Monday, February 3, 2014

Elizabeth Williams, Meghann Meeusen, Amy Hicks - English Studies and Children's Literature

Elizabeth Williams, Meghann Meeusen, and Amy Hicks - "More than Child's Play: Children's Literature and Interdisciplinarity"

Our roundtable discussion will open up the idea of interdisciplinary by exploring how each of our diverse perspectives, while all based in children's literature, include elements from a variety of fields, including film studies, cultural-historic activity theory, rhetoric, eco-feminism, etc. We will begin with a brief introduction to how interdisciplinary has affected our research and study, then open the panel to discussion and questions about the role of interdisciplinary approaches in children's literature and beyond.

Emily R. Johnston - trauma theory, feminist theory

Emily R Johnston - "Feminist Geographies: Narrating Trauma Across Borders in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

How does trauma get narrated across borders? What is gained? What is lost? This presentation will explore these questions in relation to the narration of rape in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo phenomenon, drawing from work in trauma theory (Judith Herman, M.D. on sexual abuse and traumatic disorders; Laura S. Brown on feminism and psychic trauma; and Van der Kolk and Van der Hart on memory and trauma), cultural theory (Appadurai on the dimensions of mediascapes and ideascapes in global cultural flows), and theories of globalization (Manfred B. Steger on ideology and globalization; and Brian Larkin on film and globalization). The novel and films of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo erode and cross multiple borders: national borders, with the novel’s translation into almost forty languages (Baker); borders of genre, with two film adaptations of the novel—a Swedish and Hollywood version; and identity borders between conflicting parts of oneself, such as perpetrator/victim. These border crossings illustrate the phenomenon’s tremendous, global capacity for travel; and tracking this phenomenal movement across space, genre, and identities exposes how the narration of rape in Dragon Tattoo refuses hegemonic notions, as well as conceptions in trauma theory, about who rape victims are and how they respond to rape.

Danielle L Cochran, Evan Nave, and Dr. Ricardo Cruz - "Traveling Theory" by Edward Said and Wai Chee Dimock's "Multilateral Theory"

Danielle L Cochran, Evan Nave, and Dr. Ricardo Cruz - "Check The Rhyme: Cross-Cultural Literary Influences"

Hip-hop has become a recent academic aesthetic due to the influx of former practitioners and current educators whom have been inspired by its cultural movement. However, there are certain questions that arise with the power of this cultural movement from a literary and cultural perspective. Is hip-hop a form of cultural exceptionalism that serves as a gate-keeping between academic and social discourse? Meaning has the ideology of what hip-hop is perceived affected its’ reception or disclusion in educational and socio-economic communities? Has this anti-systematic culture secretly matriculated its way through to our classroom as a successful connecting point to our students? In order to answer these questions the panel will look at Edward Said’s “Traveling Theory” and Wai Chee Dimock concept of “Multilateralism” as a foundation to address the following concerns regarding Hip-Hop in the academia:

• Personal motivations for connections with the culture
• How has hip-hop manifested as narratives in writing or area of study
• Current relevance of hip-hop in English literature/studies
• Intellectual limitations
• Issues of inclusion
• Classroom practices which can assist or bridge the intellectual gap with popular culture driven generation of students.

The purpose of this panel is to engage in discourse that aligns old and new practices in the field of English studies through theory,creative writing, fiction and pedagogy.

Ryan Edel - Neurosemiotics and Pedagogy

Ryan Edel - "On the Writer’s Brain: A Neurosemiotic Approach to Creativity, Language, and Social Justice"

In the age of Facebook and MRI machines, “defining” writing has become a troubled occupation for teachers. While fMRI studies are now beginning to differentiate those areas of the brain which generate ideas from those which recall words and move the hand, scholars such as Favareau argue that such positivist approaches ignore the semiotic nature of intellect – neurologists might envision the mind as a machine, but literary scholars still favor the evolving response to signs and signification as a model for intellect. However, bridging these two approaches may help us understand how the social disconnection between students and teachers leads to pervasive – and seemingly irreparable – differences between academic expectations and student performance. Theories from both camps depend heavily upon the concept of mirror neurons – specialized cells which selectively mimic observed reality via mental rehearsal. I argue that the socialized differences in values among social groups (particularly between students and teachers) leads language learners to mentally disconnect from the classroom in ways which prevents the uptake of new skills.

