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Brooklyn College English Department
MA English and MA English Teacher Programs
Annual Conference

Writing as Activism
Ninth annual Brooklyn College Graduate English Conference
10 am – 5 pm, Friday, May 6, 2016
BC Student Center

I. Writing as Global Political Engagement

  • Noah Alexander Flora, Rutgers University, “‘That the World is Not a Good Place Even’: World Literature, Human Rights, and the Figure of the Child Soldier”
  • Steven Neal, Brooklyn College, “John Hagee’s Activism: Islamophobia, Texas, Evangelical Christianity, and Israel”
  • Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes, CUNY Graduate Center, “Excavating State Archives: Counter-historiography as a Practice of Freedom”

II. Interventions: Graphic, Poetic, Narrative

  • Dan Squizzero, Northeastern University, “Satirizing Wilson: Italy’s Comedic Right Wing Response to the President at Versailles”
  • Adam Ahlgrim, Carnegie Mellon University, “The Heart of the Matter: Melancholia, Compassion and Perpetual Inhumanity”
  • Eric Wentz, Indiana University – Pennsylvania, “‘Posterity is smiling on our knees convicting us of folly’: The Rhetoric of Children and Faith in Barrett Browning’s ‘Casa Guidi Windows’”
  • Andriana Xenophontos, Queens College, “Masking Race: Hiding Asian American Identity in Mainstream Comics”

III. Ambivalent Reading, Paradoxical Work

  • Katie Contess, Brooklyn College, “Debt, Imperialism, and Social Interdependence in Francisco Goldman’s The Ordinary Seaman
  • Esther Ritiau, Brooklyn College, “Haunting the Hunter: Postcolonial Guilt in Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s House of Glass
  • Steven Herran, “Recalling Jesus: Messianic Performance In Ngugi’s Matigari

Keynote Address: Carmen Kynard, Associate Professor of English, John Jay College (CUNY)


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Transforming Knowledge/Transforming Discourse: Trans Through Writing
Eighth Annual Brooklyn College Graduate English Conference
Friday, May 8th 2015‪
Occidental & International Lounges, Student Center

Welcome: 10:00 – 10:15 am

Session I: 10:15 – 11:45 am

Bradley Nelson, Brooklyn College/CUNY Graduate Center
Yunior’s Pharmacy: Writing as a Recipe for Transgression

Katherine Contess, Brooklyn College
Transformation or Transference?: History and Memory inWajda’s Katyn

Kelly Roberts, Brooklyn College
“Should I say we?”: “Transpersonal” Subjectivity in Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric

Luncheon: 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Session II: 1:00 – 2:00 pm

Issam Aldowkat, Indiana University-Pennsylvania
The Hungry Earth, and The Dramatization of the Apartheid Regime in South Africa

Anwar Uhuru, St. John’s University
Blackness Transferred: A Critical Explication of Steve Biko’s Ontology

Session III:  2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Allison Greer, The College of New Jersey
(Trans)Formed Places and (Re)Claimed Spaces in the Transgender Road Movie

Dan Dufournaud, York University (Toronto)
“I’m Jewish because . . .”: Ginsberg’s Redefinition of the Constitutive Categories of Identity

Jacob Chandler, Brooklyn College
“We Are What We Walk Between”: David Foster Wallace’s Radical Realism and the Aesthetic of Trans-Finitude

Keynote address and discussion: 3:30 – 5:00 pm
Michelle Ann Stephens, “Trans-Caribbeanity and Transforming American Studies”

Keynote speaker Michelle Ann Stephens is Associate Professor of English and Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.  The author of Black Empire: The Masculine Global Imaginary of Caribbean Intellectuals in the United States, 1914 to 1962, and Skin Acts: Race, Psychoanalysis, and the Black Male Performer (both published by Duke University Press), Professor Stephens is also a member of the editorial collective of the Radical History Review.


The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted
People, Print, & Power

Seventh Annual Brooklyn College Graduate English Conference
April 25, 2014, State Lounge, 5th floor, Student Center

Panel 1: Literature & Revolution (10 am – 11:30 am)

  • Amelie Daigle, Boston College, “Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and the Role of Language in Post-Revolutionary India”
  • Amanda Wochele, Brooklyn College, “Musicality, Folk, and Nonsense Literature in Irish Revolutionary Song and Story”
  • Jennifer Caroccio, Brooklyn College, “Graphic T[ext]s: Language and Medium in Ilan Stavans’ Latino USA: A Cartoon History”

Chair: Jacob Chandler, Brooklyn College

Panel 2: Art/New York (11:30 am – 1 pm)

  • Ryan Purcell, Rutgers University, “5Pointz and ‘Independent Revolutionary Art’: An Inquiry into Urban Public Art as Social Protest”
  • Bradley Nelson, Brooklyn College, “Bartleby, Occupy Wall Street, and Queer Orientation”
  • Conor Tomás Reed, CUNY Graduate Center, “Invisible Man’s Boomerang Time and Street-Fighting Tactics”

Chair: Alessandra Dyer, Brooklyn College

Luncheon (1 pm – 2 pm)

Panel 3: The Nineteenth Century (2:30 pm – 4 pm)

  • Aaron Jaffe, The New School, “"From Critiquing Power to Powerful Critique: Marx among the Discursive Strategies of the Young Hegelians"
  • Stephanie Adams, Brooklyn College, “Subversive Alcott”
  • Michael Bowen, New York University, “The Psyché of the Bourgeoisie: Full-Length Mirrors and the Revolution in Self-Imaging in Early 19th Century France”

Chair: Jason Hoelzel, Brooklyn College

4:00 pm: Keynote Address, Professor Barbara Foley, Rutgers University (Newark), “Literature, Revolution, and the Politics of the Left”

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The Open I: Decoding Exposure
Sixth Annual Graduate English Conference
Brooklyn College Library, Tanger Auditorium

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Reality Blurred (10:15 - 11:30), Christina Sandoval, moderator; Prof. Geoffrey Minter, respondent
“‘I'm very rich, Bitch!’ Queer Racial Melodrama and Affective Circuits in 'The Real Housewives' Docu-Soap Genre,” Pier Dominguez, Brown University, PhD Program in American Studies
“The Primacy of Sound: Feminist Theatre and Multimedia Performance,” Eleanor Russell, Brooklyn College, MFA Program in Theatre History and Criticism
"Isn’t It About Time We Stopped Calling Cartoons Movies?” Michael J. Bowen, New York University, PhD Program in Cinema Studies

Skype Panel: Social Media, Feminism & Self-Narrative (11:30 – 12:45), Nicole Casmento, moderator
Aliza Shvarts: PhD Candidate in Performance Studies at New York University.
Lena Chen: and
Courtney Baxter: The Op-Ed Project,

Luncheon, Library 411 (1:00 – 2:00)

Virtual Communications (2:15 – 3:30), Natalie Nuzzo, moderator; Prof. Mark Patkowski, respondent
"Digital Dislocation: Meaning and Use of Virtual Private Networks,” Scott E. Silsbe, New York University, MA Program in Humanities & Social Thought
"Digital Communication and Classical Rhetorical Memory,” Eric Mendelson, Brooklyn College, MA Program in English
"Urban Dictionary,” Washieka Torres, Brooklyn College, MA Program in English

Keynote Address (3:45 – 5:00)
Wayne Koestenbaum, Distinguished Professor of English, CUNY Graduate Center

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The Shifting Self: Radical Transfigurations

  • Fifth Annual Graduate English Conference
    Brooklyn College Library, Tanger Auditorium
    April 28, 2012

    Welcome (10:00 a.m.)

    Doubles (10:30-11:50)
    Moderator: Rummanu Yeasin, Brooklyn College
    Andrea Kennedy Hart, Villanova University, “Bride and Bridegroom: Annie Hindle and the Rhetoric of Passing”
    Christiane Struth, University of Giessen, “‘Alter ego et galore": Multiple Selves and the Poetics of Metarepresentational Self-Analysis in Christine Brooke-Rose's Autofictional Novel Remake”
    Meredith Kooi, Emory University, “Autoimmune Doublings: The Surplus of Golyadkin and Helen”
    Respondent: Prof. Geoffrey Minter, Brooklyn College

    Luncheon, Boylan Hall 2315 (12:00-1:00)

    Trauma (1:10-2:30)
    Moderator: Elizabeth Rose, Brooklyn College
    Aliza Shvarts, New York University, “How I learned to stop worrying and love the rape kit”
    Emma Burris-Janssen, University of New Hampshire, “‘A Little More than Persuading’: Tess Durbeyfield’s Disenfranchised Trauma”
    Michelle Gibbs, Brooklyn College, “Colonial Trauma of Dissociative Proportions in Dream on Monkey Mountain”
    Respondent: Jessica Siegel

    Structure (2:40-4:30)
    Moderator: Mike Stop Continues, Brooklyn College
    Samira Abdur-Rahman, Rutgers University, “Fragments of Self in Gwendolyn Brooks’s Autobiographical Writing”
    Brittany Farmer, New York University, “Which Prize is Me?: Metaphor, Metonymy and the Identity Making Game in Philip Roth's Goodbye Columbus”
    Michelle Magnero, Western Washington University, “Producing the Revolutionary Black Male Self in Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep”
    Danielle Solomon, Hunter College, “Laura Mullen’s Murmur: Self-Reflective Detective Work”
    Respondent: Joseph Entin

    Keynote Address (4:40-6:00)
    Speaker: Eileen Myles
    Respondent: Prof. Matthew Burgess, Brooklyn College
    Discussion with audience to follow

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Spring 2010 Graduate English Conference Call for Papers

"Deconstructing the Gods: Towards a Post-Religious Criticism"

Third Annual Brooklyn College Graduate English Conference

April 10, 2010, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY

Keynote: Prof. Steven Kruger, English and Medieval Studies, CUNY Graduate Center

If one were asked to provide a single explanation for the growth of English studies in the later nineteenth century, one could do worse than reply, “the failure of religion.” – Terry Eagleton

Literature would begin wherever one no longer knows who writes and who signs the narrative of the call - and of the "Here I Am"- between the absolute Father and Son. – Jacques Derrida

The concept of "God," in our increasingly pluralist postmodern environment, is protean and subject to vastly divergent individual definitions. Yet gods are often regarded as the most objective and stable nuclei of religious communities. Whereas gods may be imagined as idealized selves, and may epitomize correct morality for a believer, they may simultaneously be said to function as political and rhetorical devices--dangerously slippery proxies of both transcendent subjectivity and faith-based violence.

One of the more liberating tasks of literary criticism, especially since the latter half of the 20th century, has been its attempt to uncover traces of dominant structures that lie dormant in literary texts. Marxist criticism has brought an examination of economic structures in a text. Feminist criticism has brought a critique of patriarchal forces. Postcolonial thought has unfolded the effects of colonialism and imperialism. Where, one might ask, is the criticism of religious power, and how might it be foregrounded? Unlike other modes of thought, religious discourse is uniquely protected by a veneer of the sacred, which allows it to be self-censoring or, as Derrida said, auto-immunizing. Literary criticism operates as a sort of secular exegesis; it is perhaps for this reason, and because of the pseudo-religious assumptions of criticism, that religion is often elided from critical inquiry. What might a post-religious criticism reveal about the religious forces at work within texts and canons? Within criticism itself?

From the feudal warrior culture of Beowulf to the heretical Catholicisms of Ulysses, religious forces are active, whether as narrative fulcra or dynamic backdrops. Literary works such as The Song of Roland depict warring factions of religionists, each with a god-concept at the helm of their ideological battleship. Dissecting these gods with the tools of cultural criticism has the potential to bring new insight, and to uncover power structures previously unnoticed. How might we discover, for instance, textual evidence for ways in which religions have been used as a means of solidifying tribal identity, and for ways in which religions have been the ideological forces behind genocide? This conference seeks to explore the significance of the "post-religious" in all of its senses, both as an object of literary representation and as a condition of literary study.

Sample topics might include, but are by no means limited to:

• The Divine Author(ity)
• Homoeroticism in Early Modern Devotional Literature
• Eden, Exile, and the Fortunate Fall
• Divine Revelation and the Muse
• Via Negativa: What God Isn't
• God, Ego, and the God-Self
• The Sacred and the Taboo: Religion as a Self-Censoring Discourse
• Atheist Literature of the 19th century
• Ghosts: Spiritualism in the 19th Century
• The Poetics of Transcendent Experience
• The Apostate in Islamic Literature
• Confessional Literature and the Catholic Confessional
• Holy Texts and the Language of Violence
• Alterity: Demonization of the "Other" Religion
• Liberation Theologies
• Blasphemous Humor as Social Satire
• Madness and Heresy
• The Christian Rhetoric of Imperialism

Abstracts of no more than 300 words are due by January 31st, 2010. Send them in the body of your email to

2009 Graduate English Conference Program


Brooklyn College Graduate English Conference - Saturday 18 April, 2009

Woody Tanger Auditorium (Library), Brooklyn College, CUNY
Brooklyn, New York

10:10-11:10: Session 1         Moderator:  Risa Shoup, Brooklyn College

o Osvaldo Oyola, Brooklyn College: Fearful Symmetry: Influence and the Superhero Comic Book Tradition in Alan Moore's Watchmen
o Jarad Krywicki, Brooklyn College: The Floating Subject: Illusions of Influence and Independence in Moby-Dick
o Geri Lawson, California State University at Long Beach:  "An anthem, shredded into discord in its last few notes": The Dark Knight Returns as Eighties Noir and Utopian Subversion

11:20-12:20: Session 2          Moderator: Steve D'Amato, Brooklyn College

o Andrew Dunn, Brooklyn College: Observing Watt: Psychoanalysis, Literature, and Psychotic Utterances
o Michael DiBerardino, Brooklyn College: Dangerous Supplements, Strange Influences: The Crying of Lot 49 and the Pharmakon
o Ivan Ortiz, Princeton University: Confessional Resistance: Rehashing De Quincey's Opium-Style

12:20-1:50: Lunch Break:  Buffet and "Meet our Doctoral Students" event involving Ryan Dobran, Melissa Sande, Osvaldo Oyola, Ryan Everitt and others TBA

