Spring 2019 American Studies Events at The Graduate Center, CUNY

Mark your calendars!

These upcoming Spring 2019 American Studies related events at the CUNY Graduate Center. Events are co-sponsored by different groups — further details posted soon:

The Undercommons Writing Group
First meetings February 7, 2019: 12pm – 2pm in room 5409 & 4pm – 6pm in room 5489.

Weekly meetings to follow, 12pm – 2pm, on 2/14, 2/21, 2/28, 3/7, 3/14, 3/21, 3/28, 4/4, 4/11, 4/18, 4/25, 5/2, 5/9, 5/16, 5/30. Student organized writing group meetings. Co-sponsored by the Twentieth Century Area Studies Group.

March 12th, 2019, 6:30 pm, Segal Theatre — Professor Jodi Melamed (Marquette University), “Ordinary Violence: on Democratic Governance and Racial Capitalism,” Sponsored by The American Studies Certificate Program.

March 23rd, 2019, 4pm-6pm, room 4406 — “Refusing Institutional Whiteness: Possibilities, Alternatives, and Beyond.” Interdisciplinary panel proposed and organized by English program student. Whiteness continues to be a crucial problem in our English department —both in terms of faculty representation and student demographics (and retention). In response to this issue and by recommendation of the student and faculty Diversity Committee, “Refusing Institutional Whiteness” draws together a group of scholars and thinkers in a range of disciplines in order to help us imagine, discuss, and produce new ways of resisting whiteness and envisioning alternatives in institution settings —whether that be through refusal, protest, dissent, or new types of social, artistic, and methodological existence. As a result of this gathering we hope to collectively gain new perspectives, generate conversations around institutional whiteness, and move towards further reflexivity and change.

April 5th, 2019, 2pm-4pm, room 4406 — “Women in Comics: The State of Scholarship.” Panel discussion on A Place Inside Yourself: The Comics of Julie Doucet and Gabrielle Bell, a collection of essays co-edited by English Program alum. Panel features current and former students and draws on the panelists’ experience working on this collection and other projects. Panel conversation will address issues of gender and representation in graphic narratives, practices of researching and writing on women in comics, and the editorial and publication processes in both academic and non-academic contexts.

April 11th-12th, 2019 — Black Lives (English Student Association Conference) with keynote speakers Michelle Wright (Emory University) and Rafael Walker (Baruch College). Student organized conference — see website for more information.

May 3rd, 2019, 2pm, room tba — “Remaking Reality” with Joseph Entin and Alex Juhasz (Brooklyn College) on U.S. documentary culture in the post-WWII era. Sponsored by The American Studies Certificate Program.

May 10th, 2019 — Power and Democracy in Early America (CUNY Early American Research Seminar Conference) with keynote speaker Andrew Shankman (Rutgers University). Student organized conference — see website for more information.

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Announcing the Undercommons Writing Group

“it cannot be denied that the university is a place of refuge, and it cannot be accepted that the university is a place of enlightenment” – The Undercommons

Inspired by Stefano Harney and Fred Moten’s The Undercommons, this group is a regular gathering where we spend time performing and writing in the mode of what these writers term “fugitive planning and black study.” This group meets every week at the GC during the semester for two hours. We spend the first hour “writing,” or quietly working on any of our tasks relating to our work as students and teachers. We then spend the second hour going around the room discussing what we worked on during the first hour, or anything else that may be on our mind. Everybody is encouraged to speak, but there are no requirements. Presence is enough.

The format of this group comes from my experiences at a similar group that was enormously successful. This practice allows us to find company and build friendships that survives the casual terror of the university. It allows us to work through and beyond any questions and doubts we might have about our research and teaching. It creates a community that mobilizes out of a common desire to get the most out of our time at the GC and leave this institution in the best possible of circumstances. I am tired of the quotidian alienation that the doctoral program reproduces despite its best intentions. This is an initiative to change things.

In addition to the regular group meetings at the GC, there will also be an end of the semester Undercommons Writing Group party at my apartment in Brooklyn. It is my hope that we can come together, have a lot of fun, and celebrate our many achievements.

This group receives DSC funding through the American Studies Area Group so that we can book rooms and have snacks at each meeting. It is open to all, regardless of your scholarly interests. Please feel free to forward this announcement to anybody else who might be interested in this group. Dates and times of meetings will be determined based on our community needs.

Please write to me (pajmera@gradcenter.cuny.edu) if you are interested, have any questions, etc. I’d be glad to help!




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CFP: Black Lives – April 11-12th, 2019

CFP extended to Jan 30th. The American Studies Area Group is co-sponsoring:

Black Lives Conference // Niv Acosta, “Discotropic”; photo by Thomas Seifert


CUNY Graduate Center English Student Association Conference. See website for more information or updates. SUBMISSION DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JANUARY 30, 2019.

Thursday, April 11 – Friday, April 12, 2019

CUNY Graduate Center, New York, NY

Michelle Wright, Emory University
Rafael Walker, Baruch College

Black Lives” has emerged in recent years as a conceptual touchstone following the wake of Black Lives Matter, a galvanizing social movement of public protest against the persistence of institutionalized forms of anti-black violence that besiege Black individuals and communities on a daily basis, both within the United States and across a range of geopolitical contexts. The phrase implicitly challenges nationalist and global concepts of humanity that do not include blackness as a viable sign of life and citizenship. As critics such as Paul Gilroy, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Robert Reid-Pharr and  Henry Louis Gates Jr. have noted, “universal humanism” has been historically built upon a constitutive rejection of black being. To push back against such entrenched conceptual repudiations of black particularity, we take a cue from Jamaican philosopher and novelist Sylvia Wynter, who argues that black particularity paradoxically retains a utopian impulse for recognizing “our collective agency and authorship of our genres of being human” (2006). We intend for the conference to respond to the urgent need to think about the impact and meaning of “Black Lives” both as a touchstone for contemporary activism as well as a scholarly heuristic for research across a range of fields and disciplines. By doing so, we hope to make resonant the potentiality of blackness to signify as a radical node of meaning and being across a range of identitarian and relational articulations.