Jeff Rients - book history, systems theory, game studies

Jeff Rients - "Read/Play: A Brief History of Nonlinear Textual Practices"

"In this presentation I will survey the field of ergodic literature, the term coined by Espen Aarseth for texts that demand nonlinear reading strategies, ranging from Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books, Milorad Pavić’s Dictionary of the Khazars, Nabokov’s Pale Fire and Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves. Although Aarseth posits ergodic literature as a new form born of the information age, a successor to the linear texts of preceding eras, I will argue that reading ergodic literature can be placed on a continuum with normative linear reading practices. In support of this continuum hypothesis the output of William Morris’s Kelmscott Press will be examined as works that occupy the middle space between strictly linear text and Aarseth’s ergodic literature. Finally, the economic and political ramifications of linear/ergodic continuum will be touched upon. "

Cristina Sanchez-Martin - TESOL

Cristina Sanchez-Martin - "The Corpus of Contemporary American English: a tool for ESL learners to perform agency"

The aim of this paper is to propose learning tools for ESL learners that can help them develop and perform their agency in real life communicative exchanges in an Anglo-American context. In particular, I claim that the Corpus of Contemporary American English can be a supportive tool to use both in the ESL classroom by teachers and outside the classroom by the students themselves, especially for those with a high level of English, like international students at American universities. I will focus on three grammatical aspects of the English language as linguistic items that, once seen in the classroom, students can further explore by looking at the Corpus of Contemporary American English.

Jessica Zhang - Biopolitical Theory & Communicative Capitalism

Jessica Zhang - "Rethinking What Culture Means in Intercultural Professional Communications "

In the field of Intercultural Technical and Professional Communication, many scholars and practitioners tend to rely on Geert Hofstede's cultural model. This model is one of the first models of culture in the field of Intercultural communication and it accommodates and reinforces a anti-historical and culture-free work culture during transnational interactions in the workplace. This paper will examine the workplace problems that this work culture generates that has been overlooked by both scholars and practitioners. This paper will also explore ethical and efficient solutions for this dilemma.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kelsey Forkner, Susan George, Josette Lorig - Pedagogy, Literature, WAC

Kelsey Forkner, Susan George, Josette Lorig - "Making Ends Meet: Literature Pedagogy, Faculty-Graduate Student Teamwork, and Undergraduate Literacy"

Presentation Focus
Literature Pedagogy, Writing Across the Curriculum, TA-Faculty relations, 'scaffolding', General Education, Writing in Lit Courses, Unorthodox teaching practice

"Under the direction of Dr. Weeks, our panel conducted a semester-long Independent Study in pedagogical practices sought, found and developed in ENG 125, a G.E. Literature course. Discussions of best teaching practices often presuppose optimal circumstances. But real courses are usually implemented under conditions which are given rather than chosen. Learning how to reconcile the conflicting ends of an actual course can help build confidence and develop strategies for future use. In this presentation—a project group of three graduate assistant teachers—describe and evaluate strategies and techniques for implementing a large multipurpose lecture-discussion literature course taught to non-literature majors in the General Education sequence of a middle-sized state university. We will discuss 1. the contingencies of the course, 2. sources of guidance consulted, 3. the practical methods or devices we developed, and 4. the more general lessons we learned not only about teaching literature but also about student literacy, which is defined here as advanced skill in reading and writing, as well as an understanding of literature and the language in which it is expressed or discussed. Concisely put, we asked ourselves what could be done to reach more students and provide a useful takeaway for non-majors. In other words, what's in it for them? We were after a literature pedagogy that could help us teach a more balanced class without pandering or oversimplifying. "

