GRADUATE STUDENT WORKSHOP
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 4-6 pm
Ordinary Endurance: the Aesthetics of Settling in Gertrude Stein’s "Three Lives"
This paper examines the problem of dwelling in the early work of Gertrude Stein in order to critique, more broadly, the reductive association of modernism with cosmopolitan mobility and transgression. The early twentieth century, a time of great epistemological and social upheaval, has typically been affiliated with negativity. Reading against this grain, I posit that the problem of domestic endurance in Three Lives is refracted through sexuality into tropes of wandering and settling Uniting recent queer work on affect and temporality with criticism on the ordinary, the paper reveals how Three Lives is at once invested in exposing the suffocating relationship of working-poor women to the domestic, and yet also in privileging domestic attachment as a valuable mode through which modern subjects bind themselves to the social. Ultimately, the paper identifies modernism’s vexed relationship to American culture’s preoccupation with novelty and self-invention, and the exhaustion and displacement these traditions can produce.
Alexander Eastwood is a Doctoral Candidate in English and Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, from which he also holds an Honours B.A. in English. His dissertation, entitled “Strange Dwellings: Sex and Settling in Modern American Literature,” examines the concept of home in American modernism, and the import of somatic experience to the need for privacy and refuge within everyday modern life. He is a Junior Fellow of Massey College, and a Graduate Associate at the Centre for Ethics.
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 4-6 pm
Hiding in Plain Sight: Spatial Practices of Penal Isolation in the Era of Mass Incarceration
In the U.S. today, more people are sentenced to more time in more prisons and in greater isolation than at any other time in its history. My project investigates how isolation operates within the organization and reproduction of the contemporary American prison system: how it is produced, what effects it has, and the primary arenas or means by which it is contested or undermined. Specifically, I examine penal isolation and its contradictions at four main sites located in the contemporary landscape of the New York State penal system: in the immediate, architectural space of solitary confinement within the prison itself; in the increasingly remote siting of prisons far from prisoner families and communities; from the densely penalized space of the urban “million-dollar block”; and in the spaces of circulation between and within urban and prison space which emerge or persist as social rebuttals to the organization of penal isolation.
Brett Story is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography and Program in Planning. Her research focuses on the U.S. prison system, and the shifting relationship between urban and penal space. Brett has also worked extensively as an independent documentary filmmaker and freelance journalist, writing and producing video for publications such as The Nation, The Montreal Mirror, and the Toronto Review of Books. Her latest film, Land of Destiny, is a portrait of a petrochemical town in paralysis in the wake of an epidemic of cancers.
Wednesday April 24, 2013, 4-6 pm
David K. Seitz
Follow the Family?: The Cultural Politics of Neo-Liberalism in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin
After mass protests against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's union-busting measures garnered global attention in 2011, Walker cruised to a stunning recall election victory in 2012. Progressive-Left accounts of Walker's win have focused on the glut of outside corporate campaign donations in his coffers, and Democrats' failure to offer an alternative economic vision. While helpful, these "follow the money" explanations neglect neoliberalism's local inflections and cultural dimensions at their analytical and political peril. Instead of offering a causal explanation of Walker's victory, I explore mainstream labour activists' startling use of the trope of "working Wisconsin families" in pro-union appeals. Building on Wendy Brown's (2010) insight about neoliberalism not only as a mode of economic organization but a "way of making souls," I then point to local Left inflections of family and collectivity that might disturb, or even offer glimmers of alternatives, to neoliberalism's intimate incitements to make exclusive attestations of innocence.
David K. Seitz is a Ph.D. student in human geography at the University of Toronto, and participates in the collaborative programs in women and gender studies and sexual diversity studies. His dissertation research explores alternative urban, national and transnational geographies of belonging and critical political community at a predominantly LGBTQ Toronto church. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, David also has a longstanding research interest in the cultural politics of race, gender, sexuality and neoliberalism in the Midwestern U.S.
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PAST EVENTS 2012-13
Tuesday, September 11, 5-7 pm
Rooms 208N, Munk School of Global Affairs
Martin F. Manalansan IV
Graduate Student Workshop
Co-sponsored by: Women and Gender Studies Institute; Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies; Humanities, Social Sciences, and Social Justice Education; Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies,
University of Toronto.
