Form (1995), and she is editor of American Literature. She has a secondary appointment in Women’s Studies, is on the Duke University steering committee of ISIS (Information Sciences + Information Studies) and is a member of the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy and an affiliate of the Trent Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities and the Institute for Global Health.

This session’s focus on genomics and race speaks to the importance of working across the science/humanities divide, and points to new or understudied directions that American studies might take.  Please join us for what promises to be an enlightening discussion with Professor Priscilla Wald.

Priscilla Wald’s “Blood and Stories: how genomics is rewriting race, medicine and human history,” <http://www.princeton.edu/~publicma/Wald_article.pdf>


Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, et al.’s “The ethics of characterizing difference: guiding principles on using racial categories in human genomics,” <http://genomebiology.com/2008/9/7/404>

Friday, Nov 4, 12-2p, ASA Student Workshop, Room 8201.01

Friday,Nov 4, 4-6, Priscilla Wald Public Lecture, Room 4406
Lecture title:  TBA

This lecture is free and open to the public.

This event is made possible by the generous sponsorship of President William Kelly, the Center for the Humanities, the PhD Program in English, and the American Studies Certificate Program.



Friday, Dec 2, 12-2p: Jodi Melamed Seminar, Room 8201.01

Jodi Melamed is associate professor of English and Africana studies at Marquette University. Her current research aims to provide an anti-racist critique of U.S.-led global capitalist developments since World War II, as well as an anti-capitalist critique of historically dominant U.S. antiracisms. She is the author of the forthcoming book Represent and Destroy: Rationalizing Violence in the New Racial Capitalism (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) and a contributor to two forthcoming volumes, Strange Affinities: The Gender and Sexual Politics of Comparative Racialization, edited by Roderick Ferguson and Grace Hong (Duke University Press, 2011) and Keywords for American Cultural Studies, Second Edition, edited by Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler (New York University Press).


Selections from Represent and Destroy: Rationalizing Violence in the New Racial Capitalism (U Minnesota P, forthcoming)
Friday, Dec 2, 4-6p: Jodi Melamed Public Lecture, Room 4406
Title of lecture: “Ghosting Human Capital: Neoracial Logics in Neoliberal Times”

Between the old and the new racial capitalism, the era of white supremacy and that of a formally antiracist liberal modernity, the trick of racialization has remained the same: racial procedures constitute human value and valuelessness differentially in accord with reigning geopolitics and economic orders. These procedures do this even as they appear “merely” to sort human beings into rationally inevitable categories of difference.  We will examine the post-World War II history of dominant antiracisms as generative forces for global capitalist development, focusing especially on our neoliberal era, whose hallmark is an aggressive recursivity between procedures of race and hyper-speculative capitalism, which speedily and flexibly fixes extreme differentials of value to forms of humanity in any given instance.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

This event is made possible by the generous sponsorship of President William Kelly, the Center for the Humanities, the PhD Program in English, and the American Studies Certificate Program.

Friday, Dec 9, 2-4p: Fall Final Meeting, Room 8201.01

About the organizers:

Kandice Chuh is a professor in the PhD program in English at the CUNY Graduate Center and is affiliated to the Mellon Committee on Globalization and Social Change and the American Studies Certificate Program.  The author of Imagine Otherwise: on Asian Americanist Critique (Duke UP, 2003), which won the American Studies Association’s Lora Romero Book Award, Chuh is also co-editor, with Karen Shimakawa, of Orientations: Mapping Studies in the Asian Diaspora (Duke UP, 2001), and has published across the fields of Asian American and American studies, literary studies, and critical theory. Her current book project, The Difference Aesthetics Makes, brings together aesthetic philosophies and theories and minority discourses and cultural texts.  Chuh is broadly interested in the relationship between intellectual work and the political sphere; disciplinarity and difference; and U.S. culture and politics as matrices of power and knowledge.

Duncan Faherty is an associate professor of English at Queens College and the Graduate Center, and is also the Coordinator of the American Studies Certificate Program.  The author of Remodeling the Nation: The Architecture of American Identity, 1776-1858 (U of New England P, 2007) and co-editor of the journal Studies in American Fiction. His current book project examines the development of the early U.S. novel by focusing on the canonical interregnum of 1800-1820, and rethinking the ways in which these texts interrogate Circum-Atlantic political and economic networks.  His research interests include Eighteenth-century American literature; early U.S. literature and culture (1780-1850); American Studies; circum-Atlantic Studies.

Christopher Eng is a graduate student in the PhD program in English at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Cambridge Lynch is a graduate student in the PhD program in History at the CUNY Graduate Center.


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