Irene Taylor - computer literacy; feminist and ageist theories

M. Irene Taylor - "An Examination of Studies of Computer Literacy Acquisition among Older Adults"

When looking at the impact of computer technology on composition studies, it is the young adult who has been the primary subject of study. In comparison, concerns of the older adult in the acquisition of computer literacy have not seen the level of attention that the growth of an aging population warrants. This paper addresses the need for research in the field of computer literacy among the older adult population while considering the risk posed by ageist bias in the design of studies as well as the interpretation of their results. The call for these studies stems from the inherent presence of computers in the lives of people starting in childhood through their senior years. While I look primarily at studies conducted by researchers in the field of rhetoric and composition, I also consider work by scholars in gerontology, sociology, and computer sciences. Relying on both feminist and ageist theories as a framework for my findings, I conclude that even the most well-intentioned scholar (myself included) is at risk of making assumptions based on an ageist bias. As an increasing number of older adults return to school to develop the skills to either advance in their current careers or embark on new ones, it is critical that we equip educators with both the hardware design and pedagogical theory that best meets the needs of this growing cohort.

Ana Roncero Bellido - code meshing, contact zone, Latina identity, Mestiza Consciousness

Ana Roncero Bellido - "Telling to Live, Telling to Survive"

Mary Louise Pratt underscores the political character of testimonios as she posits them as “a contemporary creation of the contact zone” where “autoethnography, critique, and resistance have reconnected with writing” (35). Indeed, in their collection of testimonios, Telling to Live, The Latina Feminist Group embraces this use of testimonio, particularly through the juxtaposition of English and Spanish and her refusal to adapt to Standard versions of these languages and traditional modes of autobiography. Thus, this presentation argues that code switching and code meshing entail an act of rhetorical resistance, hence underscoring the power of testimonio to challenge the patriarchal, imperialistic forces oppressing Latinas. To do so, this presentation posits the following questions: What motivates The Latina Feminist Group to code mesh? How does the use of Spanish affect the comprehensibility of the texts? How do these testimonios become representative of the “text(s) of the contact zone”? And consequently, how does the use of code meshing contribute to the construction of the Mestiza Consciousness (Anzaldúa) and the Decolonial Imaginary (Pérez)? Ultimately, this presentation concludes that this use of testimonio participates in the rhetorics of survivance as explained by Malea Powell: “survival” of the Latina feminist epistemology and experience, and “resistance” to imperialism

Josette Lorig - Gender and Sexuality Studies

Josette Lorig - "The Representation of Female Desire in Alan Moore's Lost Girls"

This paper investigates the representation of female desire in Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie’s pornographic comic, Lost Girls, reading it up against other pornographic comics, Japanese josei (“ladies comics”) and the graphic narratives of Phoebe Glockner and Kominskey-Krumb. The paper ultimately criticizes the way in which the text reinscribes this desire into a set of pornographic conventions that reaffirm male-identified viewers, crediting the latter texts for their willingness to construct a multifaceted depiction of women’s sexual lives that is not always ascetically ideal. Lost Girls is exemplary for the way in which it puts women into productive dialogue with other women, conceptualizes women as both sexual and sexualized, and refuses to imagine adolescent sexual experiences as only abusive and predatory. However, in focusing explicitly on the lost girls’ flash back sequences and the full size splash pages within them, this paper sets out to argue that Lost Girls is so deeply immersed in a world that appeals to fantasies of masculine power and the idealization of women’s bodies that any truths of women’s actual sexual lives or erotic pleasure are obscured. The comic ultimately undermines any attempts to create a fully fleshed out feminist text or a pornographic text for women. "

Francesco Levato - Poetry, Creative Writing

Francesco Levato - "Semi-peripheral: Spaces of Deviation, Abjection, Madness"

"Semi-peripheral: Spaces of Deviation, Abjection, Madness" is a mash up of critical theory, poetry, science, and an examination of the works of H.P. Lovecraft as an (other)world-system, through the theoretical frames of world-systems analysis (Immanuel Wallerstein), heterotopic spaces (Michel Foucault), and abjection (Julia Kristeva). The work is a move towards blending creative and critical texts into a more seamless whole; creating resonances between different texts, paratexts, practices and entities, while simultaneously attending to creative, critical, and materialist concerns. The poems are based on chance operations (a variation/combination of Bernstein’s Acrostic Chance method and John Cage’s Mesostics) that use (other)world texts (fictional books located in Lovecraft’s mythological system) as seed texts, and a series of source texts including the Collected Works of H. P. Lovecraft, and a combination of obscure books referenced in Lovecraft’s stories. Language from the source texts is collected via procedure, then reworked to shape the final poems. The prose sections blend critical theory with quotations from Lovecraft’s short story, The Call of Cthulhu."