Martin F. Manalansan IV is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies and Conrad Professorial Humanities Scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is an affiliate faculty in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program, the Global Studies Program and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. He is the author of Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora (2003), which was awarded the Ruth Benedict Prize. He is editor/co-editor of two anthologies namely, Cultural Compass: Ethnographic Explorations of Asian America (2000), and Queer Globalizations: Citizenship and the Afterlife of Colonialism (2002), as well as a special issue of International Migration Review on gender and migration.
This graduate student workshop is open to all affiliated graduate students working in American Studies, and graduate students of the co-sponsoring departments and centres. Attendance is by RSVP only. Please confirm your attendance to Stella Kyriakakis, CSUS Administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org by September 7th.
Friday, September 28, 10 am- 12 noon
Room 208N, Munk School of Global Affairs
Faculty and Graduate Student Workshop: Academic Publishing in the Age of Multiple Platforms
Co-sponsored by Cinema Studies Institute, Innis College, University of Toronto
Sarah Banet-Weiser is Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She is the author of The Most Beautiful Girl in the World: Beauty Pageants and National Identity (1999); Kids Rule! Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship (2007); and most recently, Authentic™: The Politics of Ambivalence in a Brand Culture (2012). She is the co-editor of Cable Visions: Television Beyond Broadcasting (2007), and Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times (2012). Banet-Weiser is the editor of American Quarterly, and co-edits a book series at NYU Press, Critical Cultural Communication Studies.
This graduate student workshop is open to all affiliated graduate students working in American Studies, and affiliated faculty members.
Friday, October 19, 10 am – 12 noon
Room 108N, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
Graduate Student Seminar
Organized by the Centre for the Study of the United States, and co-sponsored by the United States Consulate General, Toronto, and the Department of Political Science, University of Toronto.
Attendance is open to all graduate students and faculty members. Registration is required for this event. To attend, please email Stella Kyriakakis at: email@example.com by October 16th.
Wednesday October 31, 2012, 4-6 pm
Reiki in and Beyond the Japanese Diaspora: The Trans-Pacific Development of a Healing Practice, 1926-1976
Today, millions around the globe practice the spiritual healing techniques called Reiki. However, for decades after the founder’s 1926 death, these techniques were only practiced in Japan or by Nikkeijin (persons of Japanese ancestry) in the U.S. Territory of Hawaii. Furthermore, it was probably not until the 1970s that Reiki reached ten thousand practitioners, and, although similar techniques were popular in pre-war Japan, it was only after Reiki became widespread in the U.S. that it became well established in its land of origin. This paper examines the roles of social networks as well as ethnic, religious, and scientific imaginaries in Reiki’s ongoing development and circulation from its origins in 1920s Tokyo to its first non-Nikkei teachers on the U.S. mainland in 1976. By considering historic actors’ strategic framing of Reiki, this paper contributes to the understanding of changing attitudes towards the authority of ethnicity, religion and science across the Pacific.
Justin Stein is a doctoral student in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. His dissertation research, provisionally titled Alternate Currents: Healing with Energy Across the Pacific, studies the trans-Pacific cultural interactions involved in the production and circulation of Reiki, a set of spiritual healing practices. For his M.A. in Religion (Asian) at the University of Hawai'i, Justin's thesis examined constructions of authority in successive narratives about Reiki's founder. Justin also has a M.S. in Education from Brooklyn College and a B.A. in Philosophy from Hamilton College.
Wednesday November 28, 2012, 4-6 pm
Low Mutterings of Islamic Chants: Hearing Omar’s Islamic Inscriptions on the Black Atlantic
While African American studies has drawn connections between Christian spirituality and African American cultural production, such as in the work of W.E.B Du Bois, Henry Louis Gates, and Paul Gilroy, few scholars have looked closely at the influence of Islam in constructing a black vernacular. Despite the erasure of West African Muslims from African American collective memory at the turn of the twentieth century, this essay considers, and seeks to reverse, the modalities of forgetting Islam by turning to Omar Ibn Said’s 1831 slave narrative. My analysis of Omar’s narrative builds upon recent work on Islam and the African diaspora by situating Omar’s strategic Islam within a larger critical conversation on African Islam in America, arguing that Omar’s Qur’anic recitations not only resist a Christian domination of black spirituality in the United States, but gesture toward and vocalize the gaps in our thinking of the Black Atlantic.
Zeinab McHeimech is a PhD candidate in English at Western University. Her current project Noting Knotted Notes: Memories of Enslaved Muslim Africans in American Literature seeks to supplement the field of African American studies by turning to the remnants of African Islam in a seemingly congealed, yet unstable, past as they manifest in American expressive culture and literature.
