Tag Archives: graduate

New Grad Student Profiles, Fall 2016

The multilingual community of Comp Lit has just welcomed three new graduate students. If you want to know about their backgrounds and current interests, these are their promising profiles. Welcome to Rudrani, FJS, and Penny!

 

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Rudrani Gangopadhyay joined the Department of English at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India, after moving to the city from Toronto, Canada, and received her BA (Honours), MA, and MPhil from the program. She grew up hearing about the experiences of migration from both sides of her family, who had been displaced by the Partition of the South Asian subcontinent in 1947. This, combined with her own experience of passing through borders and cultures, greatly shaped her intellectual ventures as she went on to feel more and more drawn to the study of both how migration operates in literature, as well as how the events during the migration are later recollected and archived. In migration, she found a theme that connected world literature – through tales of transatlantic slave trade, that of indenture, accounts of diaspora, settler colony narratives, and of course, memories of the Partition – and took courses and seminars to study each of these. This, combined with an interest in Archives and in the Digital Humanities, led her to apply for and receive a fellowship from the 1947 Partition Archive in Berkeley, California. She served as an Oral History Apprentice for the Archive, recording the accounts of live witnesses of the Partition. She went on to use this work in her MPhil thesis, “Crowdsourcing the Partition: Memory as Archive and Archive as Memory.” While completing her MPhil, she also received a fellowship from the University Grants Council to work as a Centre for Advanced Studies Fellow on the ‘Shakespeare in Bengal’ project, which examined how the texts of Shakespeare survived through cultural migrations. As a Masters student, Rudrani worked as a student researcher for the UK-India Education and Research Initiative-funded project on ‘Envisioning the Indian Society,’ which studied cross-cultural exchanges in Indian cities and how they changed through colonial and post-colonial times. At Rutgers, Rudrani hopes to expand on her study of how the memory of the Partition is survived in the South Asian literary and cinematic imagination. She also hopes to expand her research to other geographical areas, and see how memory and migration interact in Caribbean literature.

 

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F. Joseph Sepulveda attended the Honors College at Rutgers-Newark where he received a B.A. in English literature and took courses on US Latino/as, race, and gender and sexuality in W&G studies and English. Before returning to Rutgers he did his M.A. in English at the University at Buffalo where he was fortunate to work closely with Carrie Bramen on Latino/a literature. He credits the faculty at Rutgers and UB for shaping his current interests in diaspora/ migration studies, race, and comparative Ethnic American studies. At the moment, he is interested in following up on a published essay he wrote on Junot Diaz’s novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by exploring the use of ethnic humor and satire in his work in relation to that of another NJ- raised author, Philip Roth, and the Haitian- Canadian writer Dany Laferrière.

 

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Growing up in Hong Kong, Penny read from a hodgepodge of literature, primarily from the English and Chinese canons. Very early on, she developed a love for the rich, imaginative worlds one encounters in novels, which led her to pursue fiction writing at Northwestern University. Following graduation, Penny worked as an English teaching assistant in the Alsatian city of Colmar, France, indulging her travel bug along the way. She pursued translation and copyediting upon returning to Hong Kong. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Penny spent four months working for a non-profit, Very Hong Kong, an explorative community project that combines art and urban development by inviting local creatives to transform underused public spaces. She is now eager to continue her research interests in geocriticism and Romanticism, and hopes to further explore the relationship between literature and politics, as well as transnational dynamics of the novel in a Sino-French context. Penny also holds an M.A. in Comparative Literature from King’s College London.

 

Translation and Linguistic Conflict: Shawn Gonzalez’s Graduate Colloquium

By: Virginia L. Conn

Working at the interstices of multilingualism and translation theory, fourth-year student Shawn Gonzalez presented at the final Comparative Literature potluck and colloquium held at 195 College Avenue. The topic—“Translating Linguistic Conflict in Two Multilingual Anthologies”—served as an immediate reminder of some of the big questions Comparative Literature works to address, and did so in a setting that reminded students and professors alike of their shared community and commitment to such issues.

Working from theories of translation as put forth by Emily Apter and drawing from two collections of translated poetry—Multiples, edited by the English Adam Thirwell, and Paroles d’une Ile/Palabras de una Isla, edited by the Haitian Gahston Saint-Fleur and the Dominican Basilio Belliard—Shawn explored the contested relationship between comparativity and translation by considering questions of linguistic power. Thirwell’s collection, for example, invited translators of various skills to translate intralingual texts that were printed alongside each other.  Shawn argued that Multiples—despite its claims to radicality—actually suppresses linguistic conflict and avoids addressing imbalanced linguistic power relations. Paroles d’une Ile/Palabras de una Isla, on the other hand, in featuring Haitian poems translated into Spanish and Dominican poems translated into French side-by-side on the page, visibly engages the political conflicts between Dominican Republic and Haiti.

In Paroles/Palabras, Shawn argued, Belliard and Saint-Fleur allow for and encourage an analysis of power relations that is historically and spatially grounded. Using the poet Jacques Viau Renaud, a poet born in Port-au-Prince who later moved to the Dominican Republic and claims both locations as his homeland, as a fulcrum around which to destabilize the division between two monolingual audiences, Shawn was able to grapple with the tensions between translation theory and decoloniality.

The evening ended with a discussion of engaging with a new paradigm for translation that’s collaborative by necessity, not just as an aesthetic choice.