Kate Brown - Feminist disability studies, fat studies, cyber feminist rhetoric

Kate Brown - "Temper, Temper: Diet Talk as Legitimacy in Women's Food Memoir"

In her memoir Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites, Kate Christensen writes passionately about favorite foods, memorable meals, and their connection to her often troubled childhood. She describes in detail the tastes and sensations that tie food and eating to these moments. Despite the book's focus on the role of food and eating in her life, Christensen includes explanations of how dieting corrected moments when her love of food became too intense. Caloric restriction acts as a rhetorical metaphor that authorizes Christensen to love food because the reader knows she didn't go far enough to get fat. This demonstration of self-control, in turn, increases her rhetorical agency as a rational, disciplined subject. In this presentation, I will use _Blue Plate Special_ to show how food memoirists use dieting for weight loss as an authorizing move to adhere to a cultural script that only allows certain bodies to write about enjoying food.

Kayla A. Bruce - Food memoirs, identity formation, rhetorical analysis, embodiment in texts

Kayla A. Bruce - "Embodied Rhetoric: Women’s Food Writing"

I think that the explosion in food memoir is saying and doing something significant in our current cultural and societal climate. I believe that the work that food memoirs are doing in the field of life writing is significant in three ways. The first is the way that writing about food can help the author, and the reader, process experiences and memories by giving them a tangible object on which to focus thoughts and emotions. The second is that they legitimize these everyday personal and communal experiences, and reveal that the truths of those situations are worth being communicated to a larger audience. The third is that they challenge different cultural scripts than other texts such as: pleasurable experiences are not valuable experiences to study, or experiences of food do not significantly impact our constructions of self and the world. They way that food memoirs help “consumers” process, legitimize, and challenge their own experiences and identities is significant because few texts allow this kind of exploration in such a seemingly familiar space that readers can relate to. I want to examine the significance of food memoirs in general by looking at two specific texts: Kate Christensen’s Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites and Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes From My Kitchen Table. These two texts are significant to the food memoir explosion through their autobiographical food experiences that show the construction, as well as construct, their individual and communal identities.

Evan J. Syverson - Feminism, Historical Perspectives

Evan J. Syverson - "Changing Portraits: Feminism, Masculine Failure, and the Virgin-Whore Dichotomy in Twentieth Century American War Literature"

Several major American authors of 20th century war fiction utilize the motifs of the enemy and women. The depiction of these motifs, however, changes with each successive author, from William Faulkner to Ernest Hemingway to Joseph Heller. These authors represent a shift in the portrayal of women's roles, from traditional, domestic roles to empowered, independent roles. The enemy, meanwhile, is transformed from a foreign “other” into an internal “us,” as individual complacency begins to be characterized as the biggest threat to one's life. Examination of the primary texts, secondary scholarship, and historical information all suggest that the growing sense of agency among women actually represents the answer to the moral questions these authors raise regarding complacency. Women are the vanguard of these authors' shared worldview.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Terri F. Coleman - Postcolonial Theory, Feminist Theory, Linguistic Anthropolgy

Terri F. Coleman - "The Name Game: Confronting Colonial Language and Naming in Contemporary Native American Literature"

Presenter Bio
Terri Coleman is a first year master’s student in the area of English Literature at Eastern Illinois University. She is interested in how language reflects and reinforces cultural norms, especially in reference to race, class and gender. Her current research focuses on portrayals of mixed-race characters, especially women, in historical and fictional texts.

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