Friday, January 18, 10 am -12 noon
Department for the Study of Religion, Room 318
Jackman Humanities Building
170 St. George Street
Graduate Student and Faculty Workshop
History, American Studies, and Religious Studies at Yale University
Please join us for a conversation with Prof. Butler as he shares his latest research project "God in Gotham," as well as his wider reflections about the state of the field in the study of American religions. To learn more about the award-winning and field-defining work of Prof. Butler, see here.
If you will attend, please contact Pamela Klassen, firstname.lastname@example.org and she will send you a chapter from Prof. Butler's work-in-progress.
Registration is required through email: email@example.com.
Wednesday January 30, 2013, 4-6 pm
Laura J. Kwak
Asian-American Imperialism and the Crisis of Raciology
Two of the most scandalous American nationalist securitization measures in the last decade were architected by Asian Americans. Assistant Attorney General Viet D. Dinh was the chief architect of the US Patriot Act (2001) and Republican White House Attorney, John Yoo’s writings heavily shaped post-9/11 policies, including his “torture memos,” which illegally sanctioned the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib (2002). However, these figures have not been examined by Asian American Studies. The existence of racial conservatives attests to the crisis of “race” and raciology (Gilroy 2000), and the need for politics without guarantee (Hall 1997). The figures examined are not only prominent Asian Americans holding positions of power and influence in the U.S., they are also conservative intellectuals, pundits, and elected politicians. While it appears that they have suddenly emerged onto the political scene, this paper investigates how since the late 1950s, conservative Asian leaders have played key roles in the United States.
Laura J. Kwak is a PhD candidate in the department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education (SESE) at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation “Globalizing Racial Conservatism: The Making of Asian Conservative Political Figures” looks at the emergence of racial conservatism in Canada, the United States, and the UK, charting how Asian Canadian, American, and British political figures are embedded in shifting racial formations. She has recently won the Anita Affeldt Graduate Award from the Association of Asian American Studies (AAAS), and holds an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS). She has presented her work in Canada, the US, and the UK.
Friday, February 1, 2-4 pm
Room 208N, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
Graduate Student Workshop
Fighting the Global Colour Line: Black Transnationalism in Unexpected Places
Co-sponsored by Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Social Justice Education, and Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies, OISE, University of Toronto
A former professional dancer/actress from Canada, Theresa Runstedtler chose to shift her passion for popular culture from the studio and stage to the classroom. She is Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University at Buffalo (SUNY), and was recently a Mellon post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Her first book, Jack Johnson, Rebel Sojourner: Boxing in the Shadow of the Global Color Line (2012), explores Johnson’s worldwide legacy as a black sporting hero and anticolonial icon in places as far-flung as Sydney, London, Cape Town, Manila, Paris, Havana, and Mexico City. Her scholarly articles appear in numerous publications including the Radical History Review (Winter 2009), and the Journal of World History (Dec. 2010).
This workshop is open to all University of Toronto Graduate students and Faculty members.
Centre for the Study of the United States (CSUS) Graduate Student Workshop
The CSUS Graduate Student Workshop, initially launched in 2007-08, is designed for graduate students pursuing research relating to American society and culture broadly conceived. The workshop is a forum for graduate students to present work in progress before a group of peers, and may include dissertation proposals or chapters, articles, or conference papers. The workshop also provides a venue to showcase the emerging scholarship of the winners of the Graduate Research Grants in American Studies and/or the Study of the United States. The overall goal of the workshop is to receive friendly, but critical feedback from scholars coming from an array of disciplinary backgrounds.
The CSUS Graduate Student Workshop is a monthly, academic-year, daytime seminar presentation. Our aim is to include graduate students and interested faculty from many academic institutions in the surrounding area. Students at any area universities, or those dissertating in the GTA, are warmly welcomed to join the proceedings. Inclusion in the workshop is to be broadly defined; students working on transnational, hemispheric, or comparative projects are encouraged to participate. For the upcoming academic year, the CSUS Graduate Student Workshop will be held near the end of the month on Wednesdays, 4-6 pm, in the Munk School for Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. The Workshop is sponsored by the interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of the United States (CSUS).
We are currently seeking graduate students who would be interested in presenting their work in the 2012-13 academic year. Interested applicants should submit a paper title, brief abstract, one paragraph biography, and up-to-date C.V. The deadline for submissions is July 23th, 2012. If you are interested in presenting or serving as a commentator, please contact:
Academic Advisor, American Studies Program
Doctoral Candidate, Department of History
University of Toronto