Maria Lima to deliver Lockhart lecture September 25

SUNY Geneseo Professor of English Maria Lima will deliver the James and Julia Lockhart Lecture on Monday, September 25 at 5 p.m. in Doty 300 (the Tower Room).

The talk, titled “Reclaiming the Human: from the Bildungsroman to Neo-Slave Narratives,” will explore questions of genre, language, institutional power, and literary production and reception, arguing that it is time for comparatists to stop invoking the German Bildungsroman as a point of origin for all seemingly autobiographical narratives.

Prof. Lima held the James and Julia Lockhart Endowed Professorship from 2014 to 2017. SUNY Geneseo’s supported professorships provide eligible faculty members with a $6,000 annual grant for the term of their three-year appointment, the privilege, as a part of their normal teaching load, to design and teach one course of their choosing during one year of the Professorship, and the responsibility of delivering one College-wide lecture on a topic of their choice during the third year of their Professorship. These faculty have demonstrated superior teaching and involvement of students in the learning process, superior advisement, both formal and informal, a visible and meaningful involvement in campus life, and an active scholarly life.

Photo credit: Keith Walters
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Author and activist Bill McKibben to deliver 2017 Walter Harding lecture September 30

Author and environmental activist Bill McKibben will deliver The 2017 Walter Harding Lecture on Saturday, September 30 at 4 p.m. in Wadsworth Auditorium on the SUNY Geneseo campus.

[Download the 11 x 17 poster here.]

McKibben is the founder of 350.org, an environmental advocacy group that uses grassroots organizing and mass mobilization to oppose new coal, oil, and gas projects; limit climate-warming emissions; support sustainable energy solutions at the community level; and educate governmental leaders and the general public.

McKibben is the author of more than a dozen books, including The End of Nature, widely regarded as the first book about climate change written for a general audience, and Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist. He writes frequently for such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone.

The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College in Vermont, McKibben is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013, he was awarded the Gandhi Peace Award and honored by the Thomas Merton Center with its yearly prize recognizing “activists who work on national and international issues that transform our world.”

McKibben’s annotated edition of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden gratefully acknowledges its “comprehensive and illuminating” predecessor, Walden: An Annotated Edition (1995), edited by Geneseo’s late SUNY Distinguished Professor of English Walter Harding. Harding’s annotations are available in an online edition of Walden from Digital Thoreau.

You can learn more about Bill McKibben on his personal website.

Photo © Nancie Battaglia

Geneseo Students Present at Annual Sigma Tau Delta Convention

Eight Geneseo students represented the English Department in March in Louisville, KY at the annual convention for Sigma Tau Delta, the international English Honors society. The students—Marissa Bellusci, Kate Collis, Zach Muhlbauer, Amanda Saladino, Kristen Seaman, Veronica Taglia, Amanda Wentworth, and Melissa Whyman—were accompanied by Dr. Gillian Paku, who serves as faculty sponsor to the Geneseo chapter.

During the convention, students presented their critical essays or creative pieces as part of a panel of related topics (for instance, Gender and Drama in Oscar Wilde, or Cultural Theory in American Television), followed by a dialogue between the panelists and audience. The convention offered many opportunities for students to attend panels or workshops that caught their interest and to engage in conversation with fellow English majors from across the country, plus allowing some free time to explore the attractions of Louisville. Geneseo students were also able to attend a talk given by the convention’s featured speaker, the Booker prize-winning author Marlon James, whose fiction spans across several genres to explore Jamaican history and mythology.

At the convention’s student meeting, Geneseo’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta was awarded a prize in recognition of the chapter’s involvement in the society for 45 years.

All students who are members of Sigma Tau Delta are eligible to submit to the convention: for the 2017-2018 academic year, it will be held from March 21-24 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Submissions are usually due at the end of October, and the Sigma Tau Delta student e-board is always happy to help students prepare essays to continue Geneseo’s longstanding involvement with this valuable event.

Elizabeth Witherell to deliver 2016 Harding Lecture November 8

The 2016 Walter Harding Lecture will be delivered by Elizabeth Witherell on November 8, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. in Doty Recital Hall on the campus of SUNY Geneseo.

The lecture is entitled “Thoreau’s Manuscripts and the Prepared Eye.”

