Saidiya Hartman is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and author of the newly published Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval.
This talk tracks the emergence of slavery as the defining template through which current forms of human rights abuses are understood. To fathom forms of freedom and bondage today–from unlawful detention to sex trafficking to the refugee crisis to conscription in war–Professor Goyal shows how contemporary literature draws on the antebellum genre of the slave narrative, reinventing such key genres as sentimentalism, the gothic, satire, ventriloquism, and the bildungsroman.
Gene Jarrett: ‘I am Entirely White!’: The Life and Times of Paul Laurence Dunbar in Late Victorian England
This lecture narrates the journey of Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first professional African American writer born after slavery, through parts of England during the first half of 1897. Newly engaged to aspiring writer Alice Ruth Moore, Dunbar reflects on the implications of their brief but already tumultuous courtship, but also on how his life and literature may be forever changed after they marry.
Four alums from the Nonfiction Writing Program will offer insights on careers in nonfiction writing, editing, publishing, and teaching. Essayist and n+1 publicity coordinator, Elisabeth Borst ’17.5; Studio Theatre grants coordinator and writer, Sarah Cooke ’17; award-winning writer and producer, Jessica Weisberg ’06; and award-winning writer and teacher, Cutter Wood ’06, will read from their work and talk about writing beyond Brown.
Dinaw Mengestu’s The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears provides a springboard to meditate upon contemporary structures of feeling as the frontier effects of migration and gentrification, inclusion and exclusion. Along colonial and postcolonial sites of shame, the affect is produced in contexts of revolution, violence, and tyranny. In the USA, the affect is produced through the experience of racial difference, disempowerment, and the denial of the American dream. A spur for this meditation is Donald Trump’s public drama of narcissism and humiliation — of winner
What I Am Thinking About Now: Dixa Ramírez, “Moving Photographs: An Aesthetics of an Anagrammatical Blackness”
Please join us for a “What I Am Thinking About Now” presentation by Dixa Ramírez, Assistant Professor of American Studies and English at Brown University.
Genders are proliferated, pronouns are indeterminate, inclusivity is prioritized, and everywhere in Transgender Studies sex and sexuality are displaced with investments — however fluid — in identification. What problem does sex/uality pose to indeterminacy and fluidity, and to the current field of Transgender Studies?
Department of English lecture series
Nonfiction Writing as Thinking and Practice
D. Gilson is Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University. He received his Ph.D. in American literature and cultural studies from the George Washington University in 2016. He works in narrative nonfiction, cultural criticism, and the digital humanities, and his books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time: Essays (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015); Jesus Freak (Bloomsbury, 2018) and the forthcoming Boyfriends (NYU Press, 2019).
“Missing the Point: Just Forms of History in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene.”
Book 5 of Spenser’s Faerie Queene begins with a stanza in which the world spins off its axis. Having missed “the first point of his appointed sourse,” this “world is runne quite out of square,/…And being once amisse growes daily wourse and wourse.” The poet therefore declares his intention to “forme” what follows not “to the common line/ Of present dayes” but “to the antique vse, which was of yore” (3.3-5).
Ellis Hanson, Professor of English at Cornell will present a lecture, “Must We Arrest Oscar Wilde Again?: Sexual Panic at Present.” Hanson is the author of “Decadence and Catholicism” and the editor of “Out Takes: Essays on Queer Theory and Film.” He is currently working on two books, one on aestheticism and the erotics of style and the other on the visual representation of child sexuality in contemporary American culture. Professor Hanson teaches courses on Victorian and Modernist literature, visual studies, critical theory, and gender and sexuality studies.
Comparative Literature presents “Shore-shaped Story: How Coast, Colony, and Custom House Conduct Literature” by Isabel Hofmeyr
Lecture followed by a reception.
“Give me Vesuvius’ crater for an inkstand!” Ishmael’s imagining of what he needs to write Moby Dick testifies to the largeness of scale of Melville’s work, which crosses oceans, spans centuries, invents genres, and imagines new forms of life. “Melville’s Worlds” responds to this largeness of scale, exploring his work across a variety of discourses and disciplines: legal, political, ecological, sociological, and aesthetic.
Novelist/essayist/journalist Alexander Chee inaugurates this year’s public lecture series devoted to various forms of nonfiction writing. [email protected], organized by the Nonfiction Writing Program in the Department of English, features Korean American writer Alexander Chee, Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at Dartmouth College.
Russell Leo: “Thomas Rymer, Poetic Justice, and the Limits of Representation: Dispatches from the Representative Regime of Art”
In this illustrative account of one of Shakespeare’s harshest early critics, Professor Russell Leo offers a provocative history of the origin of the term “poetic justice.” Leo, examining Thomas Rymer’s scathing assessment of the plot of Othello, demonstrates the interrelation of theology, criticism, and poetics in the development of eighteenth-century aesthetics. In doing so he elucidates the limits of the representative regime of art and explores how and why philosophical aesthetics collated religious and artistic experience.
All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend the 255th Opening Convocation to celebrate the start of the academic year and welcome new students to Brown. President Christina Paxson will officially open the school year. Provost and Schreiber Family Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs, Richard M. Locke, will deliver the keynote address. The Convocation procession of incoming students will form on College Street beginning at 3:40 PM and the ceremony will begin at 4 PM on the Main Green.