Graduate Student Conference: Urban (De)Coloniality and Literature

The Rutgers University Program in Comparative Literature invites you to its 2016 graduate student conference:

URBAN (DE)COLONIALITY AND LITERATURE

March 3, 2016

With a Keynote Address by JOSÉ DAVID SALDÍVAR (Stanford University): “Negative Aesthetics and Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.”

The Conference will feature graduate student presentations on the following panels:

– Remapping the Urban and Reclaiming Lives.
– Genealogy and Decolonial Epistemology.
– The Anthropological of the Inter-Space.
– (De)Colonial (Ab)Use of the Theological and the Spiritual.

If you are planning to attend, please formally RSVP here.

Grad Student Potluck: Enmanuel Martínez

By: Annabel We

Every year, ABD students in the program present a working draft chapter of their dissertation to the faculty and their graduate colleagues over food, potluck style.

Enmanuel Martínez (En. Mar.) is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate working on archive theory, Caribbean and diasporic studies, decolonial thought, and queer theory. The title for his dissertation is “The Archipelago and the Archive: Reading Local Archival Practices and Mediums in Insular and Continental Caribbean Literatures.” A 2012 Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow and a 2015-2016 graduate fellow in the “Archipelagoes” seminar of the Rutgers Center for Cultural Analysis (CCA), En. Mar. also served as the co-organizer of our Program’s spring 2014 biannual graduate student conference.

En. Mar. began his presentation with a genealogical and etymological framework and proposed that we think ‘arche-’ and ‘archons’ of archive and archipelago together. Then En. Mar. mapped the topics of each of his dissertation chapters for us, which include soundbites and diasporic poetry, competing archival sovereignty between the U.S. and the Caribbean, and the specificity of climatic and ecological constructs of the archive in the Caribbean exemplified by the archival ‘mold’ (life) as opposed to ‘dust’ (death).

The chosen chapter of the presentation was “Of Cassette Tape “Letters” and Basement Refrigerators: Housing the Archive of the Caribbean Diaspora,” a project that takes hold of existing debates in archive theory and various thinkers of geographic, transnational, and historical ‘theory,’ including Trouillot, D. Taylor, Hall, Y. Bonilla, Said, and Muñoz. En. Mar.’s reading examined the cassette tape ‘letters’ in Schwarz-Bart’s play Your Handsome Captain (1987) and the refrigerators in Junot Díaz’s novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) to ask what such archives, of the diaspora from the below, might entail for not only archive theory but also for the diasporic constituency.

En. Mar. focused on mobility, domestic archive, creolization of the archival medium, orality, and ephemera/ the ephemeral. Preliminary conclusions that he shared with us suggested: 1) rethinking the archive as mobile, mirroring diasporic migration and 2) theorizing the non-sovereign archives of the Caribbean that are neither within nor outside the nation.

A lively conversation ensued that returned to the question of domesticity and the archive, on top of various other archives recommended to En. Mar. for his consideration.

Film Series: Screening of Ousmane Sembène’s Black Girl

By: Melina Gills

On October 8, a group of undergraduate and graduate students, from fields as diverse as Engineering and Women and Gender Studies, gathered in Tillett Hall to watch the 1966 Senegalese film widely considered to have ushered in “African cinema.” Forty-nine years later, with a restoration that screened at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Black Girl (La noire de…), directed by world-celebrated filmmaker Ousmane Sembène, has lost none of its emotional punch and political power. In the midst of enjoying the pizza generously funded by the GSA, we were quietly enraptured by Sembène’s rhythms, images, and thought-provoking juxtapositions.

With the haunting image of a mask that travels from Senegal to France, back to Senegal again, Sembène paints a vivid world of loneliness, suffering, and the bonds between living and dead that ultimately stand as an unscathed form of resistance to the oppressive forces that will be undone by their own inhumanity. The final breaking of the fourth wall epitomizes Black Girl’s challenge to any spectatorial detachment, emphasizing the need for communal viewing and debate. After the screening, we eagerly discussed the film, especially marveling at its still very relevant portrayal of a woman’s experience in a country from which she is barred as an equal, welcomed only as cheap or free labor, an advanced form of slavery.

What changes between colonialism and its supposed “post” era? This is one such question rigorously addressed by the film and one that will be raised at the Comparative Literature department’s upcoming annual graduate conference, which will explore “decolonial thought.” This semester, the screenings of the Comparative Literature Film Series, of which that of Black Girl was the first, anticipate the central ideas and concerns to be discussed at the conference. Future films include Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2011, Thailand) and a still undecided film.

Online Presence for Grad Students with Nicky Agate

On October 19th, Nicky Agate, managing editor of the MLA Commons shared advice for graduate students who want to improve their online presence. She focused on several resources for grad students:

  1. MLA Commons: As part of MLA membership, the MLA Commons site allows students and professors to host professional websites that can link to their new or existing WordPress blogs. Since these sites are associated with the MLA, they rate highly in search engine rankings, which makes them easier to access.
  2.  CORE: MLA Commons’ new open access repository, CORE, is currently in Beta mode. Posting work on CORE allows students to increase the visibility of their scholarly work. When researchers upload papers to CORE, they can associate their work with forums that will immediately connect them to potential readers in their field of specializations.
  3. ORCID: This site helps researchers establish a digital identity that links all of their publications, grant applications, and other work. ORCID is particularly helpful for researchers with common names who want to distinguish their work from that of others.
  4. Twitter: Nicky Agate discussed different strategies for using Twitter as a professional tool including retweeting articles of interest to your scholarly community, networking at conferences, and participating in larger academic conversations around hashtags like #PhDchat, #AcWri, and #AltAc.