2551-1Witherell is editor-in-chief of The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau, also known as the Thoreau Edition. Published by Princeton University Press, the edition currently comprises 17 volumes of a projected 28. Witherell is the project’s third editor-in-chief; its first, from 1966 to 1972, was Walter Harding, who taught at SUNY Geneseo from 1956 to 1982 and for whom the Harding Lecture is named. In 2003, the Thoreau Edition was named a “We the People” project by the National Endowment for the Humanities, which has funded the project continuously since its inception.

In 2015, Witherell made news for her transcription of a nine-page manuscript in the collection of Harvard University’s Houghton Library representing Thoreau’s notes on the 1850 shipwreck off Fire Island that killed the transcendentalist and feminist writer Margaret Fuller. (Boston Globe, UC Santa Barbara Currents.)

As always, the Harding Lecture is free and open to the public.

Pier Gabrielle Foreman to deliver 2015 Walter Harding Lecture November 16

This year’s Walter Harding Lecture will be delivered by Pier Gabrielle Foreman, Ned B. Allen Professor of English and Professor of Black American Studies, University of Delaware.

Professor Foreman’s lecture, titled “To Speculate Darkly: Slavery, Black Visual Culture, and the Promises and Problems of Print,” will take place at 7:30 p.m. on November 16 in Doty Recital Hall on the SUNY Geneseo campus.

Pier Gabrielle Foreman Press ShotAs a scholar of African American studies and nineteenth-century literary history and culture, Prof. Foreman has examined the relationship between literary and activist practices. Her book Activist Sentiments: Reading Black Women In The Nineteenth Century (Univ. of Illinois Press, 2009), examines this relationship in the work of authors Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Wilson, Frances E.W. Harper, Victoria Earle Matthews, and Amelia Johnson.

Professor Foreman is co-editor, with Reginald Pitts, of the Penguin Classics edition of Harriet Wilson’s 1859 autobiographical novel Our Nig, Or, Sketches From The Life Of A Free Black, In A Two-Story White House, North. Showing That Slavery’s Shadows Fall Even There.

Active in digital as well as print scholarship, and committed to collaborative work that advances public understanding and engages the community, Professor Foreman serves as faculty director of the Colored Conventions Project, a digital humanities project that documents the 19th-century African-American conventions movement through crowdsourced transcriptions of convention minutes.

The Harding Lecture is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in the Doty Hall lobby.

Download the poster (11×17).

Jacqueline Jones to deliver 2015 alumni lecture

jonesThis year’s English department alumni lecture will be delivered by Jacqueline Jones, Assistant Professor of English at Laguardia Community College — CUNY.

Jones’ lecture is entitled, “A Quasi-Religious Experience: Placing August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean within the Neo-Slave Narrative Tradition.”

The lecture take place at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 22 in Doty 300 (the Tower Room).

Jones graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2003.

Poet M. NourbeSe Philip to perform here April 28 at 7 p.m.

Afro-Canadian poet, writer, and activist M. NourbeSe Philip will perform from her recent book, Zong!, a radical collection of poetry that tries to come to terms with the 1781 tragedy of the slave-ship Zong, from which ship over 150 African men, women, and children were thrown overboard as part of an insurance claim. Zong colorNo one was ever tried for their murder, and all that survives recording the incident is a two-page legal decision, Gregson v. Gilbert, named for and concerned with the ship’s owners and insurers, not the Africans onboard. It has been described by Juliana Spahr as “exceptional and uniquely moving.”

Philip’s performance will be accompanied by an original musical composition by SUNY Geneseo’s Glenn McClure.

The event, which will be held at Doty Hall on the SUNY Geneseo campus, is free and open to the public; books will be available for purchase.map

M. NourbeSe Philip is the acclaimed author of four books of poetry, two collections of essays, a play, a novel, several short stories, and other writings; her work features in the Norton Anthology of English Literature. The recipient of many illustrious international awards, including the Casa de las Americas prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a McDowell Fellowship, a Chalmers Fellowship, and a Rockefeller Foundation residency, Philip has read and performed her work internationally, including as writer-in-residence at the University of the West Indies and as part of The Scream Literary Festival. She lives and writes in Toronto, where she has previously been the writer-in-residence at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore.