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In events on May 8, 2014 at 12:00 am

WGS Symposium: HIV/AIDS at 35

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


Paul Robeson Campus Center, Rooms 255-7 

The annual Women’s & Gender Studies Symposium, “HIV/AIDS at 35: Local and Global Perspectives” will be held Wednesday, March 2, 9:30am-3:45pm in the Paul Robeson Campus Center, rooms 255-7. Panels will examine the crisis from local, national, and global perspectives, through the lenses of history, politics, health care, and community organizing. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to drop in for any or all of the program, which features speakers from the academy and beyond.

2016_WGS Symp Newark350.jpg


Methodology Matters

May 9, 2014


Conklin Hall 245 

Co-sponsored by the History, American Studies, and English Departments, this event is designed to create a conversation between different departments about their methodologies and even how we can embrace methodologies thought to be exclusive to other departments. It’s a relaxed gathering, there will be tons of food provided, and a karaoke after party to celebrate the end of the semester!



Graduate Program in American Studies

Tuesday, May 20

5:30-7:30 pm

245 Conklin Hall

The Graduate Program in American Studies will hold an open house for prospective students on May 20, 2014. Our program explores American politics, culture and society in our backyard and around the world. We also encourage work in public humanities and oral history. Our open house is geared for prospective MA students who seek to begin coursework in the fall of 2014; we will admit MA applicants on a rolling basis until July 1. However, prospective students with an interest in doctoral studies are also welcome. To learn more about us, visit www.ncas.rutgers.edu/americanstudies. If you plan to attend our open house, please rsvp to Georgia Mellos at georgiah@andromeda.rutgers.edu.


Avenues in American Studies: A Faculty-Student Symposium

AMS symposium flyer - Untitled Page (2)

SAVE THE DATE: May 2 2014
9:15 am-6:00 pm
Rutgers University
Newark, New Jersey

RSVP requested



“Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” 

A Festival of Film and Community Discussions

Billy Johnson Auditorium, Newark Museum

Throughout Spring

Films include:

Freedom Riders 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 

7:00 pm 

Junius Williams, Rutgers University

A part of the Newark Black Film Festival

The Abolitionists (Part I) 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 

6:00 pm 

Deborah Gray White, Rutgers University

The Abolitionists (Part II) 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 

6:00 pm 

John Stauffer, Harvard University

and Ulysses Dietz, Newark Museum

The Abolitionists (Part III) 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 

6:00 pm 

James Oakes, The Graduate Center, CUNY

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. For more information: http://www.newarkmuseum.org/FilmAndPerformance.html. The Created Equal Film series is sponsored by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The Newark Museum received a project grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.


Nourishing Newark Farmers Markets

Various daily dates & locations around Newark:


The Brick City  Development Corporation (BCDC)’s Farmers Market Initiative was implemented to increase both number and frequency of markets, to reach communities outside of the downtown core.  Nourishing Newark is uniting the collective efforts of the community to create a comprehensive farmers market network between downtown farmers’ markets and farm stands outside of the downtown. Nourishing Newark is an initiative of the Brick City Development Corporation in conjunction with the City of Newark’s Office of Sustainability.



In lectures on April 30, 2014 at 12:00 am

PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature

On the Edge

April 28 to May 4, 2014


More than 150 writers from 30 nations will gather in New York City for the Festival’s 10th anniversary, to celebrate those who have dared to stand “on the edge,” risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Building upon PEN American Center’s tradition of defending freedom of expression, the festival will foster cross-cultural dialogue among writers, artists, and citizens around the globe, offering connective tissue for a new generation to see beyond cultural divisions and misconceptions. Join then for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops, and performances in venues throughout the city. Full schedule of events here: http://worldvoices.pen.org/2014-festival-event-calendar-page.


Containing Many Meanings: “Chuspas,” Coca Leaf, and Andean Culture

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

38 West 86th Street

$25.00 General Admission

$20.00 Students and Seniors 

More info: 212.501.3011, programs@bgc.bard.eduDescription

Coca is deeply enmeshed in the fabric of Andean societies. For millennia its leaves have provided Andean people with a medicine and mild stimulant. Its cultural role as a sacrament continues today in highland communities, where the religious beliefs and practices of Indigenous peoples are entwined with those of Christianity. Coca is carried in chuspas – small woven bags that are designed to hold coca leaves and that reflect great care and artistry. In this lecture, Catherine Allen will discuss the enduring significance of chuspas to the people who make and use them. Catherine Allen is professor emeritus of anthropology and international affairs at The George Washington University. She is the author of “The Hold Life Has: Coca and Cultural Identity in an Andean Community” (2002).


NYMASA Salon Talks Spring 2014

All talks at 6:30pm in the Faculty and Staff Lounge

8th floor of the West Building

Hunter College (Lexington Avenue and 68th Street)

 The New York Metro American Studies Association series of Salon Talks for Spring 2014. Once again, they have a terrific array of scholars talking about their recently-published books.  Salon Talks are an opportunity for local American Studies scholars to share their published work with an intimate audience.  They tend to be small, lively, and informative; light refreshments are served. For directions, more information, or to rsvp, contact Sarah Chinn at sarah.chinn@hunter.cuny.edu

Thursday, May 8th 

Jennifer Wingate (St. Francis College)

Sculpting Doughboys: Memory, Gender, and Taste in America’s World War I Memorials (Ashgate)

Redressing the neglect of World War I memorials in art history scholarship and memory studies, Sculpting Doughboys considers the hundreds of sculptures of American soldiers that dominated the nation’s sculptural commemorative landscape after World War I. To better understand these ‘doughboys’, the name given to both members of the American Expeditionary Forces and the memorials erected in their image, this volume also considers their sculptural alternatives, including depictions of motherhood, nude male allegories, and expressions of anti-militarism. It addresses why doughboy sculptures came to occupy such a significant presence in interwar commemoration, even though art critics objected to their unrefined realism, by considering the social upheavals of the Red Scare, America’s burgeoning consumer and popular culture, and the ambitions and idiosyncrasies of artists and communities across the country. In doing so, this study also highlights the social and cultural tensions of the period as debates grew over art’s changing role in society and as more women and immigrant sculptors vied for a place and a voice in America’s public sphere. Finally, Sculpting Doughboys addresses the fate of these memorials nearly a century after they were dedicated and poses questions for reframing our relationship with war memorials today.



In lectures on April 23, 2014 at 12:00 am

RU-N PhD Alumni Sean Singer

Releases New Poetry Collection,

Honey & Smoke

“Sean Singer’s newest collection, Honey & Smoke vibrates. Like in his first book, Discography, the winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award (2001), light refracts into sound, emerald and violet have tones, and all modes converge, synesthetically, into music.” Read more here.

Singer read pieces from his new work at the FACE OUT: New Poetry event in Washington Heights, NYC on November 12.


No Crisis: A Los Angeles Times Book Review Special Series

[From LA Times website]: “No Crisis” is a Los Angeles Review of Books special series considering the state of critical thinking and writing — literary interpretation, art history, and cultural studies — in the 21st century. A new installment to the series will be released at the beginning of each month through the fall of 2015. Their aim, as their introductory essay explains, is to “show that the art of criticism is flourishing, rich with intellectual power and sustaining beauty, in hard times.”

The editors of “No Crisis” are Caleb Smith, Sarah Mesle, and Merve Emre. Comments, questions, and responses can be sent to nocrisis@lareviewofbooks.org.


Ruth Feldstein Wins

Rutgers University Scholar-Teacher Award

Congratulations to American Studies and History faculty member Ruth Feldstein, for receiving the 2014-2015 Rutgers University Scholar-Teacher Award. Feldstein was co-winner of the Hooks Institute for Social Change National Book Award in 2014 for her book, How it Feels to Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford University Press, 2014).


The Empire of Necessity by Greg Grandin

Reviewed by H. Bruce Franklin

The Los Angeles Review of Books

Earlier this semester, American Studies/English professor H. Bruce Franklin reviewed the new book, The Empire of Necessity the Los Angeles Review of Books (1/12/14): “IMAGINE HERMAN MELVILLE reading Greg Grandin’s The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World (published this month by Metropolitan Books). Castigated and eventually ignored in his own lifetime, Melville would have to be amazed and thrilled that, in the second decade of the 21st century, one of America’s most distinguished historians would be using his 1855 novella Benito Cereno as the main vehicle to explore the history of slavery and the waves of revolution sweeping through the Western Hemisphere in the early 19th century. Grandin even takes the title of his book from Melville’s epigraph to “The Bell-Tower,” published two months before Benito Cereno and foreshadowing the novella’s bleak prophecy for the US slave republic. In Grandin’s appalling vision of the human and natural devastation perpetrated by Europeans and Americans, Melville could find validation of his own denunciations of imperialism and his declaration that “the white civilized man” is “the most ferocious animal on earth.” Read the rest here.


The Water Cooler Runs Dry

by Frank Bruni

Op-Ed Column

New York Times, April 7, 2014


With so very much to choose from, a person can stick to one or two preferred micro-genres and subsist entirely on them, while other people gorge on a completely different set of ingredients. You like “Housewives”? Savor them in multiple cities and accents. Food porn? Stuff yourself silly. Vampire fiction? The vein never runs dry.

I brought up this Balkanization of experience with Hendrik Hartog, the director of the American studies program at Princeton, and he noted that what’s happening in popular culture mirrors what has transpired at many elite universities, where survey courses in literature and history have given way to meditations on more focused themes.

“There’s enormous weight given to specialized knowledge,” he said. “It leaves an absence of connective tissue for students.” Not for nothing, he observed, does his Princeton colleague Daniel Rodgers, an emeritus professor of history, call this the “age of fracture.”

Read the entire piece here.


Kornel Chang’s Pacific Connections receives

2014 Association for Asian American Studies Book Prize in History

Professor Kornel Chang’s Pacific Connections: The Making of the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands has received the 2014 Association for Asian American Studies Book Prize in History. His book will be recognized at the annual AAAS meeting in San Francisco, California on Saturday, April 19, 2014. More details here: http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/kornel-changs-pacific-connections-receives-2014-association-asian-american-studies-book-prize-histor. Chang also recently received  a ACLS Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship that will assist his new book project about the role of technocrats–engineers, economists, public health officials, and legal advisers–and expert knowledge in the U.S. Occupation of Korea, 1945-1948: http://www.acls.org/programs/ryskamp/.


How It Feels to Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement

by Ruth Feldstein

Published January 2014 (Oxford University Press)

[From the NY Times]: “Ruth Feldstein’s important new book, “How It Feels to Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement,” is an original exploration of the little-known but central role that black entertainers, especially black women, played in helping communicate and forward the movement’s goals. Lena Horne, Miriam Makeba, Nina Simone, Abbey Lincoln, Diahann Carroll and Cicely Tyson — the black women entertainers in this book — were popular at the height of an organized global struggle for black freedom, from around 1959 till the mid-1970s. They were influenced by this movement, even as they helped shape it.” Read the rest of the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/16/books/how-it-feels-to-be-free-salutes-black-female-entertainers.html?_r=0


But Where is the Lamb? Imagining the Story of Abraham and Isaac

By James Goodman

Published September 2013 (Schocken Knopf)

[From R-N History website]: “Goodman’s latest book, But Where is the Lamb? Imagining the Story of Abraham and Isaac, chronicles the 19 lines of Genesis 22 that have vexed theologians, philosophers and others for centuries, spawning questions such as: Why was Abraham so ready to follow God’s command that he kill his son, and why did Isaac agree to be bound on the altar? Goodman examines the varied explanations given by the major monotheistic religions, along with contemporary thinkers, across the sweep of history, looking at how theAbraham and Isaac story has morphed and the multiple contested meanings attached to it over time.” Read a Q & A session with Prof. Goodman here: http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/qa-history-professor-james-goodman-author-where-lamb


Fiction: “Mixipino” in Hip Hop and Representation in Filipina/o America

Read the latest published fiction by R-N Doctoral Student Anna Alves in the recently released inter-disciplinary and cross-genre, Hip Hop and Representation in Filipina/o America, edited by Mark R. Villegas, DJ Kuttin’ Kandi, and Roderick N. Labrador, and published by Cognella Academic Publishing. More info about the book here: https://titles.cognella.com/humanities-and-fine-arts/music/empire-of-funk-9781626612839.html. This fiction piece is also set to appear in a literary anthology in April 2014.


Remembering Amiri


By Sean Singer

Newark’s literary culture, in some ways the soulfulness for which a place is known, is great because Amiri Baraka made it so. As an iconic example of urban literature, Baraka made Newark the focus of much of his work, even though Newark is not thought of as a literary place. His literary oeuvre, among other things, is focused, almost obsessively, on remembering Newark, living Newark, and re-imagining Newark of his youth. His work, taken from a point of distance, is a love letter to Newark. To read the rest of this excellent tribute, go here: http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/remembering-amiri.


ASA Members Vote To Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel

The members of the American Studies Association have endorsed the Association’s participation in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. In an election that attracted 1252 voters, the largest number of participants in the organization’s history, 66.05% of voters endorsed the resolution, while 30.5% of voters voted no and 3.43% abstained. The election was a response to the ASA National Council’s announcement on December 4 that it supported the academic boycott and, in an unprecedented action to ensure a democratic process, asked its membership for their approval. The ASA website has a collection of supporting documents: http://www.theasa.net/from_the_editors/item/council_statement_on_the_academic_boycott_of_israel_resolution/.  A story about the controversy appeared in the New York Times on December 15: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/16/us/scholars-group-to-disclose-result-of-vote-on-an-academic-boycott-of-israel.html?_r=0.


Poetry: “Picking Up Branches After A Wind Storm”

in Guernica Magazine

Read the latest published poem by R-N Doctoral Candidate Sara J. Grossman at Guernica Magazine: a magazine of art & politicshttp://www.guernicamag.com/poetry/picking-up-branches-after-a-wind-storm/.


Kornel Chang’s Pacific Connections: The Making of the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands is Finalist for John Hope Franklin Prize

Kornel Chang was a finalist for the John Hope Franklin Publication PrizeThe annual award honors the previous year’s best-published book in American Studies.  He was nominated for Pacific Connections: The Making of the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands (University of California Press).  More details here:  http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/history-professor-kornel-chang-finalist-john-hope-franklin-prize.


Sandy – A Reminder that human and natural history are inseparable

John R. Gillis is professor emeritus of history at Rutgers University and the author of The Human Shore: Seacoasts in History

FOR CENTURIES the coasts of Japan have been ravaged by deadly tsunamis. Local communities responded by erecting tsunami stones, not memorials to the dead but reminders of the highest points of inundation. In recent years, these stones have been displaced and forgotten. When the great tsunami of March 11, 2011, struck, local people had no way of knowing how far to flee. Almost 16,000 people died, and the number of missing remains at 2,652.

New Jersey might do worse than to erect Sandy stones to remind it of just how far the ocean can reach, but no doubt these would be objected to for the same reasons that Santa Barbara rejected painting a green line on its streets that would have marked projections of sea-rise levels. Critics objected that the line would lower property values and scare away tourists.

There was once a time when the traces of disaster, shipwrecks and ruined wharves were allowed to linger on beaches as reminders of the dangers of the sea. Today, sands are quickly cleansed, for beaches are the places we turn to forget the world, our chosen places for forgetting.

We live in an age of coastal amnesia.

– Read the rest of this excellent op-ed piece from the Sunday, 10/27/13 New Jersey Record: http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinions/gillis_102713.html?page=all.

American Studies and the Cornwall Center marked the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy with a lecture by John Gillis on Wednesday, October 30 at the John Cotton Dana Library, Rutgers-Newark.