We seek papers and panel proposals that take up any aspect of “Black Lives” understood broadly as an entry point into research in, but not limited to, any of the areas listed below. We are especially interested in workshop proposals that address the necessary rituals and habits for self-care, success/pushing back in a hostile workplace, building and maintaining your village, and contemporary radical Black artists/activists:

  • Regional and global Black activisms and cross-struggle affinities
  • African-American and African Diasporic Literary Studies
  • Contemporary theory regarding blackness and black subjectivity, including Afro-Pessimism, Afro-Futurism, Black Atlantic Studies, Black Pacific Studies
  • Critical Archive Studies
  • Critical Science Studies
  • Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, Deconstruction and Biopolitics
  • Black cultural histories and Blues historiography
  • Blackness and “modernity”/globalization
  • Middle Passage theory
  • Black sovereignty and selfhood
  • Critical Race studies
  • Blackness, Brownness, and Affect
  • Black, Queer and Trans Feminisms
  • Queer Sexualities
  • Queer of Color Critique, Queer Theory, Critical Trans Studies
  • Native-American/First Nations studies
  • Blackness and Jewishness
  • Postcolonial studies
  • Disabilities studies
  • Performance studies/Body as Archive
  • Prison abolitionism
  • Critical interventions in Post-Humanism, New Materialism, and Object Oriented Ontology
  • Black utopianisms and Marxisms
  • Black aesthetics and/or aestheticism
  • The Black Radical Tradition, Black Power and the Black Arts movement
  • The New Negro (Harlem) Renaissance/The New Black (post-Civil Rights)
  • Intersectionality
  • White Feminism/Womanism
  • Black literacies and critical pedagogy
  • Blackness and religion

Please submit an abstract of up to 400 words, a short biographical description, and your contact information by January 30, 2018. Proposals and questions should be sent to conference organizers at blacklivesconferencecommittee@gmail.com.

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CFP: Power and Democracy in Early America – May 10, 2019

The American Studies Area Group is co-sponsoring the upcoming conference:

CFP for the CUNY Early American Republic Seminar has been extended to February 1st, 2019. See website for more information.

Power and Democracy in Early America

May 10th, 2019

Graduate Center, CUNY, New York, NY

Keynote Speaker: Andrew Shankman, Rutgers University, Camden Author of Original Intents: Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and the American Founding and Co-Editor of the Journal of the Early Republic

CUNY EARS invites proposals for papers focusing on the period ranging between the colonial period and the end of the Civil War. Topics can include but are not limited to gender, material culture, religion, the Atlantic World, slavery, Native American history, politics, law, print culture, biography, immigration, urbanism, capitalism, and environmental history. We particularly welcome proposals that consider these topics from alternative disciplinary perspectives, including literature, political science, economics, legal studies, sexuality, urban studies, women, gender, and the digital humanities. Now in its fifth year, this conference has developed a proud tradition of hosting graduate students from across the world and of being on the scholarly cutting edge. The conference will be held at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.


The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2019. Please send an abstract (300 words) and a one-page CV as one document to cunyears@gmail.com. Include your name in the title of the document. Also, please note in the abstract any AV requirements or special accommodations for your paper.

About Us

The CUNY Graduate Center’s Early American Republic Seminar (EARS) is a student-run organization focused on promoting and facilitating the study of early American history. Our primary mission is to provide a space for graduate students and early career scholars to present works in progress in a rigorous but collegial environment. EARS has also hosted a number of public talks by prominent historians. For a look at announcements or our upcoming schedule, visit https://opencuny.org/ears/.

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Fall 2018 American Studies Certificate Program Events

Fall 2018: Two American Studies Certificate Program events in collaboration with the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics:

* Professor Jodi Byrd (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) for a lecture titled “Fail States: Dispossession and the Grounds of Relationality”on Thursday, 4 October, 6p, Skylight Room.

* Professor Crystal Parikh (NYU) for a seminar around her book, Writing Human Rights, on Wednesday, 14 November, 2pm, 6107 – Center for Place, Culture and Politics.

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Friday, May 11, 2018: Common Ground – Interdisciplinary Approaches to Early America

The American Studies Area Group is co-sponsoring the upcoming conference.

The CUNY Early American Republic Seminar Fourth Annual Graduate Student Conference:

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Friday, April 27th, 2pm-4pm: How to Publish in Academic Journals

Upcoming event of interest sponsored by The American Studies Certificate Program!

From Kandice Chuh, Coordinator, American Studies Certificate Program:

When:  Friday, 27 April, 2-4p

Where: Graduate Center, Room C415A

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March 23rd, 2018 – Breaking Through: Textures and Aesthetics of Rupture

The American Studies Area Group is co-sponsoring this upcoming English Student Association Graduate Conference:

Breaking Through: Textures and Aesthetics of Rupture

Friday, March 23rd, 2018 – full program is here.

The day will feature two keynote speakers — Sarah Schulman at 10:20, and Jasbir Puar at 2:50 — followed by a panel with English Program faculty members Eric Lott, Siraj Ahmed, Jonathan W. Gray, and Jessica Yood.


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