2:00-3:00:  Session 3              Moderator: Ryan Everitt, CUNY Graduate Center

o Ryan Dobran, Brooklyn College: Philological Poetics: A Study of Reference in Pound and Prynne
o Donald Brown, Brooklyn College: Impressionism Along the Shores of Balbec: The Practice of Impressionism in Proust's In Search of Lost Time
o Justin Katko, Brown University:   The Suggestion of J.H. Prynne in the Idiom of Edward Dorn's "Night Letter"

3:10-4:10:  Session 4             Moderator: Emily Workman, Brooklyn College

o Derek McGrath, SUNY Stonybrook:  "Shrinking from My Father": Disguises and Dickens's Darwinism in Our Mutual Friend
o Jozeph Herceg, Brooklyn College:  Exploring The Ballard/Amis Connection: Anxious Violence and Suicide in Crash and London Fields
o Glyn Salton-Cox, Yale University:  The Lukácsian inheritance: An Overlooked Influence on Two Forgotten British Writers

4:20-6:00   Keynote:  Mystical Anarchism 
                  Simon Critchley, Chair of Philosophy, The New School

Panel Discussion:      
                       Simon Critchley, The New School
                       Kathleen Haley, Brooklyn College
                       Mark Patkowski, Brooklyn College

Subway Directions: Q Local to the Avenue H station, at Avenue H & East 16th Street. Walk 4 blocks east (you’ll see the famous LaGuardia bell tower; walk towards that) to the Ocean Avenue entrance; or #2 (7th Avenue Local) or #5 (Lexington Avenue Express) to the Flatbush Avenue/Nostrand Avenue station, walk down Hillel Place, past the Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore and McDonalds to the campus.   Visitors, please bring appropriate ID to obtain a visitor pass.

Under the Influence was organized by:  Steve D’Amato, Clare Callahan, James Davis, Mike Dell’Aquila, Michael DiBerardino, Ryan Dobran, Joseph Entin, Jarad Kriwicki, Nicola Masciandaro, Mark Patkowski, Risa Shoup, Emily Workman.

2008 Graduate English Conference Program


Brooklyn College Graduate English Conference
Saturday 3 May, 2008
Woody Tanger Auditorium (Library)
Brooklyn College, CUNY
Brooklyn, New York

10:45-12:00: Session 1: Bodies Moderator: Marie Rutkoski, Brooklyn College
· Laurynn Lowe, Brooklyn College: The Necessity of the New in Richard II and Hamlet, or Making the Real by Way of Nothing
· Steve D'Amato, Brooklyn College: The Work of Milton's Alchemy: A Reexamination of Paradise Lost
· Nairobi Walker, Hunter College: Apocalypse in Milton's Lycidas and Tennyson's In Memoriam

12:00-1:00 Lunch Break

1:00-2:15 Session 2: Places Moderator: Moustafa Bayoumi, Brooklyn College
· Patrick Nugent, Brooklyn College: Gifts for the Great Potluck: Metaphor and Form in Gary Snyder's Danger on Peaks
· Risa Shoup, Brooklyn College: a+b=c An Examination of Shirin Neshat's Adaptation of Shahrnush Parsipur's Women Without Men
· Brian Lane, Brooklyn College:"Beyond the Jumna, All is Conjecture": British Travel Writing in Afghanistan, 1783-1842

2:20-3:35 Session 3: Selves Moderator: Joseph Entin, Brooklyn College
· Jarad Krywicki, Brooklyn College: A Cool Spring in a Well-Lit Summer
· Yasser El Hariry, New York University: The Gift of Newness in the Work of Stéphane Mallarmé
· Ryan Dobran, Brooklyn College: Imagination and America: Autonomy and Unity in Cane and Spring and All

3:35-4:00 Break

4:00-5:45 Keynote: Un nouveau temps du verbe être [a new time/tense for the verb to be]: Surrealist nature and the time of the subject in Prynne Michael Stone-Richards, College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI
· Panel Discussion: Michael Stone-Richards
· James Davis, Brooklyn College
· Nicola Masciandaro, Brooklyn College

Subway Directions: Q Local to the Avenue H station, at Avenue H & East 16th Street. Walk 4 blocks east (you'll see the famous LaGuardia bell tower; walk towards that) to the Ocean Avenue entrance; or #2 (7th Avenue Local) or #5 (Lexington Avenue Express) to the Flatbush Avenue/Nostrand Avenue station, walk down Hillel Place, past the Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore and McDonalds to the campus. Visitors, please bring appropriate ID to obtain a visitor pass.

Vernal Temporalities was organized by: Steve D'Amato, James Davis, Ryan Dobran, Timothy Holland, Nicola Masciandaro, Mark Patkowski, Deb Travis, and Sally White.