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.
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.”
Witherell 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.
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.
As 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).
This 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.
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. No 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.
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.
Poet and SUNY Geneseo Assistant Professor of English Lytton Smith will be the next speaker in the ongoing faculty lecture series sponsored by Geneseo’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society.
Prof. Smith’s title is “Poetry as (Failed) Teleportation: A Talk and Reading.” He’ll be talking (and reading) this coming Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in Welles 128.
In the aftermath of natural disaster and political oppression, he’ll ask, where might we find poetry? What might poetry do for us, for others?
Tracing a line between Google Satellite imagery, obscure NFL rules, and 21st century Burma, Prof. Smith’s recent book of poems, While You Were Approaching the Spectacle But Before You Were Transformed by It (Nightboat, 2013) explores the role a poem might have in connecting us to far-off events and unfamiliar places. In Tuesday’s talk and reading, he’ll discuss his research and writing process and argue that poetry’s meaningful contribution to ethics and politics might be formal rather than emotional. Somewhere beyond Bertolt Brecht’s resistance to empathy and Martha Nussbaum’s argument for compassion, we might find an aesthetics in poetry that presents us with the dilemma of our own implication in distant happenings.
Followers of Prof. Smith’s work should also take note of his ongoing series of poems co-authored with poet Adam O. Davis; six of these poems, together with a jointly authored poetics statement, appear in the collaborative online magazine of poetry and poetics Likestarlings. A meditation on the unraveling and intertwining histories of the U.K. and the U.S., Davis and Smith’s poems are also an experiment that question the idea of authorship.
Writer and Professor of Caribbean Literatures and Cultures Joan Anim-Addo will lecture on “Lesssons from Imoinda: Black British Writing at the (21st C) Margins” in Doty 300 on Wednesday, October 22 at 2:30 p.m. At Goldsmiths, University of London, Professor Anim-Addo has been the Director of the Centre for Caribbean Studies since 1998. Her publications include the libretto Imoinda (2008); the poetry collections Haunted by History (1998) and Janie Cricketing Lady (2006); and the literary history Touching the Body: History, Language and African-Caribbean Women’s Writing (2007). Her co-edited books include Interculturality and Gender (2009), Caribbean-Scottish Relations: Colonial and Contemporary Inscriptions in History, Language and Literature (2007), and I am Black, White, Yellow: An Introduction to the Black Body in Europe (2007). She is co-editor of two Feminist Review Special Issues, ‘Affect and Creolisation’ (2013) and ‘Black British Feminisms’ (2014).